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Recovering Dying Floppies Advice

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OK So I've embarked upon recovering a lot of old floppies - and I'm now getting to the 'really' dirty disks - dirt, mildew, etc. I do operate under the assumption "this may be the last time I can read data". I've got 4 x 1050 disk drives, an 800XL (64KB, stock) and Aspeqt setup. I've recovered a number of 'good' floppies now, and also have a 'reference floppy' that I use after cleaning the disk head to make sure the drive is working correctly. I've been mostly using My Copier from the APE utilities disk (I own a licensed copy of APE..)

 

My problem:

 

Some disks do not spin freely, to recover those I've 1> Tried turning them by hand to loosen up by grabbing the hub in the middle. 2> Lifted the lever on the front of the drive a bit to allow it to be 'freer' -- this works a lot more than I expected. 3> To be frowned upon - but sometimes lifting the top part of the head loosens it up enough to allow reading (and i've verified data integrity manually that this works).

 

For the dirty disks - I've been cleaning the head once per side of the disk (rubbing alcohol, q-tip, 5+ minutes of drying even after using the dry edge of the q-tip to pull off any more gunk). But I'm at the point where some disks are going to require multiple cleanings, so I'm looking for an application like My_Copier that:

- Makes an automatic pass of the entire disk

- Remembers what sectors couldn't be read / are bad.

- Allow me to pause during a pass, so I can clean the head, wait, and then let it retry bad sectors

- Multiple retries until I'm happy that there's no way to get the data back.

- Supports single 810 and enhanced 1050 density disks.

- Preferably supports at least D3:, D4:

 

I've scoured through these forums and looked at US Copy, Bob Puff's Disk Communicator, various Sector copiers (all of which are very manual, and may be my fallback), but I don't see anything that does this all at once?

 

Also bonus question - is there any way to keep the disk drive spinning when a copy decides to 'halt' to write to the destination? this would have helped me a few times. (Or is this the excuse to finally move my Ultimate 1MB from a bad atari to a good atari?).

 

Finally, is there any place to buy new old stock disks these days that have the center hub?

 

Thanks all!

For the dirty disks - I've been cleaning the head once per side of the disk (rubbing alcohol, q-tip, 5+ minutes of drying even after using the dry edge of the q-tip to pull off any more crap).

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You need to open the floppy's and clean the plastic disk and then put back into a dedicated floppy sleeve after drying is complete.

Mild soap in a baking dish big enough ... and clean one at a time..

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Stupid idea but what about partially breaking opening the disk covers / joins to reduce tension or even transplanting the disk into another new outer piece :)

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You need to open the floppy's and clean the plastic disk and then put back into a dedicated floppy sleeve after drying is complete.

Mild soap in a baking dish big enough ... and clean one at a time..

 

I'm a little worried about this approach because some of the disks I can see some of the coating coming off after a read already. Thoughts?

 

Stupid idea but what about partially breaking opening the disk covers / joins to reduce tension or even transplanting the disk into another new outer piece :)

 

Not a stupid idea for the ones that aren't spinning very easily -- I haven't done this yet though because I was assuming this required cutting the 'good' sleeve.. but looking more closely I guess I can just break the indents on the top piece and do it that way.. Thanks!

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Since you say you have registered APE, that means you have PROSystem. The newer APE cables also function as a PROSystem cable (or maybe you have an original PROSystem cable.) I used PROSystem to move my old floppies to ATRs because I could increase the sector retries for bad sectors in PS. It worked very well... of course this was probably 10-15 years ago.

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Here's some info I've posted on the topic:

 

http://atariage.com/forums/topic/255320-help-archiving-a-rough-batch-of-disks/?p=3625034

 

When the disks lose their top coating the friction goes way up and they become hard to turn and they will stick on the read head. They actually make a silicone lubricant for sticky audio tape and it might work to make a copy of the disk.

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Here's some info I've posted on the topic:

 

http://atariage.com/forums/topic/255320-help-archiving-a-rough-batch-of-disks/?p=3625034

 

When the disks lose their top coating the friction goes way up and they become hard to turn and they will stick on the read head. They actually make a silicone lubricant for sticky audio tape and it might work to make a copy of the disk.

 

Do you happen to know what it is called?

Larry

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I am actually working on a similar project converting my collective floppy library into ATRs. I am using a custom SIO2USB cable I made with a 1050 connect to a 130xe. I am running RespeQT on my gaming laptop and MyCopr on the 130xe. I don't notice any pauses to write to the ATR, it reads the floppy and then writes the ATR.

