Floppy disc's

  Sybil1 17:40 09 May 2013

I have a number of floppy dis'c with old pics on, and, have tried to open them, each time I am asked to format the disc. I am working on windows xp pro. How can I get around this. Regor

  Ian in Northampton 18:05 09 May 2013

That's a classic sign of the data on your floppy disks having become corrupt, I'm afraid - it happens a great deal. Unfortunately, many people - myself included - thought that information stored on magnetic media would last forever. But, in many cases, it didn't. I'm not sure there's anything you can do - but someone may come along with some ideas.

  bjh 18:13 09 May 2013

Floppy disks are prone to fall in love with the drive that wrote them, so a new drive may not read them. That may be terminal, if the old drive has gone.

However, another possibility that's worth checking is if the disks will read under MSDOS (or win 95 and win98 if you have access to such...). There's a media descriptor bit in the boot sector that needs to be present for XP to read the disks; it can be absent with MSDOS.... or the other way round. It's a while since I had this issue, for obvious reasons. It was a very common issue back in the last decade... a similar problem cropped up with Mac disks on a PC.

Try getting a copy of MSDOS bootdisk, booting the machine from floppy, and then seeing if your disks will read....

  bjh 18:23 09 May 2013

OK, you can get a bootdisk to download from here. It's fully safe - used it myself a few times a while ago, and I'd go with any of the DOS disks... 5 through to 6.22. Download, and follow the instructions to write the dos bootdisk.

Check your BIOS will boot from floppy and stick the written disk in. Restart, hopefully into MSDOS. Try dir a: to see if the disk is readable.

The problem may come in copying the disks in a meaningful way. The DOS bootdisk may/will not recognise your massive hard disk, I'm guessing... so copy . c: isn't going to work. (Worth seeing if it does... can't remember what sizes DOS could cope with...)

So... while booted into XP, format a readable disk.... check it is readable... reboot into DOS using the downloaded disk. Stick in the disk with pictures, type copy . b:, and it should do a batch copy, asking you to eject the data disk, and insert the disk you just formatted in XP...

Now, if any one else would like to give the short, correct answer, the OP (and I) would be grateful ;)

  bjh 18:28 09 May 2013

This delightful Forum font is removing asterisk symbols from my typing 'cos it uses them as "special" characters (aaah, sweet. The Forum looks like it is run from DOS commands too...)

You can get dos commands from here

You want copy asterisk dot asterisk c: or the same, with b: at the end..... if I use the asterisk symbol like . all you'll see is a dot. Clever Forum!

  canarieslover 08:54 10 May 2013

I have used the free version of iCare in the past to recover some files that were on an unreadable floppy. Might be worth a try, but you have to be patient as it seems to take a long time to do the job. Icare

  woodchip 15:37 10 May 2013

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