Making disk images of NorthStar hard sector floppy disks with sector errors

Andrew Lynch lynchaj at
Tue Jul 3 14:42:29 CDT 2007


I am restoring an old NorthStar Horizon I bought a few months ago.  It
came with many hard sector floppy disks I am trying to archive by making
disk images.  I have used Dave Dunfield's excellent NorthStar transfer
utilities to make images of the disks which do not contain sector
errors.  Fortunately, the majority of the disks can be read error free,
however, there are several disks which have sector errors I would like
to recover the data from.

There is a technique I have found to make disk images of hard sector
floppy disks with sector errors.  I boot the NorthStar Horizon using the
NorthStar CP/M disk and use its "COPY" utility to make a copy of the
original disk but without the sectors containing errors.  I can then
make a disk image of the copy.  I often lose some data but am able to
recover most if not all the files on the disk.

If anyone knows of a better way to recover data from damaged NorthStar
hard sector floppy disks, I would certainly like to hear from you.

In addition to using Dave Dunfield's NorthStar disk imaging program, I
recently purchased a MatchPoint PC card and Uniform PC software to read
NorthStar CP/M hard sector floppy disks on a PC.  The MatchPoint PC card
and Uniform PC software work great for copying files from NorthStar CP/M
disks -- *ONLY*.  I have even been able to get a sector editor (ZIPZAP)
to work once the Uniform PC software has recognised a NorthStar CP/M
disk and mounted it as a drive.  However, these tools are limited to
NorthStar CP/M disks and files only.  I would like to be able to read
and copy other NorthStar disk formats such as NS DOS, etc.  Here is a
link for ZIPZIP utility:

Does anyone know of any software other than Uniform PC which uses the
MatchPoint PC card for reading NorthStar hard sector floppy disks?  Even
a modified version of Uniform.sys to allow reading of any NorthStar hard
sector floppy disk format would be good.  A PC based utility like MS-DOS
"DISKCOPY" using the MatchPoint PC card would be a good alternative.

My ideal solution would be to use a MS-DOS disk imaging utility like
RAWREAD to make a binary disk image of the NorthStar hard sector floppy
disks directly into the PC.  Unfortunately, every disk imaging tool I
have tried on the PC will not do this.  Most likely due since
MatchPoint/Uniform only provides a "device driver" interface and not a
real hardware disk drive.

Maybe there are some of the original MicroSolutions developers on this list?

Thanks in advance

Andrew Lynch

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