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DavidMil

A Warning About Old Floppy Disks...

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Every time this topic comes up I take a moment to say that HDDs from the 70's - 90's are still retaining their data just fine.

 

I firmly believe (and have noted) that magnetic media will outlast Flash. Some SSDs have a data retention rate of less than 5 years. And this extends to FPGA replica/replacement consoles and accessories, because.. you guessed it.. there is Flash memory involved. Either on the FPGA itself or as a separate chip next to it - containing the entire system design so to speak.

Edited by Keatah

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Yes, flash RAM media is likely not as reliable as 5.25" floppies and will not stand the test of time. My point was, once you create digital images of your floppies (ATR or XEX), you can store them on a number of modern day media (Mdisc, DVD, HDD, etc) as a back up. As the next format of current media arises, you just migrate those ATR and XEX files to the new media. You \have a reliable and solid backup. On a practical note, to me, nothing beats the convenience of the SIO2SD for every day use. Every piece of software you need on a device the size of a pack of cigarettes. No 8 lb disk drive and accompanying 4 lb PSU not to mention all the floppies to maintain. I gave up on traditional floppies and rely solely on the SIO2SD and never looked back. For nostalgia, floppies are great, heck even cassettes are great for nostalgia.

I'd love to get my hands on a good working original Sanyo (metal carry handle) 410. Very interesting discussion regarding using mild application of heat to remove moisture. What if you put them in a sealed ammo can with desiccant bags for a few weeks. Might accomplish the same thing and makes a good long term storage technique. For those in Europe, ammo cans are what we gun crazy Americans store all our ammunition to service all our guns.

 

I have a whole bunch of ammunition that is 50 years old. Not even stored in an ammo can, it still works. Old paper shells, .22LR, all of it. One .22LR box still has the price tag on it - $.45 or some such.

 

Got thousands of 5.25s that work just fine. Most "bad" disks I see are written on a bad drive. By that, I mean that I can read them if I adjust the speed off normal or move the head out of alignment. Don't see a lot of oxide falling off, with the exception of the ICD disks. Clean them with alcohol and you might be able to read right thru the media (all the oxide will wipe off, leaving the clear plastic base material)

 

Bob

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Every time this topic comes up I take a moment to say that HDDs from the 70's - 90's are still retaining their data just fine.

 

I firmly believe (and have noted) that magnetic media will outlast Flash. Some SSDs have a data retention rate of less than 5 years. And this extends to FPGA replica/replacement consoles and accessories, because.. you guessed it.. there is Flash memory involved. Either on the FPGA itself or as a separate chip next to it - containing the entire system design so to speak.

 

That is true now. The life of solid state will increase highly over the next decade. Solid state life has already dramatically changed... Remember not long ago when SSD first came out and there was a significantly small number of writes before failures.

Edited by thetick1

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What brand of disk?

 

One was an APX disk, one was an No. 1 Elephant disk, and the last one was a ValuLife disk from Verbatim.

 

David

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That is true now. The life of solid state will increase highly over the next decade. Solid state life has already dramatically changed... Remember not long ago when SSD first came out and their was a significantly small number of writes before failures.

 

OK, question:

 

How long (time) do you think a Sandisk 1G CF SSD card will last in a Sparta / BBS environment? IIRC, Sparta writes to the same directory sector a lot.

The BBS has scheduled events so the system is always doing disk I/O even if no one in currently online.

 

I worry about it so that's why I am using a CF MicroDrive. It's a 4G real spinning hard disk drive that has no write limit.

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BUT, it brings me back to what Allan said and I've said so many times...BACK UP THOSE DISKS FOLKS ASAP...2 copies of the archive on 2 different drives preferably in different places..That should see you safe for the most part unless the aliens or us lot wipe out this planet..

 

I'll be vaporised while playing Jumpman one last time :)

 

You always make me smile Paul! But to be honest, I fear my wife's big black cast iron skillet much, much more than any alien with a super duty

Ray Gun!

