Bad Floppy Drive?

Posted on 2005-05-07
Last Modified: 2010-04-26
I have a 4 year old Dell Computer, and whenever I use the floppy drive, it seems to function okay...but after removing the floppy disk and powering down, the floppy drive just grinds and grinds. I have to pull the plug out to get it to stop. Is this the drive going bad, or the controller?

Question by:ONYX
    LVL 57

    Accepted Solution

    Floppy disks have been with us a long time In fact, FDDs have been an key component of most personal computers for more than 20 years.

    Basically, a floppy disk drive reads and writes data to a small, circular piece of metal-coated plastic similar to audio cassette tape.

    The problem with FDD is that they are mass produced and very cheap!! Gone are the days where people used to hoard hundreds of them and keep free "Magazine Cover" FDD's to save themselves money.

    Problems with Floppy Drives

    Your FDD is one of the FEW hardware devices on your PC whose internal workings are exposed (albeit hidden behind a plastic drop down flap) and a route in for Dirt, Dust, Children's fingers and drinks etc. more often than not FDD's fail first.

    1. See if the floppy disk drive is working properly. First simply try another disk (If that works you've narrowed it
       down to one floppy disk.)

         a  Try and boot with a boot disk, your BIOS must be set to boot from floppy before hard drive for this to work go to to download one.
         b. If other floppy disks cant be read try deleting the FDD from the system manager and rebooting the PC. On boot the
            Operating system will auto detect and reinstall the drive (If the problem is software/Driver related)
            95/98/ME/NT/2K Start >Settings >Control Panel >System and click on the Device Manager tab
            XP (classic) Right click "MY Computer" select properties, click Hardware Tab and click "Device Manager" OR Start>
            Settings >Control Panel >system >hardware, then click on the Device Manager tab.
            XP (Category view) Start> Settings >Control Panel > Performance and Maintenance >System >hardware, then click on the  Device Manager tab.
         c. If none of the above worked check the settings in the computers BIOS (differs from PC to PC but usually by pressing
            F1,F2 or Delete while the PC is first booting. Ensure that the floppy drive is NOT disabled and set correctly
         d. Open the PC case and ensure that the FDD is cabled correctly and remove and reseat the sockets, there will
            be a ribbon cable (34 pin) MAKE SURE you put it back on the right way round! the twist in the cable goes towards
            the A drive and the red line down one side of the cable (which indicates PIN1) Must go back to the same side
            of the socket. There will also be a power lead (Mini Molex connector) remove and reseat this also.
         e. If you have done all the above and the drive still doesn't work one of three things is wrong, First the ribbon
            cable need replacing, second the power supply is not giving the drive power (are the lights on the drive coming on)
            or the drive itself is broken the easiest way to test it is put it in another machine.
            Replacements are VERY CHEAP!!

    2. If the drive is OK and its just one disk

         a. As you have just found out keeping ONE copy of important data is not a good policy and one which you WONT make
            again :0)
         b. First try the disk on another operating system i.e. if your windows 2000/XP try it on a 95/98 PC (or vice versa)
            this sometimes does the trick.
         c. Go to command line 95/98/ME Start >run >type "command" {enter} OR 2000/XP Start >Run > type "cmd" {enter}
            then try to copy the disk to another disk, place in the suspect disk and type "copy a: a:" {enter} have a new
            disk handy and follow the onscreen prompts.
         d. If you still cant see the data you are in the realms of using third party software to recover your data.
    LVL 91

    Expert Comment

    which OS are you using, and how long? it maybe time to do a fresh install
    LVL 57

    Expert Comment

    by:Pete Long

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