8" floppy system needed to recover old game data

Allison ajp166 at bellatlantic.net
Sat Oct 8 10:28:31 CDT 2005

>Subject: Re: 8" floppy system needed to recover old game data
>   From: Jules Richardson <julesrichardsonuk at yahoo.co.uk>
>   Date: Sat, 08 Oct 2005 15:35:53 +0100
>     To: General Discussion: On-Topic and Off-Topic Posts <cctalk at classiccmp.org>
>Scott Stevens wrote:
>I'm not so sure - I seem to find that 3.5" floppies bought today only 
>handle a few read/write cycles before they die, whereas floppies from 
>back in the disks' heyday are *much* more reliable. There seems to have 
>been a drop in the quality of the physical media itself over time.

there has been.  However I ran into this problem in a work situation
and EVERY failed disk had a radial scratch at teh directory track. 
So I checked the drives and guess what.  The heads had a nasty buildup
of oxide.  After cleaning new media would last till the problem occured 
again due to same cause.

Some sleuthing found this. In every case the drive was lightly used,
maybe once every few days.  The inside of the systems were filled with 
dust and lint.  The airpath was usualy PC suck in blow out the back
and unfiltered.  Changing the direction of the fan, adding a filter
and cleaning the dust and lint made the problem go away.  Seems one
of the paths for air going in was through the floppy drive despite 
the door and the dust and lint would build up and make the head a 
good abrasive. This fix reduced the media failure rate for maybe 
one or two uses to months of reuses.

>Funnily enough, storage quality seems to have got *worse* over time. 
>CDs, DVDs and modern hard drives all seem piss-poor when it comes to 

Thre are two problems.  Media changes for faster writers and also plain 
poor quality.  I've seen worng media for the writer in use give poor results.

>Maybe there is some sense in all these USB storage devices (much as I 
>dislike USB). At least there are no moving parts or optical shenanigans 
>to go wrong, so if data written to such a device verifies it presumably 
>should be good for subsequent reads...

The USB flash devices are neat, relaible and can die completely 
unexpectedly. I friend lost 3-400mb of stuff on one when it just quit 
after a year of use.  Fortunatly it was used for a transfer for backup
between non-networked systems.


With media and drive being cheap I have no qualms using a 1GB drive 
as removable media be it SCSI or IDE.  Same for smaller or larger stuff.
In the IDE arena I use a Parallel to IDE adaptor to utilize a bunch 
of 200-500mb drives as bulk store, install disks and working backups.
Same thing with SCSI drives,  I must have near 10 RZ56 (680mb 5" full 
size SCSI) and those not in systems have copies of those in systems.

The safest backup is multiple backups on multiple medias.  Here I use
two systems where the system has two drives (non raid) and the nominal D:
is for storage as any winders messups generally only munges drive C:. 
then there is a slow p90 with BIG SCSI disks playing catch for backup.
Add to that floppies and CDroms(multiple copies) it would take a serious
disaster to make the data and applications install sets a total loss. 
This while PC centric is not limited to PC only, I do same for CP/M 
via multiple systems and even use the PC systems to save CP/M stuff
via emulator then there are the VAX backups. Layers of layers.


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