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VirtualAcorn Technical support:
Problems with floppy discs with internal drives

If you have a problem with a floppy disc then there could be a number of problems.

In order for VirtualAcorn to read a floppy disc you must have the floppy disc driver installed. You can easily check this. Put a floppy disc in the drive whilst VirtualAcorn is running and click on the RISC OS floppy disc icon. You should see the physical floppy drive LED light up, you should also hear the drive start up for a moment. If neither of these happens then you need to install the VirtualAcorn floppy disc driver. This can be found on your VirtualAcorn CD. Quit VirtualAcorn. Put the CD in your drive, wait for for the menu to start and install the floppy driver.

Assuming the floppy disc driver is loaded and the drive starts up there could be other issues that stop a floppy working.

Disc not formatted

If you get this error then it is possible that the disc really isn't formatted. Check it on a "real" Acorn machine to make sure. It may be that it was formatted and has simply degraded to the point where it cannot be read anymore. However it's also possible that it is formatted but to the wrong density. We have seen several examples of RISC OS users formatted 1.6Mb discs to 800K format. This can sometimes be solved by taping over the hole on the bottom right of the disc (viewed label side up). Electrical tape is best for this.

Just occasionally we have seen 800K discs formatted to 1.6Mb. This is very dangerous and the data will be unstable. You may get a disk like this to work by carefully drilling a hole in the bottom right corner to match the holes in High Density discs. If not you will need to copy the files (if they are intact) to another disc using a "real" Acorn machine.

Disc error

If the disc opens but gives an error when copying a file then the disc may well be faulty. Try verifying it, both on VirtualAcorn and a "real" machine. If it won't verify then it is faulty. We recently had an example of this. A user complained that the copy of Style they installed onto VirtualAcorn didn't work. We finally discovered that two files were missing. The reason was that the installer hadn't copied them because of a disc error. The installer did report the disc error, but the user ignored it. A disc error means just what it says, there is an error on the disc and it doesn't work.

Unknown disc format

There are several possibilities. Is the disc real an Acorn disc? It might be an Amiga disc. The disc could be damaged, or it could have been formatted to the wrong size (see the Disc Not Formatted section above).

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Last Edit Date 29/03/21