Recovery From Lost Floppies

Recovery-from-Lost-FloppiesData recovery from lost floppies is hard work. When the data is on a non-standard operating system format it is even more challenging. One of Eric’s Computer Services data recovery partners, DriveSavers was able to help the family of Star Trek creator Gene Roddenberry. His 5.25-inch floppies,  yes 5.25-inch floppies not even 3.5inch contained his work after his passing left a few boxes containing this unknown works .

So how were these magical magnets recovered?

You can just plugin them in right? No sadly. Even if you have a 5.25-inch drive which most people do not anymore the problem is with the operating system and format. You cannot read the read the files on a modern Windows, Mac or Linux computer or operating system. I was faced with this same issue last month on data recovery from lost floppies off an old Brother Word Process that used a non-Windows file system and proprietary file extension.

Gene Roddenberry’s estate had sold one computer that wrote the works and the other was nonfunctional. If one was working they might have been able to view the files but not convert them, but in this case that was not going to happen either.

That is where Eric’s Computer Services data recovery partner, DriveSavers stepped in. For such a large complex job the Roddenberry family work with the director of engineering of DriveSavers.

1980s Technology

Most of the disks were early to mid-1980s-era 5.25-inch double Density DS/DD disks with a capacity of 160KB. A small amount of data right? Well, the issue with most recoveries from older media isn’t the size, it is the format, file extension, and media damage, especially on floppy disks. These disk used an older operating system called CP/M. Control Program for Microcomputers, was an operating system from 30-40 years ago. It ceased being used when Microsoft’s DOS became prominent.

The track format of the disks posed problems that took three months alone to reverse engineer, and many had physical damage. When the project was complete about 95% of the data was recovered and a modern engineering marvel was complete by DriveSavers.

So what do the disks contain? When professional data recovery companies have been contracted the data on a drive is confidential so we may never know.