How-To Geek

Floppy Autoloader Automatically Archives Thousands of Floppies

The thought of hand loading 5,000 floppy disks is more than enough to drive an inventive geek to create a better alternative–like this automated floppy disk archiver.

DwellerTunes has several crates of floppy disks that contain old Amiga software and related material, personal programming projects, personal documents, and more. Realistically there’s no way he could devout time to hand loading and archiving thousands upon thousands of floppy disks so he built a automatic loader that accepts stacks of several hundred floppy disks at time. The loader not only loads and archives the floppy disks, but it photographs the label of each disk so that each archive includes a picture of the original label.

Watch the video above to see it in action and then hit up the link below for more information.

Converting All My Amiga Disks [DwellerTunes via Make]

Jason Fitzpatrick is a warranty-voiding DIYer who spends his days cracking opening cases and wrestling with code so you don't have to. If it can be modded, optimized, repurposed, or torn apart for fun he's interested (and probably already at the workbench taking it apart). You can follow him on if you'd like.

  • Published 04/2/12

Comments (11)

  1. mooseman

    That’s a great solution to a rather large and annoying problem. Awesome.

  2. Alex

    I need to do that with my C64 disks, but most of the programs in shoeboxes are all ready available online

  3. Doc

    Good luck getting a PC-compatible floppy drive to read an 880K or 1.760MB Amiga disk…they use a format that’s not compatible with an IBM PC. (Yes, I know that Amiga floppy drives can read 720K and 1.44MB IBM PC floppy disks, with the right hardware and software; however, 1.44MB HD floppy drives on the Amiga were rare), and who would give up the extra storage space by formatting them 720K? I have a stack of 880K Amiga disks, and a few 720K disks I used only to transport files back and forth to my first 386 IBM PC…

  4. r

    I like how the music tries to add an element of tension & suspense….Zzzzzzzzzzzzzz

  5. Jack

    I wish I could buy one. I have about 1,000,000 old disks that are just getting crusty and dusty,

    Great idea!! kudos!!

  6. Chris

    And I just wonder what happens with the disk that cant be read anymore… From experience I assume about half of them would have a problem on, after about 10 – 20 years…mmmm

  7. Dweller

    @Doc, the hardware is actually identical (give or take some very minor differences related to the wiring of ready signals, and default drive select), the disk drive in the autoloader there is a standard PC 1.44mb unit. The problem reading Amiga formatted disks on a PC is entirely the controllers fault, the reason the Amiga could put 880k on a 720k disk, was it used areas in each track that the PC would require as gaps, to hold data, once the gaps are used, the ‘less capable’ PC controller can’t read the disks anymore. For the same reason, the Amiga put more than 1.44mb onto a 1.44mb disk, although unlike a pc, it would halve the rotational speed, to keep the data speed the same (normally a HD disk would have the data be read/written at twice the rate as a DD disk).

    Thats’s where the Kryoflux steps in, acting as an alternative floppy drive controller, via usb, purely for data archival. It’s a really great little unit, and handles all sorts of disk types =) so it has no problem with Amiga, or even really oddball 3.5″ formats.

  8. cocobiskits

    Having tried to get several different modern computers to read my old and some not that old floppies, most of them are unreadable. I don’t place much hope in the promises of length of storage. I have even been stymied when someone gave me a cd to transfer data that was a month old, so I’m not holding my breath on those either.
    And anyway, who wants all that old stuff. Just let it go!

  9. gnawa

    unfortunately the music is rather boring & do not fits with the subject (great anyway)

  10. mmth42

    I too have stacks of old “floppies,” the 3.5″ disks made popular by the first Macs. I also have several 5.25″ disks, the kind used by IBM-compatible computers before they too went to 3.5″. I despair of finding anything that can read/write those, but I got a $15 USB plugin drive that can transfer the little ones to my hard drives or to a USB stick.
    Not all the programs work in Windows 7, of course, Those that can run in XP (which is more tolerant than 7) can work in an XP simulation, if you can get one of those going.
    Finally, I advise everyone to stay away from Windows 8, at least for desktops. I tried an inital pre-release, and it fried the boot sector of my hard drive. That computer came with Vista, over thich I had installed Windows 7. Now I’m planning to move it back to XP which, as far as I can see, is the last stable OS released by Microsoft.

  11. James

    Great piece of tech, i had around 1000 floppies at one point, thought about it for a bit – then binned them all – what’s the point? Who’s ever going to go through the archive of all that old cr@p???

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