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Multibooter

How to archive old floppies for access under Win98

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But, by all means, clone the disk with Anadisk to a good floppy, while you still can, before using Anadisk more extensively to try to salvage something from the bad sectors. And do clean the heads of your drive before proceeding, and after you're finished with the bad floppy.

Also, take this advice from an old man ;), use an old floppy drive.

I don't trust "recent" floppy drive, something you bought new in the last 5 to 10 years and payed $5 to $7 apiece.

Ideally you should have a few floppy drives, possibly salvaged from old "brand" PC.

I have a 3.5" floppy salvaged from a Toshiba 5100 (a "portable" of the time) that weights a little more than 2 times one of the new ones, it's sturdy, and at least in my simple mind (and on field) more reliable than those cheap thingies.

Besides that, every floppy drive can (and is) slightly mis-aligned, let's say that you have a "left misaligned" floppy drive.

Anything you write on a floppy with it will be readable on the same drive and on all floppy drives that are perfactly "centered".

As soon as you put that floppy in a "right misaligned" drive, it won't be read properly anymore.

If you have a few floppy drives, it is probable that some will be misaligned the same way the one on which the floppy was originally written was.

Unfortunately, I think that the most you can try is cleaning the heads, without specific tools.

Some reference:

http://www.accurite.com/FloppyPrimer.html

jaclaz

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Data recovery problem nearly solved

I have achieved fantastic data recovery results using an LS-120 floppy drive together with GRDuw for Windows v4.1.14 (=GR Disk Utility, by Grosso, Roberto, for WinME/9x) to recover data from this bad floppy.

It took about 6 minutes to recover probably 90% or more of the bad 720kB floppy. The GR Disk Utility recovered 26 good files, totaling 513kB. VGA-Copy, using only a regular floppy drive, recovered 6 good files with 377kB, taking over an hour. VGA-Copy, however, recovered the last chunk of a text file, which GR Disk Utility couldn't, otherwise the files recovered by VGA-Copy and GR Disk Utility were identical.

With a regular floppy disk drive, however, GR Disk Utility is very slow and couldn't even recover a single sector of track 0 after my clicking for 10 minutes on Retry.

LS-120 drives differ in their data recovery performance. One drive recovered 26 good files, totaling 513kB, another drive recovered only 17 files with 502kB. This bad little floppy disk actually can help me identify which one of my LS-120 drives is a particularly good reader.

Using "AbsRW"as "Low level disk mode" gave much better results than using "BIOS"; I have not yet checked the IoCtrl mode.

There is one other feature which I particularly like: GR Disk Utility is the only Win98 GUI utility which can write .dcf floppy image format. (It can read and write 3 formats: .dim, .dcf and .ima). If you own an LS-120 drive, the GR Disk Utility is an absolute must-have.

I now appreciate my LS-120 floppy drives, which were sitting in a box for years, as magic data recovery drives for bad 3.5" floppies.

Edited by Multibooter
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Remainder of bad floppy recovered with ScanDisk

GRDuw and the LS-120 floppy drive had recovered 26 good files with 513kB, but the 720kB floppy also contained files and directories with strange characters in their names and Windows Explorer reported using 10.9GB. I then:

- created with GRDuw a .dcf image of the recovered floppy

- created a work-copy of the recovered floppy (by writing the .dcf image to another floppy)

- ran ScanDisk on the work-copy with the options Make copies of cross-linked files and Convert lost fragments to files

- ScanDisk then recovered 9 more files from lost clusters, but they had filenames like "File0000.chk". I assume the lost clusters came about because parts of the control structures area, track 0, were bad. They were good data, but no index on track 0 was pointing to them.

