Troubleshooting Floppy Disk Drive Problems in Windows

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Article ID: 131690 - View products that this article applies to.
This article was previously published under Q131690
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SUMMARY

This article lists troubleshooting tips you can use to help resolve problems with floppy disk drives in Windows.

MORE INFORMATION

If you are having problems with a floppy disk drive (such as receiving the error message "Error reading drive <X>:" or if the status of your floppy disk drive in Device Manager is listed in MS-DOS Compatibility mode), try the troubleshooting tips in the following sections.

Safe Mode

Start Windows in Safe mode and try to access the floppy disk drive. To start Windows 95 in Safe mode, restart your computer, press the F8 key when you see the "Starting Windows 95" message, and then choose Safe Mode from the Startup menu. To start Windows 98 in Safe mode, restart your computer, press and hold down the CTRL key after your computer completes the Power On Self Test (POST), and then choose Safe Mode from the Startup menu.

If you can access the floppy disk drive, follow these steps:

  1. Use the right mouse button to click My Computer, then click Properties on the menu that appears.
  2. Click the Device Manager tab.
  3. Double-click Floppy Disk Controllers.
  4. Click the floppy disk controller for the drive you are having problems with, then click Properties.
  5. In Windows 95, click the Original Configuration (Current) check box to clear it. In Windows 98, click the Disable In This Hardware Profile check box to select it. This disables the Windows protected-mode driver for the floppy disk drive controller.
  6. Click OK.
  7. Restart Windows normally.
If you can access the floppy disk drive successfully after following the above steps, the following conditions may be true:
  • The floppy disk drive controller may not be supported in protected mode.
  • There are drivers loading in the Config.sys or AUTOEXEC.BAT file that may be necessary for protected-mode access.
  • There are drivers loading in the CONFIG.SYS or AUTOEXEC.BAT file that may be causing conflicts in Windows and need to be disabled.
If you still cannot access the floppy disk drive after following steps 1-7, follow these steps:
  1. Use the right mouse button to click My Computer, then click Properties on the menu that appears.
  2. Click the Device Manager tab.
  3. Double-click Floppy Disk Controllers.
  4. Click the floppy disk controller, and then click Remove to remove the controller.
  5. Click OK.
  6. In Control Panel, double-click Add New Hardware.
  7. Click Next, and then click Yes to allow Windows to detect the hardware in your computer.
  8. When the Add New Hardware Wizard is finished, restart the computer and try to access the floppy disk drive again.
Redetecting the floppy disk controller should resolve any addressing problems with the controller by detecting the correct address range. If the floppy disk controller is not detected correctly, there may be a problem with the floppy disk controller. If the floppy disk controller is redetected but you still cannot access the floppy disk drive, there may be a problem with the floppy disk.

Damaged Disks

Use the following steps to check for a damaged disk:
  1. Use a disk utility (such as ScanDisk) to test the disk for damage.

    NOTE: Do not use a non-Windows 95 or Windows 98-aware disk utility on DMF disks. Non-Windows 95 or Windows 98-aware disk utilities can damage DMF disks. The Windows ScanDisk tool recognizes and does not damage DMF disks.

    Before you run a disk utility, please see the following article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:
    ARTICLE-ID: 120442
    TITLE : Using Hard Disk Utilities with Windows 95
  2. Type the following command at an MS-DOS command prompt

    copy drive\*.* nul

    where <drive> is the floppy disk drive you are having problems with. For example, if you are having problems with drive A, insert a disk you are having problems with in drive A and type the following command:

    copy a:\*.* nul

    This command copies the files on the disk to a null device. If there is a problem copying the files, error messages appear on the screen.


CMOS Settings

Consult your computer's documentation or manufacturer to make sure that your computer's CMOS settings are correct.

Irwin Tape Backup

Windows 95 Setup removes the following statement from the [386Enh] section of the SYSTEM.INI file:
   device=<path>\VIRWT.386
				

If you re-install the Irwin Tape Backup software after you install Windows 95, this statement is placed in the SYSTEM.INI file again and can cause conflicts with floppy disk access in Windows.


Device Conflicts

Device conflicts as reported by Device Manager can cause problems reading from and writing to floppy disks. You can resolve this problem by changing or removing the resources from Device Manager that are causing the conflict. These are typically conflicts with hard drive controller cards, video cards, or COM ports.

Properties

Article ID: 131690 - Last Review: January 19, 2007 - Revision: 2.2
APPLIES TO
  • Microsoft Windows 95
  • Microsoft Windows 98 Standard Edition
  • Microsoft Windows 98 Second Edition
  • Microsoft Windows 98 Standard Edition
Keywords: 
kbenv kbfaq kbhardware kbhowto kbtshoot KB131690

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