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[ The PC Guide | Troubleshooting and Repair Guide | The Troubleshooting Expert | Troubleshooting Specific Components | Troubleshooting Floppy Disk Drives | Booting or Operation Problems ]

There is an apparent failure of the floppy disk controller

Explanation: There may be a failure of some sort with the floppy disk controller. On modern systems the floppy disk controller is built into the motherboard; on an older system it is typically found as an expansion card. It is easy to tell which type you have by looking to see what the floppy cable is connected to.

Diagnosis: Floppy controller failures are relatively rare, although they can happen. Sometimes an integrated controller on the motherboard can have a problem, occasionally as a result of a problem with something else on the motherboard. Controller problems can be caused by resource conflicts or misconfiguration.

Recommendation:

  • Check the BIOS settings that control integrated resources on newer motherboards, and make sure the floppy controller is enabled.
  • If your PC uses a separate floppy controller card, check all the connections to it. Try removing it from its slot and reinserting it; sometimes the card may not be seated properly and this will fix it. If possible, try switching the controller with another one and see if that fixes the problem.
  • Check for resource conflicts with the controller on a built-in PC. It usually uses IRQ 6 and DMA channel 2. Most other devices stay far away from these resources since they are a pretty universal standard, but watch out for devices like tape accelerator cards. Sometimes they use the same resources since they work on the floppy interface themselves.
  • If you haven't already ruled out the floppy drive itself as a possible problem, you should try troubleshooting it here. You may want to try swapping the floppy drive to isolate the problem to either the drive or the controller.
  • If the floppy controller is built into the motherboard, there is a possibility of a motherboard problem. This of course is especially true if other symptoms, such as flaky behavior, are being observed. You might want to troubleshoot it here.

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