How do I tell if my diskette drive is bad?

The main reason I use diskettes is to support backup CDs.  These are Win2K setup diskettes plus the backup program's support diskettes.  So they're generally pretty full.

For the past several months, I have noticed that after I create a set of diskettes, about 1 in 10 (or more) are bad (cannot read, data error).

I've used different brands of diskettes (Sony, Imation, Memorex), so I don't think it's a specific brand.

But should I expect a "bad diskette" rate of 10%, or is my drive doing something wrong?  And how can I tell?

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>>> "bad diskette" rate of 10%

I would say so. I think that is close to what happens to me.
☠ MASQ ☠Commented:
I'd tend to agree but it's worth swapping the drive over with another one if you have one handy & see if you improve your hit rate.
Luc FrankenEMEA Server EngineerCommented:
Hi vknowles,

This is also happening to me when using old diskettes. Have you tried using new ones?


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vknowlesAuthor Commented:
LucF, thanks for the idea.  But, no, I'm using them new out of the box.

Possibly a failing diskette drive?  Have you tried writing/reading those bad diskettes in another machine?
vknowlesAuthor Commented:
Callandor, when I read them in another machine, they still have data errors.

What I need to do, I think, is try re-formatting them in another machine to see if the problem is a bad surface or just a bad write.

But, suppose I do that and find that the diskette is just fine after formatting (the surface is okay).  What does that say about my original drive?

Luc FrankenEMEA Server EngineerCommented:
>What does that say about my original drive?
that you should try to replace it with a new one.
Or cleaned. Most computer shops have CD cleaning kits.

CD cleaning kits for diskette drives?
Luc FrankenEMEA Server EngineerCommented:
lol! vknowles, you should be looking for disk drive cleaning kits ;-)
☠ MASQ ☠Commented:
The cost of a brand new (floppy) drive is pretty low, I'd go for that or my earlier suggestion of pulling one from another machine, if the drive has failing hardware cleaning it is only going to give you cleaner failing hardware.

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vknowlesAuthor Commented:
Uh, CrazyOne, we _are_ talking about diskettes, aren't we?

At least, my problem is with the old-fashioned 3.5" not-so-floppies.


Ooops I mis posted. LOL
vknowlesAuthor Commented:
I may actually have an old 3.5" drive floating around in a box, trouble is finding it.

I'll try to perform the check I mentioned and let you know what happens.

Luc FrankenEMEA Server EngineerCommented:
Ok, keep us informed....
By the way, Vknowles, it's easy to check the ingretity of you floppy disks if you have access to a Win 98/Me machine.  Pop the disk you want to check into the machine and run Scandisk.  Select the A: drive and scandisk which check the structure and ingretity of the floppy.  If you want to be through, run a surface scan as well.

As Masquerraid said above, floppy drives are cheap ($10-15), so don't waste any time with one which isn't working.

Here is the things that I have noticed over several years.

1.  As stated above floppy disk that are older seem to have a higher percentage of bad disk.

2.  The older the drive the more bad disk that I seem to have.  i think that this is a dust problem.

I recently, when building a computer, went to a local computer store to get a floppy drive.  It was a name brand sony and it cost 13 bucks.  So drives are really cheap.
vknowlesAuthor Commented:
Thanks, folks.

I pulled out an old floppy and diskcopied it to itself several times.  After about the 16th time, it got an error.  I put it into another machine and the other machine was unable to correct the problem after reformatting, so I have to assume it was damage to the surface.

So, I think the drive might be bad (after all, it was a good floppy to begin with), although a sample of one does not a great experiment make.

Anyway, I guess I'll get a new drive, because I haven't been able to dig up my other one, and a new one is probably a better bet than a used one anyway.

There were so many good (and overlapping) comments that I'm going to be hard-pressed to distribute points on this one...

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