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    Thread: Old Media Longevity - Floppies and Tapes - they work?

    1. #1
      midwinter is offline
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      Old Media Longevity - Floppies and Tapes - they work?

      Hey Folks,

      As per thread title was interested in peoples experiences with the longevity of old media such as floppies and tapes. I see all these threads were people source old systems (like a C64) and there is a heap of floppies or tapes and I just wondered how many actually work?

      I know for more modern media types like CD and DVD they talk about degradation and digital rot etc. and whilst I know type/quality of media can make a difference for these mediums I have found that with time they do degrade - my experience is actually my old burnt CD's seem to have maintained there integrity better than burnt DVD's.

      Been a lot of years since I actually used floppies or tapes and as I know my mum has some of my dads old writings on Amstrad 8bit tape media I wondered what the likelihood of actually being able to read these tapes was? (provided I had access to the capable hardware/software)

      Google tells me some ball park numbers (tape being 10-30 years - the tapes I am thinking off would be at least 30 years old) but interested in user experiences so thanks in advance

    2. #2
      oldhank's Avatar
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      is tis better to have fliped and
      lost than never to have fliped
      at all
       
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      live between the flip and the tilt

    3. #3
      SectionZ's Avatar
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      If they have been stored well both media's are still pretty reliable.

      Poorly stored floppies have a high fail rate, Tapes are pretty reliable I have found believe it or not, what is often not reliable & never where are the Tape players.

      You'll just have to try them, sounds like these are saved to tape by your dad, so it also depends on the condition / position of the heads when he recorded them, but they are probably also just small programs & that will help, my bet is they will work

      Not sure about the whole 30 year life span theory, I don't think my tapes are going to stop working in another week or year! eventually they will....

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      Most of my c64 disks still work fine, the ones that don't probably didn't 20 years ago...

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      Jed's Avatar
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      Most of my C64 discs 5 1/4 still work fine 30 years on. Mine are stored in disc boxes so pretty much dust-free, 5 1/4 floppies are fragile to handle but seem robust as far as keeping their data. I don't know their actual longevity rating, like anything it would depend on the quality of the media and drive used when you write them I guess.

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      I've heard of people cleaning disks with isopropyl alcohol. Yes the disk itself not the drive. I'm not sure if you could do it with tapes? I'd agree that the environment the items were stored in will make a big difference between working or not. Dry and dust free would be the way to go as they are known to have mould grow on them.
      Cheers Trev

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      It doesn't hurt to ask.

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      midwinter is offline
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      Thanks Folks - so I will take it there is some hope - will just have to test and see

      Quote Originally Posted by SectionZ View Post
      Not sure about the whole 30 year life span theory, I don't think my tapes are going to stop working in another week or year! eventually they will....
      I did quote a 10-30 years lifespan so I think that was pretty indicative that they could last X and there was no way to really tell when they would stop working.

      He was writing a book so would have been using whatever word processer was available on the platform at the time and saving what he had written as he went. From memory there were several tapes so one of these days I will have to grab them and see if they can be read from tape and then see what he had written.

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