As for the Ultimate board...if it is in a dead machine but it is not dead itself hell yes move to to w working machine. Take advantage of any new hardware you may have available.

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Do you happen to know what it is called?

Larry

 

Here's something I swiped from a forum regarding sticking audio tape. They call the condition LOL or Loss of Lubricant.

 

 

 

The depletion of that substance or substances that allow the tape to move through its necessary path with a minimum of friction. Like sticky- shed, lubricant loss appears to be an inevitable part of the aging of modern magnetic tape, with the rate and severity of the loss being related to storage and use conditions. Lubricant loss will cause increased friction of the tape, resulting in increased headwear, contributing to sticky tape, sticky-shed, oxide loss, tape squeal, and head clog; the results can include mistracking. This can sometimes be temporarily corrected by judicious application of lubricants, such as a silicone solution or Krytox applied with a wicking or cotton ball applicator.

 

I've also heard of people wetting the tape using isopropyl alcohol soaked felt right before it passes the head.

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I also converted my library to ATR some years ago.

 

I used APE with a 1050-2-PC cable, saving a log for each disk. For those that had read errors I retried a couple of times more. Then I wrote a script to merge many partial ATR based on logs information, as most of the times bad sectors were not the same for each try of the same floppy.

 

Finally, I could backup most of my disks, but I had to analyze the resulting image when 100% of the recover was not possible, discovering that in some cases bad sectors corresponded to DOS, empty or unimportant/duplicated data.

Edited by vitoco

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Here's some info I've posted on the topic:

 

http://atariage.com/forums/topic/255320-help-archiving-a-rough-batch-of-disks/?p=3625034

 

When the disks lose their top coating the friction goes way up and they become hard to turn and they will stick on the read head. They actually make a silicone lubricant for sticky audio tape and it might work to make a copy of the disk.

Is this the type of lubricant you're referring to?

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Since you say you have registered APE, that means you have PROSystem. The newer APE cables also function as a PROSystem cable (or maybe you have an original PROSystem cable.) I used PROSystem to move my old floppies to ATRs because I could increase the sector retries for bad sectors in PS. It worked very well... of course this was probably 10-15 years ago.

 

Yeah - I've avoided ProSystem so far because I can't get it to work under Windows 10.. but may end up dual booting to Windows 7 or even XP to try this. Does ProSystem work through retrying bad sectors, that sort of thing? I bought it a long time ago but have never actually used it (only APE).... Thanks :)

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Here's some info I've posted on the topic:

 

http://atariage.com/forums/topic/255320-help-archiving-a-rough-batch-of-disks/?p=3625034

 

When the disks lose their top coating the friction goes way up and they become hard to turn and they will stick on the read head. They actually make a silicone lubricant for sticky audio tape and it might work to make a copy of the disk.

Thanks much!

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If you remove the disk from the jacket, be sure to clean the inside of the jacket with Alcohol too. If the disks have a hub ring

and nothing else works; you can even try cutting out part of the jacket (after you take the disk out) with an X-Acto knife. Be

very careful not to allow any of cut edges to turn up toward the disk. But I wouldn't try this until all else fails.

 

DavidMil

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Dont use a 1050.. Use an old bullet-proof Sugart or Tandon full-height 360k PC/XT floppy drive, connected to a Cryo-flux or catwiesel.. These devices can make a much lower level image than what the limitations of the 1050's hardware/firmware imposes.

 

Also. the guys who commented before are right.. If you have a disk thats full of "gunk".. theres no way in HELL you should ever consider inserting it into a working disk drive.

 

Open the disk, remove the actual media, clean it with some mild solvent, and then replace it into a NEW floppy exterior..

 

If the "surface is comming off of the media," then you wouldn't have been able to read it anyway.. There is a limit to what can be done when things are too far gone to recover.

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Yeah - I've avoided ProSystem so far because I can't get it to work under Windows 10.. but may end up dual booting to Windows 7 or even XP to try this. Does ProSystem work through retrying bad sectors, that sort of thing? I bought it a long time ago but have never actually used it (only APE).... Thanks :)

don't know why you're having problems running prosystem on 10. I have it running on 3 different computers here.

have you tried running prosystem AFTER initially running APE?

there may be some configuration you'll need to setup in APE or perhaps you haven't installed the necessary drivers?

