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Degraded 5.25 inch floppys. 3M particularly bad?

PostPosted: Tue May 31, 2011 1:10 pm
by tezza

The latest project involves archiving 1986-1992 PC software on 400-500 donated 5.25 inch disks. I don't have a big pre-1990 PC library and it's a chance to get software for Virtual PC 2007 and also have some local stock for my machines. I'm using Winimage to create the disk images.

These disk have all been keep in a dry, cool(ish) place, and are a mixture of Wang, Verbatim, 3M, Dysan and a few others. However, as I've processed each one I've noticed a distinct difference in brands. The disks seem to have aged well with the exception of one brand. 3M DS/DD disks. Many of these have degraded and you can see white, discoloured flakes of residue (or maybe fungi) on the media. There are a few that seem ok, but 75% of the 3M DS/DD disks are like this. They go straight in the bin, as they can gum up drives. 3M DS/HD 1.2MB disks seem ok.

I'm curious to know if this phemonema is confined to this lot of disks or is wider. Anyone else had the same experience or notice differences in brands names as far as the lifetime of 5.25 inch floppies are concerned?

Re: Degraded 5.25 inch floppys. 3M particularly bad?

PostPosted: Thu Jun 02, 2011 9:12 pm
I'm in the same boat but I don't think I've got any 3M DSDDs. Maybe a few 3M HD (1.2M).
Mostly I've got Verbatim Valuelife's and assorted other "bargain" brands.
I can't say I've noticed any significant differences in terms of reliability, although tbh I haven't logged any statistical data.

You do clean them before use, right? I routinely remove them from their sleeves and thoroughly clean off any mould with CD/DVD wipes before attempting to read them. Trying several different drives can sometimes bring success, due to differences in head alignment, speed etc (hope I'm not telling you how to suck eggs here :P)

I was once able to recover a file I absolutely had to have simply by Retrying - several.. hundred... times :x

Re: Degraded 5.25 inch floppys. 3M particularly bad?

PostPosted: Thu Jun 02, 2011 9:25 pm
by tezza
Strangely the 3M HD disks seem ok?

No, I'm not cleaning any of these ones. I'm just checking visually if I can see any degredation. If I do they are trashed. If not, I try to image them. Out of about 500 (or maybe more!) 5.25 inch disks I've found 34 which seemed degraded (hence binned). Of those that weren't binned only four failed to image. That's pretty good given the number.