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Current preferred solution for archiving 5.25" disks?

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Found a stash of disks - 5.25" and 3.5" - from my Apple ][, A8, ST, and early IBM PC days.

 

Since I have a couple of STs with working floppy drives, I'm concentrating on getting everything on 5.25" disks backed up first.  However, if at all possible, it would be infinitely preferable to only need one physical drive to accomplish this.  While devices like the SIO2PC are great, not having multiple separate interfaces for each manufacturer's proprietary disk drive would be a plus.

 

What I've been looking at is the FC2025.  It claims compatibility with all of the formats I'm interested in, but it's not clear if it can do sector- or bit-level copies to images rather than just reading the filesystem.

 

So, my actual question: what is the preferred solution for reading multiple disk formats from a single physical disk drive these days?  If the ability to dump to image files is also a possibility, that would be a huge bonus.

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I believe the FC5025 belongs to an older generation of hardware. Many people today would splurge to get a Kryoflux or a SuperCard Pro solution. If you want a budget DIY variant, have a look at various Greaseweazle solutions which can read and write to various formats. There are both extreme budget and more expensive implementations of it.

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17 hours ago, carlsson said:

I believe the FC5025 belongs to an older generation of hardware. Many people today would splurge to get a Kryoflux or a SuperCard Pro solution. If you want a budget DIY variant, have a look at various Greaseweazle solutions which can read and write to various formats. There are both extreme budget and more expensive implementations of it.

 

Thanks for those; I wasn't even aware of the Greaseweazle.  Currently, I'm leaning towards either it or the Kryoflux, with the Kryoflux leading slightly due to its long-term use by a few different software preservation projects.  It seems to be more of a de facto standard, so has (theoretically) better support behind it.

 

Things have reached a point where it's not just my data that needs to be recovered, but also my parents' data.  Investing in one of these devices is very much worth it for what needs to be salvaged, so I am willing to buy hardware that can be used in the long term.

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Good luck! The Greaseweazle is a relatively new project/product so it is easy to have missed its existence. I have no first hand experience of either but have considered looking into that one just because it is so low budget and open source. While I tend to get lazier for every year, once I'm into tinkering mode I tend to not have a problem to take many steps around something to get it done, compared to a more complete (but closed/expensive) solution.

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Hi, .

I had the same problem. Lots of old disks (8" 5.25 3.5) and did not even know from what system, as I have A8, ST, dos,CPM, windows, etc...

I found that the SuperCard Pro worked great and the support was almost as fast as I could write an e-mail... There is also many other program to use and address other problems... I do not work for or have any input to them but know Jim has been on the forms and help people all the time...

Check out his web site "https://www.cbmstuff.com/"

Also US funds and in Az.

Peter

Edited by Peter Rabitt
wrong name

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On 12/31/2020 at 4:52 PM, Peter Rabitt said:

Hi, .

I had the same problem. Lots of old disks (8" 5.25 3.5) and did not even know from what system, as I have A8, ST, dos,CPM, windows, etc...

I found that the SuperCard Pro worked great and the support was almost as fast as I could write an e-mail... There is also many other program to use and address other problems... I do not work for or have any input to them but know Jim has been on the forms and help people all the time...

Check out his web site "https://www.cbmstuff.com/"

Also US funds and in Az.

Peter

 

Thank you for pointing me in that direction; it's definitely appreciated.  Currently drawing up a list of pros and cons between the Kryoflux, Greaseweazle, and SuperCard Pro, and will hopefully pick one of them up by the end of the month.

 

The amount of disks I need to archive has roughly tripled since writing the original post, so whichever one is chosen, my work is certainly going to be cut out for me.

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When I used to do archiving I always used a solution that worked on the original hardware. And a solution that produced disk formats compatible with established emulators. This meant having several devices. I know that's not what you're looking for, its just how I rolled.

 

Getting ready to purchase an AppleSauce disk imager kit to focus exclusively on Apple II material going forward. For PC stuff I don't think anyone cares so much about original flux-level preservation as they do getting the material working in virtual machines and emulators or even on those in-between emu/vm hybrids like DosBox.

 

 

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9 hours ago, Keatah said:

When I used to do archiving I always used a solution that worked on the original hardware. And a solution that produced disk formats compatible with established emulators. This meant having several devices. I know that's not what you're looking for, its just how I rolled.

 

Actually, you're not too far off from how I'm seeing the workflow on this.

