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Will KryoFlux help me? Will I be able to use this device?

Posted: Tue Feb 14, 2017 5:44 pm
by RuiPinho
Dear KryoFlux community,

Let me introduce myself. I'm an 72 years old grandpa living in Portugal and with very limited knowledge on computer science!

Some time ago, when I was clearing my old house I have found in one box my old stock of 3.5 floppy disks. I have near a 1000 floppys with old stuff that I have saved on them. I was very happy since I would be able to have a little trip to the past and revive some old times, but that happiness was soon faded.

I have tested most of these floppies and every time I get them on my old computer I get this message "You need to format the disk in drive a: before you can use it." I can't access any files in any floppy. I have already tested them on at least 5 different floppy drives so I can tell that the problem is not the floppy drive, but the floppy disks themselves.

Those floppies were stored in a box in my office at the old house. They are not damaged with any humidity, mold or anything like that! They are physically like brand new. Their age is from 1996 - 2006 maybe. They are not that old!

So, with this deception I went to a computer tech store near where I live, to ask them what I could do to try to save those floppies. And it was when they have told me about KryoFlux. They have told me that this device was my only hope to try to get my data back!

So I asked them if they could help me setting up the configuration and teach me how to run the program to recover my files, but they said that they had not that knowledge and it would be up to myself to try to get things done.

Then I ran into google and searched some video tutorials on how to set up KryoFlux and how to recover the files, but with not so good results as I have found some user-manuals but I must tell they are a little too much for me (I'm not so techy person).

So, I'm writing you to ask you two simple questions:

1 - Do you think this KryoFlux will help my situation?

2 - Are there any video-tutorials for old guys like me, kinda a KryoFlux for dummies, to help me setting up KryoFlux device and telling what commands should I use to recover the files?

PS - I was thinking on buying KryoFlux Personal Edition Premium so that I would have all things that I need.

Thank you all!

Re: Will KryoFlux help me? Will I be able to use this device?

Posted: Wed Feb 15, 2017 6:16 am
by SomeGuy
If you can find someone in your area with a Kryoflux, you may want to consider sending the disks to them. The Kryoflux and its software is powerful but can be a bit complicated. It is not as easy as dragging and dropping files.

But if you feel up to it, the Kryoflux is indeed becoming a standard way to read floppy disks on "modern" computers.

"Modern" machines and Microsoft Windows may fail to read disks for a variety of reasons. For example, if they were formatted on a Macintosh. And many cheap USB floppy drives will refuse to read low-density IBM 720k disks or Microsoft DMF (1.6MB) formatted disks. Hopefully these disks were not erased by some large magnetic field.

Just getting a Kryoflux up and running is not too hard, but the real challenge is decoding the resulting images in to something useful.

Were these disks supposed to be for IBM PC compatibles?
Were these all 3.5" disks? (assuming 3.5" since you tried these on newer machines)
Are these low density or high density disks? There aren't any "ED" 2.88mb disks are there?

Anyway, if you run in to anything too odd, there are people here who can help.

Re: Will KryoFlux help me? Will I be able to use this device?

Posted: Thu Feb 16, 2017 5:19 pm
by RuiPinho
Dear SomeGuy user,

Thank you very much for reading my post and for taking time to answer me. I must apologize for the late reply.

Thank you for your suggestion, but honestly I don't have much friends and the ones that I have are the similar age than I am, with even less knowledge in computers. I do not even think they even have a computer so to say. The other option is making a post on my Facebook asking if someone near me has this device, but I think I will not have much luck on that!

Answering your questions, all of my floppy disks were supposed to be for IBM PC compatibles! 95% of them were saved in Win95, Win98 and Win2000 environment! Only 5% were on MSDOS I must say.

All of them are 3.5'' High Density disks. At least all of them have a "HD" printed on the floppy disks on the higher right corner of them.

Do you know if there is any video tutorial on youtube explaining how to set up the device and run basic commands to recover the disks using Kryoflux?
I don't work, I'm retired from my job working on a factory so I have a lot of time to try this device. If there is any video tutorial available I could try and do what the person did and I think I would be able to use KryoFlux! I'm old but not scared of new technologies!

