How to resolve error messages

Question

TWO QUESTIONS

FIRST... WHEN THE COMPUTER IS TURNED ON THE FLOPPY LED STAYS ON ALL THE TIME. BIOS HAS BOTH A AND B DRIVES NOT INSTALLED WHEN ANY OTHER SETTING IS CHOSEN EXCEPT 360KB 5 AND A QUARTER COMPUTER SAYS "INCORRECT DRIVE A TYPE RUN SET UP"

SECOND... ON BOOT UP THE COMPUTER SAYS "FAILURE FIXED DISK 1"

Answer

This question was answered on March 25, 2003. Much of the information contained herein may have changed since posting.

On INCORRECT DRIVE A TYPE RUN SET UP

Explanation: The system has detected that the type of floppy disk drives it sees in the system does not match what you have defined in the BIOS setup program In fact, many systems will not report this but will just malfunction when the drive(s) are set up incorrectly.

Diagnosis: The floppy disk settings in the BIOS setup are incorrect.

Recommendation:

1 Enter the BIOS setup program and correct the floppy disk type settings

The type of the first floppy drive The choices normally are:

1.44 MB: A normal 3.5" drive

1.2 MB: A normal 5.25" drive

2.88 MB: A high-density 3.5" drive, found on some newer systems

720 KB: A low-density 3.5" drive

360 KB: A low-density 5.25" drive

None: No floppy drive present in the "floppy A" position May read "not installed" or similar

This setting usually defaults to a 1.44 MB 3.5" drive, the most common type currently in use.

2 Troubleshoot the floppy disk drive(s) In particular, ensure that the floppy disk drives are connected properly; they may be cabled backwards if you are using two drives

Explanation: There is a general failure of the floppy disk drive This generally means either an error message appeared at boot time saying that the floppy drive failed, or other symptoms and analysis has led you to believe that the floppy drive may have failed Failure usually means that the disk is not accessible or usable at all and does not respond to any attempts to use it If the floppy drive is usable after booting the hard disk but just will not boot, look here.

Diagnosis: There are many different causes of apparent floppy drive failures Floppy drives are very simple affairs and outright failure is quite rare--even in old drives Most of the time it is simply a matter of incorrect installation or configuration.

Recommendation:

- First of all, if you have just installed this drive or have done any other work within the PC box, check the troubleshooting list of common problems at http://www.pcguide.com/ts/x/comp/fdd/fail_Drive.htm - Check to make sure that drive has power Check the power connection to the drive If possible, try a different power connector

- Make sure that the cable running to the floppy drive is connected properly and is not loose or crimped

- If you are just installing this floppy drive, make sure you don't have the cable connected backwards It is easy with many 3.5" drives to connect the drive backwards because the cable is keyed but the connectors aren't always Also, don't assume where pin 1 is on the drive, since this tends to vary with different hardware If the drive's activity light comes on as soon as the PC is booted and stays on, solid the whole time the PC is on, this is a dead ringer for a floppy cable that has been connected backwards to the drive

- If you are using two floppy drives then you should try to debug them one at a time, otherwise they may conflict with each other and make debugging more difficult If two drives work separately but not together on the same cable, this usually means you are either using the wrong kind of floppy cable (make sure it has a twist in it) or one of the drives has had its jumpers changed from the default

- If your floppy cable has five connectors, remember that these are in two pairs of two connectors (each pair being a pin header connector and a card-edge connector, to allow you to connect to either type of drive), one on each side of the twist in the cable You cannot use both connectors on the same side of the twist in the cable The A: drive is the one after the twist

- Make sure that the floppy disk controller is enabled in the BIOS setup

- Check the BIOS setup and make sure that the correct drive types are selected for the A: and B: drives Choosing the wrong type of drives can cause a failure to be reported

- If you have a 5.25" drive that is not working, check the drive for physical interference These drives are large and I have seen problems like cables hanging down into the mechanics of the drive and impeding its operation

- If you cannot get the drive to work, the best way to check it is to swap it with a similar drive in another PC If your drive works in the other PC but its doesn't work in yours, then you likely have a configuration problem If the opposite happens then your drive is either bad or misjumpered It is often easier and cheaper just to get a new drive

- You may have a problem with the floppy disk controller.

ON BOOT UP THE COMPUTER SAYS "FAILURE FIXED DISK 1"

Let me suggest that you go to the web site of the manufacturer of the suspect drive and download the diagnostic program they provide (most manufacturers have such a program available) You will use the download file to create a boot floppy Then use the boot floppy in the computer with the suspect drive and let it do its thing It will report back to you its assessment of the state of the drive which will remove all the uncertainty you are currently experiencing If the drive is bad and it is less than three years old then check with the manufacturer about a warranty replacement

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Author

Posted by Enyenihi of Katharine Gibbs School - New York on March 25, 2003