Win95/DOS sees a Floppy that does not exist!

Ok heres my system: p200MMX, tyan S1571S Titan Turbo At-2 mainboard (Intel TX Chipset),
Heres the problem: DOS/Win95 Says I have a B: and i dont, when I disable everything down to barebones so I have no floppy it says its an A:, Norton system info reports it as "unknown", linux doesnt see a 2nd drive. Also win95 reports my Floppy controller with that yellow exclamation mark. i had to update my IDE driver, maybe update FDC driver? (if so where is the driver)
Who is Participating?

[Product update] Infrastructure Analysis Tool is now available with Business Accounts.Learn More

I wear a lot of hats...

"The solutions and answers provided on Experts Exchange have been extremely helpful to me over the last few years. I wear a lot of hats - Developer, Database Administrator, Help Desk, etc., so I know a lot of things but not a lot about one thing. Experts Exchange gives me answers from people who do know a lot about one thing, in a easy to use platform." -Todd S.

Do you have any other Floppy Drives showing up in CMOS besides the A: drive?

somberlainAuthor Commented:
im sorry this doesnt work ive tried. heres how this started, maybe that will help. at first everything worked ok. then i upgraded my PC to its current configuration. win95 wouldnt support my motherboard so a friend said to delete everything and start over. i bought a 300MB drive (a dirt old samsung) and partition magic. i put the 300MB drive on IDE interface #1 as slave, my cdrom was and is on ide interface #2 as a slave, i copied everything i wanted to the 300MB drive, then i used partition magic to delete/recreate the C: then i reinstalled DOS 6.22 which at the very end of disk #3 gave an error reading/writing something called "vsafe" i believe. after that i reinstalled win 3.1 and there appeared the B:. i ran msd.exe in DOS and it says i have an A: and a B:. i booted to linux and checked and it said i only have a A:. then I sys'd C: and fdisk /mbr'd to get rid of my linux boot loader (lilo). then i used partition magic to delete the linux partitions and make them FAT. after that I installed win95. so heres the deal. DOS says i have a B: win 3.1 says i have a B: win95 says i have a B: booting off my DOS install disk #1 it says i have a B:. McaFee virusscan startup disk says I have no viruses. linux says i dont have a B:, and my CMOS says I dont have a B:. Norton System Info for win95 says I have an A: and a "Unknown". all of my OS's detect my A:.

I am guessing this is at the DOS/Win95's DOS 7.0 level but when booting off my DOS 6.22 install disk it sees a B: so i dont know. Im afraid to try to reinstall in case those disks are worse and i get locked out of my OS. any help will be greatly appreciated. my email is this is the only pc problem i've had in 2 years that i havent been able to fix myself!! if i dont get this to work im going to go back to NT and Linux but i really like win95 but having that extra B: is annoying and it keeps me from accessing my A: it just makes it all freeze up!
You might check your BIOS version date.  The latest BIOS upgrade date available for your board from TYAN is 8/27/97.
At any rate, I would clear the CMOS memory and start over.  Set up the motherboard with default settings.  You can optimize your settings when the trouble has been cleared.
Also, before deleting your Dos installation, I would do a diskcopy of and run scandisk on the affected Dos floppy disk.
I hope this helps.

C++ 11 Fundamentals

This course will introduce you to C++ 11 and teach you about syntax fundamentals.

hey there..

1. Check where on the Floppy cable the connector is attached to the actual floppy drive. Try to see if it is before or after the twist in the cable (you'll notice it by simply following it from begining to end) Try it at the very last possible connector.

2. Check the C-MOS settings for something referring to "swapping drives" disable or enable it, whichever the case may be....

Good luck
Somberlain, when loading Dos 6.xx, disk 3 is as important as disk 1, in that it doesn't finish the install. At present, you don't have the system setup reliabily nor the way you want it to, therefore try this, but in the order given.

1. Leave your other drives along for now, just concentrate on the Bios to make sure that the entries are appropriate for your system. Check them all, line by line with the book to make sure.