- I assigned correct filenames to these lost clusters (= good, not yet recovered files plus junk) by comparing them with Beyond Compare to backup versions

- I manually removed with Beyond Compare the junk appended at the end of 7 ASCIIl files recovered by ScanDisk. The size of the recovered lost cluster files on the floppy, e.g. of File0000.chk, was a multiple of 1024 bytes. Anything between the last byte of the original file (e.g. byte 135.878 ) and the end of the lost cluster file (e.g. byte 136.192, a multiple of 1024) was junk to be removed. But you have to know where the original file ended. The ".chk" files recovered by ScanDisk did not have the original modifcation date of the file. The recovered and then cleaned files can be easily recognized by their much later modification dates.

- 2 of the 9 files recovered by ScanDisk as .chk lost cluster files were non-ASCII files (compiled .QLB and .LIB, both 25.600 bytes). Since I could NOT with certainty identify the last byte of the original file/the appended junk I left these 2 files unmodified, with a maximum of 1kB of junk at the end.

The recovered 720kB floppy has 35 files using 669kB. About 75% of the files (26 files using 513kB) were recovered by GRDuw. 1 file recovered by GRDuw had perfect content but had a modifcation date error ("4/11/90" instead of "4/11/91). The file modification date/time of all files recovered by GRDuw was increased by exactly 9 hours, e.g. "3/25/91 6:40:50 am" instead of "3/25/91 9:40:50 pm". This may be a bug of GRDuw, I have Pacific Time (GMT-8) on my laptop, or it may have something to do with the orignal files being created under DOS 5, but the recovery took place under Win98.

The remaining 25% of the files, for which the index on track 0 was damaged, were recovered by ScanDisk plus manual modification. Manual cleanup was feasible only for the ASCII files, not for the 2 compiled files.

I repeated the recovery altogether 7 times, on 2 different LS-120 drives, on a regular floppy drive, with and without the iosys98.exe unofficial Windows update, using AbsRW and BIOS as low-level disk modes, with basically identical results. I am confident that all files on the floppy were recovered and good (except for the junk at the end of the 2 compiled files) because the data area of the floppy was Ok, only track 0 was bad. I looked at all 33 ASCII files on the floppy, they all looked good. Thanks Grre-doff :thumbup

Edited by Multibooter
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Unofficial I/O Subsystem Drivers Fix

3 of my attempts to recover the bad floppy with CRC errors on track 0 were made on a plain-vanilla Win98SE system and 4 attempts on a plain-vanilla Win98SE system plus the Unofficial I/O Subsystem Drivers Fix (iosys98.exe)

GRDuw plus an LS-120 floppy disk drive could recover without the iosys98 update 2/4/5 files in 3 attempts.

With the iosys98 update they could recover 26/24/22/4 files in 4 attempts.

It might have been just coincidence, but it appears that the iosys98 update may improve the data recovery capability of GRDuw plus an LS-120 floppy drive as drive A:.

I have tested the iosys98 update quite a bit, it didn't cause any problems on my system. In any case it has a very good uninstall routine, in contrast for example to nusb.

BTW, when I had the internet connected, via a USB 2.0 WLAN PCcard in a PCMCIA-slot, during a further recovery attempt with the iosys98 update, only 3 files were recovered.

Edited by Multibooter
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Congratulations for the successful data recovery, Multibooter! :thumbup That's not easy at all!

I'm happy to read IOSys98 did help. But I have a question for you, just for the record:

Were you using also the VFAT.VxD official update (Q277628) or it was all done with the original VFAT.VxD?

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Were you using also the VFAT.VxD official update or it was all done with the original VFAT.VxD?
All floppy recovery efforts were done with the original VFAT, NOT with the VFAT update.

I had test-installed the VFAT.VxD official update after the iosys98 update and got a tremendous multiple-drive-letter problem: I had a SCSI Iomega Jaz drive connected via an Adaptec SlimSCSi 1460A PCCard in the PCMCIA slot. Instead of getting one icon in My Computer for the Jaz drive I got seven. A 2nd SCSI Jaz drive connected via a Jaz Traveller cable [= a SCSI to parallel converter] to the parallel port was unaffected and Ok, it showed up as an eighth icon.

