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Multibooter

How to archive old floppies for access under Win98

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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).
The author of Slowdown, Bret Johnson, has a new home page http://bretjohnson.us/ He also posted there a new DOS USB driver a few days ago. There is no particular reason that I am using v1.01, it has just worked fine for me with VGA-Copy v5.3 during the past 9 years.
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).
I have dared to clean the external 360kB floppy drive of the Toshiba T3200, with pure isopropyl alcohol, and the drive is still alive.
cleaning floppies are extremely rare and expensive, by now, at least in Brazil. And the 5.25" ones seem not findable anywhere
I bought about 5 years ago a supply of five 5.25" cleaning floppies and three 3.5" cleaning floppies.

@jaclaz

Thanks for the links about the Imation LS-120 Superdisk head cleaning kit, I've put it on my shopping list, whenever I find one reasonably priced.

CopyStar v4.31b

SH-CopyStar is a Win95 program which can format 360kB 3.5" floppies under Win98 and does not need Slowdown. The right "b" version can be downloaded here The "b" version has an uninstaller, while the version without the "b" doesn't, otherwise they are identical. CopyStar is only useful for creating special format floppies under Win98, without VGA-Copy+Slowdown. CopyStar is shareware which is not offered for sale anymore by the authors and is kind of abandoned. BTW, to format with CopyStar, you have to click in the Format window on "Format", not on "Ok"

Edited by Multibooter

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Here's another interesting program: Bad Block Copy for Windows. While I still didn't test it, I'm quite familiar with the quality of Alter's other products (UniATA and patched flpydisk.sys for Win XP), so I'm sure it's worth having a copy of it.

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Concerning floppy drive cleaning procedures, maybe you find funny and also useful to know what happened to me during a weekend, about one year ago .

The CD drive stopped working. I thought that the device head was dirty. I didn't have anything at reach to clean it, but the home vacuum cleaner.

Well, I opened the CD tray and held the vacuum cleaner tube end just against the center of it, then I switched it on at full speed and kept sweeping for a couple of minutes.

It seemed like a miracle: the CD worked again and it still keeps working OK one year later, no problems at all and no need of anything else. :whistle:

So I think: if the only problem is accumulated dust at the floppy device head, the home vacuum cleaner could be a solution. :rolleyes:

After this excellent and unexpected experience, if I ever have this problem the vacuum sweeper will be the first thing I'll use, before trying any other solution.

HTH

Edited by cannie

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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).
The author of Slowdown, Bret Johnson, has a new home page http://bretjohnson.us/ He also posted there a new DOS USB driver a few days ago. There is no particular reason that I am using v1.01, it has just worked fine for me with VGA-Copy v5.3 during the past 9 years.
After your post #29 made me aware of it, I hunted for all versions of it, and eventually found them. So I decided to make available here v.1.01 because that one is difficult to find *and worked for me also in Win XP*, while v.3.10 did not (in XP, of course... that's my experience, but YMMV here too). But I decided to include v.3.10 also, because they're very different programs and v.3.10 is very useful outside the NT-family OSes, *and* because of the fantastic slowdown.doc that accompanies it. Bret Johnson is a very thorough documenter, and his manuals are a great and enlightening read (same applies to usbintro.doc in the USB driver package). In any case, just for the record, Bret Johnson explicitly allows the redistribution of slowdown, as I quote below, in his own words:
You can freely copy and distribute SLOWDOWN.COM, as long as it is distributed along with this SLOWDOWN.DOC, and neither file has been modified in any way.

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There are several other Slowdown-type utilities. There is a newer v1.03 of Slowdos. Older v1.02 was posted by Glenn9999 at posting #7. Slowdos is part of Flopper [= bootable-disk emulator], which seems to be quite interesting.

I have not yet tried Slowdos, Throttle or Flopper, but eventually I may when I try to get Uniform v1.07 going on my dual-core desktop, hopefully in a Win98 DOS window. On my 12MHz Toshiba T3200 portable I can, with Uniform, access files under one drive letter as DOS and under another drive letter as CP/M, both in DOS commands and in applications. But Uniform may have a slowdown problem.

