Reasons why a computer may not properly recognize your floppy disks

by on November 25, 2008

Q: I need to access files that are on some old floppy disks. When I try to access the floppy disks, my computer states each disk is not formatted. How can I get to my information?

A: There are two common reasons why your floppy discs may be detected as “not formatted”.

First, you may have created your floppies in a format that is incompatible with your current computer. For example, Windows is often unable to work with floppies that were created on a Macintosh. If your floppies were created on an Apple computer, use a Mac OS X computer to both copy data from your floppies and convert any old files to newer formats. For instance, you should convert ClarisWorks documents to Microsoft Office formats. Then use Mac OS X to burn all of this data to CD-R. The resulting CD should be compatible with Windows.

Second, floppies are very fragile. They often lose their formatting as time progresses. In fact, I’ve even seen brand new floppies spontaneously lose their formatting! If your floppies have lost their formatting, your best hope for recovering your data is to use one of the many data recovery programs available today.

Tip: CD-RWs can lose information rather easily; CD-Rs are much better for long-term storage of data.

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