3.5" drive won't read or show up on list of drives

I recently built my first computer using an ASUS P5W DH motherboard, an Intel E6600 CPU and an BFG Nvidia 7900GTX OC video card. I've got 2 gig of DDR2-800 memory and a Seagate 300 GB SATA2 HD. I've also got two, older PATA Maxtor 200 GB hard drives. I've also got two DVD burners in it.

When I first built it, I didn't install any floppy drive, but now, after a couple of months, I wanted to install a couple of old, DOS programs that I occasionally use. So, I took the 3.5" floppy out of my old computer and installed.

Everything seemed to go fine, and Windows XP Pro says it found the new hardware and installed it. In device manger, the floppy disk controller and drive both show up and it says they're both working.

However, when I put a disk into the drive...., nothing! It won't read it and the light doesn't blink on. It doesn't show up on the list of drives in 'My Computer'.

I thought it was bad, but to test it, I went into the setup program and made the floppy the first boot device. When I turn on the computer with a bootable disk in it, it reads it and boots from that. Then it's also able to read the contents of the drive.

Other than that, the computer doesn't seem to know it's there. It won't read from or write to it, or list it except when I boot from it.

The only boot disk I have is an old one that boots to Windows 95, so I'm not able to switch to the C: drive from that.

Any way..., a long question, but does anyone have any ideas of how to make the computer see this drive?

Thanks in advance for any ideas!
19 answers Last reply
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  1. Does the floppy disk you're using have the read-only switch set on it (the movable tab in the back)?
  2. No, that's not set for read-only.

    And, that wouldn't explain why the A drive doesn't show up in 'My Computer.

    When I put a disk that I know is good with data on it into the drive, the light doesn't go on and I never hear the drive start. It only seems to work when I boot up the computer. The rest of the time, even though device manger says it's working, the computer doesn't even see the drive.

  3. Is it enabled in the BIOS?

    If yes, I have had floppy drives that did not like some floppy data cables in the past. Plus, I have seen some old floppy drives will not work in newer computers. How old is the floppy drive and floppy cables?
  4. The floppy drive came in my old computer which was a Gateway P-4, 3.06 ghz. Now, it's about four years old.

    The puzzling thing is that it works when I put a bootable floppy in it and restart the computer.

    I also just found out that when I insert a USB flash drive into on of the USB outlets on my computer, it doesn't seem to recognize it. It shows up in device manger when I insert it, but it never shows up in My Computer, just like the A drive.

    In the BIOS setup, the A drive shows up as a 'legacy 3.5 floppy drive'. Every setting that I can find for USB or the floppy seems to be set correctly.

    Is there some setting in Windows that prevents more than a certain number of drives to show up?
  5. Have you disabled any services in Windows XP?
  6. Go spend the $11 for a new name-brand floppy. I guarantee that 4 years of being a dust-filter has ruined your floppy drive.

    FYI: floppies are the most unreliable, most flakey, most likely to fail item in a PC. It's terribly to have one inside a PC because all they do is filter dust.

    In the best of all worlds, you connect one when you need it, and put it back in the cupboard when you don't.
  7. Quote:
    Go spend the $11 for a new name-brand floppy. I guarantee that 4 years of being a dust-filter has ruined your floppy drive.

    FYI: floppies are the most unreliable, most flakey, most likely to fail item in a PC. It's terribly to have one inside a PC because all they do is filter dust.

    In the best of all worlds, you connect one when you need it, and put it back in the cupboard when you don't.

    I agree 100% that post ! I actualy dont have any floppy drives these days its easyer and cheaper just to burn a Dos bootable CD with what ever software im trying to use (firmware updates BIOS and all that) You can always look for a copy of Hirens Boot CD wich has a ton of tools built into it.
  8. I have disable some services, according to the old Black Viper web site, but it was the same setup as in my old computer, and the drive worked there.

    I may go buy a new one, but why would it work when booting up with a floppy disk in it, and then not work when booted up and running normally?
  9. These guys want to blame hardware for a software problem: You say the system boots off the floppy, but Windows won't see it. You've therefor narrowed it down to a problem with Windows, but nobody seems to have that answer either.

    Nor do I. I just wanted to let you know that you're on the right track here and shouldn't bother messing further with hardware, so long as the floppy works outside the OS. Keep looking for the software solution.
  10. I was just about to say that Crash... everyone thinks its hardware, but I smell a software issue, especially since his USB drives don't work either...

