5.25 (3.5) disk life span?

2 replies [Last post]
Joined: Jun 28 2007
Posts: 80

As I understand it, the 5.25 disk, over time, will corrupt due to the weakening of its magnetic field? If this is true does anyone have an idea of the life span? I have had a few of my older original Apple IIe programs on 5.25 disk failed when I took them out of storage (I really hated the lost of copy II plus 7.1!), usually with bad sectors. Lucky most of the backup copies I made are still good, but I feel like I am living on borrowed time with these.

Got a feeling that the same is true of my IIgs 3.5 disks as well. Any idea on the 3.5 life span? I try to store both in a cool dry place which I guess would help prolong their longivity. I was thinking that coverting them to disk images and writing the images to cd rom is going to be the long term solution. Is there an apple cd/rw rom that would work with the GS?...are they even available?


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Joined: Dec 13 2005
Posts: 264
Well if you recopy everything

Well if you recopy everything then it is good for another 20-30 years. I have more 3.5 800k disks fail then the 5.25.
The 3.5s are newer, but have more blocks that can go bad. Once they have gone bad, most of the time you can not reformatt them with out the same bad block showing up. Sometimes, it better to have more than 3.5 or 5.25 drive. Like several of them. Slight variations between the drives might let one read were another one will not. I have run into this more than a few times.

Take Care

woogie's picture
Joined: Dec 20 2003
Posts: 267
Disk Failures

I still have some 30+ year old Apple original
software that still performs as advertised. I
got them second-hand, so I don't know what they
were subjected to, but for the past 17 years or
so I have stored them in a cool, dry NON-MAGNETIC
area of my home. I figure this has helped preserve
the data. I have made newer backup copies of all
my 5 1/4 software just in case.

As for 3 1/2 disks, I have had the same success
because I stored/used them the same way.

So far, so good. Yes, eventually they will die,
but hopefully by making backups I will still
have useful software.

The "biggie" in my book is to NOT expose the disks
to ANY stray magnetic fields (speakers, other
electrical hardware, sound systems, etc.) as much
as possible. This is why most magnetic components
in PCs are shielded.

You might consider making backups on CDs as this
si a bit moe permanent.


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