Missing Operating System - Floppy Error

I have just built a new PC from scratch. Everything seems to check out OK: BIOS, RAM, 2 IDE HDs PCI and ISA cards all confirmed. However I seem to have a problem with the floppy drive.

With a floppy in the drive, I boot the system. As the system comes up the A Drive is "hit", it whirs, the light goes on, then off, and the boot continues. Following the all the system confirmation, I get the following report to the screen:

"Searching for Boot Record from floppy..not found"
"Searching for Boot Record from IDE-0,:OK
"Missing Operating System"

The boot disk I'm using is a WIN98 Boot Disk written from my other PC and works OK on that machine and others I've tried.

I've tried messing around with the cable (Although not exchanged it). I've also tried swapping out the floppy drive for another, but still get the same result.

I should also mention that I've checked out an earlier question on Experts Exchange "Q.10181698 from ecrowe". This was useful but didn't solve my problem - also I note that this question was never actually concluded.

PLUS, one other problem, my CPU fan does not have a conventional slim sheathed terminating power cable, but rather the large chunky fitting, similar those used to power the HD's CD Rom etc. Although I've connected the fan, I notice it isn't running when the machine is booted. Should it be - or do some only kick in when the heat sink get sufficiently hot?

Any help would be gratefully received.
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Did you configure your floppy in the BIOS setup correctly?

Are you using a floppy cable with a crossover (a.k.a. "twist" )in it?  If so, try plugging the floppy into the other connector on the cable.
bigstarAuthor Commented:
In the standard CMOS Set-up the Floppy is shown to be present - is there anything more specific I should do in the BIOS?

My Floppy cable is a simple affair with only two connectors. A twist at one end (Connected to the drive) and the MotherBoard connector at the other end.

Armed with this info - any other suggestions?

Then check the DRIVE SELECT jumper on the floppy itself.  If it's configured for DRIVE B, then it will get selected at initialization but won't get booted from.  If it's configured for DRIVE A, switch it to DRIVE B.  Sometimes between the drive jumpers and the twisted cable things get confused.
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Is the floppy set to 1.44 3.5inch in BIOS.
The message is indicating you don't have a boot disk in the floppy and then is going to the hard disk. It finds the boot record but no operating system on the hard disk.
You indacte you have a 2nd machine. I would try the floppy in that unit and make sure it is working. Or take the working one out of the other unit and try it in the new machine. Try the cable from the other machine as well.
The fan should be running.  I presume it is plugged into the same wiriing as the CDROM and Hard drives.

And follow joeds advice for testing your floppy drive.

You really should start with replacing the cable.  Also check if there aren't any broken pins on your motherboard.

Is the cable the original or a replacement?
You state it has two connector at each end. It should have three one is a terminator.
bigstarAuthor Commented:
Thanks for all your comments. I'm going to have try some of these and get back to you. However, here's what I've tried already:

DBrunton - Yes the fan is plugged into the same type of connector as the CD ROM, HD etc - and is not working!

Davy & Others - Yes I've replaced the cable, but with the same result.

Sorgie - The cable is a replacement. My cable has a connector at either end. Are you sure about the fact that there should be an extra one for termination purposes? I have several floppy cable - only one has more than two connectors?

Joed - Yes the floppy set to 1.44 3.5inch in BIOS.

I will have to try your suggestion about substituting the drive and cable from the other machine.

Jhance - I will attempt to try your jumper switch suggestion, but from memory, I'm pretty sure the FD does not have any alternative jumper settings.

More later

Maybe you have a power supply problem???
Fix fan first.
Try a different connector and wobble it to see if any life is in the fan.

If this works the you may have to squeeze the connection to make it run permanently.
Make sure it is reliable.

If not then check voltages on power leads for 5v -+ and 12 -+

If ok then replace fan.

One thing not mentioned yet about bios floppy scan.

if available, change the "swap drive" option.
It would appear the that the drive is being checked but not booted.
The other alternative is to use the other connector on cable (before twist) to connect to drive.

If you want win98 to help diagnose the problem, it can be installed.

Requirements are WIN98 Cd and Atapi CDrom.

Enter bios and reset to defaults.
This should allow auto detection of hd's.
Then change the the boot order to

If you have special hardware that needs specific bios setting, do this here.
ie: Irq for Vga or any legacy Isa cards.