Restoring clean \Windows\ and \Program Files\ directories didn't help, I kept on getting these multiple drive letters, somehow unexplainable. Maybe something got stored in a hidden area of the Jaz drive. When I changed the SCSI ID on the Jaz drive from 7 to 6 plus repeated restoring a clean Windows, the multiple-drive-letter problem was miraculously gone.

I never had seen 7 multiple Jaz icons before, and I prefer to stay away from this VFAT update. Windows is a huge pile of bugs: I installed this VFAT update, which was supposed to have something to do with the time-stamps of files, and I get a huge number of multiple jaz drive letters. Or, as I mentioned above, I connected to the internet with a WLAN PCCard, and the file-recovery with the floppy drive became poor. That's why I prefer a plain-vanilla Win98SE, with as few updates as possible.

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So I suggest you:

1)Use FDFormat to format a common MF2HD (3.5") to 360 kB (with the high-density tab taped)! :blink:

2)Use DiskImage or WinImage to collect a raw image from the 5.25" floppy.

3)Use WinImage to transfer without formatting the raw image to the 360 kB 3.5" floppy you've just prepared! :blink:

This works in my machine, so it's worth giving it a shot on yours. :yes: Good luck!

Converting DOS 2 boot floppies from 5.25" -> 3.5" media

Thanks, dencorso, it worked fine on my old Inspiron 7500 laptop. I used DCF instead of DiskImage or WinImage.

Under DOS 6.22 I pre-formatted a taped 1.44MB floppy disk with FDFormat: "FDFormat A: /4"

Then, in a DOS window under Win98, I extracted with DCF on top of this pre-formatted floppy a .dcf image of the DOS 2.10 boot floppy, with the options: Format=OFF and Fast=ON.

I tried to create a 360kB 3.5" boot floppy into IBM PC-DOS 2.00 (US) with WinImage instead of DCF (in a Win98 DOS window), but on my floppy drive WinImage canNOT write the floppy image onto a 3.5" 720kB floppy pre-formatted to 360kB. WinImage gives me the error message "Error. Disk error on track 1, head 0. Floppy Error". Apparently your floppy drive works better with WinImage than mine.

GRDuw could not transfer the image onto preformatted 360kB 3.5" media either. GRDuw does not support the 360kB format, only 1.2MB for old 5.25" floppies. When I tried to transfer the 360kB image with GRDuw onto 3.5" media I get the error message: "The Disk Image file media type is not supported"

So the only software tool that works with my floppy drive and which can transfer under Win98 the image of a DOS 2.x boot floppy onto 3.5" media is DCF.

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No. You've got me wrong. In my machine, WinImage can transfer all but DOS 1.xx images to all odd-formats of floppies, provided I don't use it to actually format. That is to say, the "Write disk" works all right. Whenever I try to use either "Format and write disk" or "Format disk" with formats of 720 kB or less I also get an "Error. Disk error on track x, head y. Floppy Error". With the standard formats it works also for formatting and sometimes it is able to format a 3.5" floppy to 1.2 MB. FDFormat, in true DOS, is my preferred way to do all formatting. When it fails, the floppy actually is bad. :)

But I bet there is yet another utility that may transfer the images in your machine: DiskImage. Did you give it a try?

... the excellent freeware DiskImage, by Mike Brutman (the whole of his PC Jr site is worthy of a visit too...). ...
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on my floppy drive WinImage canNOT write the floppy image onto a 3.5" 720kB floppy pre-formatted to 360kB.
No. You've got me wrong. In my machine, WinImage can transfer all but DOS 1.xx images to all odd-formats of floppies, provided I don't use it to actually format. That is to say, the "Write disk" works all right. Whenever I try to use either "Format and write disk" or "Format disk" with formats of 720 kB or less I also get an "Error...
On my machine I had "pre-formatted" three 3.5" target floppies to 360kB (with the Win95 program SH-CopyStar v4.31b, with FDFormat under DOS and with VGA-Copy v5.3 plus SlowDown v1.01 in a Win98 DOS window). I then selected in WinImage "Write disk" (NOT "Format and write disk") to transfer an image of DOS 2.00, also of DOS 3.10, and got an error. WinImage worked in this case with your floppy drive, but not with mine.
But I bet there is yet another utility that may transfer the images in your machine: DiskImage. Did you give it a try?
DiskImage

DskImage v1.0 by M.Brutman is an excellent program. It does work with my LS-120 floppy drive.

