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Thread: life span of 5.25" floppies?

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    Default life span of 5.25" floppies?

    I unloaded my C64 collection about ten years ago for fear that the media just wouldn't last. Of course I'm regretting it now as this is a possible new frontier of my collecting. Has anyone found that their old discs are not working?

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    I would say 85%-90% of my old C64 diskettes are still working. Some of them are 20 years old. Mine have been stored in about the worst possible conditions. Between 1993 and 1996 I moved four times, at which point my C64 and all my diskettes were packed into big cardboard boxes and stored in various garages and/or attics (both summer and winter). Most of my old disk boxes had cracked or broken and so before I moved last time I put all the diskettes into two milk crates (four stacks in each one, one's completely full and the other is about half full). They've been living my my garage in a milk crate ever since.

    Last year I finally bought an SX-64 off of eBay. Pulled several of my old disks out, and they all pretty much ran perfectly. In reality, the only ones I really had problems with were my old originals. I think over the years all my old disk drives have gone slightly out of alignment, enough to where they'll still play all my copied disks, but all the ones with copy protection are a bit much for them.

    I recently bought an XE-1541 cable, and hope to (someday) completely transfer my old diskettes over to the PC.

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    The vast majority of my 5 1/4" disks still work perfectly fine... in fact, my brother's 3.5" Amiga disks seem to have suffered a lot more over the years than my C64 disks have!

    --Zero

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    Yep, the floppies still keep surviving!

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    It might be my drive failing on me...but a lot of my disks don't work anymore.

    Mind you, I got most of them secondhand...

    Thank goodness for emulators at some level, but I want to fire up the old C64 and actually play Indoor Sports, Stunt Car Racer, and Hardball again.
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    Quote Originally Posted by scooterb23
    Thank goodness for emulators at some level, but I want to fire up the old C64 and actually play Indoor Sports, Stunt Car Racer, and Hardball again.
    Yeah, I've played Hardball emulated and it's just not satisfying. I've also had plenty of trouble with games that require disk swapping such as Law of the West and Wasteland.

    It's just not the same if I can't hear that 1541 grinding away.

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    Pretty much all my old 5.25 disks are still working as well. I've even got a bunch of old PC disks that I never copied over from about 15 years ago, but I'm not worried yet.

    I'm sure given another 10 or 15 years, they may be toast, but I guess in 10 years we can ask the question again and see

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    Surprisingly most of my 5 1/4" disks are still okay. The only ones that had issues were the really really cheap disks and some of the originals (of course for the most expensive software like OS-9 Level 2). They were all mostly stored in a disk box, so their life span thus far is roughly 12 to 14 years and counting. Hell even my audio program tapes are still good.

    I think 3 1/2" disks will probably last longer. I love those things, even though they can't hold with today's larger file sizes. I chucked one across the room and slapped it back into the PC and it worked great. ALL of my 3 1/2" disks, even my old 720K disks, work.

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    Well on this subject. Is there a way you could buy an enclosure and make like a usb 5.25 drive? I know this sounds crazy, but I find old game i want on ebay but they use this and I don't want an old pc just for the drive use. ANy thoughts.
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    I don't know if a USB drive is possible...very interesting idea.

    One issue though is that some of these old games do not work well / at all under a more modern OS.
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    There are USB 3 1/2" floppy drives, but many look like they have specialized interfaces. There are parallel port external 3 1/2's out there that MAY be converted to work with 5 1/4". If you have the room, why not just shove a 5 1/4" drive into your system? Probably would be cheaper off than building an enclosure.

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    Quote Originally Posted by brykasch
    Well on this subject. Is there a way you could buy an enclosure and make like a usb 5.25 drive?
    Assuming you'd be using it on a normal desktop computer, it would probably be easier and cheaper just to buy a regular 5.25" drive and install it as drive B... almost no one has a drive B anymore, and most computers have plenty of 5.25" bays anyways, so all you have to do is plug in two cables and it should work fine (assuming the drive itself works) with no need for special USB drivers or anything. In fact, there's almost no reason NOT to have a 5.25" drive in there, except for the 10-15 minutes it takes to put it in.

    If you're looking to read/write stuff like C64, Amiga, Apple, etc disks, and you have the money, then you might want to look into the Catweasel. It's a disk drive controller that is "smarter" than the standard one that is built into your motherboard, so it can understand a number of disk formats that are completely alien to PC hardware. I've always wanted one of these things, but my X1541 cable is still going strong, so I haven't had much need for it.

    --Zero

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