CRAZY – WHICH WAY?

It’s crazy :crazy: a few floppy disks to sort and I find I am working for hours at checking then transferring the data to other media, while I still have access to a floppy disk drive. I haven’t quite finished the task yet.

The next decision is, do I save the floppies that held the original data I have decided to preserve. Some forms of media are more resilient to deterioration than others. However, few are resilient to changes in technology and the concomittant equipment developments that we are required to buy into to keep up to date with progress. These progressions are the reason for using lots of my time to save information.

Floppy disks did not take up much space; they did not however, hold much data either. CD’s hold much more information as do DVD’s and they require careful storage to preserve them in a healthy condition. CD’s are my media of choice for written data and I suppose I shall use DVD’s for the masses of digital archives that have formed out of nowhere. A decision still has to be made about the real photos that piled up over the years. :**:

I know that the easiest thing to do would be to save everything to an external hard drive. They are getting less cumbersome. You should see my first one. Even sprog didn’t know what the great lump was. It is still more economic to used CD’s etc.

A little voice tells me though, there will come a time when I may need to back up onto an external hard drive, what I have so far transferred elsewhere. But then, if I do, I won’t be able to view digital media (pictures etc) through a DVD player, will I?

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0 thoughts on “CRAZY – WHICH WAY?

  1. I have two copies already, with the current floppies and the CD’s. I can also use an external hard drive for data, but I am wary of putting digital gems just on those media.

    Perhaps I am being a little naive here, but I kind of feel it would be easier to store stuff in a box of some sort, where it could eventually be found, if I am going to leave something for posterity. :**:

  2. Leave this problem long enough and you may find it disappears; one just cannot be bothered any more. That is OUR current thinking anyway.

    This problem came up here in CITF Towers just the other day and we realised, with dismay, that we would have to resurrect a dusty PC of at least TWO generations back to even find one with a floppy disk drive ! And what was the bootup password anyway ?

    At that point we gave up. We determined to face the problem again if we really needed to but rather suspect/hope we won’t.

    I admit that inaccessible unique copies of photos for posterity would worry me somewhat.

    CITF

  3. Oh dear, CITF Towers did have a real tizzy there. Did you need a special boot up password? It might have been a general thing. I still have boot up disks I think for earlier versions of Windows, they were going off to the charity shop,they haven’t gone yet. They are part of the floppy disk sort out. I am pretty sure they were straightforward. Would they be any use to you? I could send them to you? I have Windows ME and Windows 98, and you’ll never believe it, I have just found a Boot Magic Diskette Rescue. I can’t see transferring the data to CD being any use to you, but if you can see a use, tell me.

    I have never been one for leaving things stored only on a hard drive because machines all move on. Hard drives remain similar but they will need to be formatted on occasion – not just because of crashes – to work with the very latest software that people use. This is no good if you want to archive. There must be back up. Another problem arises when software is re-designed; can you or whoever wants to read data, use it with backward support? Will it exist with all the types of software that exist? With that thought, I suppose I had better state on the disks what programme made the stored data.

    I do have a floppy drive still installed in my current system. I have upgraded the workings a few times and recently, probably, for the last time, but I kept my floppy disk drive. That is why I am working on those disks just now. It’s been a ‘mean to do’ job for at least two years!

    Some of my concerns, as you know, relate to durability of current media. There’s not too much angst with floppies (both sizes)because their disks are encased. You do have to have the technology that performs with them. My disks are the small ones. You do have to be careful how you store CD’s and DVD’s because of their direct exposure to light, which will cause them to deteriorate. Of course, we don’t know how long that technology will be viable either. Maybe that will be someone else’s problem.

    Just to muddy the waters even more, I have zip disks. I did not keep the zip drive because I bought an external USB zip drive on Ebay and can function with zip disks if I want to, quite easily. They too are protected by their casings. However, I won’t do long term storage on them as my zip disks are not the larger capacity ones, and really, I don’t have a need for them anymore. I wonder, as an alternative for you, if you could obtain an external floppy drive to solve your wee dilemma, Chris?

    So, that brings us nicely back to where I started, doesn’t it. There are a number of considerations about digital pictures.

    I think I shall have to store digital stills on a DVD, I am still thinking about the little video clips I have. Someone told me that unless I use video digital transfer software, I won’t be able to see my pix and clips on a DVD player. That is a real current conundrum.

    I can save to DVD having a drive that will do it now. I have ‘borrowed’ some video software from my brother-in-law as I am concerned about what was said about viewing my stuff on DVD. (Ours is a simple player, it doesn’t have all the twiddles and exchanges that some of the newer ones have.) With the DVD technology moving on as it has, pretty fast, and what appears to be a standard format coming into being, it may be the time soon, to invest in up-to-date machinery. Till then, I just want to make sure that what I do, will work for what we know about. I don’t want a repeat exercise.

    All that being said, I won’t take my pix and clips off a hard drive, preferably an external one, till I am sure I have secured their ‘posterity’. They do bung up the computer.

