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AuthorTopic: Best way to ensure DD floppies survive another 20 years  (Read 44 times)

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Offline Xnyle

Best way to ensure DD floppies survive another 20 years
« on: June 10, 2016, 08:48:06 PM »
Hi Forum ;-)

I just transfered 95% of my old A500 floppies into ADFs, so far so good, 95% still good after 20 years and I doubt they were 100% good when I stashed them 20 years ago.

Now as it is often stated, floppies reach the end of their lifespan at about 20 years, how can I maximize the probability that 20 years from now on  I will still be able to play games on the original hardware using original floppies?

Basically I've two options handling my floppies:

1. Leave them as they are, just stash them in an arid dark spot again.
2. Rewrite them before stashing them again.

Problem is, I don't know/understand if rewriting them makes things worse or better.
Do they start to fail because they demagnetize, or because the underlying floppy disk starts to disintegrate?

Any opinion appreciated ;-)
« Last Edit: June 10, 2016, 08:50:28 PM by Xnyle »
 

Offline F1Lupo

Re: Best way to ensure DD floppies survive another 20 years
« Reply #1 on: June 10, 2016, 09:27:51 PM »
1st off...Welcome aboard:pint:

for backing up my disks I created ADF's like you and backed them up on a few devices since this is the best way to enure if something happens I can always re-create the disk again

I've got 4.25 floppies from my 64 that still work great and that's going back 30+ years but I can't get 90% of my CD backups from the 10 or so years ago to work at all go figure
« Last Edit: June 10, 2016, 09:30:09 PM by klx300r »
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Offline Ral-Clan

Re: Best way to ensure DD floppies survive another 20 years
« Reply #2 on: June 10, 2016, 09:35:44 PM »
You've got several problems with old magnetic media:

1. demagnetization
2. oxide flaking off
3. mould

The first will happen gradually. You can prolong data integrity by keeping floppies away from strong magnetic sources.  It will happen eventually though anyway (I believe) due to the effects of the Earth's magnetic field (although extremely slowly).

The second will happen due to age.  The adhesive holding the oxide or magnetic coating on the Mylar disc will break down and cause the oxide to powder or flake off. This is called "shedding". Often this oxide will end up on the head of your disc drive, bunging it up.  Not much you can do about this...and every brand of floppies will behave differently.  Some will still be great and others will be in terrible shape. When reel-to-reel enthusiasts need to rescue shelling audio tape sometimes they will do a controlled bake in an oven to reactivate the adhesive.  I'm not sure if this would work with floppies, but you'd have to take the actual Mylar disc out of the hard sleeve to to it anyway.  If you try to re-write data to "refresh" an old disk which is shedding oxide, you'll probably end up with a worse problem (as every time the drive head touches the disc surface it will do more damage).

The third will happen if you give mould a chance to grow.  If you store your discs in a humid, warm place you'll get cloudy spots on the disc surface.  Might look like mottling, specks or even white powder.  You can help avoid this by keeping the discs in a dry place.  Light won't damage magnetic media (unless it also generates heat) but it can totally destroy burned CD-Rs and DVD-Rs over time).  If you've got mould growing on your discs, you might hear them squeaking when you use them (this can also mean the lubricant is gone).  Some people have had luck gently washing the Mylar disc (removed from the hard shell) with low water content isopropyl alcohol to wash away the mould, but then the disk should really be archived to another medium and thrown away.

That said...I did exactly what you did (backup my disc collection to ADFs) around 2005.  I put all the disks in a non-climate controlled garage loft, except a pack of Workbench disks which I kept in a cool, dark place.  

Years later I went to use the Workbench disks and almost all had read/write errors.  I had to go out to the garage to get a backup set of Workbench disks and that set worked just fine.
« Last Edit: June 10, 2016, 09:43:48 PM by ral-clan »
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Offline paul1981

Re: Best way to ensure DD floppies survive another 20 years
« Reply #3 on: June 11, 2016, 01:12:07 AM »
I don't think demagnetisation would happen, but one other thing I would advise is to store them upright...as in don't pressurise the disks. The few floppies I've had issues with are the ones that were getting squashed in a disk box because I tried to cram too many disks in. The fabric layer on these disks seemed to end up sticking to parts of the disk due to prolonged pressure and time, possibly some humidity contributed to this event, but in any case I'm quite sure it was because they were physically getting squashed.

Keep them dry (lower humidity rather than higher), don't stack the piles more than 5 inches if you have to stack them, and don't try and squeeze more in a diskbox than what it was designed for (no pressure at all between disks).

If stacking, be extra careful with the shutters as they tend to slide onto each other which obviously damages the shutters. It's a bit like how wires seem to get mangled up without you even touching them...
 

Offline Rob

Re: Best way to ensure DD floppies survive another 20 years
« Reply #4 on: June 11, 2016, 01:12:21 AM »
Those storage bags you attach to the vacuum cleaner would remove the environmental factors of where they are stored.  If bundle them together, in stacks, with elastic bands it will help you to keep them in nice shape that will minimize air pockets in the bags.
 

