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Data extraction from 3-1/2" NeXT floppies

 
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Jazzmopotamus



Joined: 05 Mar 2011
Posts: 1

PostPosted: Tue Mar 29, 2011 8:45 pm    Post subject: Data extraction from 3-1/2" NeXT floppies Reply with quote

Let me first apologize if this question has been addressed elsewhere; I'm new to this forum and didn't see a closely-related thread. I have a dozen 3-1/2" NeXT floppies from my college days with Mathematica files, C-code, papers, emails, and who knows what else. The day I left undergrad was the last day I had access to a NeXT machine, so I've had this box of floppies with me for 15 years with no way to read them. I honestly have no idea if the media is even readable or not, anymore, although the discs have been well protected over the years.

Is there a reasonably straightforward way to read these floppies on a modern Mac or (ideally) a PC? I have a floppy drive on a windows machine but, of course, Windows can't read the disc contents by default. I would love to be able to see those old files, again, but have resigned myself to the probability that the information is lost. I'd like to know if anyone has tackled this issue and has any recommendations - emulators, conversion utilities, metal fines and a microscope? (Ok, I'm not doing the latter). Thanks much.
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protocol7



Joined: 03 Sep 2008
Posts: 103

PostPosted: Wed Mar 30, 2011 5:30 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Actually, I just found this which sounds like it would work just fine for what you need (on Windows).

Old post follows...

If you access to both a PC and a Mac (or a Mac with a floppy drive) it should be possible.

The first step is to read the floppies into disk images. This will also let you know if they are still readable in the first place. You can use Rawrite or dd in windows. Or dd in OS X.

The next step is to mount the images in OS X using MacFuse and ancientfs. This should allow you to read the floppy disks and copy out the contents. I've only used it to mount some NeXT CDs but it could work for floppies too.

Failing that there's always emulation. Install NS or OS in an emulator, mount the floppies/images and copy the contents to a dos/mac-formatted floppy/image.
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tomaz



Joined: 15 Apr 2006
Posts: 149
Location: Sark

PostPosted: Sat Apr 02, 2011 2:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Once you have created a sector dump of the floppies, AncientFS works like magic.

The other problem is the floppy disk density. If they are HD (1.44MB) floppies, you are in business, but if they are ED (2.88MB), you will most probably need a NeXT or a compatible floppy drive (such as the PFI external SCSI floppy drive) capable of reading ED floppies. Most drives today are not.
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