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MrCave
October 27th, 2013, 02:28 PM
I am a 3year graphic design student that at the moment is working in a project around the floppy disk and for that I am looking for people’s memory and stories around the floppy.
All the different sizes.

I can be everything from that disk you lost and found again 10years later, your first program, stories from the offices, strange uses of the floppy.. I can be what every story, funny, sad++++ what ever you can think or remember.

I really appreciate if you got something to share with me for my project.
If you don't for some reason don't want to post it here, you can email them.
t.walskaar (a) students.rave.ac.uk

To share mine I one time gave away Amiga floppy of a game to a friend, when I got I back some week after someone had put cheese in it...lets say I was not happy.

leeb
October 27th, 2013, 04:21 PM
I had an 8" disc with critical info on it, but when in the drive, it would screech and carry on, and be unreadable.
So,
in a fit of desperation, I removed the media from the plastic shell and GINGERLY placed it in position in the open drive, then carefully closed it. I managed to recover EVERY PIECE of data on the flopping piece of plastic, and, once complete...

used it as a coaster.
:D

g4ugm
October 28th, 2013, 02:15 PM
The old IBM Mainframe screen controllers loaded the software from floppy disks. They ran the disk continually. Eventually the disk wore out, when you took it out you could just about see through it!

g4ugm
October 28th, 2013, 02:18 PM
Oh and of course getting Windows/95 on 13 (I think) floppies was a pain. I think OS/2 had more.....

Old Thrashbarg
October 28th, 2013, 02:43 PM
Oh and of course getting Windows/95 on 13 (I think) floppies was a pain.

Or how about Office 4.2 (or was it 4.3?) on 40-something disks. And let's not forget the new and exciting profanities that were invented upon discovering that one of the disks in the upper 30s was missing or bad...

SomeGuy
October 28th, 2013, 04:14 PM
For me, back in the day, floppies were all about trying to get the most storage out of a few bought on a tiny budget. Quite an adventure!

A "single sided" single density 5.25" disk meant to hold around 96k could sometimes be successfully formatted to around 800K using a 1.2mb drive (83 tracks, 2 sides, 10 sectors of 512 bytes, 300bps, MFM encoding). Even on computers that had only had single sided drives, I would punch second write protect notches and tracking holes so I could flip the disk over and use the second side.

In the 3.5" disk era, I would buy boxes of cheap non-name brand 720k disks at Microcenter, and poke my own high density notch. On top of that I used a special formatter to further increase the available space from 1.44 to 1.8mb (83 tracks, 2 sides, 21 sectors of 512 bytes). Even wound up writing my own formatter to customize things further.

When hard drives were commonly 40-100 megs, 1.44 megs of storage space and the small percentage increases were nothing to sneeze at!

k2x4b524[
October 28th, 2013, 10:42 PM
Just how long did those disks last?


For me, back in the day, floppies were all about trying to get the most storage out of a few bought on a tiny budget. Quite an adventure!

A "single sided" single density 5.25" disk meant to hold around 96k could sometimes be successfully formatted to around 800K using a 1.2mb drive (83 tracks, 2 sides, 10 sectors of 512 bytes, 300bps, MFM encoding). Even on computers that had only had single sided drives, I would punch second write protect notches and tracking holes so I could flip the disk over and use the second side.

In the 3.5" disk era, I would buy boxes of cheap non-name brand 720k disks at Microcenter, and poke my own high density notch. On top of that I used a special formatter to further increase the available space from 1.44 to 1.8mb (83 tracks, 2 sides, 21 sectors of 512 bytes). Even wound up writing my own formatter to customize things further.

When hard drives were commonly 40-100 megs, 1.44 megs of storage space and the small percentage increases were nothing to sneeze at!

