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    My A drive cant be read: easy one for your gurus


    Hi everyone.

    over the weekend my started to have problem with my computer being able to read the A drive. I have no idea why this is happening. When I insert a floppy, I get a message say that the disk is not formatted. I know for a fact that it is formatted an I have stuff on the floppy. I cant copy anything from my C: to A:

    I was going to do a backup so that I can re-install windowsME. Now if my A: is working, this means that I can use the boot disk to a re-install, correct?. I tried leaving a disk in while I rebooted. Normally, the system ask that you remove the disk inorder to continue but I didnt even do that.

    What could the possible be? I really dont know where to start!!!..help im desperate.
    Last edited by soundsfishy; August 24th, 2003 at 08:12 PM.
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    Grumpier old Moderator
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    My first choice would be a defective floppy drive. They are so cheap I'd just get a new one before going much further.

    You should be able to Install ME without a floppy by booting from the CD, but I'd make sure all the hardware is in good shape before installing an OS
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    Thanks Doug! Ive got a spare drive so I'll give that a try and see what happens.

    If the problem still exists I'll come back to this forum for some more help.
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  7. Capt'n
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    I started having problems with floppy drives dying like that in 1998. Went through 3 in 1 year under warrenty. They are so cheap (not only in price but in quality to) that I replaced it with a Zip back in the day. Although I'm using Macs now and they havn't had floppies for a while now.
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    I changed the A drive with a spare one. this worked ok for a little while but I then started to have the same problem. What are the odd of my spare doing exactly the same. Im starting to think now that it may be more than just my A drive.
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  11. Perl Monkey
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    What kind of system is it? I had a Quantex from four years ago that came with Windows 98. At some point a year or two later, I cleaned it off and put Win2k on there. My floppy worked fine for awhile, then suddenly any time I clicked the thing in explorer, the whole system would freeze and it required a hard reset to come back. I just got used to it happening ever time and never used a floppy. I formatted the system some time later, and it worked again at first, but the same tricks crept up later within a few months.

    I guess my only suggestion is if you're running a newer OS on an older motherboard, check for bios updates. Other than that...you could get a USB floppy if it were a really big deal.
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    go into the bios, make sure the drive is still set to 3.5 floppy, 1.44 meg, there are several choices, but those i think are what you have. like the other person stated there may be a bios update for you board, if this is a HP computer, thier is a known bios issue with some of thier boards that came with windows ME.
    also it may just be bad floppy disk, i have bought new packages and one or two be good, the rest crap.
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    Ok this is what Ive done,

    I check my Bios and reset them to stardard setting and did a reformat of the c: then re-installed every thing.

    The A: now appears to work OK but what I should is really a new up market A: seeing as they fairly cheap.

    If I still have drama with a new drive I would imagine that its the BIOS that needs tweaking.
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  17. Just another guy
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    Get a usb flash drive, instead of a floppy. Much more capacity, though you'll need to get drivers for it if you keep running winme instead of something good . (Unless you need the floppy for boot disks, but I just use bootable cds, and haven't touched the floppy in over a year )
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    USB Flash drive sounds like they to go. I might have look into at our next computer swap meet at the local city hall. As for bootable CD, this will me that will have to alter the bios to accept d: as the bootable drive, correct?.
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  21. Just another guy
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    Yes. You'll have to look in the bios to be sure that "cd-rom drive" is on the list for the boot check. I have it first on the list for my computer.
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    Lightbulb My two cents worth - the floppy loses its magnetism!


    I learned from experience that floppy disks only last about three to six years or so, before the data begins to degrade as it loses its magnetic charge.

    You could indeed still have your data on the drive, but it will still read that it is not formatted, or ask you if you want to RE-format it, and the only thing you can hope for is that with repeated insertions, you MAY get some of the data off of it, but most likely you won't.

