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Sunday, February 22, 2015

MacValley's list of Web sites to help you extract data from old 5.25 floppy disks

Dr. Vinton “Vint” Cerf, currently a senior  Google Vice President, spoke recently on how rapidly media formats have become obsolete. This article will concentrate on how to get data from old 5.25” floppy disks and end your own personal “digital dark age.”

First, if you do not want to invest in more computer hardware and don’t need the data right now, then floppy has a transfer service for Windows & DOS 3.5” and 5.25” floppy disks to a flash drive. They also transfer old ZIP disks in both Windows and Mac format to a flash drive. They also transfer old 1.4 Mb Mac floppy disks to a flash drive. They do not work with the old 400K/800K Mac floppy disks.

What if you want to set up your own 5.25” floppy disk to transfer formats beyond the ubiquitous Windows and Mac HFS+ formats to your Mac/Windows PC/Linux box? Well, I have information on that,too. 

You’ll need the following:

1. Device Side Data’s circuit board for hooking a 5.25” 1.2Mb floppy drive to a USB 1.1/2.0 port. The USB port on your computer powers this board, not the floppy drive itself.






2. Their software, which is downloadable from their site


3. A 5.25” 1.2Mb floppy drive, available from floppy disks .com  You will need to scroll down the page to the 5.25” floppy drives. You want the TEAC available for $69.95. This won’t be cheap.

4. Power supply for the TEAC floppy drive. Available from Device Side Data for $25.00


Screen Shot 2015 02 22 at 12 03 59 PM


5. External housing for floppy drive. Check with Device Side Data at 



They say they have them in stock now. 


 I strongly suggest you look at this article by Jeanne Kramer-Smyth at her Spellbound Blog. She built a 5.25” floppy drive to recover old WordStar files from 5.25” floppys dating back as far as 1984. She also talks about conversion software for the old  Wordstar files into a modern text or HTML format.

The WordStar conversion software was written by Henry Bartlett of Tasmania,  Australia. It is for Windows 9X and Windows XP. Send him an e-mail or Postcard if you found it helpful. 



These are the Web sites you will need in order to get data from old 5.25” disks


1. Windows & DOS 5.25 floppy disks transfer service at floppy disk dot com.

2. Floppy drive controller board, power supply, and external floppy drive housing at Device Side Data

 3. The 5.25” floppy drive itself at Floppy disk dot com (Scroll down past the 3.5” drives to the 5.25” drives. You want the Teac FD-55 drive)

4. E-mail address for device side data is Emailaddress


I respect a fellow hardware enthusiast’s e-mail privacy.


5. Great article on rescuing 5.25” floppy drives from oblivion by Jeanne Kramer-Symth  As I said before, she used the Device Side Data controller board to extract old Wordstar files from old 5.25” DOS formatted 

6. If you want to dig further, go here to

7. If you have data in old formats that you can’t read, try LibreOffice. It’s available for OS X, Windows, and Linux.



Tom Briant

Editor, MacValley Blog



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