recovering bad word file (bad floppy disk?)

OK, so this aint a computer help message board, but I figured that there are so many intelligent talented people on this board I will get a quick and accurate responses [/gratutious ass-kissing]

Got a problem. Friend of mine has a floppy disk in which a computer science assignment resides, and it seems to be hosed. What’s worse is that she has no backup (spare the sermon, she already got one). Even worse, when I try to bring it up, the drive seems to skip, as if the disk itself is unreadable. There are multiple files on this disk, this file is the only file that will not load.
I have pulled a word recovery demo off of the net (Wordfix), but it can’t get past the the problem of getting file to load. Is there any decent way to try to get data off of disk (besides sending it to some lab that will charge me an arm and a leg), or is she screwed? Can anyone point me at a really good file recovery program that might help? She indicates she got a PC to load the file after numerous tries at PC lab, but we were unable to get anything at my place, using two different PCs.

Friend says if this file is hosed, she’s dumping the class. Help me save a bright young student’s academic future!

Try it in as many different machines as you can find; sometimes, floppy disks are perfectly readable in one machine, but appear corrupt in another

There’s also this sort of thing.

hrm should have thought of that - since I suspected it was bad disk, why not look for DISK recovery software rather than file recovery?
thanks. I’ll try that.

What Mangetout said. I’ve found this happen at my library all the time. Suddenly the W2K Pro machine they’ve been using to work on the file will no longer open the disk and they get all kinds of funky error messages. But when I pop the disk into a W98 machine, I can pull up the file without a problem–or, at least, fewer problems than they had before.

First of all, try Mangetouts advice.

If that fails, it might be worthwile to try with some kind of ‘floppy recovery’ program. I know that I used something called ‘disk explorer’ in my DOS days, which was very good at reading corrupted discs. Most likely there are only a few bits that are ‘corrupted’, but that screws up the checksum, and you miss an entire block. It is possible to read ‘bitwise’ and try to ‘guess’ those missing bits, but I don’t know of any recent program to do it.
A quick googling shows BadCopy from Julsoft. I have never tried it, and don’t know anything about it, but there seems to be an evaluation copy downloadable. Give it a try! (If you can’t read it on any other machine - First try that one!)

Once you have recovered the file - many people claim that OpenOffice is better than MSWord at reading corrupted word files, maybe worth a try?

actually, I just finished using badcopy (great minds think alike and all that cal), it did recover the file :), which unfortunately looks like wingdings now :(. Looked at the disk itself and there is a ring around it (i.e., a visible defect - looks pretty bad). I’m going to try that word recovery program on the corrupted file now. Unfortunately the owner is leaving now, and taking her disk, so I’m stuck with the files I recovered, and won’t have a chance to try her disk on any of the bazillion PCs at work.

I am unfamiliar with openoffice - does that run on windows? Can I get a copy somewhere cheap? Why am I continuing to waste my time on this?

Openoffice is free and runs on a number of different platforms inculding windows. Check out the website at

It’s a 65mb download.

Oh, I’m sorry to intrude. I thought you were trying to recover a file full of bad words and was going to offer you some.

It’s a free alternative to MSOffice. It does more or less the same things, but with some slightly different annoying features. (And a much less annoying price tag.) It runs on quite a few platforms, including Windows.
Supposedly its file handling is a lot more ‘forgiving’ than MS. ( - It has to be, in order to support any new MS ‘features’. ) But I’m not sure that it would be better than a dedicated word-file-fixer, such as the wordfix that you’ve already found.

Because you’re a geek, and hates giving up?

Yeah, that’s probably it. I mean, she said she HATED computers! That really hurt my feelings and I really want to show her how easy it is to use one…:dubious:

Anyhow, I don’t think it was recoverable. I messed around with it for a while, but got like three lines of text back. Oh well. Thanks for all the advice. Now on the off chance I am working with a floppy :eek: and don’t bother to make backups :rolleyes: I now know better how to recover lost data.

I think I have used more smilies in this post than in my entire SDMB career… is that good or bad?

just in case somebody uses this thread for informational purposes, that bad copy seemed to work well for pulling bad files off of the disk (remember, I could see a groove going around the disk that looked like it got hit by a drive head, so the data may have just been gone), also found the .tmp and deleted files on the disk, so while I can’t give it a wholehearted stamp of approval, badcopy seemed to do a decent job finding all data that could be found on the disk. wordfix kind of disappointed me cause although it recognised the file as a word doc, it took pages of jibber-jabber and turned it into a couple of lines of text and a few format statments.