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wesleyfurr
March 13th, 2015, 05:06 PM
I'm thinking I need to spend more quality time archiving old floppy disks that I have laying around here. I'm just curious what folks recommend? Most of what I have are DOS format disks, so I can pretty easily just copy the files over and save them that way...but I'm just wondering if for future use I would be better off having image files of those disks...but then you have to use a program to extract files or deal with them in ways other than dumping them back to another disk or using an emulator.

So...what do you suggest? And if imaging, what program is recommended for such use?

Thanks,

Wesley

natcha
March 13th, 2015, 06:27 PM
I'm thinking I need to spend more quality time archiving old floppy disks that I have laying around here. I'm just curious what folks recommend? Most of what I have are DOS format disks, so I can pretty easily just copy the files over and save them that way...but I'm just wondering if for future use I would be better off having image files of those disks...but then you have to use a program to extract files or deal with them in ways other than dumping them back to another disk or using an emulator.


So...what do you suggest? And if imaging, what program is recommended for such use?

Thanks,

Wesley


Wesley,

There's two things to consider here.

First: Do you have to install the program from the disk? In that case, imaging the disk is the way to go. That way you can recreate the disk and then install it.

Second: Many programs will install direct from the files, usually from a folder on the hard drive. I have a lot f early programs just saved as folders: \WINWORD6\DISK1...DISK9. I can just run the install program on disk 1 and then install it from the subfolders. For some programs, you need to copy all the disks to a single folder and then install.

One other item: Be sure to save a text file with any required Serial Numbers, etc.

I would prefer ".IMG" files that I can use to re-create the original disks or I can use directly with a Virtual Machine.

I'm sure others here will chime in with what they prefer/recommend.

Bill
Smithville, NJ

SomeGuy
March 13th, 2015, 07:03 PM
For original application disks and system disks, you should use a tool that makes a complete disk image. Since you know you are dealing with DOS formatted disks, a tool like Winimage or ImageDisk should be fine.

Otherwise you can lose data such as custom boot sectors, disk volume labels, time stamps on subdirectories, some kinds of hidden/system files, and directory file order. In some rare occasions, even the position of a file on a disk can be important.

For copy protected media you will need something stronger such as Transcopy, SuperCard Pro, or Kryoflux hardware. Occasionally software-only solutions such as Copy II PC with Snatchit, Teledisk, or ImageDisk will duplicate simple protection schemes.

For your crufty old data disks, just file copies should be fine :)

Stone
March 13th, 2015, 07:11 PM
For any disk that doesn't contain a required boot sector ZIP is more than adequate. It's fast, easy, convenient, has plenty of additional options, can be accessed by either DOS or Windows and also does what it was primarily designed for -- it saves space. :-) There's no need to image anything that ZIPping is able to adequately accomplish.

natcha
March 14th, 2015, 08:03 AM
There's no need to image anything that ZIPping is able to adequately accomplish.

While I agree with that, it is sometimes difficult to know whether a zip file would suffice. To be absolutely sure, a test would need to be done to ensure that the zip file would allow for the program to be installed/run.

If in doubt, or you don't have the time to do a test install/execution, then it would be safer to do the disk image.

One other thing to keep in mind is that the process of doing the imaging, creating the zip or doing a test install might be the last time the files are totally readable. I have had disks that worked, and then ten minutes later were corrupted and didn't work again.

With old disks, I would recommend doing the image of the disk before doing anything else with the disk. If you are lucky, then that will be a perfect read. Just remember every read of the disk is only one more opportunity for the disk to become corrupted.

Bill
Smithville, NJ

mbbrutman
March 14th, 2015, 08:22 AM
This topic comes up a lot here. I would suggest using the search forum on the function, or your favorite search engine. (Which probably also has this forum indexed.)

Grandcheapskate
March 14th, 2015, 08:30 AM
I do a couple things.

1) I make at least one duplicate of every diskette and use the duplicate for all installs.

2) I copy the diskette to a hard drive. This HD is used only for storing disk contents/images.

3) For DOS programs, once the program is installed, I copy the installed directory to the hard disk shown in step 2. This allows me to simply lay the software down to any DOS environment without installing (except for any CONFIG.SYS or AUTOEXEC.BAT changes needed).

