Every manual you've ever read cautions you to make frequent backups of your data diskettes. Some users follow this advice and never have a problem. Others take chances and eventually learn the hard way—by losing hours or even months of work.
Diskettes are fragile, and any of a dozen environmental hazards can make your data unreadable. That's reason enough to become religious about backup procedures. Yet we recently had a misadventure at Pentacle against which our normal routine was insufficient protection. We have a three-drive Model III, which is often used for three-disk Profile files (one runtime disk, write-protected, with all the format programs, and two data disks, which we back up after each work session).
To make a long story short, one of the drives went out alignment, but slowly, it worked until the moment it crossed some mysterious threshold, whereupon it developed a taste for destroying disks.
Of course, we got the computer fixed immediately. But then the backup disks wouldn't work! Since they had been made on the misaligned drive, they could only be read by an equally misaligned drive. Rivulets of sweat coursed down my body as I pictured an irate client and twelve months of work out the window.
I put the disks in my briefcase and made the rounds of everyone I knew with a Model III, seeking a needle in a haystack—a drive not so misaligned it wouldn't work, but enough to read my orphaned disks. Believe it or not, I found one, and saved both my data and my derriere.
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