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Old 2020-12-03, 06:45   #1
MooMoo2
 
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Default Њw long does da﬩a on floppy disks la≤⊦?

I dug up some floppy disks that were bought in either 1999 or early 2000 and haven't been used since 2004 or 2005. Out of 10 disks,

Disk 1: Is readable in 2020
Disk 2: Not consistently readable in 2020, but was eventually able to get read
Disk 3: Unreadable in 2020
Disk 4: unreadable in ~2001 (IIRC)
Disk 5: Is readable in 2020
Disk 6: Unreadable in 2020
Disk 7: unreadable in ~2001 (IIRC)
Disk 8: unreadable in ~2001 (IIRC)
Disk 9: Is readable in 2020
Disk 10: unreadable in ~2001 (IIRC)

Are those results fairly typical?
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Old 2020-12-03, 08:47   #2
xilman
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MooMoo2 View Post
I dug up some floppy disks that were bought in either 1999 or early 2000 and haven't been used since 2004 or 2005. Out of 10 disks,

Disk 1: Is readable in 2020
Disk 2: Not consistently readable in 2020, but was eventually able to get read
Disk 3: Unreadable in 2020
Disk 4: unreadable in ~2001 (IIRC)
Disk 5: Is readable in 2020
Disk 6: Unreadable in 2020
Disk 7: unreadable in ~2001 (IIRC)
Disk 8: unreadable in ~2001 (IIRC)
Disk 9: Is readable in 2020
Disk 10: unreadable in ~2001 (IIRC)

Are those results fairly typical?
Depends greatly on how they have been stored.

I have been able to read >90% of 15-20 year old 5.25" floppies (written circa 1988, read circa 2008) for a colleague who wanted access to old data. Not tried with 3.5" floppies. Perhaps I should give it a go. I still have a Slackware Linux distribution from about 1989 which was installed on a 386 box which itself is still in the attic.
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Old 2020-12-03, 08:53   #3
retina
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Quote:
Originally Posted by xilman View Post
I still have a Slackware Linux distribution from about 1989 which was installed on a 386 box which itself is still in the attic.
Be interesting to see if the HDD is still working.

And the capacitors in the PSU might fail if they have dried out. They might be fine but just need some conditioning to bring them back to working condition. If it was me, I'd want to give them a good examination before powering it up.
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Old 2020-12-03, 10:11   #4
M344587487
 
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I recently tested some Atari ST's with about 100 games on 3.5" floppies, mostly legit disks with the odd backup on a rewritable. Only a few failed to read. I've had more trouble with the disk drives than the floppies, out of 3 internal and 4 external drives only 1 internal worked and 2 external.
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Old 2020-12-03, 12:01   #5
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Generally, when we notice data storage medium life is when it is not long enough. But it's way longer than floppies were originally designed for.
The first floppies were intended for microcode uploading, more quickly and conveniently than tape, not long term storage. Like open reel tapes, keep them away from floor polishers and vacuum cleaners' external magnetic fields, temperature and humidity extremes, and sunlight. (Fires, floods, structural collapses, etc.)

Last fiddled with by kriesel on 2020-12-03 at 12:05
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Old 2020-12-03, 15:27   #6
PhilF
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by xilman View Post
Depends greatly on how they have been stored.
I have found it also greatly depends on the brand. If they are 3M, might as well throw them away.

But I have 100's of Sony floppy disks (both 720K and 1.44M) that can be read perfectly.

Last fiddled with by PhilF on 2020-12-03 at 15:28
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Old 2020-12-03, 15:45   #7
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Maybe a bit-for-bit "rewrite" every few years will "recharge" the data?

For flash memory just reading every cell will "recharge" it.
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Old 2020-12-03, 17:03   #8
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I have some from the late 1980's, and a USB floppy drive. It would be interesting to see if any are still readable.

Edit: I tested about 15. All were readable. It is one thing to read the file table, but another to actually read the tracks. I don't have anything which will do that. The oldest one had files on it from 1995.

Last fiddled with by storm5510 on 2020-12-03 at 17:34
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Old 2020-12-03, 17:58   #9
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I'll have to get out some of my old floppies and see what I can see.

These are 3.5 inch floppies I bought in 1991. I know that sometime in the 1990's I copied a NASA image (TIFF file if memory serves) of "The Earth at Night" onto three floppies (it was more than 3MB, and those disks could only hold 1.4MB or so). Fast forward to around 2010. I wanted to put that pic on my new computer. I went to the NASA site, but that particular image had been taken down. I went for my floppies, which. I mused, were old enough to vote. I was able to reassemble the file from the pieces, no problem.

I do recall some of the cheaper floppies, like those with promotional offers, didn't hold data very well. I heard lots of complaints from people who had tried to reuse them, and not long after reformatting and writing to them, found their files irretrievable due to data loss.

In the early 2000's, I installed a text editor on a computer for a guy I knew. It was a true-blue IBM PC that was old enough to drink, running under DOS 1 or 2 (I think). Its only text editor was EDLIN.

I needed a 5&1/4 inch floppy for that one. But I had to fiddle with it, because the computer was so old, its disk drive could only handle the wide tracks for a 360K capacity format. It couldn't read the narrower, closer-together tracks on the newer formats of 5 & 1/2 inch floppies. So I used a magnet to destroy all traces of the old tracks, and reformatted the disk with "retro" settings for the 360K format. Success!

Last fiddled with by Dr Sardonicus on 2020-12-04 at 17:39 Reason: fignix sopty
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Old 2020-12-03, 18:35   #10
kriesel
 
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Default What's the most you ever paid for a floppy or a floppy drive?

1982, Computerland, box of 10 IBM label floppies $60.
I think the oneIBM label 5.25" 320K full height floppy drive in the original IBM PC listed at $570.
Now we can get whole systems for less.
I got the 1-floppy configuration, and added a Tandon 5.25" full height for $300, so the DOS diskette could sit in one and programs and data in the other; big step forward from doing the floppy shuffle constantly.
The standard track to track stepping time in DOS was 12 msec as I recall. Someone came out with a little program to modify that, and I tweaked it to 4 msec, which sped up access a lot and the drives sounded much happier.
First hard drive was $449 for 20MB, years later, in the same system, by swapping out a full height floppy for a half height. It took a lot of floppies and time to back that up.
https://devblogs.microsoft.com/oldne...1-00/?p=102946

Last fiddled with by kriesel on 2020-12-03 at 18:46
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Old 2020-12-03, 19:06   #11
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My first computer was a 1978 Southwest Technical Products 6800 kit, with the only mass storage being to a cheap cassette tape recorder (that the end user had to provide), assuming you bought the fairly expensive cassette tape interface kit (I forget what that cost).

Later a dual drive 5.25" floppy drive kit came out, including its own substantial case and power supply. I gladly paid the $995.00 for it.

Each floppy was single-sided and held 90K.
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