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What software is recommended to get data off old floppy disks? The disks are formatted in FAT.

The disks have word documents on them. The floppy disks are from around 2000. I am on windows 7 and ubuntu.

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4 Answers 4

You don't need any special software.

IF you can read the floppies in whatever drive you have just make an image of them with dd. You can then mount that image and check out whatever was on there.

If you can't read them in your floppy drive though there is nothing you can do with software to fix that hardware problem. A "better" floppy drive might work, although you'll probably make the disk worse by trying over and over.

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If they contain important data give them to a professional data recovery service before shredding them in an old floppy drive.

If you just want to try, try to "ddrescue" ( http://ss64.com/bash/ddrescue.html) them into a floppy image and repair the filesystem insinde the image file you mounted using a loop file ( to save the disc ) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Loop_device

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It is less about software and more about hardware when recovering data from floppies. Considering the disks are 12 years old, though, it is unlikely that anything available to average users will be able to recover the data due to degradation, damage, proximity to magnetic or electrical sources, etc.

You need a drive sensitive enough to pick up the now-faint or garbled information from the disks, if they're even readable at all.

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@jake The surface of the floppy itself can flake/smear off onto the readers heads. On the hardware side of the situation, get another floppy reader (that is clean and new and quality), and a cleaning disk for the reader. Chances of recovery, slim. –  Psycogeek Feb 21 '12 at 23:36

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