But if this video-tutorial does not exist I have thought on a solution that was buying KryoFlux Personal Edition Premium, and go to computer stores in my city with the device asking if someone could teach me how to use it or if that is not possible, to recover themselves for me! Of course this job would have to be paid... But if there is not any other solution, I'm willing to pay for that! I just want to have a look on my old data!

Thank you so much again for your time!

Best Regards

Rui Pinho

Re: Will KryoFlux help me? Will I be able to use this device?

Posted: Fri Feb 17, 2017 3:43 am
by spags
I tend to think that if there were a good online video on Kryoflux usage, then it would be mentioned more often than not in these forums. So although I haven't actually checked, I'd say there probably aren't a lot in the way of videos for Kryoflux beginners.

The official Kryoflux documentation does have some good step-by-step documentation on how to connect the device and get started. However one probably has to be familiar with some basic electronics and computer hardware concepts.

I think the Kryoflux could only "save" you if the data is still reasonably readable on the media. I think for your purposes you should treat it as a media archiving solution and not necessarily a media recovery solution. The Kryoflux will be able to give you a much better idea if there is anything on the disks compared to your native operating system. Given your description of the age and storage conditions, I would expect that there should almost certainly still be data on them. However with the resources you have and the diagnostics you have performed so far, it tends to suggest otherwise doesn't it. As SomeGuy suggested, maybe they have been subjected to magnetic fields.

As for finding volunteer assistance to try a few sample disks, I think you would have better luck posting such requests on these forums and it sounds like you ideally need a EU volunteer.

Re: Will KryoFlux help me? Will I be able to use this device?

Posted: Sat Feb 18, 2017 1:12 am
by SomeGuy
From what you describe, any cheap USB 1.44mb floppy drive with Windows 10 should be able to read those disks. I have a bad feeling that a Kryoflux may only show the disks have somehow become blank or damaged in some non-visible way.

Anyway, the basics are not that hard. Just hook up the kryoflux with the right sized USB cable, attach a standard 1.44mb floppy drive using an IBM "twisted" style floppy cable, if you are mounting the floppy drive internally just hook it up to the computers power supply (or get a molex extension cable). Installing the software is fairly straight forward.

Using the software is a little more complicated. For a high density 1.44mb disk, make sure the density line is set to "low". You would either dump an "MFM" image, that should generate a 1.44mb image that can be opened in WinImage or mounted as a virtual floppy (if the read succeeded), or dump it as a "preservation stream" and throw the results at an external tool such as the HxC disk tool: http://hxc2001.com/download/floppy_driv ... r_soft.zip

Will KryoFlux help me? Will I be able to use this device?

Posted: Thu Aug 03, 2017 8:31 am
by KFX99
Hi,

KryoFlux will allow you to read plain binary data and since it usually reads every track or cylinder at least five times this may help to recover data. This must work for the entire disk because ususally a file is scattered over the disk due to fragmentation.

But unless something special happened it is quite unlikely that almost all of your disks went bad at the same time. So you may want to look for some cause:

I just would like to give two hints out of my experience:

1) I had several problems with 3.5" drives being suddenly unable to read or write or format 720K or 1.44M disks. I found out that there is a switch on the pcb near the front of the drive that detects whether the disk is DD or HD, just like there is a switch for detecting the write protect status. In most cases those switches do not have gilded contacts and hence there will be oxide over the time which will result in giving no signal even if the switch is on. Mostly I cleaned these switches but this is work on tiny stuff ...

Just bying a new 3.5" drive may not help, because usually they are old as well and there may be oxide on these switch contacts as well.

2) I have found 3.5" disks less reliable than old 5.25" disks. Wile I have 5.25" disks bought in 1985 and written data to them around the same time still do read without problems as of today, I had 3.5" which were unreadable after weeks! Usually they could not even be newly formatted afterwards so I put them in trash. Maybe there was a time where industry didn't put enough magnetic particles into them just selling them plastic for good money - I have no idea.

Beyond this: it is always a good idea to place disks and drives and their cables out of reach of monitors, switching or analog power supplies, speakers, magnets and stuff like that. And please make sure that your PC's power supply is still okay and does provide proper voltages to board and drives.

I had a lot of file systems trashed on USB sticks and USB hard drives due to USB ports not providing good 5 volts but only 4.4. With that experience I started to create MD5 checksums and update and check them regularly and I found lots of files that went bad until I started using USB cables providing an additional power input. I just wanna make clear that proper power is essential.

Regards