Restart the machine and let the cd boot run the win 98 install.

Now you have an OS we can work on the drive.

After installation change the bios boot order so IDE0 is first and after the Floppy works the run that first.
Lets see what windows says about floppy drive controller fail.

And, it could also be a Motherboard failure.

Check for bent or damaged Floppy drive connection pins on Mobo and drive.


bigstarAuthor Commented:
Netmage - Thanks for your comments.

I agree I need to fix the fan first. One thing I failed to mention previously is that I'm sure the fan did work the first time I connected it to a power lead, but now fails to run on all subsequent boots. This leads me to believe that i've probably blown the thing.

The power leads don't appear to have voltages written on them, so I can't check this. It seems I'm now at a stand still. I will have to replace the fan, ideally with one with a traditional connector (to the 3 Pin 12V JFan1 connector on the MicroStar Motherboard) which I won't be able to do until Monday (3rd Jan).

I would like to try your CD-ROM Boot/Windows 98 Install suggestion but feel I need to fix the fan before doing this.

I will report further progress as and when made.

rayt333 - The power supply could be a problem, but it appears to feeding everything else successfully. Also, the connector I used for the CPU fan I have tried on a case-front mounted fan and this works OK.
  I just want to put the floppy in perspective.  There are 3 pieces of hardware that can blow. Floppy drive, Cable, and Floppy controller.
The easiest way to test overall is this.

Grab a known good (from another machine) Floppy drive, and cable, and install it to your motherboard.
try it.
  If it works, then one of them is the problem, otherwise, try a different power connector to the floppy drive, I have seen one of the connectors work loose and cause this.  Next go into bios and load the "Bios Default", and the "Setup Default" if your bios has it. If this doesn't work, take the floppy, cable, and boot floppy back to the other machine and make sure it all works still.  If it does, you need a new motherboard.  If the motherboard is the problem, you will have to take it back (unless you want to try an "add-on" floppy controller in an ISA slot.  I have done that a few times.
  Good Luck
just wanted to confirm that the cpu fan should be on at all times and does not "kick in" when the heatsink gets hot.
That depends.  Some are always on and others are controlled by a temperature sensor.  Does it plug into the motherboard directly or does it plug into a disk drive connector?
bigstarAuthor Commented:
Calvin - Thanks for your contribution - you've outlined a pretty thorough checking routine, which I will put into practice if necessary, once I've solved the problem of the CPU Fan which I hope to do tomorrow (Monday 3rd) when I can purchase a replacement.

However, I've found that both Floppy Boot Disks I used have been corrupted, seemingly by the floppy in the new machine. They definately worked in my other PC. Could they be corrupted by the new floppy drive malfunctioning?

JHance - The CPU fan plugs into a disk drive connector and not directly to the motherboard. All fans I've come accross befor plugged in directly. As I mentioned above, once I plugged the fan in to the Drive type connector, I'm sure it worked when I first booted but now it doesn't, which leads me to think I've blown it, unless you know better?
I myself had a similar problem with the floppy drives.  The way that I solved it was to put two 1.44mb floppies in my computer.  This may or may not be the solution that you were looking for, but it did help me out.  For the CPU fan, try to see if it works with another power cable.  Also check the male part of the fan's power cable.  Make sure that the connection is there.  Sometimes the pins tend to push inward and not make contact.  It's happened to me many a times when I build comps.  Consider this method and get back with us so we know how it went.

Lots of maybe's on those damaged floppys.  They can be corrupted by either cable or drive problems. If either item causes the 1.4 floppy drive to attempt to write in 740KB mode.  The increased power to the record head in this mode can lay down a track that is un-eraseable by a drive functioning normally.  You can sometimes salvage them with a bulk tape eraser.  At least its not a MB problem though (almost 100%).

About the fan, There are a lot of comments about a $5.00 part.  Buy a couple.  They die all the time anyway.  Be Sure It Is Rated As A Ball Bearing Type (for what little good that does).

To add to my check out above with the added info that the floppys are getting corrupted... Put the entire assembly (tested, known good floppy, drive, and cable) onto the new MB, if it works, swap your original parts back in place one by one and keep re-testing the floppy for boot-up on a different computer.  When the floppy ceases working, the last part you touched is the cause.  
  Good Luck

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One more thing, I vaugely remember haveing this happen when I had the floppy cable installed backwards and the floppy inserted during boot-up.  If my memory serves me, the floppy drive comes up with the drive light on all the time and corrupts the floppy disk.

