Classic Computer Magazine Archive COMPUTE! ISSUE 46 / MARCH 1984 / PAGE 10

A Disk Disaster

I own a VIC and a 1541 disk drive. In the three years I've had them, I've written and saved many programs on a certain disk. But now the disk won't give me access to all my programs. When I ask for the directory, it gives me either the first half of it, or just garbage. Then I get the message 23 READ ERROR 1807.

I think I've found the problem. There's a scratch about a centimeter long in the middle of the disk. How can I get to the programs beyond the scratch? Is there any way to fix my disk or make it work more than it does now?

Mike DiPiero

Since you are getting a READ ERROR when you access the directory, the scratched area probably includes some sectors of track 18, where the directory is stored. The LOAD command uses the directory to locate files on the disk; if the directory information for a file is destroyed, the file cannot be LOADed.

There is no way to fix your disk, because the scratch has destroyed the magnetic coating as well as the information that was stored on it. To make the best of a bad situation, format a new disk, and transfer to it any programs which will still LOAD from your damaged disk. Also, to avoid a similar disaster in the future, it's a good idea to make a backup copy of your salvaged programs, because floppy disks do not last forever. Even if used infrequently in an absolutely dust-free, cool environment, a disk will eventually wear out. When that happens, you will have all your programs intact and safe on your backup copy. And before you press your backup into service, make another backup disk, in case of accidents.