2. Now use the first DOS disk and Fdisk drive "C", blowout the original partition, make a new one, make it active and then format it using FORMAT C:/S  but don't load dos 6.2.

3. Next, transfer your cd rom driver, Himem.sys, Mscdex.exe to drive "C". Make up a simple config.sys file like this:

DEVICE==C:\******.SYS /D:MSCD000

Next, make up a simple Autoexec.bat file like this:


Don't forget to make a directory named TEMP.

4. Now reboot the system. You should have your "A", "C", "D" and "E" drives, with "E" as the cd rom drive. Check the cd rom drive for access.

5. Now reload windows 95 normally. Instead of a typical install, choose custom and choose carefully each of the components you want. Now setup 95 as you want it.

6. Setup you dial-up connection and browser and log onto the Microsoft Free Software download site and download Service Pack 1 for Windows 95, but don't install it yet.

7. Use your "Ctrl"  "Alt"  and  "Del" keys and open the close programs dialogue box and close all running programs except for Systray and Explorer. Now click on the Service Pack and install it.

Now your system should be ready to go. Let me know if you have any problems. You don't need to load 6.xx fully! By the way, if this works for you, I'd like to post it as the answer!

Codak, no offense meant, but who told you all of this. First, DOS wasn't written for IBM, acsii and Binary 03 were written by IBM for IBM. With the advent of the PC, and no OS for it, ascii code was acented and referred to as DOS (disk operating system) for their new operating system, however it's intent was for an entirely different computer being developed by another firm more commonly referred to as Texas Instruments. The version used by IBM was not true DOS, nor was the version used by TI. A few college students got together to improve their operating system and released a final version, which is commonly known as MSDOS.

Did you happen to see if in your Bios you have what's called "Swap Floppy" Enabled? This might be causing your problem also.

Back to the problem......
Let us know if the proposed answer has solved your problem.
If not, did you try to clear the BIOS?
When you have that done, with only the one floppy installed, check that BIOS lists floppy drive B: as 'none' or 'not installed'.  If not, correct it there, save and exit.
End of the "drive B" story!
Continue installing your operating system and software....

Give this a go,
If you are having problems with a floppy disk drive (such
as receiving the error message "Error reading drive <X>:"),
try the troubleshooting tips in the following sections.

Safe Mode

Start Windows 95 in Safe mode by restarting your computer
and pressing the F5 key when you see the "Starting
Windows 95" message. Try to access the floppy disk drive
after Windows 95 starts. If you can access the floppy disk
drive, follow these steps:

1.Use the right mouse button to click My Computer, then
click Properties on the menu that appears.

2.Click the Device Manager tab.

3.Double-click Floppy Disk Controllers.

4.Click the floppy disk controller for the drive you are
having problems with, then click Properties.

5.Click the Original Configuration (Current) check box to
clear it. This disables the Windows 95
protected-mode driver for the floppy disk drive controller.

6.Click OK.

7.Restart Windows 95 normally.

If you can access the floppy disk drive successfully after
following the above steps, the
following conditions may be true:

The floppy disk drive controller may not be supported in
protected mode.
There are drivers loading in the CONFIG.SYS or AUTOEXEC.BAT
file that may be necessary for
protected-mode access.
There are drivers loading in the CONFIG.SYS or AUTOEXEC.BAT
file that may be causing conflicts in
Windows 95 and need to be disabled.

If you still cannot access the floppy disk drive after
following steps 1-7, follow these steps:

1.Use the right mouse button to click My Computer, then
click Properties on the menu that appears.

2.Click the Device Manager tab.

3.Double-click Floppy Disk Controllers.

4.Click the floppy disk controller, and then click Remove
to remove the controller.

5.Click OK.

6.In Control Panel, double-click Add New Hardware.

7.Click Next, and then click Yes to allow Windows 95 to
detect the hardware in your computer.

8.When the Add New Hardware Wizard is finished, restart
the computer and try to access the floppy disk drive

Redetecting the floppy disk controller should resolve
any addressing problems with the
controller by detecting the correct address range. If the
floppy disk controller is not detected
correctly, there may be a problem with the hard disk controller.
If the floppy disk controller is
redetected but you still cannot access the floppy disk drive,
there may be a problem with the
floppy disk.

