Floppy Disk Conversion

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Revision as of 13:32, 6 October 2013 by Rpeters (talk | contribs) (For General Users)

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For General Users

Time is running out for anyone needing to recover data from 5 1/4" floppy disks, for several reasons:

  • data on lower density magnetic media is retained less reliably in the longer term (although this might seem counter-intuitive)
  • many contemporary PC have neither floppy disk drives nor facility to install them
  • PC up to about 8 years old might support 3.5" floppy drives but not 5 1/4"
  • early personal computers used a plethora of formats on 5 1/4" floppies and few of those computers remain servicable

Facilities at PCUG Centre

Computers at PCUG are set up to use floppies only in the MSDOS format (also called PC or FAT12 format)

Some computers in the Main office at PCUG can be used to transfer data between:

  • 3.5 inch floppy disks and USB devices (memory sticks/portable HDD)

Floppy disks can be converted at PCUG, via a different, older PC that is held in store and has the capability to read/write:

  • 5 1/4 inch floppies of MSDOS format in 1.2MB (HD), 360 kB (DS) and possibly 180 kB (SS) capacities
  • 3 1/2 inch floppies of 1.44 MB (HD) and 720 kB (DD) capacities

Members need to ask the Staffer's permission to set up the older PC for use.

Getting Technical

Windows PC generally can't read Macintosh floppies. Macintoshes were able to convert between the two formats - however PCUG does not hold a Macintosh computer.

2.88 MB (ED) floppy drives have a different cable interface and cannot readily be fitted to PC. Anyone needing to recover data from them would need to ask in another forum. Essentially, a 1990 vintage IBM PS/2 computer is required.

One rule of thumb is that lower density magnetic media has poorer durability than higher density. Anyone needing to recover data from 5.25 inch floppies is advised not to delay.

--Rpeters 15:51, 11 September 2013 (EST)