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How do I tell if my diskette drive is bad?

Posted on 2003-12-10
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Last Modified: 2010-04-27
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?

Thanks!
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Question by:vknowles
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by:CrazyOne
ID: 9914701
>>> "bad diskette" rate of 10%

I would say so. I think that is close to what happens to me.
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by:☠ MASQ ☠
ID: 9914730
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.
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by:LucF
ID: 9915431
Hi vknowles,

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

Greetings,

LucF
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by:vknowles
ID: 9915566
LucF, thanks for the idea.  But, no, I'm using them new out of the box.

-Van
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by:Callandor
Callandor earned 50 total points
ID: 9915916
Possibly a failing diskette drive?  Have you tried writing/reading those bad diskettes in another machine?
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by:vknowles
ID: 9915969
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?

-Van
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by:LucF
LucF earned 50 total points
ID: 9916029
>What does that say about my original drive?
that you should try to replace it with a new one.
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by:CrazyOne
ID: 9916149
Or cleaned. Most computer shops have CD cleaning kits.
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by:Callandor
ID: 9916285
CrazyOne,

CD cleaning kits for diskette drives?
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by:LucF
ID: 9916318
lol! vknowles, you should be looking for disk drive cleaning kits ;-)
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☠ MASQ ☠ earned 150 total points
ID: 9916339
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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by:vknowles
ID: 9916341
Uh, CrazyOne, we _are_ talking about diskettes, aren't we?

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

:)

-Van
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by:CrazyOne
ID: 9916358
Ooops I mis posted. LOL
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by:vknowles
ID: 9916361
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.

-Van
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by:LucF
ID: 9916393
Ok, keep us informed....
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by:Auriclus
ID: 9916660
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.

Auriclus
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by:buckeyes33
ID: 9921656
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.
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by:vknowles
ID: 9969855
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...

-Van
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