My own floppy memories are still being made. I routinely pack a USB floppy and 5 disks with me. startup disk, bios updater and 3 blanks. The gratification when a college freshman goes "What the hell is that?" and the response "The most secure storage medium right now, also useful for repairing that brand spankin new computer you are working on." They tell me it's not secure at all, they argue the point after what disks are is explained and i say "Do YOU see any floppy drives around here?" they just say "Oh". Having the only floppy drive on a college campus with about 2000 computers is a good feeling.

That and i can recite the clicks and whirrrs of the head mechanism of a 5.25" disk loading dos 3.3 on a computer that has a hard drive... Sad Huh.....

Caluser2000
October 28th, 2013, 11:10 PM
Oh and of course getting Windows/95 on 13 (I think) floppies was a pain. I think OS/2 had more.....v2.1 has 24 & v3 has a few more.

High_Treason
October 28th, 2013, 11:12 PM
I spoke to a technician once, he told me a story, though I've heard others tell it. The same bloke told me about making 19" hard drives walk around, and Robin Hood and Friar Tuck, but those are irrelevant to this thread.

Apparently he was called out to a company to investigate a machine that wasn't reading disks. He tested the disk that the user had been trying to use, it didn't work. He tried one of his own and it appeared to be fine, he said he would clean the drive to be sure but it looked like the disks were faulty. The user caimed they were only opened that morning. The technician left a few working disks and said they shoud use those.

The technician left the building and went on to some other job. The next day he recieved a phone call, apparently the machine wasn't reading those disks now. He turned up, tested the disks in the drive; broken. Tried one of his own, fine again. He said that the drive might be faulty and offered to replace it, they told him to go ahead. Some time later, the machine had a new drive running, the technician asked if the user wanted him to copy the spreadsheets to the disk for them, just to be sure the error was gone. They said he may as well and he copied the files over without issue.

The technician, pleased with a job well done, began to pack his tools and prepared to leave. Out of the corner of his eye he saw the user remove the disk, take a magnet and stick the disk to the side of a metal filing cabinet so he would be able to find it later.

Trixter
October 29th, 2013, 10:42 AM
A few floppy-disk memories in no particular order:

As a 7th-grader I made lots of copies of games and kept them in my backpack. Then it rained one day on the way home from school. They did not survive.

I have fond memories of discovering a second notch in the other side of the disk could store data on the other side. And then, more fond memories of our computer teacher explaining why doing so was a risk because the material wasn't always the same quality or coating if the disk was only rated for single-sided use. But we still did it anyway.

Our computer lab used Amdek color monitors connected to Apple IIs. Those monitors had a very aggressive degaussing element and bad shielding; as a result if you absentmindedly put a floppy on top of the monitor, there was a high likelihood it would be erased after a few seconds. As a prank on our 7th grade computer teacher, we took a bad floppy disk and put it in an Apple-logo-branded sleeve, very unmistakable sleeve with bright colors, that all of the commercial we-only-have-two-copies-of-this-so-please-be-careful-with-it disks came in. When the teacher was watching, we flopped it absentmindedly on top of a monitor that was turned on. I have never seen a middle-aged computer teacher move so fast across a room in my life. When she grabbed it and saw it was only a blank disc in the sleeve, we all started laughing, and she couldn't help but laugh as well.

As a teen, I borrowed a copy-protected disk from a friend to make a copy, and in the course of copying it, I forgot to write-protect the original and I was using a buggy program that could write garbage to a sector if certain conditions were met. I met those conditions that day and ended up mangling the boot sector on the protected original. My friend was not happy. Eleven years later, I had enough skills to manually repair the boot sector and got the game working again! I contacted my friend and asked him if he wanted the game back. He politely declined, saying that he hadn't owned a computer with a 5.25" drive for eight years.

Dwight Elvey
October 29th, 2013, 03:21 PM
The story I always like it the person that had a machine with a 3-1/2 inch drive
but only had 5-1/4 floppies.
So, he folded them twice and then complained the the eject button wasn't working right.
Dwight

MrCave
October 29th, 2013, 04:04 PM
Really appreciate the stories and replays. Most friendly forum yet.
Please share more stories.

paul
October 29th, 2013, 05:28 PM
Early '90s, in the room we used for engineering meetings there was a binder on the bookshelf labeled "Intel RTOS" or such and it had an 8" floppy in it. While waiting for others to show up, I used to think it was hilarious to casually pull the disk out and mention that "purchasing had found a great price on floppy disks." No one ever got the joke.