  1. Flux image original media to <insert Kryoflux / Greaseweazle / Super Card Pro, etc.> file
  2. Convert flux image file to platform-native image; archive flux image for future reference
  3. Trawl platform-native image under <insert emulator here>
  4. Extract files from platform-native image

The main reason why I want to go to the extent of doing flux-type imaging is that there is some copy-protected software in there that would be more of a pain to try to image on its native platform than using a standalone solution.  I'd also have to acquire a lot more hardware to make that workable, and I really don't need to bring any more computer crap into the house right now :D

 

Quote

Getting ready to purchase an AppleSauce disk imager kit to focus exclusively on Apple II material going forward. For PC stuff I don't think anyone cares so much about original flux-level preservation as they do getting the material working in virtual machines and emulators or even on those in-between emu/vm hybrids like DosBox.

 

That's the thing - I agree with you 100% on this, but my scope just expanded to include the Lisa 2, BeBox (PPC and SH4), three or four electronic typewriters, and some as-yet-unknown devices that used standard floppy media.  All-in-one is a good thing here since it should in theory reduce the amount of physical hardware needed as well as how often the older media needs to be touched.

Edited by x=usr(1536)

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I catweaseled all my disks back in '08 or so, though I wrote my own code to decode Apple II and Commodore disks. My TRS-80 disks even had the same bad sectors where they were back in the day. The important thing is to know what format you plan to rip to. FM/MFM for TRS-80 was well supported. I never quite got what the preferred formats were for the other systems, but I never had those systems back in the day, most of my Commodore disks were a few hundred I got one day in a Sam's Club parking lot when some boomer had expected to meet someone there to give them away, and the guy didn't show up.

 

Writing code to decode GCR taught me that Apple's GCR was better than Commodore, simply because the Apple GCR had unique extra codes that could be used as proper address/data marks. Commodore's was only straight nibbles, and you had to guess where sectors began. I also learned that for some reason Atari (8-bit) used the negative-logic version of its FDC, so all bytes are inverted, and it also ran the motor at a slower speed to get an extra sector.

 

I even ripped a few old 5 1/4" CP/M disks for Osborne and Kaypro. It's still a "someday" project to rig up an 8" floppy drive to read the box of those that I have. (Some are RSTS-11 disks, it's amazing what you can find at thrift stores sometimes!)

Edited by Bruce Tomlin
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19 hours ago, Bruce Tomlin said:

I even ripped a few old 5 1/4" CP/M disks for Osborne and Kaypro. It's still a "someday" project to rig up an 8" floppy drive to read the box of those that I have. (Some are RSTS-11 disks, it's amazing what you can find at thrift stores sometimes!)

 

Funnily enough, I do have a box of (used) IBM-branded 8" floppies sitting around here that I'd like to read/image some day.  They were found at a previous employer's site when a contractor punched a hole in a wall to run conduit and discovered that there was a walled-over closet behind it.

 

The floppies were about the only things of interest in there - it looked as though the closet was walled-over when an office was expanded at some point for a previous tenant, and they were just forgotten.

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On 1/10/2021 at 9:38 AM, Bruce Tomlin said:

I also learned that for some reason Atari (8-bit) used the negative-logic version of its FDC, so all bytes are inverted

This was due to a bug in the 810 drive, DATA was read/written inverted. Atari stayed with this format on later drives for compatibility reasons.

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Applesauce is great for Apple ][. Requires MacOS (or emulation) and Disk ][ drive, which you must add a sync sensor to for protected rips (not difficult). 

 

Applesauce does C64 and A8, as well as other single sided 40 track formats, but requires a third party Apple ][ compatible 40 track drive, which is a little harder to get ahold of, but readily available. It does flux imaging of those formats, although there is no easy way to turn protected flux images into emulation friendly disk images. This is true for all imaging solutions. 

 

Applesauce does all 720K disks, but requires an Apple 3.5" external drive, which is readily available. If you sway an Apple SuperDrive into one of those cases, you can do 1.44mb rips as well. Flux imaging requires installation of a sync sensor which isn't hard.

 

If you have Applesauce questions, I'm pretty familiar with the system. It is much easier to use than the other fluxing systems because it has excellent software. I think the other teams are trying to get better UIs for their fluxing products as well.

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Emulation of the MacOS.. I've not heard of anyone (first-hand) getting Applesauce going that way. The internet has anecdotal information saying so, but that's worlds apart from doing it for real.

 

 

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