Extracting files off “unknown” 8 inch disks. Any thoughts…

Jon Elson elson at pico-systems.com
Fri May 5 12:24:38 CDT 2017

On 05/04/2017 06:01 PM, Rich Alderson via cctalk wrote:
> From: Terry Stewart
> Sent: Thursday, May 04, 2017 2:41 PM
>> Just tying up some unfinished business.  Right at the beginning of this
>> thread I said...
>>> Guys in the building next door to me (a Science lab) have found some 8 inch
>>> floppy disks.  They want to see what’s on them, or at least to archive them.
>>> They have no idea what machine these disks were used with, or the software
>>> was used to write the files.  They may be CP/M, or some other format
>>> entirely.
>> It turns out these disks are from a VAX machine. Assuming the OS is VMS, I
>> scoured the Internet for something that might read them.
> Stop there.
> 8" floppies on a VAX are more likely to be an RT-11 file system for the front
> end PDP-11/03 than anything else you can think of.
You definitely can built an RMS ODS-2 file system on the Vax 
780 floppy drive.  I don't recall doing this very much, but 
one time when I had to write a program that fixed a damaged 
master file header, i tested it on a floppy file system 
first.  Usually, VAXes had some much better removable media 

If you can read the first block on track zero, it will 
probably make it clear what the file system is.


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