Subscriber Dee Smith wrote this week about a problem with floppy disks:
I recently saved some work on a floppy disk. When I try to open it I get a message that the disk is "not formatted, do you want to format it?"
Is there a way for me to retrieve this work from the disk?
Thanks Dee Smith
I wrote back to Dee to tell her that she obviously don’t want to format it. I’m sure she knew that, but it’s better to be safe than sorry some times.
I thought she might have some dust ball accumulations "dust bunnies" in her floppy disk drive. I suggested that she get a can of compressed air and blow through the floppy drive slot.
I also asked if she wrote to the floppy disk from that same PC? If not, she should take it to another to see if it can be read. If it can’t be read, then she should take it back to the PC where she wrote it — and try it there. If that works, she could copy the data to a flash drive. There’s really no good reason to use a floppy any more. The flash drives have gotten cheap and are more reliable for moving data from one place to another.
Dee wrote back to say:
Thank you for your quick response. I blew out the floppy drive, but didn’t help. I have tried it on three different computers, including the one it was made on. No luck.
Yes, I will put things on a flash next time. Is there no other way to retrieve the information?
I wrote back to Dee to tell her that one problem I’ve found has been that the internal floppy part of the floppy disk can get stuck.
I was able to slide open the silver window by hand and then manually turn the disk (from the bottom of the disk, using the hub that’s in the center).
That may solve the problem. If not, I don’t know a way. Of course, if it’s stuck, it may never have written the files in the first place (I don’t know if she wrote to this disk recently or a long time ago).
Dee wrote back to report
The disk was stuck. My husband got it to turn but I still couldn’t retrieve the information. Thanks for all the help. I knew that if it could be done, you’d know how. thanks again Dee
Will use jump stick in the future.
All this is making me rethink whether I really want to bother putting a floppy drive in the new home theater PC I’m going to build to replace my 5-year old one. What’s a home theater PC? Think of it as a TiVo® or Digital Video Recorder (DVR) on steriods.
While I might only use the floppy drive for special utilities, if floppy disks are going bad, I can save that $20.