Solved Need to read info from Win98 formatted disks on Win7 machine

September 23, 2014 at 09:15:57
Specs: Windows 7, Antholon x64
Have a friend who owns an embroidery business. He has all of his artwork saved on floppies and all was done on an OLD Win98 machine. There are hundreds of these floppies

Recently acquired a computer with Win7. New out of the box. It finds that all these floppies do not have a recognizable file system... We know this not to be true because they all can be read on other Win98 systems as well as the embroidery machines themselves.

I tried the solution at:

Both manually and creating a script. DEBUG functions fine up until W 100 0 0 1. Then I get a "Disk writing error drive a:/" error. Of course doing this on the Win98 machine.

I am hoping that the reason why the Win7 machine can not read any of these disks is the issue this solution is supposed to address, it seems logical to me.

Any solutions would be greatly appreciated. There are hundreds of these disks totaling thousands of stitch patterns that need to be moved to CD and it will be much more difficult to do on Win98 machine as it does not have a CD writer in it and installing one would be a real pain as the machine is just so old.

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September 23, 2014 at 10:01:26
✔ Best Answer
The problem with floppy disk is that they were unreliable at the best of times. Often a disk formatted and space in one machine could not be read in another because of slight misalignment of the heads in one or the other disk drive.

One solution was to format a floppy in the computer that you want to ultimately read the disk then copy the data from on floppy to another using the old computer.

Having said that, a USB CD drive is not that expensive and installing a CD writer is not hard either.


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September 23, 2014 at 10:07:36
It's most likely one of two problems.
1. The floppy disk has gone bad
2. The media descriptor is different on a Windows 98 machine that it is on a Windows 7 machine.
Is there any way you can connect your Windows 98 to the Internet? If so you could upload your files to an online storage facility like Dropbox or Livedrive or email them to yourself.

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September 23, 2014 at 10:28:45
I don't know why I didn't think of that. I still have access to the Win98 machines. I can just format floppies on the Win7 machine and take it to the Win98 machine and manually copy the old floppies to the ones formatted on the Win7 machine. Then bring the disks back to the Win7 machine for burning. Not pretty, but doable with what we got.

Assuming the Win98 machine has no issues reading disks formatted on the Win7 machine this should work fine. I know the disks drives in the Win98 machines are not too far out of alignment because they can all read disks between each other and the embroidery machines can read those disks as well and all these machines were purchased at different times and one of the embroidery machines is brand new.

I know it's not the disks because the problem is the same on all of them. I've tested dozens out of hundreds.

I'll give this a try and report. But any one who can solve the reason why using DEBUG on these disks with the old Win98 machine to make them usable in the Win7 machine is not working would be helpful. The link to that DEBUG solution is:

message edited by Babarous

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September 23, 2014 at 19:19:39
As I recall, formatting a floppy under 98 will set the descriptor byte. It's just that 98 doesn't need it there to read the disk so it has no problem, for example, reading older disks created using dos.

I assume these disks are 1.44 and not 720K? I'm not sure if windows 7 supports 720K disks.

But I suppose that won't matter if you copy their contents to what are definitely 1.44 disks.

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September 23, 2014 at 20:04:22
Yep. They are 1.44M and I also thought win98 copied the descriptor. But these were pre-formatted disks as there were so many being used. I am told that some of the pre-formatted disks did not include the descriptor.

Who knows. But the format disk on the Win7 machine and taking it to a Win98 machine and copying files on that machine is working.

Thanks every one for all your help!

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September 23, 2014 at 20:09:33
Does the old win98 have a USB port?
It's not a good idea to keep using floppy disks for reasons already mentioned.
A flashdrive can hold hundreds of floppy disk info.
With another flashdrive as backup you have a more reliable medium to store this valuable info.

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September 23, 2014 at 20:26:51
It does.. But not USB 2.0 or up...

We are only using the floppies this last time to get them to Win7 machine and moving them to CD from there.

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