Damaged Disks

Use the following steps to check for a damaged disk:

1.Use a disk utility (such as ScanDisk) to test the
disk for damage.

NOTE: Do not use a non-Windows 95-aware disk utility
on DMF disks. Non-Windows 95-aware disk utilities
can damage DMF disks. The Windows 95 ScanDisk tool
recognizes and does not damage DMF disks.

Before you run a disk utility, please see the following
article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:

   ARTICLE-ID: Q120442

TITLE : Using Hard Disk Utilities with Windows 95

2.Type the following command at an MS-DOS command prompt

   copy <drive>\*.* nul

where <drive> is the floppy disk drive you are having
problems with. For example, if you are having problems
with drive A, insert a disk you are having problems with
in drive A and type the following command:

   copy a:\*.* nul

This command copies the files on the disk to a null device.
If there is a problem copying the files, error
messages appear on the screen.

CMOS Settings

Consult your computer's documentation or manufacturer to
make sure that your computer's CMOS settings are

Irwin Tape Backup

Windows 95 Setup removes the following statement from
the [386Enh] section of the SYSTEM.INI file:


If you re-install the Irwin Tape Backup software after
you install Windows 95, this statement is
placed in the SYSTEM.INI file again and can cause conflicts
with floppy disk access in Windows

Device Conflicts

Device conflicts as reported by Device Manager can cause
problems reading from and writing to floppy disks. You can
resolve this problem by changing or removing the resources
from Device Manager that are causing the conflict. These
are typically conflicts with hard drive controller cards,
video cards, or COM ports.

somberlainAuthor Commented:
first i want to say thank you for everyone's help. i cant seem to get this thing fixed STILL!

i whacked all the partitions and redid everything from scratch. i got new dos disks (ver 6.2) and installed off them, as well as tried the method suggested by dew associates. the only way i can get it to work right is if i add a b: to it, which i cant do really cause my box doesnt have an available place to mount it (it was made for single floppy).  i cant figure out why this would be happening to me, other than maybe DOS doesnt support my motherboard (Win95 doesnt either without alot of updates). i wonder if i got win98 if it might fix  this, i think win98 updates DOS. i dont know, but its a real pain!! my win95 is the retail version, i dont have osr2 or anything. i think its somethin with it not liking my PCI devices. i dunno...

if anyone else has any ideas let me know. im stumped! ill try to help some people and get more points to add to this. i just found this site when lookin for help but i think im goin to stick around!
somberlainAuthor Commented:
ps. i wiped the CMOS too, so the bios is fine, and i have only 1 floppy configured in the bios
If you have only one floppy correctly configured in BIOS, that's it!
You're done.
There are no more.
This is pretty basic.
The only reason for you to see a drive B in Dos is because you're trying to access it!
Dos will let you use a drive B for the times when you want to copy from a floppy and you only have one drive. (DISKCOPY A: B:)
That command will prompt you to change disks - from source to destination, to do the copy.
Suppose the computer only had one floppy drive, period.  No hard drive at all.  That's how you can transfer files from one floppy disk to another. (copy a:\filename.ext b:)
Don't invoke the b: drive and you'll never see it again.
BTW - Helping someone else here by answering questions won't get you any points to be adding to questions you have asked.  I know it sounds confusing, but but there are two different kinds of points here.
The points you get for answering questions can not be used to ask questions.  They are referred to as "Quality Points", and are only used to keep a tally of how an expert has done in answering questions.
The other points, (Intro Points) are used by people to ask questions.  They are automatically increased by five points per day from Experts-Exchange.
I hope this helps.

somberlainAuthor Commented:
thanks for the info on the points

now let me explain the a: / b: thing

when i load windows explorer in win95 or file manager in 3.1 it shows an a: and a b: and the b: shouldnt be there!

when i boot linux it doesn't show a b: at all.