    Back in the late 80's when I needed more permanent storage, I opted for a magnetic optical drive with mag optical cartridges which were quite expensive, but held much more data than floppys and had an archival life of over 40 years! They're still a good backup device, but with the advent of burning CDs and DVDs you're better off with these cheaper and even more disposable backup medium.

    To back up MY opinion, I did a quick search on the web for the lifespan of a floppy, and have this link for your information: http://www.scitrav.com/labtips/flopdisk.htm which explains about the degradation of materials and magnetics.

    I hope I helped!
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    Thanks for that! I never thought floppy drive had a life expectancy but I guess all things eventually come to and end. My floppy is probably about 5 yrs old and I thinks its time for a new one. From what u are say it makes sense to me. I'll check out the site you gave me.

    Thansk for your help.
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    Exclamation Don't confuse a floppy DRIVE with a FLOPPY!


    You mentioned that your floppy DRIVE (I'm inferring that's what you mean) is about five years old. THAT doesn't mean it will no longer work, as I have old Macintosh computers that use nearly obsolete and hard-to-find floppy disks that will still work!

    I'm only saying that the DISK itself is what loses its magnetism and the HARD DRIVE should last for years more, if it is kept in a proper environment as all computers should be kept (not a lot of temperature changes, low dust, low humidity but not so low as to cause static electricity which is even worse, no smoke - preferably, etc.)

    Try buying a small package of NEW floppies from your local discount store and see if you can download some of your files to it and then try to read them. That's how you can determine if it is your HARD drive or just a problem with degraded floppies and you won't have to spend a lot of money to figure it out!

    (Also, remember that floppies as well as much magnetic media such as video tapes are susceptible to magnetic fields that can be found near music or computer speakers, printers, modems, possibly your computer monitor, or places you wouldn't think about, like a refrigerator magnet laying nearby.) If you continue to use floppy disks, one thing that I have done to keep them "healthy" is to always make at least ONE backup floppy right away, and another one a month or two later for the "just in cases." Then, routinely check your floppy in your computer to see if you can read all of the sectors - there are some programs that will do that for you (probably available free for download at download.com as well) and if you begin to see any bad sectors, since you have a NEWER copy of the floppy, you can FIRST download the good floppy's information to your hard drive, and then re-format your quirky floppy (a total reformatting, not just erasing the data), and it re-aligns the magnetism to allow you to put the data back on. If your data is really important, obviously, it's easier to switch to a storage medium that has a longer life expectancy. (Note: By having a floppy that has had your information placed on it at a LATER date than the one that has degraded, you have a greater chance of having at least ONE good floppy with good data - just in time to temporarily save to your hard drive and then re-save to good media.)

    Here's yet ANOTHER link to a pretty good tutorial on your floppy disk care and reliability issues: http://www.scitrav.com/labtips/flopdisk.htm

    Those of us that hang on to equipment LONG after we should have disposed of it usually have links like these - just because we run into the same problem YOU have. Just be sure that it is the FLOPPY and not the DRIVE before you needlessly spend any more money. (THEN save it for a DVD-R someday as the prices come down!)
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    Thanks for the reply.

    It never occured to me that floppy disk were so vulnerable to corruption. The site your provided made interesting reading.

    I dont know if you can help me but yesterday I I had trouble getting windows to work. Everything was fine until I loaded BlackIce Firewall freeware. When I boot the system, it runs fine but after the Window Me screen appears it goes to a blue screen and nothing happens. When I do an AltCntrl+del, Blackd apears in the EndTask window box. Nothing else appears. I cant get to the windows desk top at all. Would I be correct in assuming that BlackIce for some reason is the cause of my problem. Is there anyway I can unistall is via DOS. If it can be done what are the commands.

    Just for your information I have the lastest Virus program called Inocculan which is used by a major Govt Dept .

    I really dont want to do a new install becuase I just did one last week and I didnt even get a chance to backup and Word documents or www address.
    Last edited by soundsfishy; September 3rd, 2003 at 05:57 PM.
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