[ Retro Scan of the Week ] Polaroid Data Recovery

June 11th, 2012 by Benj Edwards

Polaroid PerfectData Disks ad -  1985A similar phrase adorns a plaque inside the base of the Statue of Liberty.

In this ad for Polaroid PerfectData disks, Polaroid mentions a free data recovery service for damaged floppies. I wonder what tools they used to recover the data; that would be very interesting to look into. Also, I wonder whether anyone ever took Polaroid up on the company’s offer to rescue their data. If anyone out there knows more about this, by all means, leave a comment.

Make sure you take note of the “20-year guarantee” mentioned in this ad — then read Why History Needs Software Piracy.

[ From TIME, May 6th, 1985, p.B3 ]

Discussion Topic of the Week: What’s the worst thing that has ever happened to your computer storage media?

6 Responses to “[ Retro Scan of the Week ] Polaroid Data Recovery”

  1. Eagles409 Says:

    When I was in high school (back in the late 80s) our computer lab consisted of Apple 2GS’s with 5 1/4″ floppy drives. The guy who ran the computer lab was convinced that if you cut a notch in a floppy to use the second side, it would ruin the disk drives. If he caught you using a disk that had been altered, he would take it away and staple it to a bulletin board as a warning to others. He was an idiot.

  2. technotregrass Says:

    I used to depend on 3.5 inch floppies for my schoolwork in high school (early 2000s) but there was far too many times when for some unknown reason, a file that was only 3 hours old would be corrupted or gone between study hall and getting home, and I grew up with an Apple ][, so I knew how to care for a floppy disk.

    Now I use an 8 GB memory stick, which took a bath in the washer because I completely forgot about it in my pants a few months ago, but it still works fine to this day and still retains all my files. Yay modern technology.

  3. Jay Says:

    In 11th grade I used one 3.5″ floppy for all of my computer lab work for the course of an entire year. It was largely busywork that I already knew, so I didn’t bother to take care of the disk. After nine months of ferrying it to and from school in pockets and/or backpacks, usually without any sort of carrying case, the hinged metal cover had totally broken off and the bare disk had been exposed for months. On a whim, I ran MS-DOS ScanDisk on it.

    It was then that I discovered that DOS ScanDisk only could count up to 63 bad clusters on a single disk. After that, it would crash horribly. There was, fortunately, nothing on the disk that I needed.

  4. Keith Gable Says:

    Eagles409: I had a similar experience, but the computer guy was convinced it would ruin the disks. Which I guess it would if you cut the notch too far in.

  5. Dennis Says:

    Actually, there was a risk to the disk by notching them — the problem was that a normal disk would spin in only one direction. Any dirt, dust, etc, would be pushed away from the disk by the inside surface. But by flipping the disk over, the disk would spin in the opposite direction and potentially push that dirt and dust back over the disk as it spun.

    But even knowing this didn’t prevent me from notching my disks back then — those disks weren’t cheap for me 🙂

  6. Matt Says:

    You guys with your notch stories remind me of a professor I had, he had worked with punch cards originally. When they first switched to floppies they turned in all that week’s programming work on several (probably 8″ ones) and the department secretary stapled them to a report like she always had with the punch cards. DOH! Whole week of work down the toilet.

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