Floppy drive read/write problems

Posted on 2002-05-21
Last Modified: 2011-09-20
On Win95c copying files to a fresh floppy disk, first time is fine. However subsequent attempts using the same disk result in 'not formatted' messages, or 'cannot read from device' messages.
From that point forward, the floppy disk is useless.

Once this stage has been reached, trying to read the disk in other computers yields the same results.
Given that I need about 500kb of files off it, this is somewhat annoying..

The drive has been replaced with a new one - no change - and it has no modem, so viruses are unlikely.
I tried to virus scan a disk using Housecall, but it came out clean (though I wonder whether in fact it was read at all).

Any ideas?
Question by:JohnDecker
Welcome to Experts Exchange

Add your voice to the tech community where 5M+ people just like you are talking about what matters.

  • Help others & share knowledge
  • Earn cash & points
  • Learn & ask questions
  • 4
  • 2
  • 2
  • +2
LVL 23

Expert Comment

ID: 7023718
Have you gone into safe mode (F8 while booting) and removed the floppy and let it redetect?  That may help.
It is possible that the drive you replaced it with is also defective.  Replace it with a known working drive and see if the problem disappears.  It sounds like the disk change functionality is gone out on this one.

Accepted Solution

c661jmb earned 30 total points
ID: 7023719
Check the cable. does the cable go to an onboard FDD controller or is it an addon card?

Floppies do fail and are probably the most unreliable medium to store data on. I had a customer who kept his disks on top of his sub woofer, then wondered why the were duff!!

LVL 63

Expert Comment

ID: 7024474
I agree that floppies are problematic.

Can you read the data on another drive ?

I would format diskettes on the new drive and see if they work OK.

I hope this helps !
Technology Partners: We Want Your Opinion!

We value your feedback.

Take our survey and automatically be enter to win anyone of the following:
Yeti Cooler, Amazon eGift Card, and Movie eGift Card!


Author Comment

ID: 7025748
I'll try your suggestions and get back to you asap - at the moment we're in the middle of a lightning storm, so I'm off soon!

SysExpert: if I use a fresh floppy on one of my own computers, no problem. If I then use it in the customer's computer ti will work forst time and then fail. Transferring it back to my computer will not solve anything - the error messages come up whichever computer it is used in.

c661jmb: The cable should not be a problem - I have changed it with a known working one. It is an onboard controller. I will retry everything though and confirm.

slink9: I'll get back to you asap.

It seems strange that they are ok for an initial usage - anyone heard of any viruses that will do this. I did come across a computer with a boot sector virus that transferred between floppy and hdd with similar results, but having tansferred the rogue fdd into my own computer with no joy I then did a full scan which revealed no viruses.

Thanks for your prompt replies guys. And girls?
LVL 23

Expert Comment

ID: 7025938
Put a known working floppy in (first time so that it can be read) and go to and do a scan.  It is always up-to-date and free.  If there is a virus present it should find it.
Have you tried cleaning the drive?  This is a stretch since it still happens with another drive but is worth a shot.
LVL 63

Expert Comment

ID: 7025953
What happens if you format the floppy on the clients computer ?
Is it able to store data ?

It sounds to me like you may have a bad floppy drive or controller.
It could also be simply misalligned.

I hope this helps !
LVL 23

Expert Comment

ID: 7026032
That would be my first guess, and that of the poster, I believe.  The drive and cable were swapped for another with the same results.  The controller is a good thought.  Can you disable the floppy and put in an IDE/IO with the IDE disabled?  Maybe that will work well with this drive.  If that is the case, you definitely have a bad onboard controller.
Have you scanned C with Housecall?  If it is a virus, the C drive would be infected in order to be able to infect the floppies.

Author Comment

ID: 7026253
Thanks for the fedback so quickly again.

Slink9: I did try what you suggested, but no joy - see original posting. Unfortunately I dn't have a disk cleaner.

SysExpert: My first guess was a misalignment, but..

Here's the thing - I have now replaced the drive and the cable (with a new one of each rather than a working one from my own computer!) and I have got it going again.

I never did try formatting on the misaligned(?) drive, but am curious - would it have worked for that drive but no other..?

Personally I think the three of you each contributed to helping me, but I've never split points before. If you can tell me how, I'll wrap this one up. Thanks again.
LVL 23

Expert Comment

ID: 7026664
You can do a points split by emailing a 0-point request to Community Service (link at left).  You need to include a link to this question (or the Q number) and a request of how to split the points.  A mod will come in and lower the point value on this question and you will accept an answer.  You then post "Points for ..." questions for the others in the Hardware (general) area.

Expert Comment

ID: 7028108
Per request, force-accepted by
CS Moderator

slink9: points for you at
SysExpert: points for you at

Featured Post

Three Reasons Why Backup is Strategic

Backup is strategic to your business because your data is strategic to your business. Without backup, your business will fail. This white paper explains why it is vital for you to design and immediately execute a backup strategy to protect 100 percent of your data.

Question has a verified solution.

If you are experiencing a similar issue, please ask a related question

Suggested Solutions

Title # Comments Views Activity
Microsoft volume license for installation 11 50
Looking for a laptop computer  that match my needs 5 55
Hardware keyboards 11 43
We recently endured a series of broadcast storms that caused our ISP to shut us down for brief periods of time. After going through a multitude of tests, we determined that the issue was related to Intel NIC drivers on some new HP desktop computers …
With Secure Portal Encryption, the recipient is sent a link to their email address directing them to the email laundry delivery page. From there, the recipient will be required to enter a user name and password to enter the page. Once the recipient …
Are you ready to implement Active Directory best practices without reading 300+ pages? You're in luck. In this webinar hosted by Skyport Systems, you gain insight into Microsoft's latest comprehensive guide, with tips on the best and easiest way…

730 members asked questions and received personalized solutions in the past 7 days.

Join the community of 500,000 technology professionals and ask your questions.

Join & Ask a Question