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PC Legacy Data: Recovering data from a STAC Stacker Volume

Aug 26

Written by:
8/26/2014 7:55 PM  RssIcon

Recently I realized my hard disk copies of some of my old work from the 90's was incomplete, so I went searching for old copies not on hard drives.

I discovered a huge pile of Iomega Zip Cartridges (100 Mb each) that I suspected had the data I needed.

First thing though, I'd given away my parallel port Zip Drive years ago.  Plus, remind me what a parallel port was?  When was the last time you saw one on a computer?  

So how to read.  Well, I found a USB Iomega Zip Drive new, in box, sealed (Mint Condition) for around $100.  So I bought.

Amazingly enough for something from the dawn of USB 1.0, I was able to plug it into a USB 3.0 port on a docking station, and Plug Went Play and there the drive was on my Windows 8.1 Pro box. 

No hassle.  Which was a far cry from using the zip drives in the old days on Win 3.1 and Windows 95.  

So anyway, several of these disks were stacker drives.  If I'd plugged it into a machine running stacker under DOS, it would have automounted/renamed the drives and presented the stacker compressed volume as the drive letter of the Zip drive.

For machines without Stacker installed, there was a stacker.exe on the disk that in the old days I'd run and it would do the same thing.

Problem is, doesn't work under x64.

So, well, I have a Windows XP Virtual Machine that I tried.  However, in that case I had the stacker files on a hard disk (since I can't plug a USB device into a WinXP VM) and the stacker.exe program ran, but was mad that the drive it was on wasn't a removable disk.

At that point, I could have gotten crazy and tried USB sticks on a real WinXP box but...I decided to double down and just extract it from the compressed data.

My regular Zip routines (and Windows) didn't know what to do, but I knew it was LZH compression.  So I turned to the most reliable Open Source Zip programs and one of my favorite 7-Zip.

I opened up the 7-Zip Explorer and browsed to the folder and it just opened the stacvol.dsk file up with no problem and let me extract it out.

My 7-Zip is a bit old and isn't shell integrating with Win 8.1, but normally it's integrated in the Windows Shell and you can right click to 7-Zip a file or files.


So if you need to decompress a Stacker stacvol.dsk use 7-Zip.




3 comment(s) so far...


Re: PC Legacy Data: Recovering data from a STAC Stacker Volume

Would be interested if you have any other suggestions. I am running Windows 7 - 64bit and have a Teac 3-1/2" floppy. After reading the floppies for about 20 seconds or so 7-Zip just keeps telling me "Can not open file 'A:STACVOL.DSK' as archive". I have tried this on about 15 different floppies with no luck. I tried the older version of 7-Zip from 2009 and the new version from 2015 and neither can read the stacked disks. Any suggestions would be appreciated.

By Gregory Ross on   10/4/2015 10:47 AM

reading Stacker floppies: 7-zip method and another method didn't work for me, but something else did

I first tried two things: using a USB floppy and going into DOSBox and accessing it the normal way as physical, local A: drive by running STACKER, but I got this error:

A: = A:STACVOL.DSK Cannot find disk holding STACVOL file - NOT MOUNTED

I also tried opening with 7-Zip 16.04 64-bit under Windows 10 64-bit to no avail...7-zip says:

Can not open file 'C:\\STACVOL.DSK' as archive.

WinImage couldn't open either, although the disk was accessed by Windows 10 with no problem at all and I was able to copy the STACKVOL.DSK file and two other files off the floppy very quickly.

This particular 3.5" HD floppy disk is working on 23 years old...pretty darn amazing stuff to read a floppy that old. It didn't put up a fight at all on the file copy.

What did work?

I have Virtualbox loaded with a DR DOS 6.0 VM...I created an image file with WinImage, mounted into the VM and voila, it opened.

So there's your fallback solution if 7-zip doesn't work.

By Steve Sybesma on   1/1/2017 2:25 AM

note on last posting

BTW, you'll notice a double backslash in the dialog for 7-zip...there was actually something I typed in there, but because I put the words "path deleted" between two angle brackets, the HTML editor knocked the whole thing out.

By Steve Sybesma on   1/1/2017 2:30 AM

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