today i got pretty pissed off at this thing so i went and installed the dumb NT that i have now that all my partitions got wiped i figured what the hell. in its windows explorer it only shows an A:. now dos says i have a: and b: NT says only a: and linux says only a:. i understand what your saying about typing a: / b: at a DOS prompt, i already knew about that. what I am talking about is when im in winblows GUI it bitches about a b: and if i accidentally click on the thing it freezes me up.  i guess i just found a bug in DOS and DOS based OS's 'cause NT and linux dont have this problem.  guess thats the price i have to pay for using the hardware I got and expecting microsoft to have compatibility with new products.

i guess now what im looking for is some drivers or patches for DOS that will take care of this problem, i dont really wanna run win98 cause its bloated as hell and I only use win95 for games, and i dont even know if win98 would fix this.  almost nobody has the motherboard I got, i guess it was designed to be used in servers and high performance workstations, 'cause its picky about damn near everything, from using low quality RAM to its controllers pissing win95 off, but if anyone out there has the TYAN S1571S TITAN TURBOT AT-2 and have win95 that werks properly w/o showing an extra floppy drive, let me kno then that means the board has a glitch (which i seriously doubt 'cause NT would be bitching and not just DOS).

i think this is an OS problem, not hardware related. possibly requiring a patch or device driver.

thanks everyone, and if you have any other ideas, lemme know!!

What is the complete BIOS number that is displayed at the bottom of your screen after the memory counts up at power on?

make sure that the CD-ROm is sharing the same IDE as the HDD. Check the cable for the floppy if they are seated properly.

somberlainAuthor Commented:
this is all it says when it starts up:

award modular bios v4.51PG

tyan bios version v1.03

at the bottom it says this:


as far as for the IDE connectors go, ive tried disabling it down to nothing but a single hard drive in the machine and it still complained, so that isnt whats causing it to do this.  what i really want is to be able to access my A: without the thing freezing up, it works in safe mode, but when i turn on the "enhancements" in control panel/system like the 32bit access and stuff it just dies. i could use tweakUI to hide the B: from file manager but that doesnt help with it freezing up, i think this is really somethin with DOS cause NT and linux dont have this problem.
Does your IDE/Floppy controller contain any  jumpers and/or dip swithes. Some IDE controlles (particularly older ones) allowed you to configure and/or enable/disable the floppies via jumpers.

Check your board and see if it contains any floppy related jumpers .
Somberlain, try running an antivirus program from dos, eg: boot to a straight dos disk and then run the antivirus program. You will be looking for something like anti-bios, a known virus with these characteristics. McAfee can't find it and early Norton can't see it either.
Hi Somberlain,
We just replaced a Tyan S1571S Titan Turbo At-2 MB TX [Intel].
After building this system and having lockups, difficult OS installation and a month worth of troubleshooting, we replaced the MB with and Identical one an all problems where gone.

Just my two cents worth. At somepoint, in in troubleshooting, when you have done all you know software wise, we must conclude it's hardware.
This time we happened to be right.

somberlainAuthor Commented:
hey i had the same idea bout the virus but i thought that when i got the newest McAfee it could find ANYTHING. heh guess i was wrong. seeing how this is OS specific that would explain the virus only fooling with DOS. ive tried everything but some new virus scanners. if i cant find a virus on this the boards gonna get replaced! funny how this happened when i added that new hard drive.... maybe it has a virus on it, it came used

so... anyone know some good virus scanners that can find anti cmos/bios virii?
Everyone has an opinion on that. Mine is Mcafee ver 3.1.4.
It scans those vital areas on boot.

