Recover file from damaged floppy

I have an important file on a 3 l/2" floppy.  I can see the file in DOS but cannot open, copy or x-copy it.  I did a scandisk and got an error that there was not enough space to finish scandisk.  I used Norton Utilities on disk and surface scan found sector errors that could not be repaired.

Anyone know of a utility or trick to get this file off this disk!!!
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I've had the best luck with DISKTEST PRO ...
It's small, self-contained and has a really nice gui...
Lots of handy features for manipulating floppies
and does a good job of recovering data...
Here are some urls... Hope it helps...

(The download link is at the bottom of the page above.)

Or do a search... It's available at various sites...
Here's a picture of it but the dl link is broke...

Here's another image of it from a link on that previous page:

If the reason Norton can't fix the sectors is the same as the ScanDisk failure,
i.e., a lack of disk space, you might be able to remove some files from the disk
to free some space for it to write the data while it's moving it before marking the
sector as bad. Just an idea if you think it might allow it to get the data relocated.
tituba2Author Commented:
This file is part of a Winzip spanned disk.  It is a zip file filling the disk, so it is the only one on it.  I cannot finish unzipping this disk set without this disk as Winzip stops.  I left the disk utility you referenced running and will know if it worked tomorrow.  If you know of a way to finish the unzipping of this spanned disk set when I have a damaged disk, PLEASE let me know!  This file is important and cannot be duplicated.  Even if the portion of data that was on this disk is lost, at least be able to finish unzipping so I get the majority of it.  It is a 30 disk spanned zip, so it is alot of data.
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I've used SPINRITE to repair damaged floppies in the past.

Yes, I've had that problem with spanned zip files...
I sometimes precopy dummy files to the floppies
that can later be deleted if space is needed for this.
But as you say, that's a lot of data...

Have you tried to copy the file from the floppy?
If you attempt copying it to another location and
you encounter Abort, Retry, Fail, Ignore messages
and continue choosing Retry or Ignore you can sometimes
get the data or at least the majority of it.

If it's then concatenated with the remainder of the archive
but the resulting zip file is corrupt, it's possible that
pkfix.exe can restore it enough to expand it
without much loss, depending on the
contents of the archive and the
number of files contained.

Sincerely hope DiskTestPro recovers a valid image of all sectors...
Please post back with your results...

SpinRite is a fine application, as are all of Gibson's program's...
Unfortunately Steve currently wants 90 bucks for it...
He used to give it away...
Try the diskette in another computer. With any luck another diskette drive could read the diskette. Try to make a diskcopy of it.

I paid the $ for Spinrite a long time ago and have gotten my use out of it.
tituba2Author Commented:
Before I posted, I tried everything I could think of - tried copying file, disk, scan disk, Norton utilities.  There is damage on this disk, and the file appears to be located in that sector.

Question - This damaged disk is #21 of a 30 disk spanned disk set.  I was wondering if I renamed disk 22 to 21 etc, do you think I could trick Winzip into finishing the spanned set (rename disk 30 to 29 and then rename it to 30 again to finish)???  Never done that but was wondering what you thought.  
tituba2Author Commented:
I'm closing this question as the utility you referenced did rescue the file off the damaged disk.  I now, however, still have a problem in that it is part of a zipped spanned disk set and it is invalid.  I think part of the problem was that not all of it got off the floppy.

Anyways - tried pkzipfix and it would not fix.  Contacted Winzip and they had me download from

and use their fix.  That didn't work either.  So now I'm waiting for Winzip to get back to me to see if I can trick this spanned set to continue on to disk 22 even though 21 is bad.  Some data is better than none.

Thanks for your help!


I performed some of the previously mentioned tests hoping to help find a way
to get some of your data from the disks. I had varying degrees of success,
mostly depending on the data type. I worked within a temporary directory
having subdirectories containing an assortment of multiple file types, e.g;
.wav, .mid, .bmp, .gif, .jpg, .wri, .doc, .txt, .com and executable files.
Some had data loss after expanding but most were still usable.

For the tests I used only enough data
to span 4 disks when the files were zipped.
I used PKZIP.exe in a dos box for all the tests.
I also used the -rp when recursing subdirectories
and the -d switch to restore them when expanding,
but that shouldn't matter to you for just getting the files.

When completed I had a zipped file to use for testing
(named ZIPTEST.ZIP) spanning 4 floppies, which PKZIP labeled
PKBACK# 001, PKBACK# 002, PKBACK# 003 and PKBACK# 004 ...

The first test was to change the volume label sequence as discussed.
I discovered that volume label renumbering doesn't fool PKZIP ...
After I changed the label of #002 to #003 and #003 to #004
PKZIP still knew I was putting in the wrong disk.
Must be written to the file or a checksum.
It attempted unzipping files on subsequent disks,
but more of the files were corrupt, except for text files.

So I tested again the file concatenation method, which I remember trying
(with semi-successful results) on a defective spanned set some time ago.
I continued pretending the disk # 002 was defective and skipped that one.
I copied the ZIPTEST.ZIP file from each of the other floppies in sequence
to a temporary directory and renamed the individual files as

Then (skipping the "defective" disk # 002) I combined the three files
to a new file named ZIPTESTX.ZIP using the Copy command like this:


Be sure to precede the filenames with the /b switch to indicate binary files.
If the files reside in the temp directory in the proper numerical sequence
you can just use:    COPY /B  *.ZIP  ZIPTESTX.ZIP

After creating the new file I then ran PKUNZIP.exe on it...
It immediately prompted to insert the last disk of the set...
I just pressed enter and it expanded all the files.

While expanding it produced errors such as these:

Inflating: (filename.ext)
PKUNZIP: (W21) Warning! file has bad table
PKUNZIP: (W15) Warning! file fails CRC check
PKUNZIP: (W13) Warning! inconsistent local header for file
PKUNZIP: (W26) Warning! ZIPTESTX.ZIP has errors!

But it finished extracting the files and almost all the data was intact.
Of course the data from disk #002 was missing but you may be able to
insert your disk image of your defective disk while concatenating.

Also your success could depend mostly on the file formats originally zipped.
It appears the majority of corrupted files were the .exe, .bmp and .jpg files.
But I later ran PKZIPFIX.exe on the concatenated zip file which initially
produced the error messages and more of the files were expanded.
I did the test again but this time using only text files and
skipping the third disk in the set. Files on that disk
were missing from the newly created archive
but all the others opened successfully.

Anyway, thought I'd include this info... I had time to experiment with it
over the weekend and hoped it might help you get some of the data
if you haven't already figured out a way to access and restore it.
But if not, don't give up on it... There's certainly a way...
tituba2Author Commented:
Thanks for the info!  This whole thing certainly has been a learning curve for me.  I posted in Win98 section about damaged archive and received very good guidance.

This file was the compacted Sent Items in Outlook Express (dbx file).  It was just the user's Sent Items and took 30 disks.  Another poster suggested the copy /b option, which is what I ended up using.  I then used pkzipfix and pkunzip.  Got some of the .dbx file back, however, Outlook Express didn't want to import this file.  Copying it to Outlook Express' subdirectory didn't work either.  I went out to Technet and Microsoft referenced corrupted dbx files and a third party utilty.  I used it and it actually extracted the individual e-mail messages out of the .dbx file and put them in a folder (.eml files).  They are associated with Outlook Express, so he can access these messages.  I was able to get back 727 messages, so I figure that is better than nothing.'

Thank you so much for your time and effort in this question.  Learned a great deal in this experience and found some valuable tools for recovery.

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