Reading floppy disks??

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Reading floppy disks??

Post by Disastrous @ Wed Jul 26, 2017 2:58 pm

Why is this not working?

I've just bought a USB floppy drive off Amazon to backup some old disks full of music stuff.

I stick the disk in and grinds and whirs away before saying it's 'unreadable' and do I want to initialise it. I don't, as it's full of info so I tried another and when I tried to initialise it I got a 'it failed' message.

What am I missing?

I'd have thought if the disk was truly unreadable by the OS, it wouldn't 'see' it at all?

Is there a glaring reason why MacOS can't read old 1.44mb floppies?
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Re: Reading floppy disks??

Post by minimoog @ Wed Jul 26, 2017 3:05 pm

The disks have a Windows file system?
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Re: Reading floppy disks??

Post by Strawman @ Wed Jul 26, 2017 3:06 pm

Are they windows recorded floppies?
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Re: Reading floppy disks??

Post by Deuteronomy @ Wed Jul 26, 2017 3:06 pm

Old discs that have been exposed to magnetism?

Or just old discs that are old and 'faded'

ETA: If the FAT is buggered then the system will assume it's screwed (if MS formatted discs)
Last edited by Deuteronomy on Wed Jul 26, 2017 3:07 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Reading floppy disks??

Post by Disastrous @ Wed Jul 26, 2017 3:09 pm

I think the formatting isn't especially relevant as the Mac fails when it tries to reformat for Mac, so the previous format shouldn't matter?

But they're out a 90's synth, so will be probably DOS formatted.

They also work currently, in the synth, so the disks are fine...
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Re: Reading floppy disks??

Post by CJ+ @ Wed Jul 26, 2017 3:15 pm

It could be an alignment thing. The read/write heads in the floppy drive in your synth will be in position X. The synth wrote those disks, so it can read them.

The read/write heads in your brand-new floppy drive are probably not quite in position X. A blank disk put into it will format, read and write just fine. But I bet it won't work in your synth, because the alignment in each disk drive is (relatively) far apart.

Are the disks themselves readable in other computers? Have you got an old PC knocking around?

I've got one. Let me know if you want some CJ+ Data Recovery Services service.
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Re: Reading floppy disks??

Post by Disastrous @ Wed Jul 26, 2017 3:19 pm

CJ+ wrote:It could be an alignment thing. The read/write heads in the floppy drive in your synth will be in position X. The synth wrote those disks, so it can read them.

The read/write heads in your brand-new floppy drive are probably not quite in position X. A blank disk put into it will format, read and write just fine. But I bet it won't work in your synth, because the alignment in each disk drive is (relatively) far apart.

Are the disks themselves readable in other computers? Have you got an old PC knocking around?

I've got one. Let me know if you want some CJ+ Data Recovery Services service.



Interesting. But if that is the case, should the Mac not be able to format them regardless, even if it can't read the contents?

I was thinking more along the lines of OSX having some sort of *thing* that means it won't read floppies (like you can't use USB>SCSI adapters any more because the OS just won't have it)?
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Re: Reading floppy disks??

Post by CJ+ @ Wed Jul 26, 2017 3:23 pm

Dunno. I've had funnies with USB floppy drives in the past.

The floppy disk drive in the old computer I've got is not USB, but connected the old-fashioned way.

(The PC itself is my in-laws' old Dell, of approximately 2007 vintage; it's hopelessly slow and underpowered, but it works perfectly, and I cannot bring myself to chuck out something that works. This also explains why I have a PS2 and all the doin's in a carrier bag in my office, despite not even having a telly with the required composite inputs any more)
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Re: Reading floppy disks??

Post by ttwiggy @ Wed Jul 26, 2017 3:51 pm

I think having a carrier bag full of 'doins' is a tad unhygienic.
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Re: Reading floppy disks??

Post by Deuteronomy @ Wed Jul 26, 2017 4:05 pm

Any use?

HFS Floppies: Fully Readable, No Writes with OS X 10.6 or Later

The good news is that all tested versions of Mac OS X are able to read 1.4 MB floppy disks in a USB floppy drive. The bad news – well, at least less good – is that starting with Mac OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard, you can’t write to an HFS-formatted floppy disk. To do that, you need to use OS X 10.5 Leopard or earlier.


http://lowendmac.com/2016/floppy-disk-c ... mac-world/
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Re: Reading floppy disks??

Post by CJ+ @ Wed Jul 26, 2017 4:07 pm

ttwiggy wrote:I think having a carrier bag full of 'doins' is a tad unhygienic.

Cables, twig. Cables, controllers and a few games. Not poo.

But thanks for that peek into the foul corners of your psyche.
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Re: Reading floppy disks??

