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Best way to archive old floppies (on a modern Mac?)

Crutch

Well-known member
Semi random question. I periodically find myself acquiring old floppies I want to archive to the Garden or elsewhere. Historically I've done this by making a disk image from my SE/30 and Wifi'ing it over to my modern Mac.

But I'm lazy, and don't love putting precious old floppies (which in a few cases contain otherwise unavailable software) into a vintage floppy drive which, while well maintained, could always fail. (Also I don't love the idea of sticking random floppies that might have mysterious gunk or damage on them into my very nice SE/30!)

Would love tips on the "right" way to archive the contents of a modern floppy without involving a vintage machine. I think @LaPorta has some knowledge here? Is here a doohickey I can hook up to a modern Mac to get a full bit-for-bit dump of an old 400K floppy that I can then just archive somewhere?
 

Nixontheknight

Well-known member
Semi random question. I periodically find myself acquiring old floppies I want to archive to the Garden or elsewhere. Historically I've done this by making a disk image from my SE/30 and Wifi'ing it over to my modern Mac.

But I'm lazy, and don't love putting precious old floppies (which in a few cases contain otherwise unavailable software) into a vintage floppy drive which, while well maintained, could always fail. (Also I don't love the idea of sticking random floppies that might have mysterious gunk or damage on them into my very nice SE/30!)

Would love tips on the "right" way to archive the contents of a modern floppy without involving a vintage machine. I think @LaPorta has some knowledge here? Is here a doohickey I can hook up to a modern Mac to get a full bit-for-bit dump of an old 400K floppy that I can then just archive somewhere?
the best way to archive it is to have two machines, a Mac with a SuperDrive and a way to connect to the internet, and one that can run OS X and OS 9 and connect to the internet, and boot the one that can run OS X and OS 9 into OS 9, connect them over EtherTalk, use Diskdup pro (press space 3 times to "register" it) to image the disc, then transfer the image to the mac that can run OS X and OS 9, and use the machine that can run OS X to put it onto a flash drive to bring to your modern computer
 

mikes-macs

Well-known member
I'm not really sure there is a best way.
There's only a few options and they all require more than a few clicks.
If you're doing it with a vintage Mac you may be able to automate most of it with AppleScript. If you need Scripting help, I may be of assistance. Folder Action scripting comes to mind.

USB Floppy Drive
Basilisk on a PC with an A drive
Sneaker net with Vintage Mac as you are doing now.

Even a USB floppy disk drive will require some network transfer to a more modern Mac, as I believe that they can only be used up to Mac OS X 10.7 if I'm not mistaken?
 

ArmorAlley

Well-known member
Is here a doohickey I can hook up to a modern Mac to get a full bit-for-bit dump of an old 400K floppy that I can then just archive somewhere?
Single & Double Density disks (aka 400K & 800K) floppies for the mac can only be read on Macs up to the mid-nineties. I've forgottem at what point 400K floppies can no longer be read but 800K can be read & written up to the beige Power Mac G3s.

After that, floppies are only available as USB external devices and these can only read/write High Density floppies (aka 1.4MB).

If you have a modern Mac, you are out of luck. You need an old Mac if you want to read 400K & 800K floppies.
@Nixontheknight's method is not at all bad. Do get you floppy drive serviced first though, to reduce the chance of the the drive breaking on account of a lack of grease and to reduce the chance of the drive damaging the floppy disk itself.

Don't be too surprised if many floppies are unreadable. I archived my collection of 90's floppies about 5-6 years' ago and found that a third of them could no longer be read.

