[24hoursupport] Re: Floppy Drive not working

  • From: "Ron Allen" <chizotz@xxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: 24hoursupport@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Wed, 14 Aug 2002 22:28:38 -0500

Hello A~J,

>When I put a disk into the floppy drive, it says the disk needs to be
>formatted, but the disk works fine in my other computer.  This happens
>with any disk.  Is it time to replace the floppy drive or are there some
>less invasive measures I can try first.

Several things to try...

Is it just one diskette or *any* diskette? If it is just one particular
disk then probably there is nothing wrong with the drive. Sometimes the
disk inside the plastic case is harder to rotate than other floppy disks.
Some floppy drives are not as powerful as others, and sometimes a disk
won't work well between two computers because of that. You can try shaking
the disk from side to side, and gently turning the disk inside manually by
putting the tip of a pen into the hole in the hub on the back. It should
rotate pretty easily. Also manually slide the door on the floppy open and
shut a few times to make sure it isn't catching on something. I have gotten
floppy disks working in computers doing all these things in the past.
Sometimes floppy disks just get "sticky" and difficult to work with;
humidity can cause this, or having anything spilled on the diskette, or
leaving the diskette in the sun for even a short while which may warp the
disk inside before there is any visible warping of the case (which is much
thicker), having stored the disk with a rubber band around it, or any
number of other things. Floppy diskettes are weird creatures. Some of them
seem to chug on forever even when outright abused, while others don't want
to work well when treated like jewels.

If it is any diskette, or happens on several, then try cleaning the drive.
You can get a floppy disk cleaner at most office supply stores, Radio
Shack, and possible some department stores. There are those who say that
floppy drives never need to be cleaned, but I know from personal experience
that floppy drives need occasional cleaning to resolve issues like this.
Especially if they are frequently subjected to smoke or other air problems,
or if floppy disks that are dirty or dusty are used.

Finally, disk drives are pretty sensitive things. A very slight
misalignment of the drive heads in a drive can make it so the drive can
read and write disks it formats but has trouble reading and writing disks
formatted on other machines. If all else fails, it may be time for a new
floppy drive. Fortunately they are quite cheap as far as computer parts go,
running generally about $20. Once upon a time, when floppy drives were
built a little differently and cost considerably more, you could take the
drive case off and realign the heads. Been there and done that, and it's a
fussy, persnickety thing to have to do. Modern drives aren't "supposed" to
go out of alignment, and they also have self-correcting measures built in
to keep the heads aligned, but it can still happen.

My guess, considering the relative youth of the system, is that it's a
bad/dirty/warped disk or the drive needs cleaning.



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