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

I formatted a new disk and it worked, but it took a long time and a large amount of the disk was bad sectors

Explanation: You are trying to format a floppy disk and the format succeeds, but a great deal of the disk is consumed by what the format program says are bad sectors--typically a quarter of the disk or more.

Diagnosis: This problem usually results from using poor-quality or the incorrect type of media in the drive. In particular, sometimes people play games with disks, trying to format cheaper disks as high density. As described here, however, the different media use different chemistry and cannot be interchanged. So the format will limp along and sort of work--except that not only is much of the disk lost to "bad sectors", whatever actually is written to the disk will probably become corrupted relatively quickly as well. If this problem occurs even when using the right type of media, the drive itself is probably at fault.


  • Make sure you are using the right type of media for your drive. With disks as cheap as they are today, there is no reason to fool around with the wrong disks.
  • If you are having problems with one disk, try another one, or another brand.
  • If problems persist then you will need to troubleshoot the drive.

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