Sure Sign it's Time to Replace a Floppy

Dell / Dell system inspiron 7720
November 8, 2013 at 20:15:10
Specs: Windows 8, 2.401 GHz Intel i7-3630QM/ 8052 MB DDR3 1600Mhz
Had a bit of a problem reading some files on a floppy disk. Lo and behold, Scandisk has a seizure with this one...

O_e Time to replace....

Not everyone can decipher Klingon script...
chay' ta' SoH tlhe' vam Doch Daq

message edited by OLDISGOOD

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November 8, 2013 at 22:54:30
You actually still use floppies? There isn't even a floppy-drive on any of the computers in our house. They are absolutely not required any more, not even for booting diagnostic and repair utilities.

And you should be aware that production quality of floppies these days is so poor (no profit in them any more) that they are fit for single use only, or better still don't use them at all.

message edited by phil22

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November 9, 2013 at 04:35:22
Hi Old, there may be nothing wrong with the floppy drive, other than it needs cleaning.

PC cooling systems tend to draw air in, and thus any fluff or dust can become lodged in such drives. Cleaning the drive involves:-

a) remove drive's top cover and blow out any muck with a hairdryer set to cold and maximum blast. Use a long thin brush to assist.
b) gently clean the read/write heads with a bent cotton bud/q-tip dipped in isopropyl alcohol. This is the cleaning liquid that comes with cd/dvd cleaners.

Try reformating the disc concerned (and any failed ones), using FORMAT /C.
Bear in mind this operation *WIPES* the disk.
Normally FORMAT does not check failed clusters. With the /C parameter, it tests failed clusters and if ok, resets them as usable.

If there is still a problem with the drive, try one from a scrapper.

This post should have been in the hardware forum, where possibly it would be seen by a greater number of experts in such matters.

Good Luck - Keep us posted.

message edited by Mike Newcomb

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November 9, 2013 at 06:29:06

Thanks for the blast from the past OLDISGOOD I haven't seen, or used that in years and years! While I still have at least 3 PC's in my office at home here that have floppies, I haven't touched them since I discovered how to make el torito (bootable) CD's. So, something like 15 years ago I'd say.

I'm sure you figured out that disk, and the data on it, are toast so I hope you've backed that data up elsewhere. Back when I bought my first CD burner, I copied all my floppies to my HDD and then burnt that onto disk. While still not a perfect storage media (what is) they're a lot more reliable than floppies and have a much longer life expectancy too.

If you do get that data off I would do the same (ie: copy to HDD then burn to CD/DVD) and I'd do so with any/all other floppies you have saved up. For the most part, I just copied the disk directly into folders titled appropriately (ex: MS-DOS 6.22 disk 1) and then burn the bunch. I always have a folder called "storage" or "stored files" in which I put stuff like this then it's simpler to burn after.

Of course, if you have a NAS, you could just copy the data to it.

It matters not how straight the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll,
I am the master of my fate;
I am the captain of my soul.

***William Henley***

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Related Solutions

November 10, 2013 at 08:32:58
If scandisk has an issue with a floppy then yes, it needs replacing.

Always pop back and let us know the outcome - thanks

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November 11, 2013 at 08:39:26
@phil, I still use them to transfer files on and off of my 486 machine, considering the lack of any burnable CD support (that I can find) and its easier (and safer) than swapping hard drives :-P

@Mike, This isn't actually a problem. I just was partially amazed at the # of bad clusters and thought you guys might get a kick out of it too. I last used the floppy about 3 months ago with no problems, and this is somewhat amazing since it's only been sitting in an airtight box, in the sleeve, on the top shelf in my bedroom, where the temperature fluctuates at most 10F from around 60-70. And I will do that cleanup; I still haven't been patient enough to sit down in front of my XP machine (with floppy drive :D) and start stuffing the hard drive full of 155 floppy disks.

@Curt, Thats what I expected :P I mean, the floppy is only an ancient ASCII hangman game and some random stuff I cleared off my old work machine (386 that killed it's processor somehow; Everything on the mobo tests out fine in another system except the processor). It was nothing important, and it was copied to my XP machine. Maybe this weekend (or today :P) I'll start on copying all my floppies.

@Derek, already toast, and I don't need the data anymore anyway :P

Not everyone can decipher Klingon script...
chay' ta' SoH tlhe' vam Doch Daq

message edited by OLDISGOOD

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November 11, 2013 at 10:10:12
Most folk have always claimed that floppies are unreliable but when I used to use them they were not bad at all - far better than CD-RW. However, it seems from #2 that things are not what they used to be. I've a box full of brand ones bought years ago - wish I could think of something to use them for. The only computer I have with a floppy drive is my old XP which, although still working and updated, is now in the spare room.

EDIT: Forgot about the floppy drive on my working Win98SE but that is now in the loft pending departure to the rubbish tip.

Always pop back and let us know the outcome - thanks

message edited by Derek

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