Tiberian Fiend
October 29th, 2013, 06:39 PM
I had an aunt who used WordPerfect on a 286 for work. Her idea of backing up WP documents was putting a single file on each disk. Needless to say, she had a lot of floppy disks.

Krille
October 31st, 2013, 06:59 AM
I have "fond" memories of spending 3 days with Norton DISKEDIT after a spectacular series of brainfarts.

I was using a 486 computer with an Adaptec AHA-1542CF SCSI controller installed and got the brilliant idea to try and see if the floppy controller part of it was working. I don't remember the exact details as this was in the late 90's (-98 I think) but IIRC the ultimate goal was to have the first drive connected to a multi-I/O controller that was also installed and connect a secondary drive to the SCSI controller. Or maybe I had envisioned a 4 drive scenario, like I said, I can't remember exactly.

Anyway, I connected a floppy drive to the SCSI controller and grabbed the only floppy disk in arms reach. This disk happened to be the one containing all of my personal files (text files, documents, spreadsheets, source code, etc). And of course I had absolutely no backup of any of it. I distinctly remember thinking "maybe I shouldn't use this" but I was too lazy to find another floppy disk. Besides, the harddrive part of the SCSI controller worked just fine so what could possibly go wrong with the floppy?

So I started the computer and put the floppy in the drive and it seemed to work fine. I could browse the file system and list directories so there was no problem reading the disk. But suddenly I got an error message (can't remember the exact message but it must have been 'file not found' or similar) and when doing a dir in the current directory everything (file names etc) was just random data. Other directories were still OK however.

This is where a normal straight thinking person would stop and realize that something I did caused a rewrite of the directory and that the controller didn't actually work when writing. I on the other hand (never been accused of straight thinking) fired up Scandisk instead to see what was going on and it did of course find the error and asked for my permission to repair it. Which I let it do. When Scandisk wrote to the disk it would cause more errors to the file system which it would subsequently find and again ask for my permission to fix. I think it was while fixing the third error that I started to wonder why this floppy that had been working fine up to this point all of a sudden started to act up like this.

To this day it boggles my mind how I could fail to connect the dots. Just writing about it now is embarrasing, that's how stupid I feel.

The root directory and both FATs were hosed which means no file system whatsoever. However, I knew that the disk was perfectly defragmented (who in their right mind defrags floppys? Well, it turns out that I did for some reason) and this fact pretty much saved my ass. I was able to restore every single file on the disk by using Norton DISKEDIT. It was just a matter of finding the first sector of the first file on the disk, copy & paste that and all the following sectors of that file to the harddrive. Rinse and repeat for all the following files. The hard part was remembering the file names and distinguishing where one file ended and the next one started. It took me 3 full days all in all.


Or how about Office 4.2 (or was it 4.3?) on 40-something disks. And let's not forget the new and exciting profanities that were invented upon discovering that one of the disks in the upper 30s was missing or bad...

Another memory from back then. I helped my landlord network his office and found that he had Office 4.3 on floppies so I borrowed them (with his permission of course) and made images, then archived it all with RAR and stored it on this old harddrive. It probably took most of the day. A while later after returning the floppies to him I discovered that the harddrive had developed read errors very conveniently placed in that archive.

hargle
October 31st, 2013, 09:41 AM
I remember (or remember hearing) that some people were told never, ever to notch your disks and use the other side because it makes the drive spin backwards and you can break the hardware.

I fondly recall that after getting a 1.44mb drive installed in my 5160, that I could copy FOUR of my King's Quest IV disks onto just ONE of the new disks!

