FDD troubleshooting

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Introduction to basic troubleshooting of floppy disk drive and hard disk drive

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Basic floppy disk drive troubleshooting.:

Basic floppy disk drive troubleshooting.

Common Faults:

Common Faults A floppy drive may not work because of one or more of the below reasons. Bad floppy diskette. Not setup in CMOS. Confliction with other hardware. Not connected properly. Bad drivers. Bad hardware.

Bad floppy diskette:

Bad floppy diskette Verify that the floppy diskette that you are attempting to read from is not write protected or bad. Verify that the diskette is not write protected by sliding the tab into the position not allowing light to shine through it. If you do not have a tab place tape over this hole.

3.5” Floppy Disk:

3.5” Floppy Disk

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Because of the technology of floppy diskette drives, it is likely for a floppy diskettes to easily become bad. Verify that other floppy diskettes are not exhibiting the same issue. If other floppies work it is likely that you may have a bad floppy diskette.

Not setup in CMOS:

Not setup in CMOS Verify that the floppy drive is properly setup in CMOS. If the floppy drive is not setup properly you may experience read / write errors or the floppy may not work at all. Most computers need to have the floppy setup as a 3.5, 1.44MB.

How to enter the BIOS or CMOS setup:

How to enter the BIOS or CMOS setup Because of the wide variety of computer manufacturers and BIOS manufacturers over the evolution of computers, there have been numerous different ways to enter the BIOS or CMOS Setup.

New computers:

New computers computers that have been manufactured in the last few years will allow you to enter the CMOS by pressing one of the below five keys during the boot . Usually it's one of the first three. F1 F2 DEL ESC F10

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A user will know when to press this key when they see a message similar to the below example as the computer is booting. Some older computers may also display a flashing block to indicate when to press the F1 or F2 keys. Press <F2> to enter BIOS setup

Older computers:

Older computers Unlike the computers of today, older computers (before 1995) had numerous different methods of entering the BIOS setup. Below is a listing of general key sequences that may have had to be pressed as the computer was booting. CTRL + ALT + ESC CTRL + ALT + INS CTRL + ALT + ENTER CTRL + ALT + S PAGE UP KEY PAGE DOWN KEY

ACER BIOS:

ACER BIOS If your computer is unable to boot or you wish to restore the BIOS back to bootable settings and your computer uses an ACER BIOS, press and hold the F10 key as you turn on the computer. While continuing to hold the F10 key, you should hear two beeps indicating that the settings have been restored.

AMI BIOS:

AMI BIOS Older AMI BIOS could be restored back to bootable settings by pressing and holding the Insert key as the computer is booting.

BIOS / CMOS diskettes:

BIOS / CMOS diskettes Early 486, 386, and 286 computers may have required a floppy disk in order to enter the BIOS setup. These diskettes are known as ICU, BBU, and SCU disks. Because these diskettes are unique to your computer manufacturer, you must obtain the diskettes from them. See our support list for contact information on computer manufacturers.

Early IBM computers:

Early IBM computers Some models of early IBM computers required that the user press and hold both mouse buttons as the computer was booting in order to enter the BIOS setup.

Other suggestions:

Other suggestions Finally, if none of the above suggestions help get you into your CMOS setup you can cause a stuck key error, which will usually cause the CMOS setup prompt to appear and remain until you press a key to continue. To do this press and hold any key on the keyboard and do not let go (you may get several beeps as you're doing this).

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Keep holding the key until the computer stops booting and you're prompted with an option to enter setup or to press another key to continue booting.

Troubleshooting Hard Disk Drives:

Troubleshooting Hard Disk Drives

Booting or Operation Problems:

Booting or Operation Problems

Confliction with other hardware:

Confliction with other hardware If you have recently physically installed any new hardware such as a tape drive or other backup medium, temporarily disconnect that new hardware to ensure that it is not the cause of your floppy drive not working.

Not connected properly:

Not connected properly Power down, unplug, and open computer, being aware of ESD and its potential dangers. Verify that the floppy connection is connected to the motherboard FDD connector. If it appears to be connected, disconnect and reconnect cable to verify cable is seated properly.

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Verify that the floppy cable coming from the motherboard is connected to the back of the floppy drive. If connected, disconnect and connect the floppy drive cable to verify seated properly. Verify that a power connection is also connected to the back of the floppy drive.

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If your floppy cable has more than one connection, verify that you have connected the floppy to the appropriate connection.

Bad drivers:

Bad drivers If you are not able to read or write to a floppy diskette from Windows, verify that the computer is not exhibiting floppy drivers issues by testing the floppy drive from MS-DOS. If you are running Windows 95, Windows 98, Windows ME, Windows NT, Windows 2000, or Windows 2000 click Start / Shutdown and restart the computer to a MS-DOS prompt.

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Once at the prompt, place a diskette into the floppy disk drive and type format a: if you get: Invalid media or Track 0 Bad = Attempt to format another floppy disk.

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Write Protect Error = Ensure that the disk is not write protected by removing the floppy disk and insuring that you cannot see through both holes; if you can, move the tab in the left hand side down (looking from the back of the floppy) and try again. If the disk is not write protected try another floppy disk. Invalid drive specification = Ensure that you floppy drive is setup properly in CMOS .

Bad hardware:

Bad hardware If you continue to experience issues after following the above steps it is likely that hardware within the computer is bad. Attempt to replace the following hardware in the computer in the below order. Replace the floppy data cable that connects the computer floppy drive to the motherboard \ I/O board.

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Replace the floppy if the floppy data cable did not resolve your issues. Replace or request that the motherboard \ I/O board be replaced.

