Can I repair damaged ST disks?

Troubles with your machine? Just want to speak about the latest improvements? This is the place!

Moderators: Mug UK, Zorro 2, Greenious, spiny, Moderator Team

User avatar
Posts: 2
Joined: Mon Jul 19, 2004 9:39 pm

Can I repair damaged ST disks?

Postby Vambrace » Mon Jul 19, 2004 10:01 pm

I just recently brought home my 1040STf from my parents place after about 4 or 5 years of non-use and now it seems that a majority of my old floppies either word sporadically or not at all. I'm a bit intimidated by the floppy drive restoration tutorial and I was wondering if I could simply see if the disks are damaged and repair them before I went ahead and attempted to try the restoration?


Postby simbo » Tue Jul 20, 2004 1:29 am


first yes and no

some disks maybe past there shelf life and the magneto field that makes up the actual format field intensity has dropped out
becouse they were 2 ft from your big brothers home made speakers in the loft

for five years but .... have never been near a magnet

to recover these do a disk a to disk b copy using fastcopy util avalbile everywhere but atleast clean the floppy drive of hair and dust first with a soft brush by clicking its lid off after opening the st carefully
and putting the small screws at the front of the case when you put it back together

it will also recover some types of data by crc checking
method is to format a fresh new floppy and disk copy it using this util
then throw away all the old ones
{or buy a hard disk interface} avalible in several protocols look to other topics

if you understand time and magntic fields and format fields youll see what im getting at

even next to a live mains cable will give the same wiping effect over time

"The only way to be safe with floppy disks is to use another media as a backup

"bill gates 1995""

so you get format degridation in its fields
so basicaly you need to reformat them to restore the fields the actual data "sits on"



you have a dirty drive or....

if you didnt use the machine /disks etc for a period and all was working before.... you can rule out head disallignment as this isnt logical

and this was the major thing the tutorial pointed out for guys that use them every few days at work in studios or for programing
{also very popular} and others who just want to check there allignment is good while just poping the floppy drives cover and dusting it out looking at the heads to see what the score is??

so maybe

some disks have virus attached will stop the machine even seeing the data

so use a known atari virus remover imuniser and load each disk with this scan deprotect and disinfect/imunise some games disks dont like being imunised and will never work again {i remember a util to rewrite the boot sectors of many many games each month a popular atari mag gave this util with there floppies and it never got mentioned but the first issue only given away so easily missed} a handy bit of software

anyway this way clearing away any infection

and getting the floppys and the bearings in the drive used to moving again

remember if you place an infected disk and just do a soft boot it stays in ram next disk you place unprotected will have this written to it from ram

so clean them then write protect them then make a backup if possible

appart from saying a spell over them or having a witch doctor perform the chant of the picoharim then you have little retort but to use a
windows or dos enabled pc and recover what you can as images or data in folders you can composite to a fresh disk using the pc


most stuff cover disks games floppies images etc
can easily be remade
and a full format at 720k to each disk performed by dropping the floppy drive out the atari and into the pc

or make a serial cable
but the first is best to recover protected games disks
as long as your carefull to only disinfect them and not to alter the boot sectors using no imunise type protection from virus

if you loose some games you want use the pc to make a new floppy for the atari

always best to shop for a cd of ready made images
avalible on the net
{from argintena guy collects games
youll find him using the search string "atari ste games cds" again use the atari floppy to remake the images to fresh formated and cluster checked good disks using the atari drive mounted to the pc as a drive b floppy 720k}

have fun .... :roll:
Last edited by simbo on Tue Jul 20, 2004 2:12 am, edited 5 times in total.

User avatar
Posts: 2
Joined: Mon Jul 19, 2004 9:39 pm

Postby Vambrace » Tue Jul 20, 2004 2:05 am

Very informative! I expected no less when I saw it was you who replied :)

I believe that you're right about the degradation of the disks; I'd forgotten that there were random speakers strewn about my old room so that is most likely the culprit.

I decided to get a little adventurous and check out the floppy drive and sure enough the heads were maligned (it indeed was making grinding noises when I last used it, but only with a few floppies... I thought nothing of it back then) and your tutorial helped a great bit. Thanks for your help!


Postby simbo » Tue Jul 20, 2004 8:54 pm

a few general tips for clean practice

in the pc-oap kitchen

a good thing to get is a can of air

you can buy low preasure air cans for dusting this stuff

visit the local electronics emporium

a good thing is white silicon greese made for bike chains its cheep durable and low temp great for light jobs in cd drives and floppies

a good thing is to prepair for a job much like cooking

place white A3 sheets for all the bits to be mounted IN ORDER

and place ALL screws etc in the exact hole they came from

keep pets and others out the room unless they are on the menu

{too many cooks spoil the broth and dog sticks in your teeth like pork}

and get all parts first you need by assesing; to create a recipe for the job .

get all the tools you need and a good quality NO MORE THAN 25 watt solder iron {for fine jobs use a 12 or 17 watt only!!!! or goodbye pcbs}
and a solder sooker tool its a cheep hand pump for sucking solder off the board and components


Social Media


Return to “Hardware”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 8 guests