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  • Floppy Drive help

    Home Forums AskWoody support PC hardware Floppy Drive help

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      • #2380964
        AskWoody Plus

        We have come across some old floppy disks that have pictures on them taken with a Mavica camera. We think that most of the photos were saved to CD’s so we really haven’t lost anything. But, we’d like to double check the disks before discarding them. Neither of us has a floppy drive in our PC, so we bought a Teac external USB floppy. The floppy shows up as floppy Disk A and the USB icon shows on the taskbar and it even ejects.

        Device manager shows the floppy drive and there must be a controller installed because the drive was identified and “the device is working properly”. Well it isn’t or the old time floppies are no longer good.

        If you right click on the disk drive icon to get it show properties, the “blue circle” will spin forever. We’ve tried a bunch of them and all we get is a spinning blue circle and not much else. Any suggestions to see if we can get the drive to read properly? Thanks.


      • #2380968
        AskWoody Lounger

        The data on floppy disks, like with most magnetic storage media, does degrade over time to where the files become corrupt, and unreadable.

        Do you have any blank floppy disks, or one of those you are willing to sacrifice? If so, see if you can format it, then copy a file to it. Then see if you can read that file. If all that works fine, then the drive (and your computer) works and are set up properly. And that would suggest your hunch is right and, “the old time floppies are no longer good.

        Bill (AFE7Ret)
        Freedom isn't free!

      • #2380976
        Rick Corbett

        It’s been a while but…

        Do the floppy disk innards rotate freely within their shell casing?

        Stick something like a biro nib into the disk’s rotation slot (on the underside) and feel whether the floppy disk itself rotates between its protective anti-static cloth liners.


      • #2380984
        AskWoody Plus

        Thank you both for answering.

        We tried tried to format a blank floppy but  a message popped up that said “Windows could not complete the format”.

        The disks spun their enclosures, so that wasn’t an issue.

        What we did was brought out a spare laptop with Windows 7 and the drive functioned perfectly along with all the ancient floppy disks. The disks and drive also work in an ancient PC in our basement that hasn’t been turned on in years that has Windows XP on it.

        Win 10 must be too good for likes of such old media…..;-)

        At least we are able to check out the disks and make sure there’s nothing on them that we might need or don’t have.

        • #2381008
          AskWoody Plus

          Good ole Windows 7 to the rescue once again.  I have a USB Floppy drive myself that has worked great on Win XP and now on Win 7 with no problems.

        • #2381020
          AskWoody Plus

          Try using the command prompt (as Admin) since this is how it was done long ago and far away.  Get the floppy running, then enter


          A:     (cross fingers!)


          then if some directories show up, pick one (directoryname) and enter

          cd directoryname

          then enter


          and the photo names should be there if they’re still intact.

          Make a folder in your C drive (C:\Photos) where you can copy the photo directories.  I’d copy the whole disk, then delete the directories you don’t want.  If  folder is named Photos

          Copy A:\*.* C:\Photos     (space after *.* and directoryname below)

          For individual directories

          Copy A:\directoryname C:\Photos

          I don’t think DOS allows folder names to have spaces, so stick with Photos or something simple.

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          • #2381023
            AskWoody MVP

            MS-DOS gained the ability to use long filenames when Windows 95 arrived, as 95 had long filename support. I think it was MS-DOS 7 that was the standalone that first had these, I think. Any versions in current use should be newer than that, even if they’re not the actual branded MS-DOS anymore.

            Filenames with spaces have to be enclosed in quotation marks (since spaces are traditionally used to delimit filenames or parameters). Each file with a long filename also had a short (8.3) filename, like “Micros~1”, for compatibility with older DOS or programs that didn’t support long filenames, but writing to a file with one of these older programs would remove the long filename (so even 95 would see it as “Micros~1” instead of what it was supposed to be). Other things (even within 95) would lose the long filenames from time to time; I am not sure what did it, but every now and then I would see the short versions from within 95.

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