HDD Troubleshooting:

HDD Troubleshooting

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When a hard disk error occurs, it is usually a cause for real concern. Not only will the PC not boot, but there is the threat that all your data and programs could be lost.

Causes of Failure:

Causes of Failure A hard disk problem can be caused by the hard disk drive, the hard disk controller, a SCSI host adapter, cabling, and in many situations, the power supply.

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There is always the risk when troubleshooting a hard disk drive that any data stored on it could be destroyed. This is why you should always create and verify a full backup of the hard disk before you begin to work.

IDE Hard Disk Drives:

IDE Hard Disk Drives

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Most current PC motherboards include support for either one or two IDE/ATA (Integrated Drive Electronics/AT Attachment) channels. Each IDE/ATA channel supports up to two disk drives, which must be designated with one as a master and one as a slave.

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On an IDE/ATA disk, the designation of master represents disk0, slave indicates disk1. Neither is actually in charge of the other.

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The BIOS uses the disk0 and disk1 designations to assign logical device names (C:, D:, etc.) to disks. The master on the primary channel is assigned a drive letter first (typically C:), followed by the primary slave, and the master and slave, if any, on the secondary channel. disk0 is typically the boot drive.

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The master/slave designation is set with a jumper on the disk drive.

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To begin troubleshooting any disk drive problem, you should boot the system from a floppy disk drive. The AUTOEXEC.BAT and CONFIG.SYS files on the boot disk should contain no or minimal device driver support. This allows the system to boot with what is called a clean boot.

The CMOS configuration is incorrect:

The CMOS configuration is incorrect This message indicates that something in the BIOS' Startup configuration information stored in CMOS is not consistent with what the POST or boot process is finding. Verify the CMOS configuration of each hard disk drive installed in the system. The information you need regarding the number of heads, platters, etc., should be in the documentation of each drive.

Hardware resource conflicts:

Hardware resource conflicts Messages reporting some form of resource conflict are typically indicating an IRQ (interrupt request) conflict. Use the Windows Device Manager to verify that a resource conflict has not been created for the hard disk drive controllers by the installation of a new piece of hardware.

Boot partition is corrupted:

Boot partition is corrupted If the system files on the boot partition are corrupted, the system cannot boot properly. Use ScanDisk to check for media defects and file problems and then reformat the boot partition and reinstall the operating system. Also verify that the boot partition has not been accidentally removed.

The hard disk may have a virus infection:

The hard disk may have a virus infection Another reason the system may not be able to find a boot sector is that the boot disk is infected with a computer virus. Many viruses can corrupt the master boot record on the hard drive and cause errors that show up as hard disk errors. If an antivirus program is not installed on the PC, install one and scan the hard disk.

The hard disk cable may be bad:

The hard disk cable may be bad A message along the lines of "No hard disk" indicates that the hard disk is probably installed incorrectly. If the front panel hard drive LED lights up and stays on constantly, the drive data cable is not properly connected. This condition should cause a POST error message indicating that no boot device is available. Check both ends of the cable, at the device and on the motherboard or adapter card. Also check the power supply connectors.

The hard drive may be defective:

The hard drive may be defective It can and does happen. Every disk drive makes some noise and users get accustomed to it, However, the spindle motor or the drive bearings can wear out and seize up.

Drive incompatibilities:

Drive incompatibilities If two drives will not work with each other in any configuration or combination as master and slave, there is something wrong with the drives. Try replacing one or both and retesting.

common POST and system error messages for hard disk problems::

common POST and system error messages for hard disk problems: Hard disk configuration error Typically indicates an incorrect CMOS configuration or a loose, missing, or incorrectly installed data cable.

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Hard disk 0 failure DiskO is the master drive on the primary IDE/ATA channel. This message indicates an incorrect CMOS configuration or a bad connection to the power supply. Hard disk controller failure Indicates power or data cable connection problems. Check the data cable connection and the power connectors on the drive and the hard disk controller.

SCSI Hard Disk Drives :

SCSI Hard Disk Drives

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SCSI hard disk drives can have many of the same problems as an IDE/ATA ' especially relating to power and drive failure. However, SCSI drives do not use masters and slaves and are uniquely identified to the system.

CMOS setup:

CMOS setup The hard disk drive settings in CMOS should be set to None or Auto detect. The SCSI host adapter provides BIOS level support to the hard disk drive.

SCSI device drivers:

SCSI device drivers Because SCSI devices require device drivers, make sure the latest drivers are installed. Visit the manufacturer's Web site to download the latest device drivers for the PC's operating system.

Host adapter and hard disk IDs:

Host adapter and hard disk IDs The SCSI host adapter is always designated as Device 7 on the SCSI bus and the first SCSI hard disk drive (the boot disk) on the bus should be assigned SCSI ID 0. If two or more SCSI hard disks are installed on the same bus, which means on the same SCSI cable, each must have a unique SCSI ID number. The ID is set through a jumper on the device.

Termination:

Termination If the SCSI hard disk is the only internal device or if it is the last device on the SCSI bus, it must be terminated. Use a multimeter to verify that the termination block is good.

IDE/ATA and SCSI Drives Together:

IDE/ATA and SCSI Drives Together PC that has both SCSI and IDE / ATA hard disk must have a BIOS that supports both types of drives and allows the SCSI to be designated as the boot device, a choice you want to make because the SCSI is usually a higher performance disk drive. If the PC's BIOS doesn't allow a SCSI drive to be the boot disk, check with the BIOS manufacturer for an upgrade that will allow this configuration.

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