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(Age old) Problem with Floppy drive r...

Trish's Escape from Hardware Hell Help Board » Hardware » Hard Drive and Storage Related » (Age old) Problem with Floppy drive reading boot disk. « Previous Next »

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Posted on Thursday, May 10, 2001 - 10:16 am:   

I apologize in advance for how much this sounds like other posts I've read.

I am building a PC and all systems are go with the exception of the Floppy drive. When I run setup CMOS sees everything. Floppy drive is detected along with the other things installed. However, if I power up the machine without heading directly into setup I get a series of searching for Boot record messages on the screen.

This is what I started with:
Athlon Thunderbird MB w/ on board sound and video.
I added a cd rom drive, a cdrw drive, a Seagate 4.3 gig hd, and a 56k fax modem.
The motherboard kit also had 2 USB ports and an ethernet interface.

When I turn the machine on, the fan starts up, there is a beep or two and then the pc begins to search for the boot record. I have created about 3 or 4 boot disks from several different machines with the same os - no luck. I have even tried to make a boot disk on cd to see if by some miracle it would read the disk. No luck. There is a cycle where the floppy drive is checked, then the cd drives, then it prompts me to insert a boot disk in the floppy drive and hit any key. When I do, we go back into the cycle of searching for boot record messages and always I see "not found".

Originally I was using a floppy drive I salvaged from an older pc, and I assumed it was the drive. However....I just took a brand new drive out of the wrappings today and still am getting the same messages.

Please help! I had such big dreams for this little franken-pc of mine...
V (Vera)
Posted on Thursday, May 10, 2001 - 11:56 am:   

from what you say it sounds like you already have an OS installed.
ie: you already have a modem and cdrw installed and you've made bootable floppies from others with the same OS
so at some point it was booting
without the floppy drive attached the pc boots. is this correct?
have you checked the boot sequence in cmos?
just wondering
Posted on Thursday, May 10, 2001 - 12:22 pm:   

Hi V. Thanks for such a quick response. There definitely is not (I don't think) an OS present. I cannot exit out of that loop to a C: prompt for example. Nor any other drive for that matter. By "installed" I mean have taken the drives out of their packaging, screwed them into a bay, connected them to the power supply and to an appropriate cable (IDE, etc.)The boot disks were made on other machines with the same os (Win 98 se) that I am trying to get on this machine. Because these are all new components, straight from the factory, etc. I don't think the OS has been installed ( certainly not by me). I did check the boot sequence in cmos (repeatedly because I strongly subscribe to the RTFM school of thought) and it goes according to the default settings looks at IDE, then cd rom, then floppy. ( I am not at the machine so I think this is right...).

What else should I consider?
V (Vera)
Posted on Thursday, May 10, 2001 - 1:44 pm:   

well for one thing i would only connect the bare essentials to get started.those things are

videocard if there is no onboard video,
floppy drive,
hard drive
cdrom drive.

install the rest after you install the os. then check in cmos for boot sequence and make sure it is set to A: drive first then C: drive. once you get the floppy to boot (i would use the startup disk that came with your win98 cd) you'll be at the A:> prompt. you first need to fdisk your hard drive. when fdisk first starts up choose LBA then create your dos partition then make it the primary partition ( i'll assume you are going to use the entire hard drive for one partition) and make sure to set it as active. when that is done you have to restart for the changes to take effect.
again at the A:\> prompt you need to format the C: drive and copy system files. so at the a:\> prompt type (_underscores indicate a space so don't actually type it)


the /s switch copies the system files from the floppy to the harddrive
when that is done you'll be able to get to the c:\> prompt

when this is all done use your startup disk to boot once again and your ready to start setup

think i got it all
good luck
Posted on Friday, May 11, 2001 - 5:35 am:   

I think I figured out what was wrong! anyone let me know if I am close or not.

I unplugged the power source from everything (mb, cd drives, floppy and HD) then I unplugged the cables from the above items.looked carefully at connections, etc. I reset cmos using the reset jumper thingy (technical term), plugged the power source back into the mb and then powered up the machine with nothing else plugged in. cmos correctly told me that the cd drives and the HD were not installed when I ran setup. however it told me that the floppy drive was present- which it was not. next I plugged the HD and the floppy back in. for the first time the little green light came on on the floppy. but the light never went out and I still had problems with the boot disk being read. I kept getting the same message : " boot record not found" or some variant . I unplugged the floppy cable from the floppy drive and the mother board. when I got closer to the mb (to make sure that I had it plugged into the right spot) I realized that one of the pins that is on the motherboard in the "floppy" spot is missing.

I think that is what is causing all this mess. am I right? and if so, now what?

thanks again
V (Vera)
Posted on Friday, May 11, 2001 - 6:31 am:   

to be sure i checked the floppy controller pins on both my motherboards and they both have the one pin missing i believe it is pin 3. the setup detects that the floppy controller is present, i think whether the cable is attached or not. the floppy drive light coming on and staying on is a sure sign the cable is on backwards
did you ever fdisk and format your harddrive? if not the drive can't be accessed because it hasn't been prepared. there are no partitions or dos.the factory only lowlevel formats it. the rest has to be done by the purchaser
Posted on Monday, May 14, 2001 - 4:27 am:   

You should start again and only install esential components do you realy need a floppy drive

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