If you have a USB floppy drive and a lot of high density floppy disks, a Mac Mini G4 might solve your problems. It can access the Mac Garden via Classilla 9.3.3 easily. It can run Mac OS 9.2.2 as well thanks to some jiggery-pokery from the MikeTomTom at the Mac Garden and the folks at MacOS9Lives. With this combo, you can image floppies directly to the Mac Mini G4 using DiskDup Pro and then upload them to the Mac Garden. The Mac Mini G4 also makes a nice server for a mac LAN. At 1250MHz, it's a mighty little mac.
 

cheesestraws

Well-known member
If you want to archive on a modern machine, I've had a great deal of luck with a greaseweazle reading 800k floppies. Not tried any 400k with it, but since the only difference is the sidedness I'm sure it could be convinced to do it.
 

joshc

Well-known member
For 1.4MB disks, a USB floppy drive, probably one of the ones made by LaCie or Iomega which are still easy to find on eBay, hooked up with a G3 or G4 are probably a good bet? I'm planning to try this out myself.
 

Phipli

Well-known member
Please try to do it on period hardware, because you should be testing it on old hardware anyway if possible.

Macintosh Garden is full of System 6 and 7 software that people have wrapped up in archives that won't uncompress on computers that run those system versions. Its a pain, I have to keep a Pismo to hand to recompress files stuffed with more recent OSX versions of Stuffit, or the Archive Zip option in MacOS X. I used to /only/ have an SE in the house retro mac wise so it was even more of a pain.
 

mikes-macs

Well-known member
Macintosh Garden is full of System 6 and 7 software that people have wrapped up in archives that won't uncompress on computers that run those system versions.
Yes, That is a pain in the arse. My G3 iBook is setup with Stuffit Deluxe for this reason. But also Snow Leopard is available for even more recent archives.
 

joshc

Well-known member
That's bad, but what is worse are those ISO archives which don't mount on modern OSes but also don't mount under System 7 in Basilisk, so I have no idea what the archiver did - but they clearly made little consideration for how someone would mount/use the file they created.
 

Phipli

Well-known member
That's bad, but what is worse are those ISO archives which don't mount on modern OSes but also don't mount under System 7 in Basilisk, so I have no idea what the archiver did - but they clearly made little consideration for how someone would mount/use the file they created.
Got any examples?
 

mikes-macs

Well-known member
Sometimes you get a "No mountable Volume" error when trying to mount an iso or toast image on modern Macs. No idea why.
 

Phipli

Well-known member

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Crutch

Well-known member
If you want to archive on a modern machine, I've had a great deal of luck with a greaseweazle reading 800k floppies. Not tried any 400k with it, but since the only difference is the sidedness I'm sure it could be convinced to do it.
This is EXACTLY what I was looking for. I asked the question badly, but my real question was “is there a good way to bit-image a vintage floppy, with maximum reliability/fidelity, for archival purposes without loading it on a vintage Mac.” Thanks @cheesestraws
Please try to do it on period hardware, because you should be testing it on old hardware anyway if possible.
Thanks - but I see those as really two different questions. I am delighted to and will always test my floppies on vintage hardware. But I was hoping for a less-vintage-hardware-intensive process for actually reading and archiving the bits from a vintage floppy.
jiggery-pokery
I have always really loved this word.

My current mini-obsession is I found two floppies that allege to contain a copy of Hippo C, which I supposed to be the first C compiler for the Mac (from 1984, I believe) and, to my knowledge, is not known to exist anywhere and is described by the various websites that discuss such things as something of a mysterious ghost. https://retrocomputing.stackexchang...hat-was-the-first-c-compiler-for-the-mac#3220
 
the best way to archive it is to have two machines, a Mac with a SuperDrive and a way to connect to the internet, and one that can run OS X and OS 9 and connect to the internet, and boot the one that can run OS X and OS 9 into OS 9, connect them over EtherTalk, use Diskdup pro (press space 3 times to "register" it) to image the disc, then transfer the image to the mac that can run OS X and OS 9, and use the machine that can run OS X to put it onto a flash drive to bring to your modern computer
Thanks for this suggestion.
 

ArmorAlley

Well-known member
Greazleweasle is what I have learned from this thread.
It will teach me to be so authorative by being wrong.
I'd heard about it on the Retrocomputing Round Table podcast (a fantastic podcast btw) and it had slipped my mind.

 
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