Post by CJ+ @ Wed Jul 26, 2017 4:08 pm

Deuteronomy wrote:Any use?

HFS Floppies: Fully Readable, No Writes with OS X 10.6 or Later

The good news is that all tested versions of Mac OS X are able to read 1.4 MB floppy disks in a USB floppy drive. The bad news – well, at least less good – is that starting with Mac OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard, you can’t write to an HFS-formatted floppy disk. To do that, you need to use OS X 10.5 Leopard or earlier.


http://lowendmac.com/2016/floppy-disk-c ... mac-world/

Good info, but won't relate to the disks Dis is using; the synth will be using DOS-format disks.
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Re: Reading floppy disks??

Post by Käsemeister @ Wed Jul 26, 2017 6:32 pm

Disastrous wrote:Is there a glaring reason why MacOS can't read old 1.44mb floppies?


Some reasons already stated, it may be DOS formatted, likely pre D5, more likely 3.2. Some even down formatted the discs or whatever the right phrase was so they're effectively 720k discs but on 1.44 media.
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Re: Reading floppy disks??

Post by Hooli @ Wed Jul 26, 2017 7:12 pm

If it's formatted a Double Density rather than High Density (720k not 1.44Mb) then I seem to recall covering up the hole opposite means the drive sees it as a DD disk. After all you used to be able to buy square hole punches to turn DDs into HDs.
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Re: Reading floppy disks??

Post by foo @ Wed Jul 26, 2017 7:18 pm

Any 1.44MB drive can read a 720kB disk, even if it's a real DD one, you don't need to cover any holes.

DOS used FAT16, FAT32 is backwardly compatible so there shouldn't be any issues there. What does it say if you open up Disk Utility and put the disk in?
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Re: Reading floppy disks??

Post by Disastrous @ Wed Jul 26, 2017 7:58 pm

Käsemeister wrote:
Disastrous wrote:Is there a glaring reason why MacOS can't read old 1.44mb floppies?


Some reasons already stated, it may be DOS formatted, likely pre D5, more likely 3.2. Some even down formatted the discs or whatever the right phrase was so they're effectively 720k discs but on 1.44 media.



But shouldn't I still be able to format them if the computer can recognise them enough to say it can't be read?
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Re: Reading floppy disks??

Post by manfromdelmonte @ Wed Jul 26, 2017 10:18 pm

Disastrous wrote:
Käsemeister wrote:
Disastrous wrote:Is there a glaring reason why MacOS can't read old 1.44mb floppies?


Some reasons already stated, it may be DOS formatted, likely pre D5, more likely 3.2. Some even down formatted the discs or whatever the right phrase was so they're effectively 720k discs but on 1.44 media.



But shouldn't I still be able to format them if the computer can recognise them enough to say it can't be read?


Is the little physical write-protect toggle thing set in the corner of the disk?
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Re: Reading floppy disks??

Post by Disastrous @ Wed Jul 26, 2017 10:21 pm

No, like I say, I can write to it absolutely fine on the synth so it's definitely the computer end. Either the disk itself like Ceej suggests (but then how can it read it to say it can't read it?), the usb drive or something weird about OSX I reckon...
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Re: Reading floppy disks??

Post by Strawman @ Wed Jul 26, 2017 10:31 pm

Floppy disks are well gay, glad they aren't used anymore.
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Re: Reading floppy disks??

Post by Disastrous @ Wed Jul 26, 2017 10:34 pm

I think Ceej is winning so far...

As an experiment I just tried from scratch again with a fresh disk. The Mac saw it ok and then I put it in the synth and formatted it and saved some files onto it. Put it back into the Mac and it was readable and I was able to back up my data from it - result!

However, putting it back int he synth through up a "Bad disk. Format y/n?" message so even the very act of putting it in the Mac and reading it seems to render it inoperable on the synth. Mad.
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Re: Reading floppy disks??

Post by Disastrous @ Wed Jul 26, 2017 10:37 pm

Strawman wrote:Floppy disks are well gay, glad they aren't used anymore.



Yes they are. Really quite shit!

Oddly comforting sound they make though.
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Re: Reading floppy disks??

Post by Hooli @ Wed Jul 26, 2017 10:52 pm

Disastrous wrote:
Oddly comforting sound they make though.


I had to fire up my old desktop at work to get some files I'd forgot about the other day. I'd forgot how a proper mechanical HDD makes a nice noise that sounds 'computery' rather than the silent SSD I've got used too.
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Re: Reading floppy disks??

Post by foo @ Wed Jul 26, 2017 11:16 pm

Disastrous wrote:However, putting it back int he synth through up a "Bad disk. Format y/n?" message so even the very act of putting it in the Mac and reading it seems to render it inoperable on the synth. Mad.


