[Solved] How to Fix and Format Floppy Disk Drive A Errors

How can you fix and format Floppy disks and Drive A errors? How many times have you received the message “The disk in drive A is not formatted. Do you want to format it now?” or “A:\ is not accessible. The device is not ready.”. Floppy drives do tend to get corrupted very easily and data can be lost in bad sectors. Though writable CD’s and writable DVD’s, flash drives are getting popular, yet floppy drives have survived till now…

In 2020, now floppy drive are mostly antique and obsolete, as more reliable data storage tools like Pen drives, CD, DVD, external hard disc, external SSD drives are available. Yet this will be helpful for those Floppy disk fans which continue to use it. I too have a vintage pack of Floppy drives now, but no floppy disk drive to use it.

Repair Bad Floppy Disk Errors

floppy disk1. Insert Floppy Correctly

First check whether you have inserted the floppy disk correctly, in the right direction and completely.

2. Remove Write Protection

Still not working, then verify that the diskette is not write protected by sliding the tab into the position not allowing light to pass through. If you do not have a tab there, close it with any black tape.

3. Try Another Floppy

No success, then try alternate floppy diskettes which you know do work. Iif it works then probably you have a bad diskette originally. Floppy discs can get corrupted very easily, so do not be surprised.

4. Run Scandisk

If you have a bad floppy diskette, you can run scandisk in earlier Windows version like Windows 98 to try to fix it. You can find it at Start | Programs | Accessories | System Tools | Scandisk. Select Drive A. You can run the standard option first, if you encounter issues with scandisk then run the Through scan. In Windows XP, Go to My Computer | Floppy Drive and right click. Select Properties | Tools | Error Checking. You can enable automatic fixing and recovery of file system errors and bad sectors.

5. Format Floppy Disk

If your floppy is still unusable, difficult to read and write data, and you can accept the data loss, you may need to format it as a last resort. Formatting will delete all data on the floppy permanently. In Windows XP – Go to My Computer | Floppy Drive and right click | Format. You can select for a Quick Format option too, but a Full format is better as it does a complete job by identifying and fixing all bad sectors, making the good sectors available for data storage. That should hopefully make your floppy work well for some time! (To format a floppy diskette in the MS-DOS prompt – insert the diskette and type format a: – a confirmation is needed, press “Y” for “yes” to continue.)

Advanced Techniques to Repair Floppy Disk

Till now things were simple, but if you are sure of your new branded floppy disc and none of these fixes is working, then possibly it could be a hardware / driver problem.. If you are an expert and can manage it then here goes…

  • Verify that the floppy drive is properly setup in CMOS and their is no conflict with other recently installed hardware. (Do not fiddle with the BIOS / CMOS settings if you do not know how to fix them like an expert, small changes may make your computer unusable)
  • Verify that the computer is not exhibiting floppy drivers issues by testing the floppy drive from MS-DOS. (Do you know how to run DOS commands? If not, then why try)
  • Check if the power cable and interconnecting floppy disc cables from the motherboard are properly connected. You may consider replacing these cables to see if it works. (Have you ever opened you computer cabinet before? Do you know each hardware part well? Can you take adequate shock prevention measures? Do not open the computer cabinet if you do not know how to deal with computer hardware…you may end up making your computer unusable or get an electric shock)
  • If nothing works, then probably the floppy drive may have gone bad. Seek professional support. Look for the warranty cover from the company.

WARNING : This is merely a quick help guide and I am no expert in hardware or software issues. If you cannot attempt any of these steps with full confidence, seek professional support. Novice mishandling of software or hardware settings can make your computer unusable and I take no responsibility for it.

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About the Author: P Chandra is editor of QOT, one of India's earliest tech bloggers since 2004. A tech enthusiast with expertise in coding, WordPress, web tools, SEO and DIY hacks.