you gotta love backwards compatibility

A friend of mine recently found an old floppy disk created under OS 8 or 9 in the early 1990’s. There was a letter on the disk that she wanted copied off, but she doesn’t have a Mac any more.

No problem, I figured. I did a little research and found hfsutils, and thought all I would need to do is stick the disk in my Linux box and grab the files. No such luck, since I don’t have a floppy drive in any of my systems.

After a little more thought, I remembered the old rawwrite.exe utility for creating bootable floppies under DOS. Sure enough, there’s a rawread.exe and I was able to make an image of the floppy disk on a Windows box.

Although the next step was going to be to copy that image file to a Linux system to try to mount it, I decided to try to open it on my Mac (running Leopard) first, just for grins. I renamed the file to end .img, and it mounted right up. All of her files were there and Finder even acknowledged the layout of the icons in the folders.

Of course, the files themselves were created with some version of WordPerfect that no longer exists, so our data recovery efforts only went so far as to get the text of the letter without its formatting. I’m still impressed that a modern Mac that doesn’t even have a floppy drive could open the old disk image to begin with.