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 Post subject: Floppy Media Recovery Software
PostPosted: September 26th, 2018, 21:55 
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I have sets of 3½-inch floppy diskettes that have data that I wish to recover. Some of the files on the floppy media cannot be read and result in cyclic redundancy check errors.

I would request a recommendation of good software that supports recovery from floppy drives and floppy media.

I have many software tools to recover hard disks (with my typical being R-Studio) and USB flash media, but none of them appear to work with Floppy drives.


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 Post subject: Re: Floppy Media Recovery Software
PostPosted: September 26th, 2018, 22:18 
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Some interesting hardware here (eg DiscFerret)...

https://www.archiveteam.org/index.php?title=Rescuing_Floppy_Disks

Otherwise ddrescue?

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 Post subject: Re: Floppy Media Recovery Software
PostPosted: September 28th, 2018, 2:29 
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Thank you fzabkar for your suggestions.

I am doubtful that the added benefit in investing in hardware would be cost effective for this job; there may be some loss, but it may be within tolerance.

I had forgotten about ddrescue.


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 Post subject: Re: Floppy Media Recovery Software
PostPosted: September 28th, 2018, 18:19 
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To add to this, with ddrescue you can try to make an image of the disk, with the ability to use different floppy drives. One drive may read some sectors better than others, and vice-versa.

And if you want to go back a bit in time, I seem to remember that some floppy copy programs could read the raw sectors, mostly for the use of cloning copy protected disks. One I found digging through my old archives is CopyStar v4.31. It was not a free program, and not sure how many programs like that can still be bought. But I would bet if you looked hard enough for the old ones that no longer exist, you may find a "working" copy of them. Depending on the type of files you are trying to recover, reading the sectors raw my yield some useful data, even if the sector is corrupt.

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 Post subject: Re: Floppy Media Recovery Software
PostPosted: September 29th, 2018, 4:54 
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Badcopy pro?

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 Post subject: Re: Floppy Media Recovery Software
PostPosted: September 29th, 2018, 9:17 
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pcimage wrote:
Badcopy pro?

I have that one in my archives too, but didn't mention it because I don't remember using it.

I do remember that you can't read the raw disk data with a USB floppy drive, it has to be a real one connected directly to the motherboard. (I couldn't read or write a copy protected disk with my USB floppy drive)

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 Post subject: Re: Floppy Media Recovery Software
PostPosted: September 30th, 2018, 1:49 
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My main computer's motherboard has a floppy controller, but does not have floppy support from the motherboard's chipset. The BIOS does seem to handle the drive well. Generally, most software I have used is able to recognize and use the floppy drive without issue, though few have not (I forgot which ones).

@maximus - Trying to read the problem sectors (some appear to be magnetic errors, others may be failed) with different floppy drives is a good idea.

CopyStar v4.31 is indeed not difficult to find. I have not tried it yet. Unfortunately, it becomes oftentimes much more difficult to find software once a company disappears.

I have tried BadCopy Pro and it does read the floppy; however it was not good enough to recover data.


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 Post subject: Re: Floppy Media Recovery Software
PostPosted: September 30th, 2018, 3:23 
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The best software to recover / copy floppies I know is VGAcopy/386, you can download it here (freeware):

https://moenk.de/index.php?serendipity[subpage]=downloadmanager&thiscat=2&file=1

Attachment:
vgacopy.jpg
vgacopy.jpg [ 64.95 KiB | Viewed 1953 times ]

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 Post subject: Re: Floppy Media Recovery Software
PostPosted: September 30th, 2018, 4:59 
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File Scavenger can work with floppy disks too.

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 Post subject: Re: Floppy Media Recovery Software
PostPosted: September 30th, 2018, 9:47 
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Don't forget to use a floppy drive cleaning disk as often as needed. The material from the old floppies can come off and make the head dirty, which makes it harder to read disks.

Not to date myself, but I remember the 5.25 disks from the AppleIIe days, and having some game disks go bad. There was this wonderful program called Locksmith for copying the disks with copy protections, but bad sectors were something else. Back then those drives had a couple potentiometers in them for calibration purposes. I had no idea how they worked, but I made sure the original positions were marked, then tweaked them until I got a good read. Too bad things aren't that easy anymore...

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 Post subject: Re: Floppy Media Recovery Software
PostPosted: September 30th, 2018, 14:42 
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Clean the drive heads but don't use a cleaning disk, use Isopropyl alcohol and cotton swab instead. Cleaning disk will not be enough and it's not as good as opening the floppy drive and clean the magnetic heads directly.

Check the floppy disk by sliding the metalic protection and rotating the disk by hand - use the center of the disk and DO NOT put your fingers on the disk.

If the disk does have mould you can clean it with ....Isopropyl alcohol but be aware that you will gain some more reads and the disk should be tossed in the garbage bin. Also heads from the drive will scratch the disk. If you can see rings on the disk (cuts) you will not get that portion of the data.

Many years ago i did recover a huge amount of floppies that were damaged from mould creation during bad storage - in humid place. Same aplly to VHS tapes.

Are you willing to PAY to get that data recovered ? If you want to ship some of those disks to me i can try fo image them and carve the data out.

Long time since i played with floppy anyway.

