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[ The PC Guide | Troubleshooting and Repair Guide | The Troubleshooting Expert | Troubleshooting Specific Components | Troubleshooting Floppy Disk Drives | Errors ]

I have a floppy drive that is consistently giving read errors (data errors, sectors not found)

Explanation: Your floppy disk drive is giving a large number of read errors, even when using different disks or different brands of disks. (If you just have a disk or two giving errors, you should be looking here).

Diagnosis: This symptom usually means that the floppy drive needs to be replaced. In some cases the problem is that the drive has become misaligned. This can be fixed, but today it is more economical to just replace the drive.


  • The first step to try is to clean the drive. Consistent errors can be caused by dirt or debris on the heads.
  • Test to see if the drive is having problems reading all types of disks, or only disks that it did not format. If the drive will read disks that it formats consistently, but will not read disks formatted on other drives, this implies an alignment problem; the drive's tracks are not lined up with where they should be, but if this incorrect alignment is used when formatting then the alignment problem will be masked (until you take the disk to a different PC). You will probably want to replace the floppy drive.
  • It is possible that the floppy disk cable has come loose or that there is another similar physical problem, which you may want to double-check.
  • Make sure the floppy drive types are properly set up in the system BIOS.
  • Try replacing the floppy disk drive with another and see if the problem goes away; it usually will. If it doesn't, you need to troubleshoot the floppy disk controller.

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