Linked by Thom Holwerda on Sat 13th Jan 2018 23:59 UTC
Mac OS X

I used an Apple IIe computer throughout high school and into my second year in college, before I bought a Mac SE. That following summer I sold the Apple IIe and everything that came with it - the monitor, floppy drives, and dot-matrix printer - and pocketed the cash. What I was left with were two boxes containing two dozen 5.25-inch floppy disks.

I could've thrown the disks away - I had already transferred all the files I cared about to the Mac. But for some reason I saved them instead. And the two dozen floppy disks stayed in two battered boxes for the next 27 years.

Order by: Score:
Comment by Mark0
by Mark0 on Sun 14th Jan 2018 00:40 UTC
Mark0
Member since:
2005-08-11

> There were no bad disks, nearly 30 years later.

I had a similar experience months ago, reading some 30 years old disks from my Amiga days, with a KryoFlux. I expected many unreadable disks, but I just got some retries on a few. Same story with some slightly younger PC ones (including many 2DD used as 2HD).

Reply Score: 2

RE: Comment by Mark0
by Alfman on Sun 14th Jan 2018 02:46 UTC in reply to "Comment by Mark0"
Alfman Member since:
2011-01-28

Mark0,

I had a similar experience months ago, reading some 30 years old disks from my Amiga days, with a KryoFlux. I expected many unreadable disks, but I just got some retries on a few. Same story with some slightly younger PC ones (including many 2DD used as 2HD).


Back when floppy disks were around I remember unreadable floppy disk errors happening and DOS would spurt out errors about unreadable sectors, which you could abort, ignore, or retry. Usually it was just a couple sectors and the rest of the disk was readable.

I guess longevity depends on the quality of the media. It's possible that disks with bad sectors today were already close to failing back then.

Reply Score: 3

RE[2]: Comment by Mark0
by leech on Sun 14th Jan 2018 04:40 UTC in reply to "RE: Comment by Mark0"
leech Member since:
2006-01-10

I came to the conclusion long ago that it's the occasional bad drive that makes a bad floppy disk. Far too many times I'd read a disk and get tons of errors, then put it in a different computer, and it'd read it just fine.

I love my retro systems, but I've just about done away with the floppy disk portion of it.

Reply Score: 1

RE[3]: Comment by Mark0
by Alfman on Sun 14th Jan 2018 07:11 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Comment by Mark0"
Alfman Member since:
2011-01-28

leech,

I came to the conclusion long ago that it's the occasional bad drive that makes a bad floppy disk. Far too many times I'd read a disk and get tons of errors, then put it in a different computer, and it'd read it just fine.

I love my retro systems, but I've just about done away with the floppy disk portion of it.


It's funny you should say that because just this past week I learned the same thing can be true of SD flash cards. For the first time I needed to burn a whole disk image onto a micro-SD card, and it kept erroring out around the same place (7GB of 8GB). This is with a flash reader I've used countless times with my camera.

I thought to myself: this must either be a faulty SD card or one of the or one of those fraudulent cards that's been modified to claim it has more space than it actually has. It was a brand name card, but I even inspected the packaging closer to see if I could find evidence of counterfeiting.

I remembered that my spare computer had a different card reader, so I tried that and low and behold the error just went away. So I looked it up and it turns out other people also had trouble specifically writing large disk images because driving them continuously can make some chips overheat and produce faults.

I was pretty ignorant of SD cards having this failure mode, haha.

Reply Score: 6

RE[4]: Comment by Mark0
by leech on Sun 14th Jan 2018 18:26 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Comment by Mark0"
leech Member since:
2006-01-10

I had the opposite problem, where an SD Card was just jacked, I kept trying to re-format it, but the files would remain, dd, Windows, laptop with a SD card reader, etc. All of them failed. I ended up just snapping it in half and tossing it. Fortunately it didn't have anything on it.

