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bettablue
April 22nd, 2012, 02:52 PM
Before I get into this I want to let you know that I'm not frustrated or angry, or anything close to that, because I know the nature of floppy disk storage, especially the old 5.25 DSDD diskettes.

I started to create a couple diskettes for when I get the new hard disk drive for the expansion unit. I went to my Compaq with what is supposed to be a new diskette, and tried to write some files to it. I got an error stating that the disk was not formatted, would you like to format the disk? So I select "Yes". Then the system tells me that the disk cannot be formatted. Hmm. OK, so I take the disk ofer to the IBM and try there. Same issue, But this time I get an error that Track ) is bad and that the diskette is unstable. There is no option to over ride to try formatting any way. So, I decide to take a stack of old disks and try them. About half of them come up with the same errors.

I just find it funny that even my stock of NOS disks are giving me problems. Is there a way to "refresh" these other disks? I find it funny that all of the disks pop the same exact error. Yet, when I use my DOS boot disks, I don't have any problem. So is it really possible that these didks really have a bad sector "0"? Although some brands do seem to be better than others; like Tandy, Highlandand Sony. None of the disk brands failed, but brands like Fuji, 3M all fail. This leads me to believe that these "bad" disks might somehow be saved.

This is the exact error I receive on the "Bad" disksettes:

Track 0bad-disk unusable
format failure

So what do you think? I really don't want to throw these disks out without knowing for sure.

krebizfan
April 22nd, 2012, 03:28 PM
There was a discussion here back in 2007 on this topic which might give you some ideas. I hope the link works.
http://www.vintage-computer.com/vcforum/showthread.php?9222-how-to-deal-with-quot-Invalid-Media-or-Track-0-Bad-Disk-Unusable-quot-errors

You should list which OS and drives you are using. It is possible that the combination you are using increases the chances of the problem; I vaguely recall a whole bunch of people having failures with Win95 that didn't happen with earlier OS versions. MS support points to problems with DOS 5 that I didn't experience. http://support.microsoft.com/kb/96769

Le_Bear
April 22nd, 2012, 04:32 PM
I've also had some luck along the way by swapping drives until one maybe worked, i almost think the drives are sometimes about as prone to going out

SpidersWeb
April 22nd, 2012, 04:40 PM
Depends on quality and where they were stored.
I had a 1.2Mb sealed box of floppies, each one was great, never a bad sector. I made some boot disks and put them in a drawer and left the box in another box. Now my disks in the drawer work fine but half my disks left untouched have bad sectors! booo

I did buy a bulk pack of quality 360Kb sealed disks, and they've not given me bad sectors yet.

I found a sealed copy of Central Point PC TOOLS on 5.25" at the local dump, all 6 DSDD disks worked like new!

Just check that your disks don't have a ring scratched in to them on the outer track of the disks. If there is a ring, then one of your drives has crud on the drive head(s) and is eating the disks. Whenever I get a new machine I put in an expendible disk to test for this, because half the time it takes the oxide right off.
If that's not the case, don't throw out any dodgy disks - small chance they'll work again in the future with another drive - and if that's the case your current drives probably just need realignment.

Stone
April 22nd, 2012, 05:11 PM
I have thousands upon thousands of floppies. Experience has shown that some just go bad while others do not. I have never encountered a situation where a drive that is being used routinely has either turned up bad or needed adjustment. Without exception, it has always been the disk. A long time ago I used to think that I could try the disk in another drive and get different results. I don't do that anymore. :-) Now, drives left unused for extended periods of time, i.e., ten or 15 years have sometimes shown themselves to be unusable in the present for varying reasons. Some required cleaning while others may have had more serious problems and still some may have been unsalvagable.

Chuck(G)
April 22nd, 2012, 05:57 PM
Thomas, note that not all 5" floppies can be formatted as 360K (DSDD). Take a look at the failing ones--is there a white or black reinforcing ring around the hub? If not, those are probably DSHD (high density/1.2M) floppies and they won't format (or stay that way for long) as 360K.

Le_Bear
April 22nd, 2012, 07:13 PM
i just spent the last 2 hours reading the thread krebizfan linked, and then doing a google search for a program mentioned in it, which led me back to another thread on this forum http://www.vintage-computer.com/vcforum/showthread.php?26826-Disk-Image-Archive which discusses some software possibilities, including Dave Dunfield's ImageDisk http://www.classiccmp.org/dunfield/img/index.htm might save you the time it took me to locate it ( IF you think it might help) I also liked the other page of tools i saw along the way FWIW http://www.dunfield.com/doswid/index.htm I hope you will at least find them as i did, if not of much help, at least of some interest :)

PS I also enjoyed reading Curtis posted Classic Computer Collectors Code of Conduct (and hope it's ok that i saved a copy)

bettablue
April 22nd, 2012, 07:29 PM
Thomas, note that not all 5" floppies can be formatted as 360K (DSDD). Take a look at the failing ones--is there a white or black reinforcing ring around the hub? If not, those are probably DSHD (high density/1.2M) floppies and they won't format (or stay that way for long) as 360K.

