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Recently, I stumbled on some boxes of 3.5" diskettes from my Father's early 1990's PS2 with a postit note on saying "IBM PS2 Backup C:\ - 10/28/93"

There were 25 discs in all and incredibly, using my trusty USB External Floppy Drive, without any errors I was able to get the files from each disc to my Ubuntu hard drive. The files are named:

CC31028A.001
CC31028A.002
CC31028A.003, etc. all the way up to: CC31028A.025

I thought they might be ZIP files, so following the instructions on this page, I tried joining them and unzipping them with no luck. I got this error:

End-of-central-directory signature not found. Either this file is not a zipfile, or it constitutes one disk of a multi-part archive. In the latter case the central directory and zipfile comment will be found on the last disk(s) of this archive.

Any ideas how I might be able to access the files contained in this ancient backup?

  • Here a 20 Free Forensic tools since obviously most of the files will not be usable. techtalk.gfi.com/… – EODCraft Staff Sep 30 '17 at 22:48
  • Try opening the last file in the set with archive manager and see if you get a directory of the archive. If so you can likely extract the entire set from there. – Elder Geek Sep 30 '17 at 22:50
  • @elder-geek, I tried as you suggested and got this error: Could Not Open "CC31028A.025" Archive type not supported. – DigitalMan Sep 30 '17 at 22:55
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    It might be helpful to see if the file command can at least identify the type of the files based on their magic number e.g. file CC31028A.001 and/or file CC31028A.025 – steeldriver Sep 30 '17 at 23:04
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    you may have better luck asking on retrocomputing.stackexchange.com – phuclv Oct 1 '17 at 3:50
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This was much too large to write in a comment.

You have 25 disks likely 1.44 MB format totaling 36 MB of backup. If they are compressed from the hard drive it was likely 60+ MB which was very large for that era. I remember around that time a pair of SCSI 150MB drives (the size of toasters) setup in RAID 1 with were $5,000.

Looking at this PC Magazine review from 1993, there were five popular backup programs:

  • Central Point Backup
  • DOS 5
  • DOS 6
  • Fastback Plus
  • The Norton Backup

When you have 25 disks it's almost certainly in compressed format making it unreadable to the human eye.

You have to do some digging into internals to find out which compression format the archives are in. Then you need to find the program which can decompress them. Luckily in 1993 there weren't too many compression algorithms so there are probably only 3 or 4 possibilities. Also data encryption was rare which is good because that would make it next to impossible for you to decompress the data.

The catalog for the backup files is almost certainly on the last diskette. Somewhere on each diskette their should be a file containing the disk number plus other control information.

Good luck in your endeavors and keep us posted if you can.

  • Thank you very much. Knowing my Father at that time, I think it has to be either DOS 5 or DOS 6. He did own Norton Backup at one point, but I think he used that later on (his next computer was a Gateway running Windows). – DigitalMan Oct 1 '17 at 0:41

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