Reply Score: 0

RE[5]: Comment by Mark0
by Alfman on Sun 14th Jan 2018 19:58 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: Comment by Mark0"
Alfman Member since:
2011-01-28

leech,

I had the opposite problem, where an SD Card was just jacked, I kept trying to re-format it, but the files would remain, dd, Windows, laptop with a SD card reader, etc. All of them failed. I ended up just snapping it in half and tossing it. Fortunately it didn't have anything on it.


I have had that problem too, twice. Once with a brand new SD card that failed within ten uses and we ended up loosing some pictures because of it. An added frustration is that the vendor (amazon) would not honor their warranty if you intend to send the card out for data recovery.

NAND flash cells (cheap) aren't as reliable as NOR flash cells (expensive), so most types of flash media require a tiny embedded microcontroller in them that implements their own kind of file system with bad cell management, wear leveling, ECC, etc. These serve to mitigate the types of errors that all NAND flash chips have, but the added complexity can cause new failure modes. If the NAND's internal file system gets corrupted, as happened with mine, then you can no longer access the raw sectors even. ;)

This hasn't happened to me since then, but I worry about it because without having raid-1 in the camera I don't know of a good way to protect from media faults.

Edited 2018-01-14 19:59 UTC

Reply Score: 3

RE: Comment by Mark0
by Soulbender on Mon 15th Jan 2018 07:25 UTC in reply to "Comment by Mark0"
Soulbender Member since:
2005-08-18

So not Sony floppies then?

Reply Score: 2

Depends how well they have been stored
by weckart on Sun 14th Jan 2018 09:18 UTC
weckart
Member since:
2006-01-11

I got an OEM set of Windows 1.0 5.25" disks sealed. On trying to read them with a working floppy drive I just got grinding noises and the disk showed score lines after being ejected. Happened one other time with 3.5" disks. Looking at those disks, the magnetic surface looked a bit cloudy.

I can only assume the disks had been stored at some stage where it was either too warm or cold for the stability of the recording surface layer. The disks were otherwise spotless.

Having said that, I also have disks from the same period that still mount and read fine.

Reply Score: 3

Alfman Member since:
2011-01-28

weckart,

I got an OEM set of Windows 1.0 5.25" disks sealed. On trying to read them with a working floppy drive I just got grinding noises and the disk showed score lines after being ejected. Happened one other time with 3.5" disks. Looking at those disks, the magnetic surface looked a bit cloudy.

I can only assume the disks had been stored at some stage where it was either too warm or cold for the stability of the recording surface layer. The disks were otherwise spotless.

Having said that, I also have disks from the same period that still mount and read fine.


I don't think it's normal for floppies to deteriorate in such a way that you'd hear grinding noises, haha. I realize you're just messing around but it seems your drive destroyed a disk that may have actually been readable otherwise. Maybe one of the servo calibration mechanisms got stuck, plugged by dust bunnies or something. Since the floppy controller in those days was physically on the motherboard, it could also mean the cable was loose. I'd check it out before you keep trying disks.

Reply Score: 2

danber Member since:
2011-12-15

Actually they can deteriorate in that way and leave traces of both mold and the oxide coating of the disk on the read head. I became aware of this problem when reading about a group of people which had all bought new old stock of sealed 5.25" floppy disks of the same brand that all experienced the same problem. I have never had that problem myself with sealed new disks.

Cleaning the read head after experiencing this is crucial to not damage any otherwise working disks.

Some more information here:
http://www.retrotechnology.com/herbs_stuff/clean_disks.html

Edited 2018-01-14 13:33 UTC

Reply Score: 3

weckart Member since:
2006-01-11

Not messing. The same batch of disks did this in two different drives, both of which continued to read good disks immediately afterwards. I was alarmed when it first happened because I thought my drive had broken and taken some rare-ish disks with it but it was just one of those things.

Reply Score: 2

zip disks
by bnolsen on Sun 14th Jan 2018 14:48 UTC
bnolsen
Member since:
2006-01-06

I never had any good experiences with 3.5" floppies but I mostly used them to hold linux distros. Many times one or two errors would end up making the whole distro not installable.

