Jump to content
IGNORED

Mouldy floppies... A terrible thing to suffer!


Recommended Posts

I have many, many old and sadly uncared for floppy disks - probably three to four hundred if not more. They have been abandoned in a cold and damp house for over 20 years and the majority have gone mouldy. Even if the media is still in a usable condition I don't want to filthy-up my new 1050's read/write head by all the accumulated bio-film on the surface.

 

I have heard conflicting information, but I wondered if any of you chaps could comment definitively if it is possible to recover the disks? I have read on here briefly and other sites about 'washing' the media - literally in warm and soapy water. Which sounds great, but... Does it really work? If so then presumably you remove the actual mylar disk itself and wash that, not the whole thing? Is it possible to reseal the 'caddy' afterwards? Maybe none of it is true. But it would be nice if I could recover maybe my old DOS master disks and a box of - prior to being boxed up last century and forgotten about - totally unused 3M HD 5.25inchers.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Yes. If everything is on the surface the media can certainly be washed in soapy water. I recommend slitting the jackets, washing the discs, and then making a quick copy using a drive with the top removed. Gloves are a good idea too. Rinse and Repeat, as they say. :)

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Before you get your "hands dirty" so to speak.... you should try obtain as much of your collection as you can from on-line sources. That way, you would only need to focus on the disks that are the only source for what you have on them.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Before you get your "hands dirty" so to speak.... you should try obtain as much of your collection as you can from on-line sources. That way, you would only need to focus on the disks that are the only source for what you have on them.

Makes sense.

 

I'm currently in a bit of a catch-22. I've got a Happy 1050 coming in the post, but I now realize I do not have a working copy of any DOS! Old Lotharek isn't going to post my other stuff until next Friday, so I can't use an external partition via "SIDE2" to copy an *.ATR of a DOS over to my machine that way, Then finally, just to rub it in I find out that the company I intend to buy the parts for an SIO2PC won't sell their electronics to Britain!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Along these lines can some please tell me how to download an .atr file, (using a SIO2USB or Lotharek device), put it on to a disk? I have both devices, am clueless how to use them. I hear about all the file images available online, but can't take advantage of the technology to do so. My SIO2USB came with zero instructions.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Along these lines can some please tell me how to download an .atr file, (using a SIO2USB or Lotharek device), put it on to a disk? I have both devices, am clueless how to use them. I hear about all the file images available online, but can't take advantage of the technology to do so. My SIO2USB came with zero instructions.

Easiest way is to have an A8 connected to both the PC and a drive set to #2. Then load a copy utility and do a disk copy to the drive.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Would you believe I just asked exactly the same thing?

 

This is the thread:

 

http://atariage.com/forums/topic/237292-sio2pc-and-tablets/

 

Kogden gives some excellent detail. Basically you need to hook you SIO2USB to you Atari via an SIO cable and to your PC via USB. Then you use a piece of software that mounts on your PC the *.ATR image you want. Finally start up you Aari machine. It should then 'see' the SIO2USB as if it were a physical disk drive, holding a physical disk with the contents of the *.ATR you mounted. If the image is a game it will boot and run as if it were a real diskette. If it is data then you can load it, again as normal from BASIC or even another application that is expecting a data disk on a disk drive. So far as your Atari is concerned the SIO2USB is a disk drive. The *.ATR image is a disk.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I suffered from mouldy floppies once but the tablets cleared it right up.......I'll get me coat..

 

Seriously, I once was given a batch of disks in that condition, managed to salvage some with the light washing treatment but most were beyond anything BUT they were in a terrible state. You *might* be able to prep them with a spray so there's less actual contact with the disk and the slime just slides off under warm water but be very careful of what you spray on them, its not a fun job and its amazing what you find lurking in the sleeve of the disk.

 

Good luck...

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hey matey. Tell me what you need and I'll put onto floppies and post out (as I'm also in the UK). If you just cover the postage cost pus an extra couple of quid then I'll be more than happy to send you some disks

Makes sense.

 

I'm currently in a bit of a catch-22. I've got a Happy 1050 coming in the post, but I now realize I do not have a working copy of any DOS! Old Lotharek isn't going to post my other stuff until next Friday, so I can't use an external partition via "SIDE2" to copy an *.ATR of a DOS over to my machine that way, Then finally, just to rub it in I find out that the company I intend to buy the parts for an SIO2PC won't sell their electronics to Britain!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hey matey. Tell me what you need and I'll put onto floppies and post out (as I'm also in the UK). If you just cover the postage cost pus an extra couple of quid then I'll be more than happy to send you some disks

That is a really kind offer djmat56!!! I'm going to try a couple of these methods, but to be honest I don't hold out much hope. I think there are strange new worlds and new civilizations inside each and every floppy sleeve... If I can't salvage what I'm looking for that I will give you a PM and we can sort out the details.

 

 

...You *might* be able to prep them with a spray so there's less actual contact with the disk and the slime just slides off under warm water but be very careful of what you spray on them, its not a fun job and its amazing what you find lurking in the sleeve of the disk.