4. I write the contents of the hard drive of step 2 to at least one CD. Now most DOS software can be installed from the CD.

One thing I did was to take a "snapshot" as I installed DOS 5 thru 6.22 (both MS and IBM) and Windows 3.1. At each step I copied the contents of the C: drive and saved them to the step 2 HD. Then after writing those files to CD, I can install DOS (at any level) and Windows by simply doing a copy from the CD (as long as I get the boot files to the new C drive).

Joe

natcha
March 14th, 2015, 10:16 AM
This topic comes up a lot here. I would suggest using the search forum on the function, or your favorite search engine. (Which probably also has this forum indexed.)

I wouldn't say it comes up a "lot". But like most topics, if one really searches hard enough, you can find other times a variation of it has come up. I did a search and did come up with several earlier threads, but not what I would consider an excessive number. And the various threads covered various aspects of disk archiving. While there were some overlap, each thread had some differences.

Personally, I really don't mind topics coming up again. It serves to remind me of the topic and maybe learn some new things that may not have been covered in a previous thread from several years earlier. Things change over time, and I would hate to think that every single post can only be on a subject that has never been covered before. There are probably very few subjects that are absolutely new and which don't touch on previous posts.

As long as we don't get the same post over and over in a very short period of time, I see nothing wrong with revisiting a particular subject every now and then.

Bill
Smithville, NJ

mbbrutman
March 14th, 2015, 10:28 AM
People are human, but it is also important to remember that in a lot of cases if you have a problem that unless you are doing something on the very cutting edge, somebody else has probably had your problem before. And that some searching can provide a wealth of background information. Archiving diskettes has come up many times over the years.

For a while we were on a Wiki rampage and a lot of these "FAQ" type topics were being addressed. But the Wiki was being overrun with spam, and then the Wiki software changed to the point of being unusable. So most of that was abandoned.

If a volunteer (or a few volunteers) wanted to write a FAQ I think it would be a great service and it would be made a sticky topic here, making it easy to find. (My personal attempt is here: http://brutman.com/PCjr/diskette_handling.html )

natcha
March 14th, 2015, 11:12 AM
People are human, but it is also important to remember that in a lot of cases if you have a problem that unless you are doing something on the very cutting edge, somebody else has probably had your problem before.


Using that argument means that I should NEVER post a new topic. I NEVER do anything on the cutting edge - thus I should be able to locate it on the web.

I guess I just never understand why we take the time to tell someone to "search before posting" or they should "RTM" but we don't take the time to do a reply that adds something useful to the thread. For example - "This has been covered before and you might find the following link interesting". That adds to the conversation while at the same time gently remind people that a search can help.

It obviously bugs some people when they think someone has abused the forum by posting what they feel has been covered before. While at the same time, some of us are busy learning from the already covered subject matter and enjoying discussing it again. If you think it has already been covered before, close your eyes and go on to the next thread.




Enough of this.


Back to archiving disks....

Over time I have changed the methods I use for archive disks. I used to use a program called DCP - Disk Imaging and Copying Utility.
I still have many images of disks in this format. I need to spend some time redoing these in a standard img format. But that would
entail putting the files back on the floppy disk and then re-imaging the disks. Maybe someday I will sit down and do that.

Bill
Smithville, NJ

mbbrutman
March 14th, 2015, 11:27 AM
Using that argument means that I should NEVER post a new topic. I NEVER do anything on the cutting edge - thus I should be able to locate it on the web.

I guess I just never understand why we take the time to tell someone to "search before posting" or they should "RTM" but we don't take the time to do a reply that adds something useful to the thread. For example - "This has been covered before and you might find the following link interesting". That adds to the conversation while at the same time gently remind people that a search can help.

It obviously bugs some people when they think someone has abused the forum by posting what they feel has been covered before. While at the same time, some of us are busy learning from the already covered subject matter and enjoying discussing it again. If you think it has already been covered before, close your eyes and go on to the next thread.




Enough of this.

This is not argument worthy. I am just asking for people to do a bare minimum of background research before posting a new thread. I don't think that is particularly unreasonable.