For now you can check some interesting posts here - http://www.hddoracle.com/viewforum.php?f=104

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 Post subject: Re: Floppy Media Recovery Software
PostPosted: September 30th, 2018, 14:45 
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Also please check : - viewtopic.php?f=1&t=25728

:D

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 Post subject: Re: Floppy Media Recovery Software
PostPosted: October 1st, 2018, 1:20 
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Spildit wrote:
If the disk does have mould you can clean it with ....Isopropyl alcohol but be aware that you will gain some more reads and the disk should be tossed in the garbage bin.
What technique to perform the cleaning would you recommend. Does one apply the Isopropyl alcohol and wait some time for it to kill the mould. Perhaps, apply and wipe immediately with an anti-static microfiber cloth?

You had mentioned that after cleaning a disk of mould and gaining more reads, the disk should be tossed in the garbage bin. Is this just a precaution to guard against future failure to the disk due to more growth of mould or is there another reason.

Spildit wrote:
Are you willing to PAY to get that data recovered ? If you want to ship some of those disks to me i can try fo image them and carve the data out.
I do not believe it would be worth it for what has not been recovered. But thank you for offering.

Spildit wrote:
For now you can check some interesting posts here - http://www.hddoracle.com/viewforum.php?f=104
Spildit wrote:
Also please check : - viewtopic.php?f=1&t=25728
Thank you, their information is quite useful and interesting.


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 Post subject: Re: Floppy Media Recovery Software
PostPosted: October 1st, 2018, 4:08 
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FYI, there is a complete assembly listing of the original PC/AT BIOS in the following tech manual, with 12 pages devoted to diskette operations. There are also circuit diagrams of the motherboard and floppy drives.

http://bitsavers.trailing-edge.com/pdf/ibm/pc/at/
http://bitsavers.trailing-edge.com/pdf/ibm/pc/at/1502494_PC_AT_Technical_Reference_Mar84.pdf

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 Post subject: Re: Floppy Media Recovery Software
PostPosted: October 1st, 2018, 16:30 
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Asque wrote:
What technique to perform the cleaning would you recommend. Does one apply the Isopropyl alcohol and wait some time for it to kill the mould. Perhaps, apply and wipe immediately with an anti-static microfiber cloth?

You had mentioned that after cleaning a disk of mould and gaining more reads, the disk should be tossed in the garbage bin. Is this just a precaution to guard against future failure to the disk due to more growth of mould or is there another reason.


Use a cotton Swab. Place it on the Isopropyl alcohol so it gets soaked. Open the floppy "slider" so you can see the disk. Check for damage/mould. Rotate the disk using the center metalic circlethat is used by the drive to rotate the floppy. Do not place fingers on the disk itself.

Place the cotton swab on the magnetic portion of the floppy visible on the window. Rotate the disk by center metalic circle. Make sure that you "clean" the magnetic disk by running the swab from top to bottom on window of floppy while you rotate the disk. Make sure you do that on both sides of the disk.

Most floppy will have some sort of "fiber" between plastic and magnetic disk so it's likely for that to became "wet" and when you rotate the disk you will see that Isopropyl alcohol did "propagate" to the interior of the floppy, do not worry UNLESS the "ring" on the center became loose and detached from disk, if so you are in for pain, if disk rotates OK and if you are sure that is all clean (entire circle of the disk) just let it rest for some minuts for the Isopropyl alcohol to evaporate. Another technic is to open the plastic of the floppy like a sandwish and clean the entire disk directly but you don't need to go to that trouble, opening the small metalic window by sliding it is enought. let the disk dry, clean the heads of the reader on the meanwhile. Open the floppy DRIVE and clean both heads (top and bottom) with cotton swab soaked in Isopropyl alcohol .

Now when you do read the floppy there are great chances that the disk will be dagame by the read attempt as the heads that read the data on floppy will do physical contact with floppy disk (not like hdd platter) and the media will be way more fragile now that you did use Isopropyl alcohol on it.

On some ocasions i did manage to get sucess even with WET disks (in Isopropyl alcohol) meaning without letting them dry.

DO NOT USE USB DISKET DRIVES !!!! USE OLD DRIVES CONNECTED BY STANDARD CABLE TO MOTHERBOARD ---


Good luck.

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 Post subject: Re: Floppy Media Recovery Software
PostPosted: October 2nd, 2018, 22:42 
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I have managed to recover most the data. There were one or two files that were not recovered, but it is believed that only one of those contained potentially useful data. Given what the lost file was thought to be; it was determined that further recovery was not worth the time/delay in attempting to complete the task using other techniques or tools. Unfortunately, I had not waited long enough for some of information from this thread to become available before processing one of the floppies .I had used some destructive process to try to recover the usability of the floppy and to try to determine (out of curiosity) how many of the bad sectors were due to non-permanent magnetic errors. I would have liked to try some other options out of interest.

Thanks to all that assisted in this thread. Given the assistance, I learned some useful new things and found/collected new resources. A special mention for Spildit whom also pointed me to The HDD Oracle.


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 Post subject: Re: Floppy Media Recovery Software
PostPosted: October 3rd, 2018, 15:13 
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Nice that you did manage to get some data back !

Regards.

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