That was one of the very first things I looked at. Some of the diskettes had the copywrite protection tape over the notch, and once removed, again, some of them would be fine, while others weren't. I followed the links provided earlier in the thread and was able to locate the program mentioned called Dave Dinfield's Imagedisk. I want to try that on these other disks next. Then when all is said and done, if the disks fail, I'll accept that they're bad. A couple of these had some scraching, so I immediately threw those out. I didn't want to gum up my drives. We already went through that mess.

The one thing I didn't try was the simplet format/u to try an unconditional format. So before downloading and running Imagedisk, I'll try that. Then if I still get errors, I'll go the next step, after trying imagedisk, and the disk is still not functioning, it get's thrown out.

bettablue
April 22nd, 2012, 07:30 PM
i just spent the last 2 hours reading the thread krebizfan linked, and then doing a google search for a program mentioned in it, which led me back to another thread on this forum http://www.vintage-computer.com/vcforum/showthread.php?26826-Disk-Image-Archive which discusses some software possibilities, including Dave Dunfield's ImageDisk http://www.classiccmp.org/dunfield/img/index.htm might save you the time it took me to locate it ( IF you think it might help) I also liked the other page of tools i saw along the way FWIW http://www.dunfield.com/doswid/index.htm I hope you will at least find them as i did, if not of much help, at least of some interest :)

PS I also enjoyed reading Curtis posted Classic Computer Collectors Code of Conduct (and hope it's ok that i saved a copy)

Sorry, I missed your reply, but we came to the same result. Please see my response to Chuck(G).

Ole Juul
April 22nd, 2012, 09:35 PM
I don't know exactly how formatting programs work, but I can tell you that I can get track 0 bad and disk unusable etc etc from some programs and then I use FreeForm and it just does it. I honestly think that some formatting programs are faulty. The MS-DOS one is for sure.

I've also found that disks that are deemed unusable, can work as new when wiped by a demagnetizer, or the fancy name "degausser" that is so popular with kids these days. It doesn't make good sense since digital is recorded almost to saturation, but it is still the way it works. I'm thinking that there are stray magnetizations that are off track. Who knows. In the end I just want it to work.

@BB: One can also get oneself right confused if one is mixing 1.2 and 360K drives and diskettes, either on purpose or by mistake. :)

Edit: I put FreeForm v2.31 here (http://cgs.coalmont.net/ff.zip), if anybody wants a formatter. It does any geometry you want.

Chuck(G)
April 22nd, 2012, 09:48 PM
If you're using DOS and have more than one drive that you want to put to use, try FORMATQM--it just formats one disk after the other; no keyboard interaction. You can specify that disks will flaw bad clusters or that you want "perfect" disks. It doesn't try to rely on the format already on the disk--all formatting is unconditional.

bettablue
April 23rd, 2012, 11:03 AM
Thanks again everyone. You have all brrought up valid points, and some of these would seem to apply. I have to agree that some of these disks are probably just in need of a good degausing, while others are truly bad. Of all the disks I tried yesterday and last night, I was able to save about 2/3 of them. The others are in a stack waiting for me to do more checking.

I've downloaded FormatQM and Freeform this morning and will try them on the Compaq first. I've found that any disk that reads in the Compaq works perfectly fine in my IBM, so I'll start there.

If something seems to work, I'll post the results. If nothing works then I'll still post the results and toss the disks.

I should have something by this afternoon.

bettablue
April 23rd, 2012, 07:43 PM
If you're using DOS and have more than one drive that you want to put to use, try FORMATQM--it just formats one disk after the other; no keyboard interaction. You can specify that disks will flaw bad clusters or that you want "perfect" disks. It doesn't try to rely on the format already on the disk--all formatting is unconditional.

I see that you are the person to thank for this nifty little program. I'm still reading what it can do and how to enter the command correctly. I'll let you know how it works after I get it over to my 5150 tomorrow.

Dave Farquhar
April 24th, 2012, 06:36 AM
The Track 0 error isn't especially rare; I remember even back in the 1990s, my friends would buy a box of disks and occasionally, one of the disks would fail to format with that error. Using an alternative formatting program sometimes helped. Sometimes using it in a different type of computer worked. I had some disks that just wouldn't work in a PC, but my Amiga was perfectly happy using them.

In some instances, I would format them on my Amiga as MS-DOS FAT format, and then they would work fine. And if Track 0 really was bad, I'd format them as Amiga format. My Amiga was happy with just marking that spot as bad and continuing.