Here is an illustration of the importance of using an LS-120 floppy drive for data recovery: when DskImage was used with a regular floppy drive on my bad floppy with track 0 CRC error, it reported 30 sectors were unrecoverable; when I used the LS-120 floppy drive, DskImage reported 1 sector was unrecoverable. Once DskImage actually reported, with the bad floppy in the LS-120 drive, a perfect read with 0 sectors unrecoverable, but the disk image still contained lost clusters and lots of huge directories with illegal characters, so I don't quite trust the message "0 sectors were unrecoverable".

Here a comparison between GRDuw v4.1.14 and DskImage v1.0:

- DskImage can only read thru the BIOS while GRDuw can also use Absolute RW, a method which in my tests has produced more recovered files than using BIOS

- DskImage can re-read a bad sector up to 10 times, while GRDUW seems to read a bad sector up to 15 times

- nevertheless both programs achieved roughly the same data recovery results

I tried DskImage under Windows XP SP2, because the docu file DskImage.txt states "DskImage works under DOS, Windows 9x, Windows 2000, and probably Windows XP". But what does "probably" mean?

When I tried to recover under WinXP this bad floppy with track 0 error, everything seemed to work fine. But I couldn't write under WinXP the recovered disk image onto a floppy. Under Win98 I was eventually able to write the image to a floppy, after several frozen or hung systems. In Windows Explorer this recovered floppy didn't show any files, although there was hardly any free space on it. When I ran ScanDisk on the recovered floppy, the system froze. I then compared with Beyond Compare/HexViewer the floppies recovered with DskImage under Win98 and under WinXP: they were nearly identical, except that the disk image obtained under WinXP had just blanks around the area of the FAT.

So "probably" could als be interpreted as "probably not". In any case, DskImage should be in the Win98 tool box for data recovery.

@jaclaz:

I have looked at FDImage, but it's for writing a floppy disk image, not for reading a bad floppy. Thanks anyway.

Edited by Multibooter
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WinImage worked in this case with your floppy drive, but not with mine.
Oh! Right! I think, then, that it was I that misread you. Well, you see, here we are deep into the YMMV land!!! :P

I sometimes wonder what wonderful drive and controller Gilles Vollant must have for all the options in WinImage to work right in his machine, even under Win XP! :P Why, under XP, the most I can do with WinImage is work with already created images, besides collecting 1.44 MB and 1.2 MB images from the 3.5" and 5.25" drives, respectively. From 3.5" floppies, 1.68 MB (DMF or with 224 dir entries) also work, provided I don't try to format. And that's all. :(

Another very useful tool (which is now quite difficult to find) is Cleaner, which can wipe the driver's heads in a much more thorough way than simply issuing a "DIR" command (and telling DOS to retry 3 or 4 times), when used together with a conventional head cleaner diskette (alas! those are also difficult to find today) wet with isopropanol or ethanol (I consider ethanol much better as cleaning liquid than isopropanol, and have been using it for cleaning the heads of diskette drives and tape decks since before the 4004 hit the market, and it never caused any damage to my hardware, despite the legends against it). Cleaner *only* works when run in *true* DOS. When trying to recover data from old floppies, I always clean the heads after I'm done (and often even during the process). Old floppies can soil the heads quite badly (some say it's mold, I don't really know) and prevent them from reading right. CLEANER.ZIP has fcab9d6c3d7a5e96b0ef819fe64e30fd as MD5 hash and f30530c6e8ef2b81f4fe8bfb3df3f6357d95e349 as SHA1 hash and is 29,168 bytes long, just for the record. And, of course, for calculating both MD5 and SHA1 hashes there is microsoft's own excellent FCIV.