  NOTE: if you accidentally had the cable backwards, and put these floppys in during boot up, that could have caused your problem.
  Just a thought......
bigstarAuthor Commented:
Just a brief comment - more later. I now have the new parts:

A ball brearing fan which connects to the MB and not the power connectors.

A new Floppy Drive.

Your last comment Calvin about the backwards floppy cable almost definately happened in my case. Because I tried the floppy cable every which way attempting to make it work, I did have the thing in backwards with floppy drive light illuminated permanently on at least two occasions, and with a floppy disk present in the drive.

So that accounts for my two corrupted boot floppies.

I now intend to try the new parts in the machine and may well have to run through many of the checking routines suggested by numerous contributors.

Shadowha - Two floppy drives - interesting but why - don't think I've got the space anyway!

I'll report back with the results later tonight.
Reversing a drive(hdd or floppy) data cable won't cause damage.
The access LED will come on and stay on if the cable is backwards. That's all.
This is a standard tech situation with un-keyed connectors.
I've never seen any damage caused by this unless you remove the floppy while the LED is on.
bigstarAuthor Commented:
Well, I installed the new fan and floppy disk drive and everything now is just hunky dory.

A number of you suggested substituting the various offending parts from my other machine which I was able to avoid by using replacement parts, but I do intend to test these pieces of hardware on yet another basic 'test machine' in the future.

However there are a few findings and unanswered questions I would like to clear up:

1. FAN - My original fan with the large four pin connector seem to blow when attached to the main case power supply. The recommended attachment was a 3 pin motherboard connector, which is the type I used in the end and it works fine. However when I shopped for a fan, I noticed many Socket 7 type fans were of the large four-pin connection type. Was I just unlucky or should mine have worked OK? I did test all the  case connectors and they worked fine.

2. Floppy Disk Drive - I had two available Floppy Disk drives to fit the machine and a third, the new one which finally worked OK. Of the original two, I'm convinced one was just plain knackered, but the other DOES have jumpers on it (the only one that does) as JHance mentioned. But I don't know what the jumper legends mean, there are seven paired pins as follows:


Currently "OP", "HH1" and "FG" are jumpered and the last of these is a permanently soldered jumper. Any ideas?

3. Forgive me if I'm getting into new territory here: in addition to the Floppy Drive, the new machine has 2 IDE HD's, a CD-ROM and an internal 100MB ZIP Drive. I originally attached these as follows:

HD 1 Boot Drive  (Master), HD 2 Secondary Drive (Slave) to MB Connection IDE1
CD-ROM (Master), ZIP Drive (Slave) to MB Connection IDE2

The BIOS accepted this configuration, but Windows 98 did not and failed to recognise my CD-ROM or Zip drive. I reconfigured as follows:

HD 1 Boot Drive  (Master), CD-ROM (Slave) to MB Connection IDE1
HD 2 Secondary Drive (Master), ZIP Drive (Slave) to MB Connection IDE2

This combination worked fine in both BIOS and Win98, which is great and I can live with this, but should my original configuration have worked?

4. Finally, as with other questions with many contributors that I've asked on Experts Exchange I have a dilemma. Who should the points be awarded to? I feel that all major contributors are worthy even though I didn't always take the advice given. I do feel that Calvin's indication that my Floppy Disks had become corrupted by incorrectly wiring the floppy cable was a big breakthrough (despite contrary comments) and had this not been pointed out, I'd still be trying to figure this out and would now be bald! But this is only one aspect of the problem.

I realise this is difficult, but guys you gotta help me out here, who shall I give the points to?
I suspect your fan was faulty.  If it blew on starting it sounds like an internal short, wrong power being fed to it (wrong voltages, DC instead of AC) or it's number was up.

If you didn't touch anything on it like rewiring then it's number was up.

Generally CDROMs are set to slave on the second IDE channel.  Combinations as you have configured may or may not work depending on the different hardware and motherboard compatibilities and the OS.  

From your description you did set everytning right but something - Windows? - didn't recognise it.

