I got a call the other day from a company that I do
consulting for from time to time. The lady in charge of Human Resources had
lost some data that she needed recovered. It was a very important interview
with someone who was filing a sexual harassment complaint for the company and
she had gone to a remote site to perform the interview. She used a computer onsite to type up the
interview and was bringing it back to the office.
How did she bring it back that cause her to lose data? Drop
her laptop? A corrupt attachment to an email? A scratched
CD-R? Maybe she accidentally poured a soda over her USB memory
stick. Nope, none of the above. She had lost data the old
fashioned way by
storing it on a bad floppy disk. Fortunately, at least it was a 3.5
and not a 5.25.
I was prepared to have to take the disk home and maybe use
some utilities I have to revive dead sectors on floppy disks, but I didnt have
to go to that much trouble. She had tried copying the files from Windows
Explorer, which failed when it hit the bad sector. Dropping to a command
prompt, I was able to move the file using the old COPY command. I did have to
Ignore and Retry a few times, but eventually the file moved over. There were a few formatting issues, but she
didnt lose any of the important parts of the interview so she was lucky.
It had been a while since I got a call about a bad floppy
disk. You dont see them around as much as you used to. Once upon a time, 1.44Mb seemed like acres of
space to store data on, but with todays ever larger files, floppies just dont
cut it. Combined with the ubiquity of writable CDs and USB memory drives at
ever falling prices, floppy drives are definitely Last Millenium.
I still have a couple of boxes of floppies at home. Theyre
mostly actually old 360K 5.25s for my Tandy 1000. Surprisingly enough, those
old floppy disks dont go as bad youd think even though none of them are less
than 10 years old.
I stick to the memory sticks for most portable storage things
although a CD-RW is pretty universal. It will be interesting to see what comes
out next. In a few years, well be
chuckling about the people that are still using USB drives.