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[ The PC Guide | Troubleshooting and Repair Guide | The Troubleshooting Expert | Troubleshooting Specific Components | Troubleshooting Floppy Disk Drives | File System Problems ]

I changed from one disk to another but when I look at what is on the new disk I see the contents of the old disk

Explanation: After removing a floppy disk from the drive and replacing it with another, the system still shows the contents of the old disk when the directory is searched.

Diagnosis: Modern floppy disk drives use a special signal as part of the floppy disk cable to signal when the disk that is in the drive has been changed. There is a sensor inside the drive that detects when the disk is ejected and a new one inserted, and a signal is sent to the floppy disk controller to tell it that there is a new disk in the drive. This mechanism is used for performance reasons: by keeping track of when the disk is swapped, the system doesn't have to re-load the contents of the disk each time you access it. However, if anything happens to cause this disk-change signal to not be sent properly when the disk is changed, odd problems and data corruption will result on your floppies, because the system will write incorrect information to what it thinks is a different disk than the one in the drive.

Recommendation:

  • Do not do any writing to any important floppies until this problem is resolved, or you could easily destroy their contents.
  • If the drive was just installed recently, or you just worked inside the PC, you have probably either connected the disk incorrectly, or you have loosened or damaged the floppy cable. Double-check all connections and see if the problem clears up.
  • Clean the drive. Dirt can sometimes accumulate on the disk change sensor and cause it to stop working properly. For this type of problem, it is recommended that you blow compressed air into the drive (carefully) to loosen up any dust within the drive. A head cleaner won't generally fix this problem, because it is not really related to the read head.
  • You could have a defective floppy cable. Try replacing it.
  • There could be a problem with the floppy disk controller. Try replacing the floppy drive and see if the problem clears up. If replacing the drive and the cable doesn't fix the problem, then the floppy controller (or motherboard on systems with integrated floppy controllers) is implicated. Troubleshoot it here.

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