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XP cannot read (non-bootable) floppy disk.  FAT problem.  Can it be fixed?

Posted on 2011-02-14
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Last Modified: 2012-08-14
I have a floppy disk that contains 3 important files.

In Windows Explorer, when I click on the A: drive, I get a prompt: Do you want to format the disk now?  I click "NO" (do not format).

When I run a chkdsk on the floppy I get:

Microsoft Windows XP [Version 5.1.2600]
(C) Copyright 1985-2001 Microsoft Corp.

C:\>chkdsk a: /F /R
The type of the file system is FAT.
An error occurred while reading the file allocation table (FAT 1).

Volume Serial Number is 1731-18F5
Windows is verifying files and folders...
File and folder verification is complete.

Windows is verifying free space...
Free space verification is complete.

Windows has checked the file system and found no problems.

    1,457,664 bytes total disk space.
      741,888 bytes in 3 files.
      715,776 bytes available on disk.

          512 bytes in each allocation unit.
        2,847 total allocation units on disk.
        1,398 allocation units available on disk.
Some file allocation tables (FAT) are unwriteable.

C:\>dir a:
The volume does not contain a recognized file system.
Please make sure that all required file system drivers are loaded and that the v
olume is not corrupted.

It is the 3 files (741,888 bytes) that I must recover.

How can I recover the 3 files.

Your help is GREATLY appreciated.

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Question by:WeThePeople
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7 Comments
 
LVL 2

Expert Comment

by:viralsky
ID: 34892231
http://lifehacker.com/#!5237503/five-best-free-data-recovery-tools

check that out, if you need specific help. let me know
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Expert Comment

by:viralsky
ID: 34892257
Get test disk or recuva, one of those should do the trick.
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Author Comment

by:WeThePeople
ID: 34892320
There is no link to click to get "test disk" or "recuva".
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Accepted Solution

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viralsky earned 500 total points
ID: 34892348
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LVL 49

Expert Comment

by:dbrunton
ID: 34892368
You try the floppy disk in another machine.  The present floppy drive may be dirty, dusty or have misaligned heads.  You can buy floppy drive cleaning kits but they may be hard to find.

Other techniques.  Wiggling the floppy back and forth while file reading is occurring.  This is desperation stuff.

Recuva http://www.piriform.com/recuva/download

TestDisk http://www.cgsecurity.org/wiki/TestDisk

Tutorial http://www.cgsecurity.org/wiki/TestDisk_Step_By_Step

But try another machine first.
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LVL 30

Expert Comment

by:Sudeep Sharma
ID: 34892421
>>>An error occurred while reading the file allocation table (FAT 1).
It seems that the Windows in unable to read the FAT1, however on typical 1.44Mb floppy disk the data is stored on sector range 33-2879 which is often called as data area.

See the details below to recover the data:
http://www.cyberdelix.net/tech/recover2.htm

NDD (Norton Disk Doctor)
http://www.abeeinfo.com/NDD.zip

I am unable to find the second utility mentioned in the article above which is Disk Editor, however there are many you could find on the internet.

I hope that would help
Sudeep
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Author Closing Comment

by:WeThePeople
ID: 34892685
The recuva utiity was able to recover all three files.  Thank you!
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