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floppy info recovery

By jsmart ·
I have a great deal of floppies(all kinds but mostly high density)that I made back in the days of Windows 95 and 98. They have sat untouched in a storage closet for years, but last month I needed to get some info off of one of them.
When I put it in floppy drive A (the one that came with computer) it causes an error immediately and it is hard to get around just repartitioning and/or formatting the floppy and just accepting the loss of the info that was originally put on it.
Then I had an idea and I installed, as floppy drive B, an exterior USB floppy drive that I had stored in the closet , and tried the floppies that wouldn't open with A: again. Surprisingly, many of them worked. But there were still a bunch of them that didnt. The error in the case of B: is almost always: "The disc you have in drive B: is not formatted, would you like to format it now?"
My question is can anyone think of a way that I can recover the data on a couple of these floppies that won't open in either of my floppy drives.

I have winXP formatted with ntfs, ASUS motherboard P4P8oo-E with Intel 865PE chipset. a Pentium four 3.06 gHZ processor with HP. Frontside bus is 800/533/400 mhz.

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by HAL 9000 Moderator In reply to floppy info recovery

The easy solution would be to grab a copy of Davory from X Ways and try to recover the files with that. There is a trial version available here


As for the A Drive if these are not used often they can fill up with dirt and stop them working in a Worst Case Scenario I've seen drives like this destroy the floppies that have been inserted into them.

But you are far more likely to find that the stored Floppies have been adversely affected by the manner in which they have been stored. Strong Magnetic Fields can wipe them or if there is any electrical wiring close by the Low Frequency Electro Magnetic Field generated by the wires can wipe the floppies over a long enough time period.

I've also seen mold growing on the actual Data Storage area of some floppies that where stored in a damp area well not actually wet but just poor ventilation that allows humidity to build up and allow the disc's to become contaminated.

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by HAL 9000 Moderator In reply to

While the 3.5 inch floppies are better for long term storage they still need special attention and you need to make sure that the Floppy drive in the computer is actually working and use it on a semi regular basis.

I've lost count of the number of floppy drives that have never been used that I've had to remove & replace in office computers. The same applies to Floppy Disc's they need to be treated properly to remain useful I still have some 5.25 Inch Floppies that work perfectly and though I very rarely use them now days they are always there if needed. The 3.5 inch ones get a lot more use but then again I have thousands of them so when you look at an individual Disc it may not have been touched in years but they still work perfectly.

Provided that there is no physical damage to the Data Surfaces you should be able to recover any data off them. I just suggested Davory but there are other Data Recovery products available that if you have may be usable. Just one thing to look out for though the normal 3.5 HD floppy is 1.44 MEG but back in the 95 - 98 Days MS formatted their Install Floppies to 1.7 MEG and if this is what has happened you'll need a tool to reformat them to that size again and most likely an older floppy drive to read them correctly. Back in the DOS days there was a popular utility that allowed you to format these floppies to the larger format but some Floppy Drives don't read the 0 Track so they are unable to read these Disc's formated this way.


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by Kiltie In reply to floppy info recovery

I don't know if this will help you with your problem, but I have had excellent results with Zero Assumption Recovery.


It successfully recovered all files for me, even deleted ones from a medium that I thought was unrecoverable.

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by Kiltie In reply to

Please note that it is not freeware, unless you simply want to recover some images only.
The evaluation version has some limitations.

It all depends on how much you value the data you are trying to recover, in some cases, data can be priceless, so the asking price of around $80 is cheap in comparison.

Up to you.

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by sgt_shultz In reply to floppy info recovery

they way it was explained to me is the head alignment on the floppy drives vary. the drive that originally wrote the floppies would read them fine if this is the case.
maybe keep trying a few used floppy drives to see if you can find one that will work.

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