floppy disks?

rikona rikona at sonic.net
Sat Mar 9 06:43:52 UTC 2019

On Sat, 09 Mar 2019 13:12:33 +1100
Karl Auer <kauer at biplane.com.au> wrote:

> On Fri, 2019-03-08 at 16:12 -0800, rikona wrote:
> > I need to get some files from some VERY old MS floppy disk archives.
> > Running Ubuntu 16.04 updated but thinking of upgrading. Can I buy
> > and use a USB floppy disk drive to read these disks on a plug and go
> > basis?  
> Yes. However, data on magnetic storage is quite vulnerable, and the
> physical medium is not that tough either; if they have not been stored
> well, you may find disk errors.
> > If so, do I have to buy certain drives to work well with Ubuntu?  
> Any USB floppy disk drive will work fine.
> > Will I have to download any software to do this, or perhaps do this
> > in a better way?  
> The Linux drivers should still work fine.
> >  Some may be early floppies and have lower density - might these not
> > be readable by what is now recognized by Ubuntu? Also, will newer or
> > older versions of Ubuntu have more/less/the same capability for old
> > floppies?  
> Different storage densities can present problems; in general the
> higher the density the more likely you'll have issues, because the
> tracks are narrower and they are more vulnerable to differences
> between drives. Genarally speaking, a high-density drive can read
> lower density disks.
> > Even worse, I also have some 8-inch floppies from ancient CPM days.
> > Is there any way to read such floppies now?  
> You might be able to find someone still selling such drives. The big
> problem will be physically connecting such a drive to your computer -
> these drives dies out before USB existed. Don't buy a drive without a
> controller, and make sure you have a system the controller can go
> into. I think a storage/recovery specialist would be your best bet.
> Make sure you have a fixed-price quote or set an upper limit on the
> time they can spend on your project. They may require payment to
> produce a quote/estimate.
> With 8" floppies and to a lesser extent 5.25" floppies, there was a
> plethora of different formats used to write data. Even with a
> controller and a drive, the format may still be a hurdle.
> This page has some info, might be  good starting point:
> http://www.retrotechnology.com/herbs_stuff/s_drives_howto.html

Good site. Looks like the really old stuff [non 3.5] will be quite hard
to do.

> Regards, K.

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