Here's a last ditch effort;
Re-Setup Using the "setup /d /p f" Switches
X:\setup /d /p f
Where X is your CD drive letter
This will cause windows 95 to re-examine your setup.
This will clean, read and rewrite your Win.ini and System.ini,
without over-writing your updated dll's vxd's extensions.
f - This switch enables Clean Registry mode. It forces Detection
to clean and correct the root branch of the registry before starting.
This switch is ignored when Setup is run in the Windows 95
graphical user interface (GUI).
When setup prompts you for "Typical or Custom Setup", choose Custom.
This allows you to have control over every step of the setup.
This will do a compare and replace missing or corrupted files and
will take you back where you were before the error.
/d - If you do not want Setup to use your existing Windows configuration
(such as your current Win.ini and System.ini files), use this switch.
To restore and adjust your windows installation try this:
From dos insert your CD and run from your cd this command...
(setup /d /p f) When setup prompts you for "Full or Custom Setup",
choose Custom. This allows you to have control over every step of the setup.
This will do a compare and replace missing or corrupted files and will take
you back where you were before the error.

This has Become a;
"Standard Procedure". It's not always a fix all, but it never
hurts to try it. I've never seen any ill effects from it yet. The
only thing I've seen it do negative is once in a while an association
or two may get lost. Which Is easy to fix. I always recommend a
Registry backup along with this for safety.
Get WRP. WRPV3.ZIP is the Best and easiest Backup/Restore I've Seen.
Go To: Search WRP
                                      FOR YOUR CONFIDENCE
When you run Windows 95 Setup from within Windows 95, the
Restore Windows Files option (also known as
the Verify Install option) may not appear.


This behavior can occur if a title in the Setuplog.txt file
contains more than 32 characters (including spaces). Titles
are also known as section headers, and begin and end with
brackets ([]).


Disable any titles containing more than 32 characters in the
Setuplog.txt file. To do so, follow these steps:

1.Restart the computer. When you see the "Starting Windows 95"
message, press the F8 key, and then
choose Command Prompt Only from the Startup menu.

2.Type the following lines at the command prompt:

attrib -h setuplog.txt
edit setuplog.txt

3.Place a semicolon (;) at the beginning of any title
containing more than 32 characters.

4.On the File menu, click Exit. Choose Yes to save the
file when you are prompted.

5.Restart the computer and then run Setup again.


The Restore Windows Files option includes the following

Restore Windows files that are changed or corrupted
Copy all Windows files again

Choosing the first option replaces only files that are
missing or have changed since the last time you ran Setup.
Choosing the second option replaces all files and allows
you to change the installation folder.

Note that if any of the following lines are missing from
the Setuplog.txt file, the Restore Windows Files option
will not be available in Setup:


                                  Other setup Switches, i.e; SETUP /p b
When running setup, type this as the command line: (this
presumes that your cd rom drive is drive "D")

D:\SETUP /p b
This will enable you to step through each detection step.

If Windows 95 hangs on shutdown reinstall Windows 95
to a different folder to rule out the possibility of damaged files.
For example, if Windows 95 is currently installed in the Windows
folder, install it to a Win95 folder. If your computer has a Plug and
Play BIOS, reinstall Windows 95 using the "setup /P I" command
to rule out a defective Plug and Play BIOS.

                           Rule Out a Defective Plug and Play BIOS. "setup /p i"
If Windows 95 still hangs during the shutdown process after you
reinstall it, your computer may have faulty hardware or faulty system
components including RAM, the CPU, the motherboard, or an
internal or external cache. Contact your computer's manufacturer for assistance.

He has wiped everything out and started over.
I don't think your last ditch effort (Re-Setup) is going to do anything more for the problem than setting up from scratch did.

Something else to consider would be a BIOS update.  Perhaps flashing the newest BIOS revision will fix this problem.
Here's the link if you're interested:
Good luck.

BTW, that answer I poster was suppossed to be a comment.

Somberlain, please reject that so this questio remains open.
 We have not solved it yet.

Somberlain, post your email address and I'll send you a silver bullet to run for the antibios virus issue.
How about sending me a silver bullet also.