You suggest that I should skip things that look like repeats. I'm going to counter that the person starting the new thread should try to spare a few hundred people some time and do some basic searching and filtering first so that the few hundred people don't have to filter repetitive topics over and over again. (This forum has a membership of 29,000, of which 1,000 are considered active.)

We have also had this particular discussion before too ... it is covered in our general rules: http://www.vintage-computer.com/vcforum/showthread.php?40480-Reminder-General-rules-for-the-forum

So please, don't get bent out of shape because I reminded somebody that this topic has been covered before, and that they could do some background reading first. That still leaves plenty of room for people to ask for clarifications on previous work, explain something new that they have done, etc.



Back to archiving disks....

Over time I have changed the methods I use for archive disks. I used to use a program called DCP - Disk Imaging and Copying Utility.
I still have many images of disks in this format. I need to spend some time redoing these in a standard img format. But that would
entail putting the files back on the floppy disk and then re-imaging the disks. Maybe someday I will sit down and do that.

Bill
Smithville, NJ

Stone
March 14th, 2015, 11:39 AM
Over time I have changed the methods I use for archive disks. I used to use a program called DCP - Disk Imaging and Copying Utility.
I still have many images of disks in this format. I need to spend some time redoing these in a standard img format. But that would
entail putting the files back on the floppy disk and then re-imaging the disks. Maybe someday I will sit down and do that.This is one good example of why imaging floppies that are merely a collection of files that are not at all integrated to the floppy structure itself is unnecessary and cumbersome. Personally I am no longer even using floppies for anything that doesn't absolutely require a floppy. And that surely includes storage and backup of collections of files that were originally or once distributed on floppies but still retain full functionality without needing to be on a particular floppy or can be stored on various other types of media and, when or if required, rewritten to a floppy. It doesn't make sense (to me) to unnecessarily use a medium that is slow, not completely reliable or secure and likely to degrade when you can use so many other alternatives and at the same time have your data stored in multiple formats/locations in less time and with fewer problems and inconsistencies. That said, most of the disks that I have imaged are system disks. I have very, very few images of anything else.

KC9UDX
March 14th, 2015, 01:10 PM
I find that for me the best way to archive floppies is to make a copy on other floppy and put the copy in a box somewhere. I've managed to keep those decades longer than anything on hard disk or other media.

tipc
March 14th, 2015, 02:11 PM
while i agree with that, it is sometimes difficult to know whether a zip file would suffice. To be absolutely sure, a test would need to be done to ensure that the zip file would allow for the program to be installed/run.

If in doubt, or you don't have the time to do a test install/execution, then it would be safer to do the disk image.

One other thing to keep in mind is that the process of doing the imaging, creating the zip or doing a test install might be the last time the files are totally readable. I have had disks that worked, and then ten minutes later were corrupted and didn't work again.

With old disks, i would recommend doing the image of the disk before doing anything else with the disk. If you are lucky, then that will be a perfect read. Just remember every read of the disk is only one more opportunity for the disk to become corrupted.

Bill
smithville, nj

big ditto

SomeGuy
March 14th, 2015, 02:22 PM
Back to archiving disks....

Over time I have changed the methods I use for archive disks. I used to use a program called DCP - Disk Imaging and Copying Utility.
I still have many images of disks in this format. I need to spend some time redoing these in a standard img format. But that would
entail putting the files back on the floppy disk and then re-imaging the disks. Maybe someday I will sit down and do that.

Bill
Smithville, NJ

Is DCP "Disk Copy Plus"? The version I am looking at appears to write standard raw images, but will truncate unused sectors when reading disks in "fast mode". If that is the case for yours, then you may be able to correct that issue by renaming the files to IMG or IMA, opening them in Winimage, and re-saving them. Or otherwise padding them to the correct size.

tipc
March 14th, 2015, 02:24 PM
Many of us would like the ability to reuse our old programs by means other then floppies, and many people have and are working on solutions like that Stone. Bear in mind also --- that people will also work on the means to create new floppies. If you're looking to capture the feel of using these old machines (not for everyone), then you like to use the floppies. Especially if you have a machine that uses the 2" variety!!!