That is mad, it doesn't make any sense. Did OS X chuck the usual .DS_Store files on it or anything? I wonder if the synth could be checking for files it doesn't expect then throwing the error.
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Re: Reading floppy disks??

Post by Pigeon @ Wed Jul 26, 2017 11:40 pm

There used to be something weird about 3.5" floppies on Macs back in the 80s when PCs were still using mostly 5.25", because of Apple's habit of making up their own weird shit just so it wasn't the same as anyone else's. Different format and 1.2MB instead of 1.44, or something, but I can't really remember. Anyway, I don't much expect it to still be making any difference these days.

Perhaps more relevantly, I'm pretty sure there was also something weird about what 90s-era synths that used floppies did with them. Something connected with the designers never really thinking that people might want to read/write the disks with a PC and so thinking they could do non-standard things here and there and it wouldn't matter. Result was somewhat similar to the way 5.25" floppies for an Apricot PC came out all scrambled if you tried to read them on a real one. You could get round it, but you had to fcuk about. Unhelpfully I can't remember any more than that nor can I remember where I came across it to go and look it up again.

But anyway, the important thing is not to perform any kind of write operation on any of your original synth floppies. Keep the little black sliding write protect thingy in the safe position. Make new ones to fcuk about with and use them to figure out how to make it work so you can do it without rogering any of your old data.

I have a few machines with floppy drives if you'd like me to have a look at it. (Heck, I've even still got a machine with a 5.25" floppy drive although I've no idea if the drive still works.)
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Re: Reading floppy disks??

Post by Disastrous @ Thu Jul 27, 2017 12:23 am

I think I've found a solution.

If I format in the synth, and save onto disk from the synth, THEN hit the write-protect tab and put it into the Mac, backup my files and eject then the synth can read them again no problem. If I don't hit the write protect tab before simply viewing them on the Mac, then the disk gets fcuked.

Leads me to think that OSX is doing an invisible *something* to the disks that the synth doesn't like...Sound right?
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Re: Reading floppy disks??

Post by CJ+ @ Thu Jul 27, 2017 7:37 am

Disastrous wrote:I think I've found a solution.

If I format in the synth, and save onto disk from the synth, THEN hit the write-protect tab and put it into the Mac, backup my files and eject then the synth can read them again no problem. If I don't hit the write protect tab before simply viewing them on the Mac, then the disk gets fcuked.

Leads me to think that OSX is doing an invisible *something* to the disks that the synth doesn't like...Sound right?

Yep. It's likely wanting to update things like the "last accessed" time and stuff.
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Re: Reading floppy disks??

Post by Deuteronomy @ Thu Jul 27, 2017 8:24 am

Dis, if the Mac can't actually write to the disc, then what use are your back-ups?

Sure, you've got a copy of everything, but how would you actually get it back onto the synth?
Last edited by Deuteronomy on Thu Jul 27, 2017 8:24 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Reading floppy disks??

Post by Disastrous @ Thu Jul 27, 2017 8:46 am

Deuteronomy wrote:Dis, if the Mac can't actually write to the disc, then what use are your back-ups?

Sure, you've got a copy of everything, but how would you actually get it back onto the synth?



Dunno. It's a good question but thinking about, I don't necessarily have to. A lot of the data I'm keen to preserve is in the form of MIDI sequences, and these can still be opened in any music software so that helps. Longer term, I'm going to try one of those floppy to USB drive thingies and see if that works in both directions...
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Re: Reading floppy disks??

Post by Deuteronomy @ Thu Jul 27, 2017 9:17 am

Disastrous wrote:
Deuteronomy wrote:Dis, if the Mac can't actually write to the disc, then what use are your back-ups?

Sure, you've got a copy of everything, but how would you actually get it back onto the synth?



Dunno. It's a good question but thinking about, I don't necessarily have to. A lot of the data I'm keen to preserve is in the form of MIDI sequences, and these can still be opened in any music software so that helps. Longer term, I'm going to try one of those floppy to USB drive thingies and see if that works in both directions...


Ah, cool
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Re: Reading floppy disks??

Post by Disastrous @ Thu Jul 27, 2017 9:22 am

Deuteronomy wrote:
Disastrous wrote:
Deuteronomy wrote:Dis, if the Mac can't actually write to the disc, then what use are your back-ups?

Sure, you've got a copy of everything, but how would you actually get it back onto the synth?



Dunno. It's a good question but thinking about, I don't necessarily have to. A lot of the data I'm keen to preserve is in the form of MIDI sequences, and these can still be opened in any music software so that helps. Longer term, I'm going to try one of those floppy to USB drive thingies and see if that works in both directions...


Ah, cool



Or I might just rip out the floppy drive, dash it to pieces on the floor and pretend it never existed, the cnut.
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