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Fri Jun 3, 2016, 07:12 PM

Due to an emergency, I need to be able to "read" floppies!!

Well, it is my computer that needs to be able to read them.

Long story short, someone who was visiting used my CD's that made a bak up of personal writings, rather than using the blank CD's they might have used if they had been in "thoughtful" mode.

Now I need to have some of my writing available in text format. By tomorrow at 4Pm.

The stuff is also on a Terra drive, but I don't know where my spouse and I hid said drive.

So then I remembered the writing I need is also on floppies.

The smaller, "newer" kind of floppies, not the big old four inch plus size. (If anything that old can be considered "new."

My computer of course, thinks that the floppy is some sort of alien life form. It does have a floppy drive, but it keeps telling me the floppy I need should be formatted. I know for certain that it doesn't need to be formatted. It has a bunch of writing on it. (One Meg or what ever the standard floppy formatting allowed back in pre-historic days.)

Is there any hope?

All advice appreciated.

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Reply Due to an emergency, I need to be able to "read" floppies!! (Original post)
truedelphi Jun 2016 OP
LineNew Reply .
SusanCalvin Jun 2016 #1
truedelphi Jun 2016 #2
Ghost Dog Jun 2016 #3
csziggy Jun 2016 #4
truedelphi Jun 2016 #5
discntnt_irny_srcsm Jun 2016 #6
csziggy Jun 2016 #7

Response to truedelphi (Original post)

Fri Jun 3, 2016, 07:15 PM

1. .


Oops - your computer does have a floppy drive? What OS?

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Response to SusanCalvin (Reply #1)

Fri Jun 3, 2016, 07:25 PM

2. Thanks for helping so quick, Susan. OS happens to be

Windows XP.

It has 111 G-bytes.

If a "newer" computer is better, I also can borrow the new Toshiba Windows Seven my spouse has. (Or maybe it is even Windows 10)

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Response to truedelphi (Reply #2)

Fri Jun 3, 2016, 08:03 PM

3. There's some advice here:



(photos, text, makes no difference: it's just data)...

The 'Linux nerd' would be a good option.

But your floppy might have decayed by now. Can your drive/OS read any other floppies?

--> Lesson: for important data, make multiple backups, and periodically make new copies, on new media, of your archives.

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Response to truedelphi (Original post)

Fri Jun 3, 2016, 08:06 PM

4. The floppy drive sees the disc but can't read it?

On some older floppy drives you can get what is (was?) known as "head drift" where the heads got out of alignment. There used to be ways to recalibrate the heads but I'm not anyone but serious data recovery companies does that any more.

This source verified my vague memories of this phenomenon:

You might try data recovery software on your computer and see if it can recover the information, but I wouldn't hold out much hope. I like EaseUS - try their free version: http://www.easeus.com/datarecoverywizard/free-data-recovery-software.htm

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Response to csziggy (Reply #4)

Fri Jun 3, 2016, 11:42 PM

5. Gosh that seems complicated.

For now, i think I will look in the basement office to locate the Terra Drive. But since i have your attention, can I ask the question - so the problem is not with newer computer systems - they will still read old floppies, as long as you have the floppy drive hooked up?

So it sounds like it is the head of the particular floppy drive I own that is mis-aligned and not that I am forever locked out of the floppy information loop?

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Response to truedelphi (Reply #5)

Sat Jun 4, 2016, 07:52 AM

6. Or perhaps the floppy you're trying to read....

...was written on a different drive and the heads of the drive that wrote the floppy were misaligned when the disc was written. I've had things like that happen more than once. Your best hope would be that the floppy you have now is misaligned and that your disc was written correctly.

I'm not sure where you live but, if you have one near enough, some Fry's stores have USB floppy drives in stock:

This item on amazon:
...is available for free same day delivery. As I understand it that may depend on where you live.

For the future, IMHO if you're looking to backup text and files under 1 MB the best option is a USB flash drive like this:

Every computer I've seen has at least 1 USB port. There are no moving parts to wear or misalign. Since they're cheap, you can get 3 and make multiple backups in case you misplace 1. This can hold the contents of maybe 20 CDs or thousands of floppies.

I hope things work out okay.

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Response to truedelphi (Reply #5)

Sat Jun 4, 2016, 09:28 AM

7. Some upgrades of WIndows XP and WIndows 7 caused problems

With accessing the floppy drive but then the computer would not see the floppy drive at all, which is not your problem.

It could be that the head of the drive that wrote to the floppy was mis-aligned or that the one you are trying to use is. So long as the same drive is used to read as was used to write, you wouldn't notice a problem. But with two different drives, it's hard to tell which one is out of whack.

The other possible problem, also seen with old magnetic audio and video tapes, is that the magnetic layer could be coming off the substrate. For historic and valuable recordings, there are methods to re-stick the magnetic layer (if it's not too far gone) and then read the information.

I'm curious about the CDs you said someone saved your stories to. Did they use a burning method that simulates using a floppy - use a rewriteable CD or write different sessions to a CDR? My father always insisted on using CDRWs and lost tons of information, never making a backup that was recoverable.

Writing different sessions to a CDR worked OK, but was still not as reliable as simply burning a basic data CDR in one session that is closed at the end of the process. I have CDRs that I burned with my first CD burner in 1999 that are still readable - I copy the data onto new media regularly but the oldest ones are still good.

I was never able to recover Dad's data from CDRWs but the multi-session CDRs had data I could get by using data recovery software. You might try those if you can't find your Terra Drive.

All in all, you are better off locating your Terra Drive!

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