    Let me know if I can help in any way, you have the PM facility.

    Cheers 🙂

  4. PS Chris

    I am still finding more disks in little corners. I have just come across a Norton Rescue 2-set floppy disk copies – DOS basic boot up and DOS Utility

  5. Oh, gosh !

    I now feel quite guilty, having inadvertently lured you into such an extensive response. And, despite what I said in my foregoing comments, while I thought Mrs CITF had given up and was now ‘washing her hair’ as advertised to the household (ie incommunicado for a while) she silently supplemented that ritual by continuing to ferret around and persevere with the uncooperative floppy disks, having finally remembered the bootup password from a rather long list of possibles !

    End result : wet hair and SOME of the files successfully preserved ! But I am assured it was an epic struggle, involving a knitting needle and foot ruler. Something broke off in the drive, you see, and she had to adopt novel PC support tactics to extricate same. But there are probably some bits left behind now as only half a washer emerged in her grim triumph over technology.

    I think we have now fully given up (until the next time). So thanks indeed you for your kind offers and extensive advice but since we had not missed the unknown files that may (or may not) lurk on the disks I think we can continue to live quite happily once more in blessed ignorance.

    CITF

    PS the disks are now saved in a box – just in case !

  6. Right o’ I shall put the disks to the charity shop. Remember though,I still have a floppy drive 3.5″ disk size not the 5.25″ one, if there is anything really important, in small qauntities you want to try and retrieve. I shall probably keep this system a year or three more, all things being equal.

    A foot ruler; I presume you mean one that is imperially one foot? I have no idea what you will do about the washer, presumably it is a small one. Ooh, try magnets to oust it. I know magnets and drives aren’t usually compatible but I would guess that the washer is not actually anywhere near the hard drive.

    By now Mrs CITF’s hair is well and truly dried and in style. 🙂

    My reply wasn’t totally advice, it was much about what I have learnt and what I have been told, and what concerns me, and meanwhile, what I am doing. I wondered whether there were any other great ideas out there, or different guidance.

  7. Hmm. Charity shop, eh ? Doubt we would dare do that, since we do not know what is on many of them ! Just how does one get rid of them these days anyway ? Not that we have anything to hide specifically, you understand.

    A place I used to work at had a kind of mincing machine for disks, which chewed up the plasic, metal and all, very noisily but leaving anyone determined to reconstruct the data with a depressingly massive problem. There must be zillions of disks still around.

    Which reminds me of the time some while back when I came to help a young lady with her PC because she was needing huge amounts of storage for her diskettes. It transpired that diskettes were being used, one per document, as the master files, and the hard drive was just a backup ! To her, a file was a repository for her floppy disks, like a card index box, and she liked their comforting physical accessibility. We both learned something that day !

    Sorry, I digressed : I drop effortlessly into reminiscence mode these days.

    CITF

  8. I take your point about your floppies. I can delete my files off the floppies, though in previous Windows incarnations, I could also format the disks. That useful little action seems to have disappeared with 2000.

    Some shredders will mangle and mince CD’s. I don’t know if a shredder would do the same for a floppy as there is more material to work on there, of a different nature.

    But why would you want to dispose of all your floppy disks if you cannot transfer data elsewhere? There may be things for posterity that could give real glimpses of life in the round in this generation, for future generations. It is likely that there will be some way of recovering data in, say, 100 years, even from floppies. Then again, you may prefer a little mystery.

    My next port of call will be to deal with the old VHS video films. They too need to be moved to DVD (I think) to preserve them. I think that task is going to prove rather difficult.

    Your young lady and her data storage ideas cannot be uncommon. visually, her actions would have made sense, in computer terms, which are more abstract ones, her actions would not.

  9. I’m resigned to impermanence. All technologies are outdated within a shockingly short time, constant transfer is beyond me.

    are you familiar w/ the Long Now Organization? Focused on long-term thinking…. they have a project in progress called Rosetta Stone: the notion is to save everything in a zillion ways in a zillion languages, simultaneously, with the notion that something may survive.

    I suspect we’re headed towards incredibly short-term “realities.” At least paper, papyrus, goatskin – lasted.

  10. Hi Hayden,

    Thanks for your recent comment on my blog regarding the impermanence of technologies.

    I haven’t heard of the Rosetta Stone project – it sounds unreal, so huge, it makes you ask, is it really possible?

    I am currently transferring information to CD’s, but where relevant, also keeping the floppy disks that I originally used for data storage. They seem so limited now when you compare them with the capacity of the CD or DVD. One thing about floppies, they have inbuilt protection in the manner in which they were cased, indeed, so have zip disks. I didn’t use zip disks in the same way as I used floppies. Zips were, for me, a more transitory storage method, rather like the flash pens of now. As you say, the speed of change is hard to keep up with making it impossible to guess how best to handle I.T. data storage. For that matter, how best to decide what equipment to keep, as well!

    There’s no doubt about it, papers and goatskin have survived in good measure, to help tell a tale.

    Who wanted a paperless world…………………….not me, for one!

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