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How can I extract data from a disc with a very strange format?

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Inactive Moderator
Jan 4, 2001
Northern VA
A friend of mine in one of my IT classes has a very interesting dilemna.

A number of years back, she wrote some things on an old Brother word processor. Now, I don't know if anyone recalls these, but they were basically very small "computers" that consisted of a keyboard, and a green screen, and the only thing it did was act as a word processor.

Anyway, she has stuff saved on a 3.5" floppy disk, and it is old writings that she really wants back, but lost the hardcopies and cannot access the disks in Windows.

Out of kicks, I tossed it in my Win2k laptop in class, and sure enough, I couldn't get windows to even show ANY data becuase the format was incorrect.

So, I was wondering in anyone had ideas as to how to extract the data from this disk. If I could get the data to come off in text or ASCII binary, that might help...

My guess is that I'll have more luck on a UNIX/Linux machine. My Linux box is currently in peices (go figure!), and I don't have the disk, but if she gives me the disk I can always try it on my linux machine.

Also, I could take it to the Sun lab at my school and see if I can get any of the sun workstations to recognize it. Plus, I know they have some good UNIX boxes up there.

Does anyone know of any windows apps or even techniques in UNIX to pull data from this disk? How about windows apps that can show data on disks that aren't a windows format?

Thanks in advance for any tips.
Well, it's only an idea, but you could try using WinImage to make an image file of the disk (I'm pretty sure it doesn't care what format the disk is in...RAWWRITE may do this too) and then try to open the image file using WinImage after it's created.

It's only a thought but you might get lucky. At the very worse, Winimage may not be able to display the contents of the image file.

I'd say you would have better luck on a 'nix system.
I'd suggest looking for an emulator. But your gonna need more info on the model of the word processor. I tried a brief search on google, but couldn't find anything with just "brother word proccessor emulator". I even tried adding "disk", but no go. Hell, I wasn't even getting any hits on brother word proccessors. :rolleyes:
Cool, thanks for the tips...I actually found a converter program on google, it's like $150 but free trial verison...we'll see if it even works.

Ofcourse, the disk is probably 10 years old, so who knows if the data is even intact...so I might end up seeing if I can extract any binary off it in a UNIX box...

Any other tips are welcome, but I'll see her Wedesnday before class, so we might try it then.

Thanks again!

PS Heres the software I found... http://www.acii.com/wpt.htm
I had an old SC that could save SC format or ASCII. If I needed some of my old info (which I don't) I'd dig it out and hook that sucka up.
Too bad you don't live around here, I just saw an ad in the classifieds recently for a Brother word processor for $10.00. I bet the guy still has it too.
Whoa... I HAD one of those and I used it in elementary school whenever they wanted me to write a short story (I couldn't handwrite anything longer than a page back then).

I'm kind of wondering how I lugged it to school. It weighed a good 15 pounds and it was the size of a printer. It died after it wouldn't let me change the printer tape anymore.
This is a perfect example of how the computer has degraded our ability to record history. If you don't have both the software and hardware, a historical record is unusable. Just try to get an interpreter basic program to run! Or, for that matter, a Fortran or Pascal program.

A paralell occurrence has happened with photograpy. Black and white photos made in the 1800's are still around, but color photos made in the last half of this century have faded to nothing.
not entirely true JimmyG

I recently used a computer to restore all of my moms aging family photos by scanning them, filtering them, and putting them on CD.
Computers are also aiding in the translation of the Dead Sea Scrolls, which are too brittle for human hands to touch.
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Try Contacting Brother and ask for a copy of PC/WP. Its a program that came with some models which allowed a PC to read the disks format.

This is a perfect example of how the computer has degraded our ability to record history.

So you suggest we print it all out? :p

I have *everything* critical on CD-R. Those CD-Rs rest above my monitor, so if the house is burning down or whatever, I can grab my two spindles and jet. I wouldn't have lost a thing, the insurance company would handle damages to my machine.

I'd put my money (what little of it I have) on CD-Rs over paper anyday.