Failing Floppies

Hi folks,

Yesterday I decided to start the process of converting some of my old Amiga floppy disks to the .ADF format. It is a time-consuming job, but thanks to the wonderful EasyADF application from AmigaKit, it’s not very hard to accomplish.

My main reason for doing this, is that I want to share some old and rare stuff with the Amiga community. As an example, I’ve got several demo-packs that I haven’t found available for download anywhere on the Internet. It would be a shame if no one decided to save these productions for the future. 🙂 Another reason is that I want to preserve some of my old disks in virtual form as a backup. Then I don’t have to worry about loosing precious software anymore. 🙂

I’ve already mentioned the EasyADF application from AmigaKit. Just have to say that this piece of software is brilliant if you want to do some hassle-free conversion of floppies to the .ADF format. It’s very easy to use and even if you are a complete beginner, you should be up and running in no time. Below is a picture of the main screen. Everything is pretty straight-forward as you can see.. Just click on “Make ADF from floppy”, insert disk and Bob’s your uncle.

EasyADF - A great tool from AmigaKit (http://amigakit.leamancomputing.com/catalog/product_info.php?products_id=694)
EasyADF - A great tool from AmigaKit (http://amigakit.leamancomputing.com/catalog/product_info.php?products_id=694)

Everything went well with the conversion of the first floppies, but then I suddenly encountered the dreaded “read-error”.. the disk couldn’t be read properly! Since my floppies are now very old, I should have seen this coming. It doesn’t help that quite a few of them have travelled all over the world due to mailtrading/swapping.. Before the emergence of the Internet, we exchanged floppies by regular post. 😀 Sadly I haven’t paid enough attention to them during the last decade and now I’ve got to pay the price. I had to put the faulty disk aside. The same thing did, unfortunately, happen with others as well. The majority of the disks were OK, but I got a pile of non-functioning ones after a while. It was very sad and I hope I haven’t lost the stuff that is stored on them forever.

I’ve now posted a thread on AmiBay (since they have an “oracle-section” there) requesting some help and tips for salvaging what’s on these old disks. I’ve received several helpful pointers already and will try them out as soon as possible. Since faulty disks are a problem many will encounter these days, I thought I’d post the suggestions here. 🙂

  1. Use a 3.5″ floppy disk cleaner between every one or two disks, since old disks make the floppy-drive dirty (thanks to Mjnurney)
  2. Use an application called Disksalv from Dave Haynie (thanks to Phantom)
  3. Try the disks in a different drive. I’ve got an Amiga 500 here, but still no TV-modulator. I Can test the disks when it is up and running (thanks to Moijk).

Hopefully this will help me salvage some of the lost data. Fingers crossed it will work! The first thing I’ll try is to use a cleaning disk.. I’ve got one around here somewhere.. 😉

Have any of you tried your old disks and found them full of errors? I don’t think I’m alone in this situation. It’s great that we can convert them to files though.. that will help us saving precious stuff for the future.

12 comments

  1. I encountered a bunch of floppy disks that also had issues. Most of them just did not boot. But that could also be because the game would not run on my A1200. I need to reserve some time for checking all those disks. Most of them you can find online but sometimes you have some really rare stuff that needs to be saved.

    Those demo-packs sound interesting. 🙂

    • Do you collect scenestuff, Coder? Maybe you’ve got some Dutch productions that are a bit rare. I used to write with a couple of swappers from Holland back in the days by the way. 🙂

      I’ve got a ton of demo-packs on disks if you’re interested. 🙂 Lot’s of other scenestuff as well.

  2. I’ve been meaning to try this myself with so many thanks for the tips.

    Great blog btw, really enjoying reading your posts!

    Kind regards

    StiGGy

    • Hi there StiGGy! Many thanks for your comment. 🙂 Good to hear that the tips were helpful. Nice that you enjoy my blog. I think yours is great as well, many interesting articles to read. 🙂

  3. 🙂 How difficult it was to get new stuff in those days. But so much fun to be honest. How great it was when you finally had new stuff. I really miss those days. You had to be there to understand it. 🙂

    • That is something I’ve been thinking a lot about. All kinds of stuff are so easy to get hold of these days. Games, demos, utilities, movies and music, all just a few mouse clicks away. Takes away a huge part of the excitement in my opinion, even though it is very handy. 😉 I remember when we first got a VCR at home. Watching a video film was something very special, a thing that one looked forward to for days. Today we can get all the movies we want in a short time. 🙁 I feel it is the same with games and demos.. before the Internet, it took hard work and time to get hold of the newest stuff, but the satisfaction when you finally got hold of it was unparallelled. If one only has a few games, one appreciate them more than if one has access to thousands.. hope you understand what I mean. 🙂 Imagine those growing up today.. it will be, as you say, impossible for them to understand how things was back then when it came to these things.

      I’ve got a lot of good memories receiving new demos and games in the mail.. watching and playing them for the first time was magic.. also reading a nice letter, opening an envelope that had crossed many countries.. Awesome.. 😀

  4. So true. I understand what you mean. I had to rely on other people from which I could copy stuff. X-Copy, need I say more. 🙂 Since floppy disks did not came cheap in some cases you used disks that already contained games but you got sick of it so you copied other games on it. A real disaster, and something that happened often, was when a disk contained a read error that only came to surface after some time. How about those games that came on two or even three disks and when you finally came to the point to use that second or third disk it turned out it had a read error. Argh! I remember The Running Man that had this. Took me a long time for me to source it again. Hmmm now I really miss those days. 🙂

    • X-Copy was great. Everyone used it. 🙂 There were others as well, like Burstnibbler and D-Copy, but never used them much. Do you remember those?

      Argghh! The horrible error on disk two! That was a disaster. 🙁 I also remember having a copy of Moonstone that I played a lot.. it always crashed near the end.. always hoped it would suddenly work, but it never happened. Very frustrating.

      Oh yes, I really miss the good old days myself. 🙂 Always happens when writing about it. 😉

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