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bad floppies under '9x and XP

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Old September 29th 12, 10:50 AM posted to microsoft.public.win98.gen_discussion,microsoft.public.windowsxp.newusers,microsoft.public.win95.general.discussion
J. P. Gilliver (John)
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Posts: 5,291
Default bad floppies under '9x and XP

A recent news-handling problem has brought this one back, so I thought
I'd bring it up again.


I have a - non-networked - Windows 95 system, used for testing some
equipment. These tests create log files ON ITS HARD DISC (usually the
desktop, for convenience; they're only 41k files, in threes). As part of
our procedure, these log files have to be stored on our company network;
the procedure we use to do this is to copy them onto a floppy disc on
the '95 machine, carry it the few yards to the networked XP machine
which has a USB floppy drive, and copy the files to the network drive.
lost, so no recovery is necessary. The files are still there on the
desktop (hard drive) of the '95 system.

(Sorry for shouting, but throughout this thread, people have very kindly
spent a lot of time trying to help with recovery, which isn't needed.)

Purely out of perversity, I continue to use the floppy with the bad
sectors; I have other work I can do while waiting (or, if not, I use a
good floppy).

1. 95 machine. After experiencing problems, I rescan the floppy, on the
'95 machine, so that any newly-bad sectors get marked. (I'm curious as
to whether a scan rescans already-marked-as-bad sectors; I think it must
do, as it seems to take longer each time, whereas I wouldn't expect it
to if it was skipping already-marked-as-bad sectors.) While _doing_ this
scan, the '95 machine still lets me do other things, just incredibly
slowly, which puzzles me, though I accept what some people here have
said about low-level drivers and the like. (I don't have - nor the means
to install - any utilities, such as resource meters, that aren't part of
the basic '95 system.)

2. XP machine.
(a) When it is having problems reading the floppy, it goes through this
cycle many times: floppy drive light on and floppy turning; light off
and not turning _for several seconds_. (_What_ is it doing during that
time?) After many such cycles, it reports a problem. Until it does, it
becomes unresponsive in explorer windows, though I can do other things.
(b) If I try to close the explorer window with the X before it has given
up, it usually ignores me. If I close it with task manager, it does
close it, but is obviously upset: it blanks where the taskbar was
(eventually redrawing it), and does various other things which show it
isn't happy, including closing any other explorer windows (such as the
one showing the network drive I was copying the files to), _and these
are really closed and don't come back_, so it's not just an
incredibly-slow-redraw matter.
(c) After such, whether I wait (ages) for the error message or terminate
the process, it seems to have some "memory" that there was something
wrong: attempts to read even an OK floppy often don't work. I find
either closing the explorer window that was looking at drive A:, or
unplugging the USB floppy drive and putting it back (I usually use
another socket), make it read OK again.

(I report these as just curiosities that will probably now never be
solved - that project is coming to an end, so I won't have much
opportunity to investigate further - I think.)

(Read on ...)

In message , Twayne
In ,
J. P. Gilliver (John) typed:

On the XP system, if the read fails, it also seems to
lock up the system. I don't know _what_ it is doing: it
sits there, not even accessing the floppy continuously -
the light comes on for a few seconds, then goes off for a
few seconds, and eventually - sometimes after a minute or
more - comes up with an error message; again, the system
is a little sluggish to do anything else, though nothing
like as much so as the '95 system. But what is really
weird is that it seems to sulk where the floppy is
concerned: once it has decided there is a problem, it
refuses - by going into the
mode - to do _anything_ with the floppy, even delete or
rename a file, _or use a (different, good) floppy.
Sometimes, if I think it has locked up completely, I kill
the process with Task Manager, which works - XP is more
robust that way - but from the way it does it, it is
clearly having a _major_ effect: it usually closes _all_
explorer windows, blanks and eventually redraws the
taskbar, breaks iconoid, redraws the desktop, and so on.
Again, I can't see why doing something as trivial as
accessing a floppy - even if it's dud - should have such
a major effect on the system. (I also think the XP system
is less tolerant of the poor floppy.)
I repeat, I _know_ a good floppy is only pennies, and I
have one: it's just the principle that bugs me, of why
doing such a nominally simple thing should cripple both
systems so much.
(I've included the '98 newsgroup as I thought they might
be interested/have views/answers.)

Everyone who has responded so far has given good information. Taken
together, IMO they give a good picture of what's going on. A bit higher
level explanation might go thusly:

Being magnetic, floppy disks do lost their data over time as short as 6

[All good stuff but not an explanation of why the OSs are behaving as
they are.]
There are DOS programs around that are meant to "recover" decaying
floppies. Mine seems to be lost in the archives somewhere; all I see left is

And dud HDs - I forget the name, but we have one that will sit trying to
read a sector for ages; we left it for several days trying to salvage
something from a (I think it was all of 20M!) drive that had come with a
piece of equipment (from a division that was being closed down and
nobody knew where the backups were for this ancient equipment; I am sure
there would originally have been such).

the WordStar to Word converter, meaning several others are hiding away from
me too.
The "recover floppy" program did a lot better and more efficient job than
anything you could do manually and was often surpsingly effectively. I guess
Google would be the best way to find it now.

As I've explained, the data isn't lost (it's still on the machine it's
being copied from); I'm just curious as to why the OSs (if anything,
particularly the XP one; I accept a slowdown for the '95 one, at least
that's sort of understandable) are behaving as they do.

As for locking up the sy

(Not sure what happened there.)
J. P. Gilliver. UMRA: 1960/1985 MB++G.5AL-IS-P--Ch++(p)Ar@T0H+Sh0!:`)DNAf

# 10^-12 boos = 1 picoboo # 2*10^3 mockingbirds = 2 kilo mockingbird
# 10^21 piccolos = 1 gigolo # 10^12 microphones = 1 megaphone
# 10**9 questions = 1 gigawhat

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