Yes some of these topics are likely to and have come up again and again (and again). This particular subject should be treated w/caution. Old data is so volatile, if a person looking for info doesn't get answers to their questions, perhaps immediately, they may just do what seems natural. Like pulling up a directory of an old disk, and rendering it subsequently unusable. If a subject like this gets hammered to death, so be it I say. There's more then one solution to the problem in general, but if some of it becomes common knowledge, the chances of finding that old extremely hard to find file or program may just become greater.

You can't go wrong really by just imaging a disk IMHO. Sometimes it is overkill. But what do you do about mislabeled or no label disks? Image it and worry what's on it later. No something like ImageDisk isn't suitable for every type of disk. But it can handle the vast majority of what's out there.

natcha
March 14th, 2015, 03:14 PM
Is DCP "Disk Copy Plus"?

I don't think so. The Documentation says

"DCP v4.1 (c) 1993 by Michael Stal

The Disk Imaging and Copying Utility"

It's actually a nice program with the ability to compress the image. Very nice - back in 1993 when I still had small hard drives.

It's funny. Over the years I have stored the disk images on floppy drives; 20 mb, 40mb, 150mb, and 1gb tape drives; Iomega 5 mb and 10 MB 10" drives; Iomega Zip Drives,;Jazz Drives; CDROMs; DVD's; and probably a few other formats that I don't remember. At present it's DVD's and portable USB hard drive's. I wonder what tomorrow will be.

Bill
Smithville NJ

Stone
March 14th, 2015, 04:31 PM
...If you're looking to capture the feel of using these old machines (not for everyone), then you like to use the floppies. Especially if you have a machine that uses the 2" variety!!!So, tell us about your machine that uses the 2" variety. That's something that I'm not very familiar with at all and now you've piqued my interest.

tipc
March 14th, 2015, 05:01 PM
So, tell us about your machine that uses the 2" variety. That's something that I'm not very familiar with at all and now you've piqued my interest.

The Zenith Minisport dude. The most mondo cool laptop out there. Until you've held one of those 2" disks in your hand, you just haven't lived.

Eventually I'd like to figure out how to make replacement disks. Both of my units are dead as doornails at the moment, but I think it's power related.

Eventually I'm going to upgrade them to color LCD's LOL. eh maybe.

natcha
March 14th, 2015, 05:09 PM
So, tell us about your machine that uses the 2" variety. That's something that I'm not very familiar with at all and now you've piqued my interest.

As TIPC says, the Zenith Minisport.

My Sharp PC-1600 Handheld computer uses a 2.5" floppy disk with 64Kb per side. Wow - what can I do with all that storage?
I have two boxes of the disks, but, unfortunately, do not have a working disk drive.

Bill
Smithville, NJ

Tor
March 16th, 2015, 01:00 AM
For MS-DOS floppies I would just zip the files. But for other systems I image the floppy, with 'dd' on Linux (with the proper setup for whatever format it is). Way back in time I also used zip to copy files from the old minicomputer, I thought (at that time) that it was pointless to image the disks (particularly harddisks) because it was the files that mattered. But when I started writing my emulator I realised that it was images I needed.. fortunately I had a few images. So now I image the old floppies too, and can access them from my emulator. I just wish I had images of more of my old disks instead of having just file-backups of so many of them.

-Tor

wesleyfurr
March 16th, 2015, 04:54 PM
Thanks for everyone's thoughts. Sorry for stirring up a fuss...

Sounds like perhaps the ideal thing would be to use Winimage to create an image file and go from there. Looks like you can easily open the image file in Winmage and extract the files from it. No more data than old floppies hold, I think I'll just do it both ways...images for if they are necessary, but the files copied out of them for direct install purposes when it will work to do so.

I'm mainly just wanting to preserve what's on the disks for the future...as others have mentioned, any time you read a disk, it could easily be its last successful read...

Thanks,

Wesley

Trixter
March 17th, 2015, 10:23 AM
I'm sure others here will chime in with what they prefer/recommend.


For unprotected disks, I do both -- I dump an image, then pkzip up all the files. Unlike yesteryear, space is cheaper than my time.

anormal
March 31st, 2015, 12:13 AM
There is a Transcopy now in ebay for anyone interested

http://www.ebay.es/itm/181703372259

300$ ... with that price i could buy both my KF and my SCP, and 2 o 3 5 1/4 floppy drives :D