Finally, Death of the 3.5 inch floppy disk

On Apr 27, 2:07pm, John Tserkezis


Stocking a lot is unlikely to help. Not so long ago I did a final transfer of data I had on floppies from the early 90-s. They were all readable and in good health (some were even from the late 80-s), I moved them to images on newer media (HDD, which I currently backup on DVDs) all right.
But when I tried to write to some of them they all failed miserably, even the newest ones. Non-formattable, complete scrap. And some of them had been written just once or twice, so my guess is that even unused new disks will age and become unusable within max. 10 years. As if the brownish magnetic stuff they are covered with dries and hardens over the years and the tiny magnets inside remain stuck forever :-).
Dimiter
------------------------------------------------------ Dimiter Popoff Transgalactic Instruments
http://www.tgi-sci.com ------------------------------------------------------ http://www.flickr.com/photos/didi_tgi/sets/72157600228621276 /
Original message: http://groups.google.com/group/comp.arch.embedded/msg/13a4b9c40be4c51d?dmode=source
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Didi wrote:

Now that you mention it, my experience mimics that too. Long term storage appears to be very much pot luck, but much longer than what I would have though reasonable for floppy media.
Writes on the other hand, pretty much all long term age disks proved failure prone in this regard.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

The audio recording guys deal with this on a regular basis. Old tapes come in for remix/remaster and the oxide layer is in danger of shedding. So the tapes are baked at a moderate temperature to allow the binders to hold the oxide on the tape for one last pass through a tape deck.
-a
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

I have some disks from 1993 that are still readable. I have some from later that are gibberish, reformat did not help them come back to life. Guess it depends on the manufacturer.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

You can *sometimes* revive old diskettes with media level tools like SpinRite ... but diskettes gradually lose their magnetic media (the head touches them) so it depends on how much has been lost. Even if the diskette appears unreadable to the OS, IME you can usually recover most of the data from it.
George
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
wrote:

Spinrite a name not heard in years. My copy with an eye patch dissappeared many moons ago in a land far away.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On Apr 27, 9:07pm, John Tserkezis

Good grief, and here I was thinking Microsoft _finally_ got around to fixing that. (I mean, cripes... at least look at a flaming CD fellas?!)
I think USB could be difficult due to the fact that the initial loader (in the case of Windows XP and earlier) started in DOS, loaded the drivers into RAM then kickstarted the NT kernel from there, but one would have thought that on modern systems, the BIOS should still at least allow some access to USB drives. And clearly CD-ROMs are accessible as it loads the rest of the drivers that way.
Never the less, this is just one of many countless examples where floppies are still needed. I guess the general public never have to face the dilemma of getting drivers into a new computer, and thus the floppy drive is seen as a needless relic of the past.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

That can create problems in the truly general case. Think about it: you are loading drivers for an HBA and want to get them from a CD-ROM, potentially attached to that very same HBA...

That would seem the most natural PC way of doing things. I'm not really familiar with the Windows boot process anymore but there has to be _some_ point early on where the BIOS is still readily accessible and kernel modules can easily be loaded.
Of course the most elegant way would be to place basic get-you-home drivers on the device itself. Sun managed this twenty years ago with their OpenPROM system, and that didn't even depend on the CPU since they were written in architecture-independent Forth. However that probably requires the kind of centralised planning and authoritative "this is the way it is going to be done" assertion that is difficult to enforce for commodity x86 hardware. The only time I can see you doing it is with a new bus standard: if e.g. PCIe had demanded it manufacturers would have little wriggle room.
--
Andrew Smallshaw
snipped-for-privacy@sdf.lonestar.org
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Andrew Smallshaw schreef:

That was originally the intention with the IBM PC, e.g. the video card has its own Flash or (EPROM in the old days). Unfortunately it works in real mode only, and standardization for the software interfaces appears to have stopped around 1988. The elderly among us probably still remember Ralf Browns interrupt list.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

I still have it on my server. The windows version (help file) even. But resent the word "elderly" :-)
Meindert
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

OK geriatric

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Legacy
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

There is a way to merge drivers ioto a windows install CD image, ( obviously this required writing a new CDR) AIUI microsoft calls it "slipstream"

I think ACPI is something like that.
--- ---
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Stuart Longland wrote:

Interesting. What's decaying about them? I've got Fuji MF2HD from the 90's and they still work fine.
--
Regards, Joerg

http://www.analogconsultants.com /
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
wrote:

The media does not have high enough coercivity to retain magnetic alignment indefinitely - given enough time it loses orientation and your data simply fades away. And unlike hard disks, diskette R/W heads actually touch the recording surface and gradually wear away the media.
George
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Well... sorta. The magnetic layer is covered with a low-friction protective layer.
So strictly speaking the heads do not touch the recording per se, merely a coating over it :) But yes they are not flying heads.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
George Neuner wrote:

Hmm, I have disks dating back to 1990 and none of them has ever lost data or caused read errors. But some posters said that they still can have lost writeability. No idea why.
I did always make sure to never buy disks from dubious sources but always the good stuff, name brands.

Yes, and that wear is clearly visible. However, the typical disk is used as file storage and only once in a while read back, and then only small parts of it.
--
Regards, Joerg

http://www.analogconsultants.com /
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
wrote:

I have an old HP logic analyzer that boots off of a floppy.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Spehro Pefhany wrote:

AFAIK there's also plenty of scopes from Tek and others where that's the only way to get screen shots over to your PC. Unless you bought the now pretty much unobtanium GPIB interface for beaucoup $$$. But mostly I see that with production machines. One floppy slot and absolutely zilch in terms of other interfaces. CNC gear become almost useless without being able to feed data into it.
--
Regards, Joerg

http://www.analogconsultants.com /
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
wrote:

Many, maybe most, of them have an old-fashioned serial interface too, for which people have cobbed together interfaces so that they can be controlled from a central point. There are half a dozen, from several different suppliers, in a college machine shop that I'm familiar with- used for teaching CNC machining.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Polytechforum.com is a website by engineers for engineers. It is not affiliated with any of manufacturers or vendors discussed here. All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.