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Thread: Which way should 3.5" floppy disk labels go, up or down?

  1. #21
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    I've been ignoring this thread on the premise that it doesn't actually matter, but it has just occurred to me today that there actually may be some rationale for this: which way the labels go depends on whether the computer has some kind of internal mass storage (i.e. a hard disk) and whether the floppy is intended as a software distribution mechanism or as something you will actually be using day-to-day.

    On a computer with no internal hard disk (e.g. original Macintosh), you will typically be using floppies all the time, and you will probably have them in some kind of box, so you will want the labels oriented so you can read them when the floppies are stored shutter-side down (i.e. labelled edge up). Even if you do have a hard disk, you will still want the labels oriented shutter-side down for floppies that you are using to move data between systems, to save copies of data files, and for applications that you run straight from diskette either because they are rarely used or you just don't want to install them on the hard disk itself. Shutter-side-down makes sense for old versions of the Macintosh OS up to System 6 or so.

    For software that is distributed on floppies which you are expected to use only once and then never again (unless you have to reinstall due to some kind of system failure), it's more convenient to have the labels oriented shutter-side up because you will have a whole stack of them that need to be fed in sequentially, and having the labels shutter-side up makes it easy to confirm you are inserting the correct diskette without turning it around. Shutter-side-up makes sense for things like Windows 3.1 and Windows 95 distribution floppies.

    TL;DR - if you can run software or load data files directly from the diskette, label it shutter side down. if the diskette has software that must be 'installed' before it can be run, label it shutter side up.

  2. #22
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    That does make some kind of sense.... But my OCD senses are still tingling
    Last edited by blackepyon; March 5th, 2019 at 06:53 AM. Reason: typo
    My vintage systems: Tandy 1000 HX, Tandy 1000 RSX, and some random Pentium in a Hewitt Rand chassis...

    Some people keep a classic car in their garage. Some people keep vintage computers. The latter hobby is cheaper, usually takes less space, and is less likely to lead to a fatal accident.

  3. #23

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    Quote Originally Posted by kgober View Post
    For software that is distributed on floppies which you are expected to use only once and then never again (unless you have to reinstall due to some kind of system failure), it's more convenient to have the labels oriented shutter-side up because you will have a whole stack of them that need to be fed in sequentially, and having the labels shutter-side up makes it easy to confirm you are inserting the correct diskette without turning it around. Shutter-side-up makes sense for things like Windows 3.1 and Windows 95 distribution floppies.
    It's simple enough to order the disks before you start your installation and then just feed them one by one into the computer without needing to even look at their labels again.

    I much prefer to have all the labels oriented the same way.
    PM me if you're looking for 3" or 5" floppy disks. EMail For everything else, Take Another Step

  4. #24

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    Quote Originally Posted by kgober View Post
    TL;DR - if you can run software or load data files directly from the diskette, label it shutter side down. if the diskette has software that must be 'installed' before it can be run, label it shutter side up.
    Somehow this was never a problem with 5.25" floppies. We all learned the wrist motion of flicking the disk 180 degrees to put it in the drive. But I agree it could be tiring when installing Windows 98 from 39 3.5" diskettes!


  5. #25
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    The trick was to stack the floppies in order and as they were read, to make a second stack. Was very useful when installing OS/2 1.x.

  6. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by Stone View Post
    Not very convincing.

    Once you've already accessed the pic by pasting the link manually into your browser it's possible to just click normally on the original link, itself. Go ahead... try it. The pic is already in your browser's cache.
    What? I never pasted anything. The first thing I tried (after getting the 403) was an open in new private window. It's logical that it works, if you think about it.

    As for the topic - to me it's more useful to be able to read labels when the floppies are in the storage box. Which is usually with the shutter down. Although mostly a non-issue now, because my old 3.5" floppies aren't readable anymore, unlike the 5 1/4" ones which are all OK. Even the ones I thought were failing - they had just been encoded in FM and I didn't have the right controller. HD 3.5"? Lost cause.

  7. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chuck(G) View Post
    The trick was to stack the floppies in order and as they were read, to make a second stack. Was very useful when installing OS/2 1.x.
    Having the stack in the correct order was of course mandatory, and of course the second stack was made label-side down (spindle hub up) so your second stack would end up in the correct order.

    The reason to have the labels readable wasn't so much to ensure you were inserting the correct one, but rather so you could look down at the stack and confirm that you did in fact remember to click OK after inserting the current floppy. If the message on screen was still asking for #n and the next one in the stack said n+1, that meant you put in disk #n but forgot to click OK. When you were installing software on a whole bench full of systems (or systems on a row of desks) it was easy to lose track of where you were in the process for any specific one.

  8. #28
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    I always do shutter down.

    Though, often times I don't even label my disks because they just get reused again, and when I do label them, I just use a small stick on label, or even tape on a piece of paper.
    My Packard Bell has never given me any problems which were it's fault, the Packard Haters can stuff it! :

  9. #29
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    Consider, for a moment, that you're using one of those floppy files--how could you read the labels if you stored the disks shutter-side-up?

  10. #30

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    Quote Originally Posted by Chuck(G) View Post
    Consider, for a moment, that you're using one of those floppy files--how could you read the labels if you stored the disks shutter-side-up?
    C'mon, just because it makes sense isn't nearly enough reason to convince some people.
    PM me if you're looking for 3" or 5" floppy disks. EMail For everything else, Take Another Step

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