MS Office Doesn't Like
To Work on Floppy Disks
by Ken Fermoyle
Problems I have been asked about often in recent months concerns Microsoft Office. The
difficulties occur in all versions of Office, with Word documents and Excel spreadsheets
most often involved. Symptoms vary, from obscure error messages to total system lock-up.
Investigating the complaints and checking several sources, including the Woody's Office
Watch newsletter, I found the answer to the problems. In all cases, users were trying to
work with a document/worksheet stored on a floppy disk.
Even if it seems that there is plenty of room left on the floppy disk, there probably is
not enough. Word and Excel often write a temporary file in the same location as the
original file. That temporary file can quickly fill the available space on a 1.44MB floppy
Ideally, and if Microsoft programmers were more thoughtful, you world get an
easy-to-understand "Out of Disk Space" message, but no such luck! Instead, you
get all sorts of strange actions and/or messages that give you no clue to the true
Floppy disks also are generally less reliable and more prone to failure than hard drives.
You're more likely to lose a document through mechanical failure of a floppy disk (or
simply to lose it). Floppy disk drives are much slower than hard drives and Office
programs run more slowly as a result.
The solution: Always copy a document supplied on floppy disk (after the obligatory
anti-virus scan) to a temporary location on your hard drive. Work on the document from
there and when you're finished, copy the revised file back to the floppy disk. Voila, no