On my old Toshiba T3200 under DOS 6.22, for example, I have an external 5.25" floppy drive attached, which is assigned by DOS the drive letter B:. With Uniform v1.07 I have defined this SAME physical floppy drive as CP/M, HP-125 format and Uniform has assigned the CP/M-drive letter D:, i.e. one physical floppy drive has 2 drive letters, one for handling DOS floppies, the other for handling CP/M floppies. Under DOS, when I read from or write to D:, Uniform converts transparently the data from/to the CP/M file system. With Spellbinder v5.4, for example, [=an old DOS word processor], I can read file B:xxx from a DOS floppy, make some changes to it, insert a CP/M floppy, and then save it as D:yyy. The file yyy will then be written on the CP/M floppy, with no file dates.

The major benefit of the CP/M file system is that there are no file dates, i.e. nobody can tell when you were doing what with the floppy. Maybe I will eventually be able, with any application running in a Win98 DOS window, to read from and to write to real CP/M-formatted floppies...

Edited by Multibooter

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Warning about files extracted with WinImage from floppy disk images

When you have a floppy with file system errors (FAT copies are not the same, lost clusters, cross-linked files, etc) and make an image of it, the floppy disk image will also contain these file system errors. Some files extracted lateron with WinImage v8.1 from such a bad floppy disk image may be corrupt and differ from the files on the original floppy. The files copied from the original floppy with xxcopy and the /v2 parameter for byte-by-byte verification may differ from the files extracted by WinImage -> Image -> Extract. Sometimes WinImage flags during the extraction that a file is different from the original one with the error message "Error writing file xxx", but NOT always.

If you are certain that the original floppy had no file system errors, then you are fine, the files extracted from the image are identical to the original files.

If you did not check the original floppy with ScanDisk or NDD for file system errors prior to making the image, then you cannot be certain that the files extracted by WinImage v8.1 are identical to the original files. To identify floppy images with file system errors, one could extract the floppy image to a floppy, and then run ScanDisk on this floppy. ScanDisk can then usually repair the files, so that they will be identical to those file-copied with xxcopy.

Whenever ScanDisk reports errors or GRDuw displays read error messages during the creation of an image file, I add BAD to the filename of the floppy image file, e.g. xxxxBAD.dcf so that I remember later that some files extracted from the image by WinImage may not be identical to the original files.

Edited by Multibooter

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Data recovery: Floppy with bad sectors in the data area (i.e. not on track 0)

I have just finished recovering 2 bad floppies with an LS-120 floppy drive and DskImage in a Win98 DOS window..

One floppy eventually was read correctly after placing it in the freezer for about 5 minutes. The freezer really helped.

The other bad 1.44MB floppy had initially 15 bad sectors in the data area. I had to create 33 floppy images with DskImage until I got 2 images where DskImage did not report any errors. After each image made I slapped the floppy about 10 times with full force against my thighs, and this treatment apparently caused DskImage to encounter fewer and fewer bad sectors. DSKIMAGE_RETRIES was set to the maximum of 10. After 10 images I put the floppy into the freezer for 10 minutes, this again reduced the number of bad sectors immediately. After another 10 more images I gave the floppy a break for 8 hours, then continued, a little break did help.

DskImage is an unstoppable copier, in contrast to GRDuw, which fails/aborts frequently with the message: "unrecoverable disk error".

The 2 image files with no bad sectors were amazingly a little different from each other on the last track, may be a bug in DskImage which reported "no sectors were unrecoverable" or because that last track was "empty", outside the data area. The 2 nearly-identical image files produced both good files. ScanDisk reported a damaged folder and found lost file fragments.

The original floppy was a little damaged in the process, I had to remove the metall slider. Before the harsh treatment of the floppy xxcopy16 was able to file-copy many files Ok, with their original filenames and file dates. After the harsh treatment xxcopy didn't see 20% of the files anymore on the original floppy.

In any case, the data on this bad floppy was completely recovered, and the lost fragments recovered by ScanDisk were identical (+ some junk at the end) to corresponding files obtained initially by xxcopy. I archived the files obtained with xxcopy because they had good file names and file dates.

