NewDeal Hot Tip 1508

[Hot Tips for...] General Use

Document Files on Diskettes


I opened a document file on a diskette, then removed the diskette. Even though I made no changes to the file, when I try to close it the software promps me to insert the diskette again. Why?


Closing an unmodified document stored on a floppy diskette still requires you to stick the diskette back in. The reason is due to the way DOS handles files. DR DOS 6 insists on having a diskette in the drive, or it will issue a critical error, and won't stop critical erroring until you put a diskette in. MS DOS actually writes to the diskette when it closes the file, even if the file has not been changed, so if the software didn't prompt you to insert the right diskette, whatever diskette was in the drive would get corrupted.

Whenever possible, our software allows the user to abort a disk lock (the white error dialog box doesn't just say "Hit ENTER to continue," but also says "A to abort"). However, there are many places where it's not possible, owing to the way the system works. For example, NewWrite and NewDraw documents store objects that can receive messages from the applications; if the document is on a diskette and the object to which a message is being sent isn't in memory, the disk lock to read the object in from disk will not be abortable, as the system has no means of saying, "sorry, we couldn't deliver this message as we couldn't bring the object into memory."

This same DOS critical error issue is why you can't Save As from one diskette to another in the same drive. To provide a work around, the software includes Copy To in the File menu as a way to copy the file to the hard drive, then later to another diskette, without changing the name of the file.

Our recommendation: Work on your hard drive, then copy to diskette

While it's possible to open and edit document files that are stored on diskettes, interacting with files on diskettes can be slow and there is more potential for errors or file corruption than if you work with files on a hard drive. For this reason, we recommend creating and editing your files on your hard drive. Then after closing the file, copy it to diskette from the desktop or NewManager if you like. If you need to edit a file that is already stored on a diskette, we recommend copying it to the hard drive and working on it there, then copying it back to the diskette after you close it.
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Last Modified 2 Mar 1999