[ Retro Scan of the Week ] Flying Disks of Formaster

March 22nd, 2010 by Benj Edwards

Formaster Disk Duplicator Ad - 1983A deleted scene from Disney’s Fantasia.

[ From Interface Age, May 1983, p.25 ]

Discussion Topic of the Week: Tell us your copy protection horror stories. Have you ever tried to copy a disk but couldn’t? What did you do about it?

12 Responses to “[ Retro Scan of the Week ] Flying Disks of Formaster”

  1. Flamtap Says:

    I remember having to get out the hole punch to put a notch in the side of a copy protected 5 1/4 so that I could copy it. I think it was my copy of “Decathlon” for the apple II

  2. Chrisbones Says:

    Wow! The hole punch! and the little stickers that you could put over those notches to in turn protect them. I think the last time I dealt with that was on my Atari 800XL. Ah memories.

  3. Eagles409 Says:

    I actually had a floppy notcher that would make perfect copy protection holes in 5 1/4 discs. I’m pretty sure I bought it at Babbage’s, that was a great store.
    I remember in high school we only had Apple IIe’s in our computer lab and the lab teacher thought that if you used a floppy notcher to use the second side of a disc, you would ruin the floppy drives. If he caught you, he would take the disc and staple it to the wall. He took a few copies of Oregon Trail and Car Builder away from me.

  4. BDD Says:

    I had a block-copy program for my Atari 800 (forget the name of it) that would even copy the “bad” sectors on the disc used for copy protection. Worked great.

    Speaking of flying discs… on the TRS-80 Model 1, the 8″ discs it used could be launched across the room if you flipped the drive latch just right. Fun stuff…

  5. Donn Says:

    Yes, I think I punched the sides of floppy disks a time or two back in the day, if only to make sure I had a backup of that vital Ultima V Program Disk!

    I would love to have that duplicator in my office; it looks so old-school sci-fi!

  6. Xyzzy Says:

    Hands up, anyone that mutilated a disk or two trying to “notch” it with scissors! *raises hand*

    Don’t remind me of the copy-protection headaches… I got a hard drive for my Apple IIgs so it could use the System 6 GUI, and then discovered that while I could copy program/game files onto it, less than half would actually launch without the disk in the drive. So much for avoiding disk-swapping…

    I never managed to break the copy-protection on Ultima V’s disks, not even using Copy II+. I never tried notching them, but on the Apple II series, from what I recall, notching disks only told the drive they could be written to, and didn’t affect copy protection.

  7. Tim Says:

    I don’t remember what game it was, but an old DOS game I had on floppy wouldn’t copy. I think it had fake bad sectors or something. “copy” didn’t work, but “xcopy” did!

  8. Rob Says:

    Ah I remember the days when I used a program called Locksmith to copy apple 2 programs that were protected. I don’t even remember what if anything I copied, I just thought the program was so cool. it had a nice graphical display that showed it working on each sector of the floppy disk.

  9. Moondog Says:

    A buddy of mine had several nibbler and other “archival” programs” for the C-64, and part of the fun was trying to find which programs could be defeated by each program. His parents bought the programs because they were concerned about the floppy drive possibly damaging a disk, and would rather have us kids use a copy rather than ruin the originals.

  10. Mattel Aquarius Says:

    I tried to copy “Crystal City” for my Coco III. I couldn’t copy the game, and the attempt ruined the original. I was a kid, the game was “expensive,” and I wanted a backup. Harmless enough. I called the company who made it, and he asked me if I tried to make an illegal copy of the game, because that would cause the problem I described. I said “yes, but I only wanted a backup. I don’t even know anyone else with a COCO.” (that was true) He sent me two new copies of the game. As a kid, I thought that was really cool.

    The game was great, to boot!

  11. Scott Says:

    Remember the 3.5″ free trial AOL disks. I remember getting them from the computer papers and formating and using them in highschool. Dead disks could be turned into the USS Enterprise. Oh the memories.

  12. PS3D Says:

    My mother hated computers ever since their copy of “First Shapes” for my brother broke down and the backup disk they made had copy protection…

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