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ThinkIndifferent's picture
Joined: 2016 Sep 4
Recovering data from floppy disks

Hi all, I recently came in possession of a bunch of old Mac software, a fair amount of which hasn't been preserved here. Unfortunately, they don't seem to have been stored well and I've had trouble creating disk images with Disk Copy.

I've been using Disk First Aid, but apart from one case, it says the disk is fine, but trying to img the disk or copy everything off them gives me an error. I've tried two Macs so the problem isn't the disk drive (and disks I know that work have no issues being read).

Do you all have any tips on the best way to recover a floppy? I'm a little desperate here as I have quite a lot here to dump.


Dog Cow's picture
Joined: 2009 Apr 16

Here is a great way to recover unreadable Mac floppy disks.

adespoton's picture
Joined: 2015 Feb 15

What I used to do to recover Mac floppies:
1. pop off the shutter and remove the spring
2. crack open the case and remove the magnetic disc
3. wash the case including the cloth pads with IPA, adjust the spring tension, ensure the hooks on the shutter are bent properly.
4. take a silk scarf and wipe down the magnetic disc
5. Reassemble. If the disk isn't imageable with DC42 at this point, give it some more wipes with the silk cloth. If the filesystem is corrupt, run Norton Utilities over it to recover whatever data you can.

This is the method I used back in the early 90s; I had a few computer labs give me all the disks that their users claimed were "unreadable" and this worked for 90% of them. People were delighted to get back their data, and I got to keep the floppies. It was a cheap way to get a few hundred floppies, over half of which were in perfect shape and lasted for years.

lilliputian's picture
Joined: 2010 Jul 29

DiskDup has been great for me. If you turn on Skip Unused Sectors, or activate tolerance on bad blocks, you may be able to get an image. I've left a disk humming for an hour or so as it tried to read, and re-read, the same block, only to have it finish finally and succeed! That's if you don't want to go the disassembly route... Wink

ThinkIndifferent's picture
Joined: 2016 Sep 4

Thanks for the great tips! I'll start with DiskDup and work my way up to the other tactics should it fail.