Edited by Multibooter

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Data recovery: "There is no floppy in the drive"

I just recovered and archived a floppy which most copying/imaging programs couldn't handle:

Windows Explorer: "The disk in A: is not formatted"

WinImage: "There is no floppy in the drive"

GRDuw: "Unrecognized Media"

DCF: "Address Mark not found - track 0"

SH-Copy Star: "Error while analyzing the disk"

VGA-Copy: "Diskette nicht lesbar" [=Diskette not readable]

DskImage could only produce a useless image file, with no files visible in it; it displayed "12 sectors were unrecoverable" (all on track 0)

The solution was TeleDisk v2.23. I made a .td0 image of the floppy. When TeleDisk reported that sectors 1+2 of track 0 were bad, I just pressed Enter. Then I restored the .td0 image file to a preformatted floppy, and voilá, Windows Explorer displayed all the files of the bad floppy.

The files had the same size and creation date as those on a similar original floppy, but many files had different content. ScanDisk gave the error message "This drive contains one or more backup copies of the file allocation table", I selected repair, and then the files were identical to the corresponding files on that similar original floppy.

I could also create a readable copy from this bad original floppy with Anadisk v2.10 (May 1995), but after repairing the file system with ScanDisk, 1 resulting file was different from the other similar original floppy. So TeleDisk v2.23 (Sept.1996) seems to make more accurate copies/repairs than Anadisk, at least in this case.

Edited by Multibooter

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More seriously, in ye good ol' days everyone used Norton Utilities and handcrafted FAT or partition tables in those cases.
Way back when... at a time when DISKEDIT.EXE was known as NU.EXE. :yes: But before that there was DEBUG.EXE (or, better, DEBUG.COM)... . :w00t: And even before that, DDT86.CMD (or, better, DDT.COM)... :thumbup Yea, been there, done that...

...and we liked it! :P

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Currently unsolved problems:

2) Uniform v1.07 under DOS can make a directory listing of, but not read CP/M files with filenames which contain characters illegal under MS-DOS (e.g. the file "CP+.COM" on a CP/M floppy cannot be read by Uniform v1.07 because it contains a "+" sign in the file name). Uniform v1.07 displays the error message: "A bad character was found in a CP/M filename; some files may not be accessible"; the Uniform user manual suggests "You probably have to perform the renaming function on a CP/M machine".

Solution: Load a raw image of the diskette to WinHex (or your favorite hexeditor), search for the filenames which contain illegal characters, replace the illegal characters with legal ones, save the image and work with it or with a floppy created from it. It's much faster to do it than it is to describe the procedure.

Later added unrelated comment:

I clean my FDD's heads with cleaner sparingly, don't get me wrong. When the FDD begins having difficulties reading known good floppies, I always try the DIR method first, which is less aggressive, and, only when that isn't enough (which is not often), I resort to cleaner. Now, when working with very old floppies, I do clean more often, but I haven't done that much with the 5,25" FDD, recently, because I think I've already backed up all that I needed to, and because such FDDs are really difficult to replace, nowadays. With the 3.5 FDD, on the other hand, I have done plenty of recovery of late, but they are still easy and cheap to replace (and I have bricked 3 of them in the last 2 years, while at it...). On the third hand, :) I've done plenty of strange formatting of good, clean, new media, with both FDDs, for many reasons, along many years, but that doesn't soil the heads much, and is good to assure the FDDs are in good working order.

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2 programs I have used for archiving my old CP/M floppies, Uniform and 22Disk, together with a 20-year-old MicroSolutions UniDOS CP/M CoProcessor Card were just sold at ebay for $185. The price jumped from $81 to $185 in the last few seconds, by the bidding of 3 experienced bidders with over 600 feedbacks. Over 400 pageviews of the item, I have never seen a UniDOS CP/M CoProcessor Card offered at ebay before.

Edited by Multibooter

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For the sake of completeness, here are William Luitjee's freeware floppytools, which contains the unique FLOPSKEW, which is very useful for determing the correct skew parameters to be used in formats having more than 18 sectors per track. It also includes another program for head cleaning, FLOPSCRB, which however I never did test, since I either use the DIR method or resort to Cleaner, when things get really ugly.

flpkit11.zip

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