 

David

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A lot depends on the ability of the SSD/CFcard to remap and wear-level the sectors. What the OS sees as sector 245 for example can and will occupy many different "sectors" on the physical media over time. This is especially true now with highly capable controllers.

 

There is no answer unless you look into the specifics of the controller, other than knowing that earlier cards had less wear leveling, and that newer ones have more.

Edited by Keatah

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Experiences vary... I've had people send me 1000's of disks over the last 2 decades and some batches all work fine, and some all have problems.

 

I would chalk it up to storage conditions and climate. Once you find a batch not working properly, though, just stop unless you want a lot of work cleaning out your disk drive. I've never had one ruined, but I did have to open the drive and scrub the head well to get it off. You get good at spotting them, though. Just take a look under a good light (or magnified light if you have failing eyesight like me). If you see what look like water spots, don't even try it unless you are prepared to go into extreme measures and clean it and your drive well to try to rescue the data.

 

I have noticed that quit a few of the white jackets look like they've been sitting in rusty water. Could this be the iron 'melting' off the disks? Although they have

been in a sealed plastic container it was not in any way considered air tight. Here in Houston, with an average humidity of about 70% coupled with high temps

from the attic, I really didn't think there was a chance for any of them!

 

David

Edited by DavidMil

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Would you be willing to send me the disks? I'd like to see the failure.

 

Bob

 

Sure! They don't do me any good now. PM me an address and I'll mail them to you.

 

David

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What if you put them in a sealed ammo can with desiccant bags for a few weeks. Might accomplish the same thing and makes a good long term storage technique. For those in Europe, ammo cans are what we gun crazy Americans store all our ammunition to service all our guns.

 

They also made great lunch boxes!

 

David

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I remember transferring all my Commodore 64 floppies into d64 files on my PC having to use one of my 1541 drives, a link cable which I forget what port in went into on the PC (maybe SCSI?) and a program called Star Commander. The measures I went to to protect my Pogo Joe high score. :P

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BACK UP THOSE DISKS FOLKS ASAP...2 copies of the archive on 2 different drives preferably in different places.

 

I have everything backed up onto my main PC harddrive but I need to get an external drive soon to do a second copy of everything just to be safe. I need to backup all of my various emulation ROMs too.

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You should consider cloning your hard drive and replacing it every 3 to 4 years. Hard disks fail too, and your PC will be useless if you don't have a full image or backup on a second drive.

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OK, question:

 

How long (time) do you think a Sandisk 1G CF SSD card will last in a Sparta / BBS environment? IIRC, Sparta writes to the same directory sector a lot.

The BBS has scheduled events so the system is always doing disk I/O even if no one in currently online.

 

I worry about it so that's why I am using a CF MicroDrive. It's a 4G real spinning hard disk drive that has no write limit.

 

You would just have to do the math. Look at the average writes to a single address location and compare that to the average CF SSD failure rate. It's like asking how many grains of sand on a beach. You are a fool to guess a number unless you are able to measure a small amount and scale it accordingly.

 

Anyway you can get a new SSD hard drive which NOW would be more reliable than a single spinning disk. You should either have a RAID configuration with mechanical drives or a new single SSD hard drive.

 

All recent SSD hard drives have built-in firmware that detects when there are many writes to the same address and automatically remap that address to a new physical location. This is how SDD all of sudden became mainstream as there is still a write max but it is now per the entire device not per physical location (ie address block).

Edited by thetick1
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You should consider cloning your hard drive and replacing it every 3 to 4 years. Hard disks fail too, and your PC will be useless if you don't have a full image or backup on a second drive.

 

Absolutely! Image backups, userdata backups, and application/original/source backups are king. I've worked with enough PCs to have been saved by them many times over.

 

I have everything backed up onto my main PC harddrive but I need to get an external drive soon to do a second copy of everything just to be safe. I need to backup all of my various emulation ROMs too.

 

2 copies of everything you want to keep is godlike.

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Everything gets saved on my NAS with 1 drive fault tolerance on-premises, and the NAS syncs nightly to online storage. (MS OneDrive)

 

Don't even need to save stuff on the local PC anymore.

