Battle of the Disk Copy versions
Published: Tuesday, 5th December 2017
So, my previous article raised a few heckles here and there but I did learn something interesting regarding Disk Copy.
In short, I had included in my floppy preservation methodology the use of Disk Copy 6.3.3 to make images of Macintosh floppies. Turns out that that might not be the best idea as 6.3.3 makes images in such a way that some data from the floppy is not retained, which *might* cause problems for certain titles to be written back to a floppy at a later date. It’s a relatively opaque situation, to be honest, with a lot of divergent and contradictory information scattered across the web. But, as best as I can determine, this particular issue will only effect floppies that require this metadata to be intact to actually allow the software to run and, fortunately, that seems to be a relatively rare thing for Macintosh software other than the very earliest stuff.
That said, I don’t discount that this is a major flaw when pontificating upon what the “best way” to preserve Macintosh software might be, and am happy to update the record accordingly and include that caveat.
Using Disk Copy 4.2 to make images from floppy disks appears to be the answer, as this retains all of that metadata intact and all images written back to floppy will be identical to the original floppy. Which is a Good Thing!
I’m open-minded when it comes to my Macintosh hobby and don’t ever profess to be the last word on any of this stuff; I’ll always defer to wisdom. Consider my methodology updated, with DiskCopy 4.2 used to create images that are intended to be fit for writing back to floppy disk.
Final thought; a bunch of people reacted to my article with loud cries of “WHAT ABOUT KYROFLUX??”, and I hear them, I do, but as I detailed in the article, I’m *not* trying to develop gold-standard archival-grade software preservation techniques; I’m trying to get Macintosh software into the hands of other Macintosh enthusiasts to use on their beloved vintage Macintosh systems. The Kyroflux is a magical and wonderful thing but defaulting to insisting that all floppy preservation is done using specialist and expensive hardware/software is wrong-headed, in my opinion, and gets in the way of stuff actually getting preserved. If someone has an old Mac on their desk and a stack of floppies, then I 100% advocate that person making whatever digital back-ups of it they can, using the tools at their disposal. That’s how we’re going to see lots of stuff saved.