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Computer Won’t Recognize My Floppy Disks

Ezzie Bromwich from Rapid City, SD writes:  I recently bought USB port Diskette Drive and tried to do my disks that I started with in 2004 Is there something I should do to play them? It does not seem to recognize the items on the disks. As a genealogist I have several items on them I would like to get at. Can you advise me on what to do? I have Windows 7 on my puter. Thank you.

Ezzie, I will assume from your question that the computer recognizes the disk drive, but not the files contained on the disks.  The issue could be the age of the disks. Floppy disks are not a permanent storage medium and  can’t be counted on last more than a few years. It’s possible that your disks may just be bad. If you have any floppy discs that are still functional, I would suggest getting the data off them as soon as possible.

However , if your computer can see the data on the disk and is unable to open it, the issue could be that while you have files saved on the disks, you do not have a program that can read the files on your computer. Computer files require a program that’s able to understand them and convert the data into something you can use.

If the material is saved from an older word processing or spreadsheet program, it’s possible that the newer version of these programs may be able to convert them to a readable form, though some formatting may be lost. If you can see the files, try opening them from within you word processing program, it may give you options to convert the data into something you can read and save it.

If the files were from say, a specific genealogy program, you would need a copy of that program on your computer to read the files. If the program is nine or more years old, it may not be compatible with Windows 7.

Best of luck.

~ Cynthia