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Old 12-04-2012, 01:35 PM   #1
PaulyWally
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Slightly Off-Topic: Floppy Drive(s) no Workie


This isn't necessarily a Linux questions, per se (other than the fact that I'm running Linux). But I don't know where else to go with this.

Someone came to me with an old Mac 3.5" floppy and asked if I could get the data. I have 3 computers that have 3.5" drives, so I said, "no problem".

I put the floppy in my Ubuntu box and attempt to mount it with -t hfs ... nothing. Then I try -t vfat... nothing. Then I try without specifying a filesystem... nothing.

I put a DOS disk in and specify vfat... nothing. Without a filesystem... nothing.

I move to my Debian box... same thing. And whenever I try a umount (on either box), mtab doesn't have an entry.

I move to a Windows XP box... "Please insert a disk into drive A:". I tried 6-8 disks... nothing. I tried formatting... nothing.

I'm starting to think that all 3 of my floppy drives went bad. Is that even probable? I haven't used either of them in a number of years... but all 3? Really? Or can all of my floppies be bad?

Any thoughts?

Last edited by PaulyWally; 12-04-2012 at 01:37 PM.
 
Old 12-04-2012, 02:07 PM   #2
michaelk
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What do you mean by nothing?

I would assume there were some error messages being displayed of some sort on at least one of the boxes. You really have not provided much information so it is difficult to provide any kind of help much less thoughts. Could be coincidental but I know with some distributions the floppy module is not automatically loaded anymore so the /dev/fd0 would be missing.

Have you verified they are still enabled in the BIOS?

Have you made any changes to the hardware which required disconnecting the floppy cable. Some drives / motherboards allow the cable to be installed upside down for lack of a better description. The drive would appear to be broken.
 
Old 12-04-2012, 02:23 PM   #3
PaulyWally
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Quote:
Originally Posted by michaelk View Post
What do you mean by nothing?
My bad. Just frustrated.

When I type in the mount command and hit enter, the LED on the floppy drive lights up and stays lit for 15-20 seconds. There are no errors reported in the console - it just goes back to a command prompt. This happened on both Ubuntu and Debian, with any floppy disk I tried.

When I try to read floppies on my Windows XP box, it says, "Please insert a disk into drive A:". The LED on the floppy remains lit. So I pull the floppy out, put a different one in, and I get no change - the LED stays lit, and the messagebox remains. I cycled through 6 or 8 different floppies and there was no change.

I also tried booting off some old bootable floppies I had (using the BIOS boot menu), but it cycled over to the hard drive each time.

Quote:
I would assume there were some error messages being displayed of some sort on at least one of the boxes.
Not in the console.

Quote:
Have you verified they are still enabled in the BIOS?
I haven't for the only fact that it tries to access the floppy only when I ask it to.

Quote:
Have you made any changes to the hardware which required disconnecting the floppy cable. Some drives / motherboards allow the cable to be installed upside down for lack of a better description. The drive would appear to be broken.
I've had my boxes open a dozen times since the last time I used a floppy. I haven't checked for two reasons: 1) I'm lazy and 2) because a backwards floppy cable forces the drive's LED to stay on permanently. And that's not the case here.

So I suppose I could double-check everything.
 
Old 12-04-2012, 02:43 PM   #4
markush
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You could try to format one of the floppys from Linux. If this doesn't work, you would at least get an errormessage.

Markus
 
Old 12-04-2012, 03:50 PM   #5
michaelk
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With most console commands no output means it completed successfully. Did you try changing to the floppy directory or listing its contents. When mounting or unmounting the floppy you can be in the floppy directory. Executing the mount command without options will display all mounted filesystems.
 
Old 12-04-2012, 04:21 PM   #6
mostlyharmless
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Try blowing dust out of the drives with a vacuum cleaner or compressed air. If you haven't used them for years all three could be full of ...whatever you have in the house... for me it'd be cat hair probably. Seriously, I resurrected one floppy drive that way.
 
Old 12-05-2012, 12:06 PM   #7
DavidMcCann
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Firstly, you may not have floppy support enabled. In Ubuntu, try
sudo modprobe floppy
and see if that helps.

Secondly, this disk must be quite old, as I haven't seen floppy drives on macs for some time. It might just be that none of your software can recognise its format. See
http://www.macwindows.com/diskfile.html
http://www.retrotechnology.com/herbs.../s_drives.html
for more advice.
 
Old 12-07-2012, 10:05 AM   #8
Soadyheid
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I don't think Macs with floppies used hfs as a file system but they certainly weren't formatted as 1.4Mb or 2.8Mb DOS drives so I'm not sure that an IBM compatible floppy drive would work reading a mac formatted floppy. I seem to remember that a mac super floppydrives(??)could be convinced to mount DOS floppies. There was some sort of control panel or extension you had to load in MacOS, I'm talking way back in the days of Motorolla 68nnn series CPUs.

Sorry... It's all becomming fuzzy again. Nurse? Can you wheel me back into the cupboard and close the door quietly?

Play Bonny!
 
  


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