 

Initially driven by the need to preserve family photos and videos, but the Atari8 folder got the tick as well. :) Set and forget, no manual drive transporting.

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Nice to hear people talk about data protection in the proper sense with cloning and multiple backups, its amazing that the things to qualify in for work are often the things you as a person do the least. I'm a sod for backing stuff up but I HAVE done it (just to show I do bother)

 

But I'd like to go back to the use of rubbing alcohol on disks, I'm not trying to find fault with Pete, quite the opposite in fact...

 

Just wondered how safe it would be to use it direct on disk media?

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disclaimer: not saying the following is 'the best' way, but it's what's worked for me to get some disks recovered...

 

I've used isopropyl alcohol on a q-tip/cotton swap directly on disk surfaces that have a few very visible deposits/mold that you can see through the opening. It definitely cleans the quickest and with least effort compared to water. Indeed it can completely remove the magnetic coating if you're not careful and focus excessively in one spot. Usually just enough time to remove whatever dirt/mould has coated the surface. It's also nice that it evaporates quickly, and is accelerated just by blowing on it, so less waiting time before you can try it in the drive again.

 

Usually disks that need this treatment are destined to the garbage bin after recovery, so I'm not too worried about the longevity of the magnetic surface afterwards...

 

The more time consuming method is to slice the edge of the disk to slide the 'cookie out and literally wash it gently with warm soapy water, but they take a long time to dry. But this is the best method for a disk with visible issues over the entire media. Even then, I've found the disks will not last very long.

 

Lastly, any time I'm doing any disk archival session, its pretty much mandatory for the 1050 to have the top cover off, to allow inspection of the R/W head with a flashlight to ensure it is clean after each disk - it should have a glassy reflection on most drives. A brief swab with an isopropyl alcohol dipped q-tip also cleans any deposits off in a matter of seconds, drying can again be accelerated with a light blow. Some disks shed material like crazy, inhibiting successful reading (a limited # of times), and accelerate the destruction of itself if reading again, or the next disk.

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Initially driven by the need to preserve family photos and videos, but the Atari8 folder got the tick as well. :) Set and forget, no manual drive transporting.

 

I personally prefer some physical handling of the drives, and manually overseeing the backup in action. Keeps one aware & centered around how things are progressing.

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Nope. It's the disk's shedding of particles which then collect in the head. It starts out small, but can quickly snowball to the point where its clogged and can scrape an entire track away to clear mylar substrate. Remember it's the collected particles that scrape the disk. Not the head. And sometimes you can hear it as a loud screech.

 

The head becomes rough with debris and damages the disk further, or damages "new" disks. So, you clean the head. No more particles. No more roughness. The head is many times more hard than any material in or on the disk. Ceramics vs soft iron or plastics. Ceramic and glass wins every time.

 

New heads are highly polished at the factory. And they retain this fine finish through many thousands of hours. What CAN damage a head to where it gouged and develops sharp areas is outside world grit like sand or similarly hard grit from the ground. Dust isn't a problem for the head, but it can scratch softer material, like the disk.

Edited by Keatah
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Ok. I have a SIO2USB device, and have made quite a few exact disk images using 'MyCopier' but how do I back up a disk

to my Windows 7 HD? Do I need to make a separate folder for each disk (I have over a 100 disks) and how would I point the

backup to each folder?

 

David

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Ok. I have a SIO2USB device, and have made quite a few exact disk images using 'MyCopier' but how do I back up a disk

to my Windows 7 HD? Do I need to make a separate folder for each disk (I have over a 100 disks) and how would I point the

backup to each folder?

 

David

Where did you copy them to? If you used a SIO2USB device, you must have copied them to a hard drive already. Just drag/drop/duplicate them like any Windows file.

 

Allan

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Where did you copy them to? If you used a SIO2USB device, you must have copied them to a hard drive already. Just drag/drop/duplicate them like any Windows file.

 

Allan

 

I made exact copies of the disks using two drives with "MYCOPIER' after releasing the SIO drive . I never put them on a hard drive.

David

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