Those 100mb zip disks were bomb proof. I used to record, ferry and store sound files several times a week with those disks for quite a few years and never saw a single error on any of them.

Edited 2018-01-14 14:51 UTC

Reply Score: 1

RE: zip disks
by PedroReina on Sun 14th Jan 2018 15:40 UTC in reply to "zip disks"
PedroReina Member since:
2018-01-14

"Those 100mb zip disks were bomb proof"

Agreed. I managed to destroy one of them installing onto it the root filesystem of Debian. Other than that, always fine.

Reply Score: 0

RE: zip disks
by rener on Sun 14th Jan 2018 16:06 UTC in reply to "zip disks"
rener Member since:
2006-02-27

Strange, many considered the zip drives rather sensitive, and often breaking down with some clicking noise of death. Mine still works though: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7rq08KTFFis

Back when we had an 286 and then 386 I have better memories of 3.5" disks than 5.1/4"

Reply Score: 5

RE[2]: zip disks
by bnolsen on Mon 15th Jan 2018 17:56 UTC in reply to "RE: zip disks"
bnolsen Member since:
2006-01-06

Well the drives may have been delicate (I never had problems with a parallel and internal ide ones), but I was referencing the disks themselves.

Reply Score: 2

I've got 8"...
by fmaxwell on Sun 14th Jan 2018 20:22 UTC
fmaxwell
Member since:
2005-11-13

As an engineer, I often dealt with corporate IT departments that liked to flex their muscles, with one-size-fits-all policies that applied to everyone from shipping clerks to the most senior engineers.

At one company where I worked in recent memory, the IT department put out a written policy stating that all computer media brought into the building must be immediately taken to IT for scanning. That was even if it wasn't for use in company computers and you just brought it in because you didn't want it sitting in a hot car.

So I showed up one morning with a box of 8" floppy disks written on an Intel Intellec MDS-800 Development System . Later I presented DECtapes for scanning. Another time, I brought in punched paper tape. I brought in a reel of 1600bpi mag tape, telling them to make sure to remove the write-enable ring prior to scanning it. I brought in a cartridge-style magneto-optical disk. I brought in 100MB Zip disks. I brought in SS/SD 10 sector, hard-sectored floppy discs written under Heathkit's HDOS operating system. I brought in microcassette tapes written by an Epson HX-20 "laptop" (it's somewhat obscure -- look it up). I brought in data tape cartridges in 1/4" (AKA "QIC" for Quarter Inch Cartridge), 4mm, 8mm, and DLT. I don't believe that they had the ability to read any of it.

About a third of the way through, the head of the IT department admitted that he was amused by junior IT staff bringing the stuff to him and asking 'what do I do with this?' So I kept bringing stuff in for his amusement (and mine), even though he gave me a green light to skip the scanning process as long as I was taking the proper precautions myself.

Edited 2018-01-14 20:23 UTC

Reply Score: 7

RE: I've got 8"...
by tingo on Mon 15th Jan 2018 11:19 UTC in reply to "I've got 8"..."
tingo Member since:
2007-10-13

Wonderful! Thanks for sharing this story.

Reply Score: 1

RE: I've got 8"...
by GCrain on Wed 17th Jan 2018 15:01 UTC in reply to "I've got 8"..."
GCrain Member since:
2005-07-11

I have one of those Epson HX-20..No printer or cassette drive. Got it off a friend back in 1984. Don't know what to do with it, but it is pristine.

Reply Score: 2

Related issue :P
by zima on Tue 16th Jan 2018 23:25 UTC
zima
Member since:
2005-07-06

I have a box of PC 5.25-inch floppies, which I saved from the trash almost 13 years ago ...however I misplaced the key for that box. ;) So now all I can do is look at those floppies, and if I ever get to reading them I will probably have to damage the box...

Reply Score: 3