I too am still making memories- I just went through a stack of very old floppies over the weekend and most of them were still perfectly readable after more than 2 decades of sitting around. I have CDs that I burned less than 2 years ago that are no longer readable.

Trixter
October 31st, 2013, 10:32 AM
That reminds me: In college I used a soldering iron to burn a second hole in the plastic shell of 3.5" 720K disks to "make" them into 1.44MB HD disks. They held data just great... for about six months. For the last 20 years, every time I find one of those disks thumbing through archives, I immediately shove it in a drive and see what I can get off of it. Then I cover up the hole to turn it back into a 720K disk and reformat it.

CommodoreKid
October 31st, 2013, 03:07 PM
I've got a few:

In 2008, during my freshman year of college, I mentioned office space around a guy who was about to graduate (he was on the 4 1/2 year program). It was one of my favorite movies at the time, and I talked about how I wanted to play the version of Tetris that Peter player in the movie. So this super-senior tells that it's from the "Windows Best Of Entertainment Pack", and that he thinks he can make a copy. Sure enough, the next day he hands me a 3 1/2" disk as the everyone was waiting to enter our classroom. Needless to say, I got some funny looks from everyone, but when I brought it back to my dorm? It fired right up, and that version of Tetris probably got me through freshman year with my sanity intact.

About 2 years ago, I started hearing the sounds of my favorite 2003 laptop's HDD dying, so I rushed to buy a replacement one. I remembered my uncle using Norton Ghost to save data a few years back, the last time somebody I knew had a HDD fail -- so I figured I would use that. I would be able to use my older desktop that also had IDE ports to make the transfer. The new drive arrived, but I realized that I only had one 2.5" to 3.5" IDE adapter. So I figured that I could transfer my data off the original drive, then store it on some spare drive, then transfer the disk image to the new drive.

One problem: I didn't have another IDE HDD big enough to store the data on temporarily. I only had a SATA drive big enough, but this machine didn't have any SATA ports. So I scrounged around, and found what was left of my mom's last desktop, with no HDD or OS installed: but it had SATA and IDE! But I needed to run Norton Ghost on CD... no CD drive to be had on this machine. And no OS to boot from either. Then I found a version of Ghost that would fit on a floppy. And it would run from DOS. So I hunted around for a boot floppy for Windows 95, and found one. So the transfer went as follows:

Boot from 95 floppy
Run Ghost from floppy
Pull image from old IDE HDD
Put image on new SATA HDD temporarily
Check image integrity
Shut down system
Install new IDE HDD
Boot again, run Ghost again
Pull image off of SATA HDD
Put image on new IDE HDD
Check image integrity
Re-install new IDE HDD in favorite laptop
Hope for the best

It worked, which surprised the hell outta me, and I'm using that laptop currently. You can bet I was grateful for having a few spare floppies around, and that was one of my best spring breaks ever.

geoffm3
November 1st, 2013, 06:04 AM
When I was a kid our family had a Commodore 64. My parents bought me a copy of Marble Madness on floppy and on the Commodore 64 the game came on one disk that you had to flip once you played the first level of the game. I discovered by trial and error that if you counted the number of "clicks" the drive made (from the head stepping from one track to the next) that if you flipped the disk midway through loading when you weren't supposed to, you could rack up a bunch of points, immediately skip the first level and end up with additional time for the second level. I wrote to Commodore Magazine about the "easter egg" and got it published in the Tips and Tricks section!

MikeS
November 1st, 2013, 07:25 AM
...It worked, which surprised the hell outta me, and I'm using that laptop currently. You can bet I was grateful for having a few spare floppies around, and that was one of my best spring breaks ever.Standard procedure for transferring a Windows system to a new hard disk.

MikeS
November 1st, 2013, 07:27 AM
I had an aunt who used WordPerfect on a 286 for work. Her idea of backing up WP documents was putting a single file on each disk. Needless to say, she had a lot of floppy disks.Not really a bad idea if you think about it; keeps different subjects etc. separate for easy labelling and filing of the disks, and if a disk goes bad you only lose one file.