    Seems like a driver issue to me, but I'm not certain... probably something with the windows installation... I was going to recommend getting a USB floppy and try that out, but if his USB ports also are having trouble recognizing things...

    Then again, do you have anything else in your USB ports? Your USB drive itself may have died therefore Windows can't read it (happenes to me a lot) but I don't think your USB ports have a problem... in which case my original suggestion of getting a USB floppy and trying it out.
  11. The computer has 8 USB ports on it. Six in back and two in front.

    In the back I've got 5 devices plugged in; printer, scanner, motherboard remote control, wireless keyboard and mouse pick-up and a second mouse. (My wife doesn't like the wireless one.)

    The printer has four slots for memory cards, and this shows up as drive H: on My Computer.

    When I plug a USB flash drive into one of the USB ports on the front, it lights up, but it doesn't show up on My Computer. Strangely, if I right-click on the H: drive icon, and tell it to 'Open as a portable media device', both the memory card reader and the USB flash drive are listed..., the flash drive being describes and drive I:.

    And still the computer won't see the A: drive, 3.5' floppy drive.
  12. I have one more question. Do you any network mapped drives connected to your computer? I have that problem if there is network mapped drives.

    Edit: You need to change the drive letter in the Computer Management's Disk Management.
  13. No network drives. It's justs a lonely home computer.
  14. I agree. In the bad old days, any number of viruses could disable the floppy or CD drives; they did this to try to prevent the use of an anti-virus scanner.
    Can you see the floppy drive when booting in Safe Mode?
  15. I know you have some type of Windows XP issue. I have not figure it out. Like the one person says try safe mode and see if it works in there.

    What antivirus are you using and how old is the virus database that antivirus has?
  16. If you have a number of drive letters already assigned Windows may not pick up and assign the drive automaticly (there is also a 'lastdrive' environmental variable that can limit drive assignment). Try refreshing the drive information.

    To refresh / rescan the drive information go to the 'Disk Management' section of 'Computer Management' (from Windows Explorer, right click on My Computer and select Manage then select Disk Management. You should see the drive on the right pane but it may not have a letter assigned. Right click on the Disk Management (left pane) and refresh (rescan will look for new hardware).

    Hope this helps.
  17. The drive doesn't show up in the 'manage' section. There's the three hard drives, C, D and E...., and my two optical drives, F and G....., and the card reader in the HP printer which shows up as drive H.

    Nothing other than those, even though it does show up in Device Manager, which says it's working.
  18. Try deleting the floppy drive, then the floppy drive controller, from Device Manager. Reboot to re-detect it, and see if it works.
  19. Did you refresh or rescan from disk management?

    If so try this - although the specific steps listed below may vary for your BIOS the steps are the same. Make sure the floppy is set up in the BIOS correctly (even though it may boot) and then force window to detect it.

    (From http://www.networkmagazineindia.com/200103/qsupport1.htm)

    Why is floppy drive not being detected in Windows though it is working properly in the MS-DOS mode?
    When a new Floppy drive is installed, you need to detect the Floppy drive in CMOS setup. If the CMOS settings of your computer do not indicate that a Floppy disk drive is installed, Windows may not be able to display your floppy disk information correctly. MS-DOS, or the real-mode portion of Windows, may allow you to access the floppy disk drive.

    You may need to re-detect the second Floppy drive in the CMOS setup.

    Please perform the following steps for detecting the Floppy drive in CMOS setup.
    1. While booting press 'Delete' key.
    2. Select the "Standard CMOS Setup", option and press Enter key.
    3. Check the Floppy drive setting. Make sure that size and capacity selected for Drive A Drive B are correct. You may change the settings to the correct one by using the Page Up/Down buttons.

    Try accessing the Floppy drive in Windows. If you still cannot access the Floppy drive in Windows, then you may need to manually detect the Floppy drive in Windows.

    For manually detecting the Floppy drive controller in Windows please follow the steps given below.
    1. Right-click the My Computer icon from your desktop, then click Properties on the menu that appears.
    2. Click the Device Manager tab, then double-click the Floppy Disk Controllers entry.
    3. Highlight the floppy disk controller, click Remove to remove the controller, and then click OK.
    4. Open your Control Panel, then double-click the Add New Hardware icon.
    5. Click Next, and then click Yes to allow Windows to detect the hardware in your computer.
    6. When the Add New Hardware wizard is finished, restart the computer and try to access the floppy drive again.

    Re-detecting the floppy disk controller should correct addressing problems with the controller by detecting the correct address range.
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