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Another very useful tool (which is now quite difficult to find) is Cleaner
This is the most thorough head cleaner I have seen. I tried Cleaner on the regular 1.44MB 3.5" floppy drive with the bad floppy with the track 0 errors: Before cleaning DskImage reported 30 unrecoverable sectors. After cleaning with a special HD (2 punched holes) 3.5" cleaning diskette, DskImage reported only 3 unrecoverable sectors. So cleaning the drive head does make a difference.

BTW, I also have two 3.5" cleaning diskettes which have only 1 punched hole, i.e. DD. Is there any difference between cleaning diskettes with 1 and 2 holes? Are cleaning diskettes with 2 holes especially made for 1.44MB drives? How does one tell whether a cleaning diskette is abrasive or not?

I consider ethanol much better as cleaning liquid than isopropanol, and have been using it for cleaning the heads of diskette drives and tape decks since before the 4004 hit the market, and it never caused any damage to my hardware, despite the legends against it).
I used a liquid which came with a 5.25" cleaning diskette, it contained isopropylalcohol, alkali, acetone, carbide, free acid and water. I hope the floppy drive will still work next week.

I have made already bad experience with cleaning the head of a floppy drive. After cleaning the head of one 5.25" drive, with a 5.25" cleaning diskette and 96% ethanol, maybe 5 years ago, the floppy drive was dead. I don't dare to clean the 2 external 5.25" floppy drives of the Toshiba T3200, they are irreplaceable, they are connected to the parallel port (only one at a time) and a switch sets them to either bootable A or B drive. One of these external drives is a 360kB 5.25" floppy drive, the other a 1200kB 5.25" floppy drive. Even run-of-the-mill 360kB 5.25" floppy drives are scarce today, several days ago I checked at ebay, but I couldn't find any 360kB 5.25"drives or 720kB 3.5" drives.

About 5 years ago, when I made the first attempt at archving my old floppies, I wrecked an external 5.25" Microsolutions backpack floppy drive by somehow causing a short-circuit with the connector of the external power supply. The 5.25" Backpack worked fine connected to the parallel port of my laptop, comparable to current 3.5" USB floppy drives. I didn't buy a replacement, only 1 or 2 are sold at ebay each year, and they don't go for less than $200 with many bidders.

Cleaner *only* works when run in *true* DOS.
Cleaner worked fine in a Win98 DOS window.

Addendum: After I ran Cleaner, I wasn't able to format floppies with the floppy drive anymore. Running Cleaner apparently stresses the floppy drive very much or the cleaning fluid caused problems, until it had evaporated. 8 Hours later, however, the floppy drive worked fine again, actually much better than before. It took VGA-Copy v5.3 maybe 30 seconds to read the bad track 0 of my damaged floppy, compared to 30 minutes before.

Edited by Multibooter
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(alas! those are also difficult to find today)

3.5" are easily found:

http://www.lindy-usa.com/31-2-floppy-disk-...aner/40411.html

point is that the example above costs 12 bucks :w00t: whilst a new floppy drive can be found for as low as 10 US$ P&H included:

http://shop.ebay.com/i.html?_nkw=1.44MB%20....m14&_pgn=2

I guess this item was mislabeled/mispriced :whistle::

http://www.superwarehouse.com/Teac_1.44_MB...FC929/p/1533255

@multibooter

JFYI, this is outrageous :ph34r: :

http://www.mitsubishielectric.com.au/895.htm#4.

http://www.superwarehouse.com/LS-120_SUPER...T/41066/p/59773

Image found here:

http://demo7.ibiz10.com/ibiz10Demo7/images...cts/149073w.jpg

A semi-random idea, investing in the past:

http://cgi.ebay.com/LOT-of-540-3-5-1-44MB-...id=p3286.c0.m14

:P

jaclaz

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VGA-Copy

VGA-Copy has become freeware, v6.25 can be downloaded from here, then -> VGA-Software, then -> vgacp625.zip

I have been using v5.30, which works fine as a data recovery tool for bad floppies. v6.25, however, canNOT be recommended as a data recovery tool. When trying to copy the floppy with a bad track 0, v6.25 just gives me the message: "Diskette nicht lesbar" [=diskette not readable].

