Desk

Dave's Tips on The Way You Work.

Floppy disks wear out eventually. Use plenty - they are cheap in comparison with your time. Use the "grandfather, father and son" cycle when you make a significant change to a file and backup anyway every week or so, even on disks to which you only make small changes. Remember that a backup disk has one function only to make copies from. Never use one for an application - once you use a backup disk it is no longer a backup!

Keep your backup and working disks in different places. Whenever you make a copy of a disk, use the copy. - don't keep using the same disk. This immediately confirms that the copy is valid. Don't erase files or reformat old disks unless you have first checked that the new copies of these are OK. Keep some blank pre-formatted disks handy.

Always use the "write protect" tabs on a disk if you are not changing it, especially when copying. Take care to swap the disks properly when copying in several parts. Do not hold the [ENTER] button down too long when replying to prompts the machine may remember this and proceed later without pausing.

Try to avoid working on a floppy disk. Some modern programs quickly fill up the disk with temporary files and then "crash". Work only on your hard drive if possible and then copy the files off onto floppy disks if you want to.

Get the latest version of your software. Programs are like a tramp's bed there are always a few bugs lurking! Try to keep your word processing documents and other data files small. When you edit a document you are actually creating a new version. so make sure there is sufficient free space on the disk or on the RAM drive.

On a PCW/PcW machine, use different disks to store LocoScript documents and other CP/M program data files. LocoScript and CP/M interpret the user groups quite differently and you may lose data. Do not store your data files on your "start of day" disk if this can be avoided.

On a PC disk, never store files in the root directory - always use subdirectories. Don't store your program files and the data on the same disk. Try to avoid mixing data from different applications on the same floppy disk.

Read the screen messages carefully and take time to study the manual. If something does go wrong and you get a disk problem or if you erase a file accidentally, stop using the disk immediately. Write down any reported error messages exactly. Before doing anything else, try to make a copy of the disk. Abandon any edit and do not ignore errors and continue. Working further on such a disk may reduce the chance of a successful salvage. If you can't copy the disk and don't have the expertise to tackle the salvage don't dabble.

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Last revised: 10th August 1999