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3.5 inch floppy won't open

Posted on 2003-10-31
Medium Priority
Last Modified: 2007-12-19
I am a computer novice but my boss asked me to try to open a floppy on which his wife was saving an important patient case history. I presume she was using MS Word. It wouldn't open and disk error checking didn't work.
Opening the A drive from "My Computer" produced a message which said something like "cyclic redundancy error".
Is there any software readily available (freeware preferably) to   recover the data or is the Word file corrupted and impossible to recover? I hope someone can help even if it is to confirm that it can't be fixed.
Question by:jamesmoshides
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Assisted Solution

philby11 earned 300 total points
ID: 9661914
you can try these
list provided by crazyone
it sounds like the floppy might be stuffed though.
You can't keep them (Floppy's) near any magnetic source as they will degrade or erase.
LVL 32

Assisted Solution

LucF earned 300 total points
ID: 9662276
You might want to try and make a 1on1 copy of the disk using some program like DiskDupe wich you can find here:

LVL 14

Assisted Solution

kronostm earned 300 total points
ID: 9662507
philby ....that list of tools from the link you specified is for recovering data from harddrives

jamesmoshides .......  with some  experience in the field you'll know that data on damaged floppy disks is usually unrecoverable.
I know that's not what you expected to hear here on this forum, but that's a fact and you have to admit that whoever keeps the only backup on one floppy disk deserves this lesson.

Anyway ....  Luc's ideea might work but I doubt it will, in this particular case.
For a greater success chance I'd recomand using Norton Disk Doctor(NDD). Lots of years ago when CDROM drives were something rare and floppy was the only way to transfer data, I used NDD to recover some lost data on bad floppys and in some cases it worked.

A small description of Cyclic redundancy check (CRC) :

The CRC is a very powerful but easily implemented technique to obtain data reliability. The CRC technique is used to protect blocks of data called Frames. Using this technique, the transmitter appends an extra n- bit sequence to every frame called Frame Check Sequence (FCS). The FCS holds redundant information about the frame that helps the transmitter detect errors in the frame. The CRC is one of the most used techniques for error detection in data communications. The technique gained its popularity because it combines three advantages:

    * Extreme error detection capabilities.
    * Little overhead.
    * Ease of implementation

Read this for reference: http://www.computerhope.com/issues/ch000430.htm

If you'll try a google search you'll find out that any source recomends for CRC error on floppy to try another disk, and none gives a chance for the disk to e read properly.
Anyway, give NDD a try.

Hope that helps

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LVL 18

Assisted Solution

chicagoan earned 300 total points
ID: 9662842
Bad Copy Pro can sometimes be helpful, there's a free demo:

Accepted Solution

sppalser earned 300 total points
ID: 9681211
It is possible that the floppy drive the disk was created on is out of telerance and no matter where you go you may not be able to read the disk.  First thing to do is go back to the original machine and blow the floppy drive out with some canned air.  After cleaning the drive take a different disk and try formatiing and copying some files over and reading.  If that all appears to work try reading the questionable diskette again.  If you still cannot read the diskette then go to another machine and try it.  You may need to try several machines before you find one that "might" read the diskette.

Hardly anyone uses floppies anymore and it has been my experience that most floppy drives I encounter are caked full of dirt, dust, and fuzz balls.  Any dirt that gets inside the diskette will most likely render the diskette unreadable, just a matter of how quickly.  Just make sure you clean and test any and all floppy drives before inserting the "valuable" diskette.

Good Luck.  
LVL 32

Expert Comment

ID: 9681268
jamesmoshides, any feedback?
LVL 18

Expert Comment

ID: 9745188
Have you made any progress or can we be of more help?

Author Comment

ID: 10802665
Dear All, Sorry about my long absence. I thank all who kindly responded to my call for help and apologise deeply for keeping everyone in suspense. I downloaded the BadCopy demo as suggested by Chicagoan. I played around with it and it showed promise. I waited for my boss to give me the floppy but he went overseas on leave. When he returned I kept reminding him and he kept forgetting. A real pain in the butt. Rather than wear out my welcome and risk losing my job, I gave up trying to get the disk. It was annoying because I had explained that I wanted to give feedback to my helpers. I felt down about it and guilty about not being able to come back with feedback. I'm rather embarrassed and don't know how to close of this question because I couldn't get the original floppy back. I would love to award all with points for their suggestions but I'm not sure how to do that. Again, I thank everyone and I apologise profusely for not being able to test the suggestions.

Author Comment

ID: 10802854
I tried to give everyone who responded equal points. I hope that is OK since I can't get the original disk to test. regards to all and thanks!!! Jim

Expert Comment

ID: 10933379
I found that BadCopy Pro by Jusoft will recover your files.  I had a crc error while reading a disk, nothing would work in recovering it. BadCopy however, was able to find the data on the disk (even the intact deleted files that were not overwritten any), and restore them. The downside is, you have to buy BadCopy inorder to recover your data, the evaluation version only shows that it found your data.

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