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  1. #1

    PGB1's Avatar
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    5 1/4 Floppy Information Transfer to Mac Question
    Hello Everyone!
    I have a quandary for which I can not find a definitive answer.
    I've got several data files on 3 1/2 and 5 1/4" floppy disks. All of a sudden, the files are important again (some old medical history and records about me.)
    I can't figure out how to access the data on these files or transfer the 5 1/4"'s to "modern" storage.

    I find lots of information on what to buy and how to transfer the files from the 3 1/2" disks to the Windows XP (shudder!) side of my Macbook via USB. I can't find out how to transfer them using Mac OS X. (I get all frustrated and crabby whenever I have to use Windows XP. I'd love to avoid it if possible. If not, I'll bite the bullet.)

    For the 5 1/4" disks, (All Double Sided Double Density) I own a couple of old internal drives, but can't find any good answer as to what hardware to use to make them able to go into my USB or Firewire ports. Is there such a device?

    Now for the big question for which I find no information:
    Assuming I can get these data files onto my Macbook, will I be able to access the data? They are all written with DOS based programs. Examples are one called "Dbase" one called "Leading Edge Word Processing" I still have copies of MS DOS and the programs available (of course, on 5 1/4" disks or 3 1/2")

    What do all of you think? Am I crazy trying do do this? Should I keep my old Compaq luggable or my 8086 for the 5 1/4"? (I thought I could hook an external modem to the 8086 and E-Mail some to my Macbook. Not my brightest idea!)
    I also looked at data transfer services and found the cost prohibitive, at 5-15 dollars per disk. (And, then how would I access the data?)

    I sure would appreciate any help you can lend. I feel like an archeologist trying to uncover ancient history!
    Thanks Again,
    Paul

  2. #2

    louishen's Avatar
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    I would transfer all the 5 1/2 inch disks to 3 1/2 disks and then access the floppies with a usb drive on the mac

    FD-05PUB/KIT/B | Data Storage | Floppy Drives

    Macs will read and write to PC formatted floppies

    as for programs to open the files, if no Mac app can access them - there are many DOS emulators out there, hopefully with cut and paste functionality between the two OS's
    Member of the Month September 2008 & August 2012 | Found advice useful? use the rep system

  3. #3

    chscag's Avatar
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    Late 2013 27" iMac, iPad 3, iPhone 6s+, iPhone 6+, 3 iPods, El Capitan
    Now for the big question for which I find no information:
    Assuming I can get these data files onto my Macbook, will I be able to access the data? They are all written with DOS based programs. Examples are one called "Dbase" one called "Leading Edge Word Processing" I still have copies of MS DOS and the programs available (of course, on 5 1/4" disks or 3 1/2")
    Follow the advice given to you by louishen. However, both programs you mentioned, DBase and the LEWP program create files in a proprietary format. For the most part, the DBase files (depends on how old they are) can be read by other programs such as Microsoft Access.

    It's the WP files created by LEWP which are going to be a big problem. Unless you can read them with a text editor program, I don't know of any other WP program that can read them or convert them. LEWP was unique in that it created files attached to a folder structure. Without creating the original folder structure, those files are pretty much unreadable. Great little word processor program but very proprietary.

    Regards.

  4. #4

    PGB1's Avatar
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    Thank You Both!
    It never dawned on me to connect a 3 1/2" drive to one of my x88 or x86 shelf space taker uppers and send the data to it from the 5 1/2's.

    I had never heard of DOS Emulators until I read your responses. Sounds like a great plan. (I've got a lot of programs I'd love to re-explore while I'm at it.)

    For the LEWP files, hopefully the emulator will allow me to install the program, access the files and- if worst comes to worst- convert them to ASCII (good-bye formatting?). I vaguely remember ASCII conversions being available.

    The dBase files are from version 1.x The amount of data I need is small enough that I actually could hook up the Compaq luggable and print these files with my old dot matrix. (Boy, I never get rid of anything!) There are less than 100 pages of dBase stuff. If I really had to, I suppose I could scan the printed pages & OCR them. There are too many pages of LEWP stuff to try this (& some editing has to be done).

    Thank you both for your help. It's time to experiment!
    Paul

    Thank You Both!
    It never dawned on me to connect a 3 1/2" drive to one of my x88 or x86 shelf space taker uppers and send the data to it from the 5 1/2's.
    (Hmmm... Let's see- Copy A: *.*: B\ Better get the book out!)

    I had never heard of DOS Emulators until I read your responses. Sounds like a great plan. (I've got a lot of programs I'd love to re-explore while I'm at it.)

    For the LEWP files, hopefully the emulator will allow me to install the program, access the files and- if worst comes to worst- convert them to ASCII (good-bye formatting?). I vaguely remember ASCII conversions being available.

    The dBase files are from version 1.x The amount of data I need is small enough that I actually could hook up the Compaq luggable and print these files with my old dot matrix. (Boy, I never get rid of anything!) There are less than 100 pages of dBase stuff. If I really had to, I suppose I could scan the printed pages & OCR them. There are too many pages of LEWP stuff to try this (& some editing has to be done).

    Thank you both for your help. It's time to experiment!
    Paul

  5. #5


    Member Since
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    DOSbox is a great DOS emulator for OS X - I even play some old games with it so its pretty powerful.

    Good luck with the media transfer!

  6. #6

    PGB1's Avatar
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    Thank you. I'll check DOSbox out!
    Paul

  7. #7

    y-guy's Avatar
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    Mar 12, 2008
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    We had some data on 5 1/4" at work that we needed to back up and then destroy the disks, found a local PC shop that did it all very cheap. Burnt to a CD, tested the files then shredded the floppies.

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