Edited by brenski

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Another shout out to say APE and ProSystem run fine for me on Windows 10. But there were both installed prior to an upgrade to Windows 10, which was Windows 7. So whether that has an impact I'm not sure.

Edited by Ely

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Another shout out to say APE and ProSystem run fine for me on Windows 10. But there were both installed prior to an upgrade to Windows 10, which was Windows 7. So whether that has an impact I'm not sure.

shouldn't think so.

my three systems comprise

1] old laptop upgraded from 7 to 10 (APE/PS installed prior to 10 upgrade)

2] PC upgraded from 8.1 to 10 (APE/PS installed after 10 upgrade)

2] new laptop with 10 pre-installed (APE/PS installed as part of system build, after initial windows setup)

 

all running APE/Prosystem fine

 

actually just remembered - there's an old samsung NB30 netbook which came with 7 starter, upgraded to 10 and then APE/Prosystem installed - that works too

Edited by brenski

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shouldn't think so.

my three systems comprise

1] old laptop upgraded from 7 to 10 (APE/PS installed prior to 10 upgrade)

2] PC upgraded from 8.1 to 10 (APE/PS installed after 10 upgrade)

2] new laptop with 10 pre-installed (APE/PS installed as part of system build, after initial windows setup)

 

all running APE/Prosystem fine

 

actually just remembered - there's an old samsung NB30 netbook which came with 7 starter, upgraded to 10 and then APE/Prosystem installed - that works too

 

What SIO hardware are you guys using, and what version of APE? I have both the SIO/USB adapter from Atarimax as well as their SIO/RS232 adapter. I will try a few different combos again today to see if I was doing something silly ...

Edited by Xebec

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Hello!

 

Our Toms Copier is almost perfect for your task but one requirement:

- Preferably supports at least D3:, D4:

 

I used to have sources, but can not find them anymore, anyway it was quite straightforward and...

WAIT! I just realised the sources were packed as an example to our OMC65 crossassembler for Atari ST, so I do have sources and can modify the copier to your requirements :)

 

Just let me know what is missing and I'll try to craft copier just for you.

 

Best,

 

pirx

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What SIO hardware are you guys using, and what version of APE? I have both the SIO/USB adapter from Atarimax as well as their SIO/RS232 adapter. I will try a few different combos again today to see if I was doing something silly ...

you may need to go to your windows control panel and find the SIO2PC int he device list, and install the driver manually - it'll be on the atarimax cdrom

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As far as cleaning the actual disk, I have had success. I found a few disks that had something spilled on them. I slit open the floppy container and remove the disk. I place it on hard clean surface. With water only (if you have hard water, use distilled/filtered water), I use soft terry cloth to clean the disk. I slit open a good condition floppy to use its container to slip the cleaned disk in and read from it. You do not even have to seal it in. I have cleaned a couple of disks this way and recovered all of the data, no loss.

Edited by SoulBuster

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yep. Thats how you do it..

 

And even something like windex is fine, if you need to remove some stubborn gunk.. Just as long as your cleaning agent doesnt physically break down the surface of the media.. Definitely steer clear of chemical solvents like acetone, toluene, ethanol.. anything that smells like it might "get you high" is probably too strong and might begin to desolve the surface of the media..

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you may need to go to your windows control panel and find the SIO2PC int he device list, and install the driver manually - it'll be on the atarimax cdrom

 

No love on this machine.

 

If I use a RS232 / SIO adapter - AspeQt works, but APE never works. It says it finds the COM port but then doesn't 'send the disk' to the Atari. If I 'shutdown' APE and reload AspeQt - AspeQt works flawlessly. I've tried rebooting several times, and re-running APE from another location and no luck. A few times APE BSOD'd on me when trying to exit/then switch to AspeQt.

 

The same results on my SIO2PC USB adapter -- It just won't communicate with the Atari even though it claims everything is OK. I've tried resetting the app, etc.

 

Oddly, I do not see any device in device manager for the USB / SIO device when plugged in. (I've tried different USB ports front and back and same result); although I'm not sure what hardware ID or device name to look for.

 

I emailed Steve Tucker a few weeks ago asking for the latest version of APE in case my copy is corrupt, but no response yet. I feel kinda silly for buying this product given the USB adapter only works with Atarimax stuff, and given that APE won't work on either my Win 10 box or my Windows 2012 R2 machine... it's kinda worthless :).

 

Also, What does ProSystem do that the other copier utilities don't do?

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