Floppy Disk Tips|
By Thiravudh Khoman
Re: Boonserm Asavapisit's floppy disk queries (Post
Database, 29-Nov-2000), here's what I do to minimize the chances of
getting caught with a bad diskette:
- First and foremost, I try to reformat my floppy disks frequently,
especially after I've WRITTEN to them or DELETED files from any computer
OTHER than my own. I suspect that differences in floppy drives on
various computers (alignment, speed, dust, etc.) are a major cause of
floppy reading/writing problems.
Also, I always do my reformatting on a single computer, and when
reformatting, I always do an "unconditional" format (i.e. FORMAT A: /U)
as opposed to a "quick" format (i.e. FORMAT A: /Q). Or if you're
reformatting under Windows, do a "Full" as opposed to a "Quick" format.
- If I come across ANY bad sectors when reformatting a diskette, I
always throw the diskette away (or fold it in half Superman style and
then throw it away). While this may seem like a waste of money, in
actual fact, I haven't bought any new diskettes in almost 10 years. All
of my diskettes are either freebies or recycled stuff. Given that most
of these tend to be of the generic variety, this sort of suggests that
it might not always be necessary to buy expensive name brand diskettes.
By the way, if you encounter a read or write error, that doesn't
necessarily mean a diskette is bad. Try reformatting it first. ONLY if
it shows bad sectors during reformatting should you consider throwing it
away. Also, if you get bad sectors on many consecutive diskettes while
reformatting, you could be experiencing a Windows glitch (i.e. the
diskettes aren't necessarily bad). This happens to me every now and
then. Just shut down your computer for a few minutes and then try
again. Unless you have extraordinarily bad diskettes, statistically,
you shouldn't get more than 3-4 bad diskettes in a row.
- After copying files over to the diskette, I usually make sure the
files can be re-read. Immediately copying the files back from A: to C:
doesn't do the trick though, since the files tend to be cached in
memory. Try it. From DOS, copy about a half megabyte of files to A:.
Now copy them back to C:. See how quick that took? The files were
actually copied from memory and NOT re-read from drive A:, which
obviously doesn't test the diskette's readability.
What I do is to eject the diskette from the floppy drive first and
then from DOS type: COPY A:*.* NUL:. With no diskette in the drive, DOS
will give a "Not ready reading drive A:/Abort, Retry, Fail" error
message. Don't worry - in fact, this does us the favour of purging the
floppy cache. Now, simply push the diskette back in, press "R" to
retry, and DOS will now read (i.e. REALLY read) the files from A: and
copy them to good old NUL:. (Note: NUL: is a "device" that has a name
but doesn't physically exist in your computer. Copying files there
essentially throws the copies away.)