I believe you Paul!!! I have a real irrational fear of spores, moulds and fungus... I have never eaten mushrooms in my life and I am a bit scared to even open some of these up!!! Its odd because my gear was not physically getting wet - it was just damp air and cold. Ever since 2012 and I discovered you chaps on the forums here and 'Altirra' I've meant to gather up my real Atari stuff, but every time I've thought about it I've then given it a few minutes and decided against - because I just knew the state of what i was going to find!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Well, to be honest, the real question is if any of those disks contain anything that you can't get elsewhere... like treasure troves of homemade programs, data, pictures... things that can't be replaced. Any games or software that is not rare and can be downloaded from other sources, probably just better to get new copies. I always hate to see irreplaceable things disappear forever (even my old stupid basic programs). Part of why I tend to buy old ST hard drives off E-bay now and again. Just to see what might have been hidden away.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Yes. If everything is on the surface the media can certainly be washed in soapy water. I recommend slitting the jackets, washing the discs, and then making a quick copy using a drive with the top removed. Gloves are a good idea too. Rinse and Repeat, as they say. :)

 

Yes, cut the back edge (the edge you see when the disk is inserted in a drive) off with a pair of scissors - very carefully - the disk is right up to the edge. Do not use the old jacket. The jacket is coated with material that is designed to capture dust and dirt that gets on the disks, so your jackets will just dump more crud on the disk if you use them. Cut the disk out of a new/clean diskette and use that. Wash the disk gently with warm, soapy water. I use clear, liquid hand soap. Dry the disk with a soft rag, inspect it for missed crud, and slide it into a new jacket.

 

I use a 1050 with the top cover removed. Slide the floppy into the drive - you may have to 'help' it latch since the jacket is a little shorter. Make sure it latches before you close the lever. If the disk does not spin with the lever all the way down, lift the lever a little bit - you can't read a disk that is not spinning...

 

You can't use a disk very well this way, but you can recover any data on it.

 

Bob

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

 

...The jacket is coated with material that is designed to capture dust and dirt that gets on the disks, so your jackets will just dump more crud on the disk if you use them.

Hey Bob!!! This is exactly what I was wondering! I remember dismembering many a 5.25 as a child and the insides are lined with a sort of rough cotton-wool or maybe slightly fluffy paper-tower material. I can imagine how all that absorbent surface area would be absolute heaven for fungus to grow among. I guess the chaps in the video were dealing with was essentially a good disk, that just happened to have some small quantity of dust or crud laid down on the surface rather then the mildewed nightmare of my stock!!!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Try to use isopropyllic alcohol (IPA cleaner), as it can evaporate. Soap is not a good option, it may leave traces of it after drying. When you use such diskette, those particles will accumulate in one place - on your disk drive's head....

Link to comment
Share on other sites

You should not expect to use a recovered disk, other than to dump the data off of it.

 

I haven't had any issues with soap residue, but old disks may shed oxide. You need to check the heads after you run any disk that may be contaminated. For that matter, you should check the heads any time you get a disk error - check the disk surface, also.

 

I find that alcohol evaporates too quickly to allow adequate cleaning of the disk surface. You can't work it sufficiently and it's difficult to 'wash' the media clean once you have wiped it down. Soap is easily washed off with water - carefully.

 

Alcohol produces a lot of vapors, not good to inhale, and is very flammable.

 

Clean the heads - alcohol. Clean the disk itself - soap and water.

 

 

 

Bob

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

 

Clean the heads - alcohol. Clean the disk itself - soap and water.

 

That is a good point in itself and part of the same issue - head cleaning. My father and uncle always used to swear that you should never use any of those head cleaning kits with a fake floppy who's surface was actually a kind of thick tissue-paper. Actually, they were talking about the very similar ones for video and audio cassettes but the advice seemed to apply to diskettes as well. Personally I never really believed them as you have to clean your head sometimes - and not working because of being covered with oxide residue is just as not working due to nebulous 'damage' from cleaning.

 

So, what would you suggest is the least damaging way to clean a disk drive's heads? I do have a little bottle of isopropyl alcohol from an old 3.5 inch cleaning kit, but generally I have found it very hard to get any quantity of in Britain.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The big problem with head cleaning disks is the felt pad. The pad does not like to be 'sanded off' with a cleaning disk, so be careful. I use the disks when the drive is closed up (and I don't want to take the time to remove the cover). Usually, when I am trying to run dirty disks, the cover is off and I just clean the head with a Q-Tip. If you can't see oxide with your strong glasses on, there isn't any...

 

As long as your diskettes are OK, you don't need to clean your heads very often.

 

Bob

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Ahh... Good advice!!! I'll bear that in mind. As a total, if slightly linked aside - do you know if PC 1.44mb floppy drives have that same felt pad?

Don't think so, as they are double sided disks, so they have a head touching both sides of the media.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...
 Share

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    • No registered users viewing this page.
×
×
  • Create New...