Points.  These can be divided but I would say if you followed someone's advice and it proved useful they should be entitled to points. You already identified Calving as one.  Comments are comments and not necessarily answers.  Sometimes the comments are different ways of looking at the problem.  Reward those whose help answered the problem.

  The Floppy jumpers D1, and D0 pins need at least one of them jumpered.  D0 is Device 0 or "Be Drive A:".  D1 is Device 1 and means "Be Drive B:".  Without one or the other of these jumpered, the drive won't be either.  The standard is to Jumper D1.  The "twist" in the floppy cable converts this back to Drive A:
This is probably the problem with this drive!

For interest, IBM originally decreed all Floppy drive to be jumpered as D1, so in the dual drive IBM pc's, the 2 drives could just be installed brand new with out touching the jumpers.  The drive that was connected to the connector without the twist was always B:, and the other drive (beyond the single twist) was always A:  If IBM hadn't specified it this way, the floppy cable would have had to have 2 twists!

Many CD-Roms are incapable of working as the Master in a Master-Slave IDE chain.  It is a cost savings measure by the manufacturers.  That is why your first setup didn't work.  Besides, you want the 2 HD's as masters of there own IDE bus for maximum performance.  With DMA drivers, the two drives can send and receive data at the same time.  With both on one IDE bus, they have to share them.  The CD, and Zip drives are so rarely used in comparison to the HD, that they don't count.

I don't get too excited about points,  but some people have done this:
Reduce the number of points of this question to a percentage (1/2, 1/3), award it, then start a bogus question(s) at the same rate, and give it to the others.
bigstarAuthor Commented:
Points - Thanks for comments. In light of the advice given I've decided to reduce this question to 50 points and award them to Calvin. Then post a bogus question for a further 50 and divide them between DBrunton, JHance, Joed and Netmage. Hope you agree this seems fair.

Jumpers on FD - Calvin, if I understand you correctly, if I jumper D1 then the drive should work OK? But what do the other terminals mean - to quote myself:

"Currently "OP", "HH1" and "FG" are jumpered and the last of these is a permanently soldered jumper."

Should these remain or be changed to accommodate D1, or D1 be jumpered in addition?

IDE 1 & 2 Config - Calvin & DBrunton -thanks for your comments here, it seems clearer now
bigstarAuthor Commented:
Just checking for any feedback.

Calvin any comments on the jumpers above?

Everybody else - are you happy with the point split?
It has been a long time since I went into the jumpers on floppys, and I could get out my old manuals to look them up.  Unfortunately I know it would take quite a few hours to find this info.  About 5-6 years ago, I could have told you from memory, but floppys are " passe' " now.  The only one that is "usually" critical is the d1/d0 jumper. Hopefully the others are still at their default positions.   The easiest way is to look at as many other floppy drives as you can, and try jumpering to match a known working drive.  Unfortunately some manufacturers will call one jumper hh1, and another may call it ew.  Their isn't a guaranteed standard even though a lot of them are the same from one to another.  The only other way to be sure (and this will work) is to go to the website of the drive manufacturer and search for the drive by model number.  Failing that e-mail tech support and get them to tell you the default jumpers for the drive.  
  I used to do this by getting an old 286 MB that had AMIDIAG built in to rom, and plugging the floppy into it without a HD.  I would boot straight into the ROM AMIDIAG, and run the floppy test procedure.  I would then swap the jumper, and try it again.  I could quickly change the config to test different jumpers.  Eventually, I would either get it working, or know it was NG.  In the days of the WWW, the Manufacturer is probably your surest way to find out.
  Thanks for the points, and Good Luck.

PS.  My usual answer to floppy problems now days is to place the floppy into the circular fileing cabinet, and gett a new one.  In the days of $12.00 floppys, it doesn't make sense to spend much time on them.  When I used to work on them they still cost $50-60 each, and I was (still am for that matter) cheap.
Are the connectors to the floppy drive and the mother board have pin one on the red stripe[ if there is one ] If the stripe is right on one end and not the other it will cause you grief,in other words it wont work right.
bigstarAuthor Commented:
Sorry it's been a while since my last visit - just too damn busy.

Erm... screwed up on the points thing. I should have awarded you 50 and split another 50 with the others I mentioned, but it didn't work as expected.

So a free 25 points on top Calvin. The others didn't seem bothered anyhow - no body replied.

Thanks for all your help.
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