On its way Bud!
somberlainAuthor Commented:
my email is, and if that one is down you can get me at

thanks alot everyone, i really appreciate all your help. its nice to know that theres people out there that are willing to put in time and effort to help each other. i cant thank all of you enough.  this is the worse problem ive ever had and about the first i had to go find help with, and its really starting to get to meeee!!

i like the idea about doing the win95 reinstall but i dont think anything could change it cause it seems like its a DOS problem, like somehow dos is seeing a b: when i boot it but my other os's dont see it.  i dont know but i think if it was a BIOS glitch all the OS's would see it, i think its a DOS incompatibility or a virus loading/unloading the B: into bios after ive booted.

later im going to hook my HD up to a different PC and boot it and see what the win95 on that box thinks, if its a virus it should probably say the same thing
Does anyone think running the "FDISK /MBR" after booting to DOS might have any repercussions?


Hi Shawn, I think it it gets to the point of re-formatting and starting over FDISK /MRB
would not hurt. But it can wipe out ability to boot. I've heard of people running without a MBR???
I don't know.

Actually it would only reset the master boot record. I have removed viruses this way. My concern was for a dual-boot issue.


Somberlain, running FDISK/MBR should not have any effect on your system unless there's something really wrong with the hard drive, and at which your system would not be bootable from the "C" partition. Of course, you could boot 95 from a floppy.
somberlainAuthor Commented:

will running fdisk /mbr remove my linux loader (lilo) ?

also if you could send that silver bullet to me at id appreciate it

when i added the new (used) drive the b: appeared, so thats why i really think its a virus. i still gotta boot my HD off my other machine, ive just been really busy foolin w/ linux


thats exactly what i was thinking, it will probably remove any disk drive overlays as well....just for fun, if the virus detector doesn't take care of it and your ready to scrap it completely, run the fdisk /mbr to reset it and see what happens.
check the IRQs
I would suggest that normally if you have a single floppy drive, DOS and Windows will generally use drive A: and B: for it.

This is really a hangback to the days when everything came on floppy and to copy from one disk to another you had to identify a difference between the source and destination in the same drive.

If your BIOS has an antivirus facility enabled your DOS installations will fail, because the BIOS will not allow modification of the boot sector of your hard disk.

It sounds like your floppy cable is not working. the reason you are getting the exclamation mark is because Windows isn't sure it's got things right. If it thinks there's a floppy there but can't detect it, it will assume a driver problem.

The best way of testing both floppy connections on your ribbon cable is to plug the other connector into your FDD, disable drive A: and enable B: in your BIOS (with swap drive letters enabled also).

If your cable works you wil boot to DOS with A: as the floppy and B: also as the floppy (with a message "Insert disk into drive B:...").

If the cable is faulty you will get a floppy controller error, a drive letter without the ability to use it, and a driver error in Windows 95.

In the event that there is a problem with the cable, use the middle connector and cut the ribbon cable immediately after it (removing the end FDD connector). Reinstall into the machine and you should have no more problems.

Experts Exchange Solution brought to you by

Your issues matter to us.

Facing a tech roadblock? Get the help and guidance you need from experienced professionals who care. Ask your question anytime, anywhere, with no hassle.

Start your 7-day free trial
somberlainAuthor Commented:
Um... first of all, I didnt accept the "accepted answer" and I have no idea how it got accepted 'cause I didnt do it. second of all, It doesnt/didnt fix my problem. now, what fixed my problem is this:

my HD crashed around the last time I got on here, with a "invalid media type or track 0 bad, disk unusable" so i called my HD maker and got it all replaced and stuff. now, I got a new HD in my box and windows doesnt see a B: anymore...

so what this was is a faulty Hard Drive that somehow in its screwed up state made DOS think it had a B: attached to it or something...

anyway, if anyone knows how this ? got accepted I'd like to know, cause the answer is invalid and Id like that cleared up. I dont really care about the points but I'd like the real answer put up for whomever else might have this problem later on.

basically the answer is:

Replace the faulty hard drive!
It's more than this solution.Get answers and train to solve all your tech problems - anytime, anywhere.Try it for free Edge Out The Competitionfor your dream job with proven skills and certifications.Get started today Stand Outas the employee with proven skills.Start learning today for free Move Your Career Forwardwith certification training in the latest technologies.Start your trial today
Windows OS

From novice to tech pro — start learning today.