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http://retrocomputing.stackexchange.com/a/5449?noredirect=1

Floppy Disks have tracks that can be destroyed by a magnet, which would cause it to need full reformats, as stated in the answer link above.

Is it possible, that the exact same effect happens after frequent rewrites under normal treatment? This means: writing and erasing files normally, no reformatting: Does that cause the tracks/sector edges to fade away slowly?

I believe I can remember seeing this effect on DD 720KB Floppy Disks in 2011, but I am not sure.

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    Fading of sector markers does occur. But I wouldn't expect reading or writing sectors would in any way influence this. This is caused by normal "aging" of the magnetized areas over time.
    – tofro
    Commented Jan 15, 2018 at 13:00
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    Frequent rewrites – especially of several sectors at a time – would, I think, tend to effectively "refresh" the underlying track. It's conceivable that a disk that's only ever read might benefit from an occasional refresh process (copy data/format/replace data), since there would be no refreshing from writes.
    – TripeHound
    Commented Jan 15, 2018 at 13:42
  • Another situation where a "refresh format" (full) might plausibly help is if a floppy has been passed around many different machines... as this superb answer about track layouts discusses, the "guard gaps" depend on (the spin speed of) the writing machine, so a floppy written to by many machines is more likely to have a track that another machine might not be able to read reliably.
    – TripeHound
    Commented Jan 15, 2018 at 16:04

2 Answers 2

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Generally speaking no.

Floppies would occasionally need a reformat after prolonged heavy use as the magnetic fields may degrade. However, firstly, this tended to only be with cheaper, lower quality floppies and secondly, you had to have given them some abuse.

Low level reformats were not necessary under most circumstances.

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    "cheaper, lower quality floppies" Might that not apply to 2011 vintage DD 720KB floppies, though?
    – user
    Commented Jan 16, 2018 at 10:21
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NO at least not because of the R/W usage. The only case of R/W access corupting the media I know of was back in the days of MG tapes using ELTA recorders which got some circuit bug and was overwriting tape during playback slightly. IIRC There where fixes for that until they fix it by new revision of tape recorder.

But make no mistake remagnetization occurs over time mostly due to background magnetism and also due to proximity of the tracks. The bigger the track density the higher this effect is.

Look here How long will floppy disks maintain data integrity?

Usual 3.5" HD floppy lasts only up to 1 year at average.

The 5.25" DD floppies can last even 15 years without reformat.

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  • '3.5" HD floppy lasts only up to 1 year at average." That's funny. Every time I've tried to read my decades-since-last-written floppy disks the read was successful and the data was intact.
    – Joshua
    Commented Sep 24, 2023 at 20:25
  • @Joshua maybe you got better quality medium ... all those we had at disposal (around 1995-2005) where not as reliable especially newer floppies usually ~3 or more disks where failing from 100 after 1 year especially those that where used often (after HD reformat they where usable again). Rarely used ones (like mouse drivers) usually last much much more ...
    – Spektre
    Commented Sep 24, 2023 at 20:41
  • Sounds like you interpreted use degradation as time degradation. Enough writes to a disk and I'd have to reformat it too.
    – Joshua
    Commented Sep 24, 2023 at 20:43
  • @Joshua I do not think so as usual format would not fix anything only low level HD reformat was working. I had no problems like that on lower koercitivity mediums only the 3.5" HD was like that... but I am no expert on this so I might be wrong
    – Spektre
    Commented Sep 24, 2023 at 20:48

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