Offline paul1981

Re: Best way to ensure DD floppies survive another 20 years
« Reply #5 on: June 11, 2016, 01:24:48 AM »
Quote from: Rob;809844
Those storage bags you attach to the vacuum cleaner would remove the environmental factors of where they are stored.  If bundle them together, in stacks, with elastic bands it will help you to keep them in nice shape that will minimize air pockets in the bags.

That's good advice except for the elastic bands, as elastic bands decay and can turn to goo which would get stuck all over the disks. Real elastic perhaps, or even string...

HaHa, yeah...put the elastic band on the bag LOL. I had a blonde moment, what can I say?

But, the elastic band would still decay so still not the best choice.
« Last Edit: June 11, 2016, 01:27:50 AM by paul1981 »
 

Offline QuikSanz

Re: Best way to ensure DD floppies survive another 20 years
« Reply #6 on: June 11, 2016, 02:51:53 AM »
Quote from: paul1981;809845
That's good advice except for the elastic bands, as elastic bands decay and can turn to goo which would get stuck all over the disks. Real elastic perhaps, or even string...

HaHa, yeah...put the elastic band on the bag LOL. I had a blonde moment, what can I say?

But, the elastic band would still decay so still not the best choice.


I think your not knowing what he's talking about. The bags he refers to are already sealed, no elastic needed. The elastic just bunches the disks upright. No air to get in and turn them into goo!

Nice idea actually.

Chris
 

Offline LoadWB

Re: Best way to ensure DD floppies survive another 20 years
« Reply #7 on: June 11, 2016, 05:12:10 AM »
Quote from: Rob;809844
Those storage bags you attach to the vacuum cleaner would remove the environmental factors of where they are stored.  If bundle them together, in stacks, with elastic bands it will help you to keep them in nice shape that will minimize air pockets in the bags.


This would seem counter-intuitive to the notion of not putting undue pressure on the disks and the vacuum squishes the disks against each other.  In particular 5.25 floppies while 3.5 micros might do better.

I have been storing mine in sealing, air-tight storage bins with big desiccant packs.  I suppose I will find out how well this works in time :)
 

Offline Xnyle

Re: Best way to ensure DD floppies survive another 20 years
« Reply #8 on: June 11, 2016, 12:04:14 PM »
Thanks for all the comments.

Seems I did everything right so far, stored in a dry clean cellar, always around 15 centigrade, dry, upright in a disk box. I'll just put them back there then.

Just for clarification:

Main problems are humidity and adhesives, not demagnetization?

But still: will it do any harm to a currently good disk to rewrite it?

Quote
If you try to re-write data to "refresh" an old disk which is shedding oxide, you'll probably end up with a worse problem (as every time the drive head touches the disc surface it will do more damage).


I already read all the disks, so the drive head was already there and the disk seems to be good.

So in this particular case, rewrite or not? Question is simply when will natural demagnetization hit? If it's in 100 years on average, I obviously don't want to rewrite them, if it's 30 years on average, I probably want to rewrite them.


Besides, I just made 20 copies of the original Workbench disk, hopefully one survives.
 

Offline Thorham

Re: Best way to ensure DD floppies survive another 20 years
« Reply #9 on: June 11, 2016, 12:18:12 PM »
To Xnyle:

A bit obvious perhaps, but: You can always just order new floppies online.
 

Offline Ral-Clan

Re: Best way to ensure DD floppies survive another 20 years
« Reply #10 on: June 11, 2016, 03:07:03 PM »
Quote from: Thorham;809858
To Xnyle:

A bit obvious perhaps, but: You can always just order new floppies online.


Yes, but I think any new floppies for sale online are NOS (new old stock).  Which means while they have never been used, they are at least 15 years old.  If double-density, possibly older.  So the aging oxide/adhesive thing is still an issue.
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Offline Xnyle

Re: Best way to ensure DD floppies survive another 20 years
« Reply #11 on: June 11, 2016, 03:32:36 PM »
Exactly. I guess the newest DD floppies are at least 15 years old now?

If I buy them now they are probably in worse shape then my own ones.

I could use new HD floppies, as there is still one manufacturer, but from what I read data on them won't hold for long?
 

Offline Thorham

Re: Best way to ensure DD floppies survive another 20 years
« Reply #12 on: June 11, 2016, 04:50:02 PM »
To Xnyle:

Perhaps giving up on floppies and going for floppy emulation in hardware is a better option?

Check out this video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cUxsmQxJZ3c
Keep an eye on: http://amigakit.leamancomputing.com/catalog/product_info.php?products_id=1269¤cy=EUR

Sure hope they're going to get that stock they're expecting, otherwise that will pretty useless, of course.

Best solution is really to get rid of the need for floppies, and floppy emulation seems like the easiest and cheapest way to do that (I don't use it, though).
 

Offline lucidphreak

Re: Best way to ensure DD floppies survive another 20 years
« Reply #13 on: June 11, 2016, 05:25:07 PM »
you gonna share those archiveS?
 

Offline Xnyle

Re: Best way to ensure DD floppies survive another 20 years
« Reply #14 on: June 11, 2016, 05:45:50 PM »
@Thorham thx, already found that solution, but it's just not the same.

If I go down that road, why not just dump the whola Amiga, buy a RPI und flash Retropie. Because it's not he same. Retro should include floppies ;-)