I don't know where one can get this old v5.30 now. I had bought the old retail v5.3 on a software CD called "VGA-Ware" about 15 years ago. I had rejected v6.02 and v6.21 and preferred v5.30. VGA-Copy is another good example that the last version of a piece of software is very often NOT the best version.

Clearing the floppy drive

There is one trick to running VGA-Copy v5.30: If it doesn't accept a floppy, just remove the floppy from the floppy drive and then click on Read (without the floppy inserted). This somehow clears the floppy controller, and VGA-Copy v5.30 then works fine. A similar clearing of the floppy controller is done automatically by TeleDisk and GRDuw after writing/formatting a floppy, with a loud disk-access noise for about 2 seconds. The floppy controller can also be somehow cleared by running Chkdsk in a Win98 DOS window, with no floppy inserted. I have on my Windows Desktop an MS-DOS shortcut to "E:\USWIN98\COMMAND\CHKDSK.EXE A:" for clearing the floppy drive.

BTW, I am using VGA-Copy v5.30 on an old 750MHz Pentium 3 laptop with Slowdown v1.01 and the following command line: "D:\VGACOPY\SLOWDOWN.COM /1600 VGACOPY.EXE"

Setting the right Slowdown parameter (here "/1600") is a matter of trial and error. I have not yet used VGA-Copy v5.30 on my faster dual-core desktop and don't know whether it will run there with Slowdown. In any case, VGA-Copy does have problems working with modern fast CPUs and needs a Slowdown-type program.

VGA-Copy v5.30 also works fine with Slowdown under Windows XP. VGA-Copy v5.30 can format under WinXP a 720kB 3.5" floppy disk to 360kB and 180kB (SS)

Edited by Multibooter
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Slowdown is also freeware, but not easy to found. I've attached below a .7z archive containing both v. 1.01 and 3.10 (the last).

Cleaner *only* works when run in *true* DOS.
Cleaner worked fine in a Win98 DOS window.

It seems this also lies in the YMMV land, then. :)
Addendum: After I ran Cleaner, I wasn't able to format floppies with the floppy drive anymore. Running Cleaner apparently stresses the floppy drive very much or the cleaning fluid caused problems, until it had evaporated. 8 Hours later, however, the floppy drive worked fine again, actually much better than before. It took VGA-Copy v5.3 maybe 30 seconds to read the bad track 0 of my damaged floppy, compared to 30 minutes before.
Well, that's why I don't trust formulated cleaning fluids. Ans since you had a bad experience with ethanol (I doubt it was the responsible for your old FDD's failure, though... It may just have reached its end-of-life) I'd reccomend pure isopropanol (a.k.a. isopropyl alcohol) as the cleaning fluid of choice. It's fast to dry and leaves no residue nor moisture (which was probably the reason your FDD took so ling to get back to working condition). Anyway, YMMV here also.

@jaclaz: cleaning floppies are extremely rare and expensive, by now, at least in Brazil. And the 5.25" ones seem not findable anywhere, although I did stumble on one 8" cleaning floppy (!) during my searches (sorry, I didn't save the link to it). Nowadays I have just one 3.5" and one 5.25" cleaning floppies, and I remain on the lookout for more, locally, because usually you cannot buy just the floppy, and the cleaning liquid would entail lots of problems with the customs in case I tried to buy them abroad.

I guess this item was mislabeled/mispriced :whistle::

http://www.superwarehouse.com/Teac_1.44_MB...FC929/p/1533255

For sure! It cannot cost that much even if handcrafted from solid gold! :D

Of course, your 1st link on FDDs has the right price. Here I can find them for R$14.99, which is about US$7.00!

Including P&H, that would rise to about US$14.00. See here.

slowdown.7z

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