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Floppy Drive Troubleshooting

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This document applies to HP and Compaq desktop PCs with Windows XP, Me, and 98.
This document helps resolve floppy drive failures and errors.
NOTE: If the PC no longer detects the floppy drive and the PC was upgraded to Windows XP, use Windows Update to download and install all of the latest critical and driver updates. Refer to Updating Drivers and Software Using Windows Updates for more help with Windows Update.

Troubleshooting the floppy drive

Use the troubleshooting steps in this section for the following issues. See the other sections in this document for other issues.
  • The floppy drive icon is missing from Windows Explorer or My Computer.
  • The floppy drive never recognizes any disk in the drive.
  • Any consistent strange behavior.

Step 1: Try a different floppy disk

This is a simple yet often overlooked step that can save you a lot of time and effort. Insert another floppy disk into the floppy drive and try to access it. If the problem persists then proceed with the other troubleshooting steps.

Step 2: Restoring the BIOS settings to default

  1. Restart the computer.
  2. When the first screen appears, press F1 repeatedly on the keyboard to enter Setup. On some early Presario models, this may be the F10 key.
  3. In Setup, press F5 on the keyboard to load defaults.
  4. Select Yes , and press Enter .
  5. Press F10 to save and exit.
  6. Select Yes , and press Enter .
  7. The computer starts. Test the drive when the Windows desktop appears. If problems persist, continue to the next step.

Step 3: Eliminating possible device conflicts

  1. In Windows XP, click Start, right-click My Computer , and select Properties .
    In Windows 98 and Me, right-click the My Computer icon on the desktop, and then select Properties .
  2. In Windows XP, click the Hardware tab and then the Device Manager button.
    In Windows 98 and Me, click the Device Manager tab and select the View devices by type option.
  3. Click the plus sign (+ ) next to the Floppy disk controllers to display the various controllers.
  4. Click Standard floppy disk controller .
  5. Click the Remove or Uninstall button to remove the device controller. Click Yes or OK to confirm removal.
    Figure 1: Floppy disk controller
  6. Remove other floppy drive controllers that are listed, if any.
  7. Close all windows and restart the computer
  8. Follow any on-screen instructions that appear. The controllers are reloaded when the computer starts up.
  9. Test the drive after Windows has started. If problems persist, continue to the next step.

Step 4: Checking cable connections

Check cable connections to determine if the connection between the floppy drive and the motherboard has been lost. Work on a hard flat surface over a non-carpeted floor.
WARNING:The edges of metal panels can cut skin. Be careful not to slide skin along any interior metal edge of the computer.
CAUTION:This product contains components that can be damaged by electrostatic discharge (ESD). To reduce the chance of ESD damage, work over a noncarpeted floor, use a static dissipative work surface (such as a conductive foam pad), and wear an ESD wrist strap connected to a grounded surface.
  1. Turn off the PC, unplug the power cord, then press the Power button.
  2. Remove the side panel (or remove the cover).
    Figures below are only one example, your PC may look different.
  3. Remove both the ribbon cable and the power cable from the back of the floppy drive.
  4. Reinsert both cables into the back of the drive.
  5. Remove and reinsert the floppy drive ribbon cable from the connector on the motherboard. Be careful to not dislodge the other ribbon cables.
  6. Replace the cover and plug in the power cord. Turn the computer on.
  7. When the Windows desktop appears, click Start , Programs , and Windows Explorer .
  8. After Windows has fully loaded, test the floppy drive. If still unable to read and/or write to the drive, go to the next step to reinstall the floppy disk drivers.

Step 5: Reinstalling the drivers for the drive

  1. In Windows XP, click Start , right-click My Computer , and select Properties .
    In Windows 98 and Me, right-click the My Computer icon on the desktop, and then select Properties .
  2. In Windows XP, click the Hardware tab and then the Device Manager button.
    In Windows 98 and Me, click the Device tab and select the Manager View devices by type option.
  3. In Windows XP, click the plus (+ ) sign next to Floppy disk drives.
    In Windows 98 and Me, click the plus (+ ) sign next to Disk Drives.
  4. Select the driver for the floppy disk drive (for example, Generic NEC Floppy Disk Driver or Floppy disk drive) and click the Remove or the Uninstall button.
    Figure 2: Floppy disk controller
  5. Click OK to exit the Device Manager and restart the system.
  6. The floppy driver should be detected during plug and play and be reinstalled.
  7. After Windows has fully loaded, test the floppy drive. If still unable to read and/or write to the drive, replace the floppy drive.

Error message: The disk may be write protected

  1. There is a plastic switch on the upper right corner of the disk that can be moved up and down from the back of the disk. Verify that the switch is down, so that you can not see through the hole. When this switch is in the up position, the floppy disk is write-protected and cannot be written to (see Figure).
  2. If the floppy disk is not write-protected and still cannot be written to, try another disk.
  3. If other write-enabled disks do not work, the sensor inside the drive has gone out or has become misaligned. The drive should be replaced. Contact HP Support for assistance.
    1 - High density disk recognition window
    2 - Write protect tab
    3 - Shutter

Floppy disk is stuck in drive

The most common cause of this issue is a defective floppy disk. The metal slide cover has probably become bent and is hitting on the inside of the drive. It may be possible to recover the disk:
  1. Turn off the PC and unplug the power cord.
  2. Push the disk back in until it is almost all the way back but not locked down.
  3. Place a thin flat object (such as a card from a deck of playing cards) on top of the disk over the metal cover.
  4. Slide both the thin flat object and the disk out at the same time.
  5. If this does not work, the drive may need to be replaced.

Clicking noise coming from floppy drive

There are several possible causes for clicking noises coming from a floppy drive. Listed below are the most likely causes and the solution for each cause. Determine the most likely cause and try the solution, if the problem is not resolved, try the next possible cause and solution.
  • Cause: You are attempting to access the floppy drive but have not inserted a diskette in the floppy drive.
    Solution: Insert a disk into the floppy drive.
  • Cause: A software application is attempting to access the floppy drive.
    Solution: Insert a diskette into the floppy drive or close the software that is accessing the drive.
  • Cause: Virus protection or spyware software is automatically checking the PC for threats and is scanning an empty floppy drive.
    Solution: Reconfigure virus protection or spyware software to avoid checking the floppy drive during automatic system scans, or insert a diskette into the floppy drive and allow the software to scan it.
NOTE: If the steps in this document failed to resolve your issue, the floppy drive may have failed. If your computer was purchased after 2001, it probably contains a software program called PC Doctor. Use PC Doctor to help verify floppy drive failures before calling support or repairing the computer. Use the HP support document Using PC Doctor to learn more about testing for floppy drive failures. If you receive an error code after running a test, you need to contact support for further assistance. Write the error code number down so that you can provide it to a support agent.

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