31

Doing spring cleaning with family, I found some old C64 disks. These are really old and no one knows what to do with them. Archiving or dumping them seems to be options but we are unsure how to do so efficiently and safely.

So, how do you archive and dump old C64 disks efficiently and safely?

  • 3
    Do you have access to a Commodore floppy drive such as the 1541? – Mark Apr 19 '16 at 20:22
  • Probably not any more – Anthony Pham Apr 19 '16 at 20:23
  • 1
    Do you have any other floppy drive? – Shahe Ansar Apr 19 '16 at 20:25
26

The simplest method of archiving old C-64 disks would be to get a ZoomFloppy and a 1571 floppy drive from eBay. I say 1571 because it's much less likely to have alignment problems.

The ZoomFloppy will allow you to control the 1571 from a Windows, Linux or MacOS computer. You can convert the disks into .d64 images that are suitable for use with an emulator like VICE, or you can write them out to fresh media. The ZoomFloppy can be had here: http://store.go4retro.com/zoomfloppy/ (It looks like the store is currently out of stock.)

  • I'm curious on your statement of the 1571 having fewer alignment problems. Where did you base that information? I'm not saying it's inaccurate, I'd just like to know. – cbmeeks Jul 5 '17 at 19:20
  • The 1541 finds track zero by seeking 35 or 40 tracks back from it's current position. This often results in the head mechanism being hammered against a hard stop. Over time, this will impact (ha!) the drive alignment. The 1571 doesn't exhibit this behavior - either through a very soft stop or a real track zero sensor. This results in much lower alignment issues with the 1571 - in fact I've never actually encountered a misaligned 1571 in 30+ years. (It may happen, but I've never personally seen one that needed alignment). – geneb Jul 6 '17 at 21:24
  • Ah. I didn't realize the 1571 had a proper track zero sensor. I'm actually surprised the 1541 didn't considering it's more than just a simple controller like the Apple II drives. – cbmeeks Jul 7 '17 at 12:02
  • From what I've read, the 1541C and 1541-II also had track zero sensors, but was disabled on the 1541C - you had to add a jumper and swap in the ROM from a 1541-II to make it work. – geneb Jul 8 '17 at 15:01
11

Unless you expect to be reading "flippy" diskettes (recorded by flipping disk over), the DeviceSide FC-5025 will let you image C-64 diskettes using any contemporary machine with a USB port:

http://www.deviceside.com/fc5025.html

Unlike the ZoomFloppy, this will not support writing to diskettes. It's intended for image capture only.

  • I wonder if adding a pulser circuit to strobe the index-hole sensor 5x/second would allow flippies to work? – supercat Jul 26 '16 at 22:21
10

The program "Dumpers" use is warpcopy, it does require some additional hardware, i.e. network cartridge for the C64, a full C64 setup and a diskettedrive (1541-II recommended as it is the easiest to access to clean the head), a PC and network cable.

WarpCopy works as a client server, the C64 being the server and the pc the client, automatic file naming is also an awesome feature of WC.

The reason for using warpcopy is it's efficient way of handling errors. d64copy with a X(a/e/m)1541 cable or ZoomFloppy can be quite troublesome when encountering errors, even though it does have retries. I've made a script with parameters set so d64copy would mimic warpcopy. I quickly stopped using it as it didn't satisfy my needs.

Kryoflux and a PC floppy drive can be a good option but isn't as fast as d64copy or warpcopy.

I'm not mentioning nibread (duh, just did) as that would just be pointless unless you're dumping originals.

And of course depending on how the disks were stored, you might need to want to clean the disks.

Translate from Danish, there are some useful links http://blog.tomse.dk/2012/11/15/64nic-warpcopy/

  • What do you mean by "originals" in the context of nibread? Why assume that the OP isn't dumping originals? – echristopherson Jun 10 '16 at 18:27
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    By originals I mean copyprotected disks, I should have been more clear on that. I'm not asuming he doesn't, as you would probably understand if you read everything else I wrote. – Carsten Jensen Jul 11 '16 at 13:26
8

Another solution, albeit somewhat out of date, is to connect an original 1541 disk drive to a PC via the parallel port using a special cable and software like "The Star Commander" by Joe Forster (available from http://sta.c64.org/sc.html).

Doing it this way is more of a labor-of-love approach as you need to get your hands on an original 1541 disk drive, manufacture your own data cable, locate a PC with an appropriate OS and parallel port, and spend an evening tinkering to get everything going.

If you get interested in going this route, full documentation, software, cable pin-outs and more can be found at the web site listed above.

I've been imaging my collection of C64 disks this way as a background task and it works perfectly acceptably, but it requires and investment in time and hardware (and patience!).

7

Someone at a local Commodore Users Group might be able to help you archive them since you don't have access to a working floppy drive. Many of the old user's groups still exist. The Global Commodore User's Group would be a good place to ask if you're not sure if there is one in your area. Their main purpose is to keep the local groups connected and help users find the closest group. They maintain a presence on Facebook and Google+. Global Commodore User's Group Facebook Global Commodore User's Group Google+

3

I don't think this has been mentioned but if you have no interest in actually using the disks, then perhaps you could donate them to someone that could archive them for you.

Then, if you choose to use the images you can load them in an emulator such as VICE.

If there aren't too many of them, I would be happy to archive them for you. I can even send them back to you if you want. No charge.

I just hate seeing old technology discarded because someone doesn't want them any more.

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