The Devil and the Deep Blue Sea (OS)


Thread Starter

Diana Bouchard

Although the following is a general rather than industrial operating system problem, it certainly impacts anyone who works with Winxx in any environment.

This morning I tried to copy a newer version of a file, which I had worked on last night, from diskette onto my hard disk at work to replace an older version. However, there was a damaged sector in the file on diskette and Win95 could not complete the copy. However, it did remove the directory pointer to the *existing* file ... so I ended up with neither file available, "between the devil and the deep blue sea", as my subject line states.

ScanDisk could "repair" the damage, making the file copiable but not readable. Unfortunately due to software standardization at work, I no longer have available there Norton Utilities or any other
program that could make a more concerted effort to restore the file. But my biggest concern is the behaviour of the Win95 operating system. No operating system should *ever* remove the directory pointer to the existing version of a file, making it inaccessible, until the new version has been successfully copied. This Win95
behaviour makes the whole concept of backup copies problematic, in that you may lose both files in a copy attempt.

Anyone else out there who has had this experience? Any suggestions for prevention or recovery?

Diana Bouchard

Diana C. Bouchard Pulp and Paper
Research Institute of Canada (Paprican) Process Control Group
570 St
Johns Boulevard Pointe Claire Quebec H9R 3J9 Canada phone:
(514) 630
4100 x2376 fax: (514) 630 4120 email: [email protected]

Robert McDonald

I would suggest what actually happened is not the file pointer being overwritten but the actual file itself being overwritten. (although I may be wrong). I have had this experience as well and now copy the file to a temp directory on the hard drive before attempting the main file replacement.


Jeffrey W. Eggenberger

Make Back-ups often!!!!!

Jeffrey W. Eggenberger
Electrician: Industrial, Commercial, and Residential
>this is standard win behaviour: Download your e-mail, crash outlook. Your files are erased from server but not written to disk yet, if you haven't read them by then, you never know what missed you :).

Diana Bouchard

I agree this is probably what does happen. I contend that it should not happen. One reason we have operating systems is to minimize the impact on our work of hardware or software malfunctions. In the case I cited, my operating system failed to do so.

Diana Bouchard

Yes, I unfortunately have had a similar experience with making irreplaceble backups that were lost. I fixed the problem by writing a batch file something like this:

file safecopy.bat, command line safecopy <filename> (extensions are assumed)

delete %1.bak
rename %1.dat %1.bak
copy a:%1.dat %1.dat

This fixed the problem after it was too late. Live and learn.


Willy Smith
Numatico SA
Costa Rica
Backups are essential, as Jeffrey wrote, but to avoid the specific problem of losing an old file when overwriting with a new file, always send the old file to the recycle bin.

If the file copy does not complete, or if the new file does not work when tested, the restoration process is as easy as doing a right-click on the files in the recycle bin and choosing Restore.

I've never used this when copying off of floppies, but maybe it's time I did!

Brian Peck
Northeast Utilities
Connecticut, USA