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Thread: What does it mean when your PC freezes whenever using the floppy drive?

  1. #1

    Default What does it mean when your PC freezes whenever using the floppy drive?

    I have a Gateway 2000 P5-90 desktop I'm trying to fix up. The system has a Pentium 120MHz and 64MB of Simm ram. GPU is a Rage 128 PCI. Sound card is an ISA Yamaha OPL3-SAX. It also has a 2X speed DVD-ROM drive and the 3.5" 1.44MB floppy drive.

    I've swapped out a couple floppy drives and floppy cables but it's not fixing this: Whenever I copy or move files to or from the PC with a floppy disk, the computer instantly freezes and the floppy LED keeps lit and won't turn off. But it works with no issue when I read blank disks or old disks with files untouched from many years ago. It can also format floppies with no issue either.

    It's getting harder and harder to find working 20+ year old Pentium systems. Is the floppy controller on the motherboard broken, or is it a driver issue? This is a fresh install of Windows 95C OSR 2.5. The PC freezes after I install Windows 98FE or 98SE. But when I install Win95C the PC works great, until I want to use the floppy drive. Some say PCs need BIOS updates to avoid freezing after installing a later OS, I read. I hope you guys can help, otherwise this one goes to the scrapper.
    Last edited by computerdude92; October 7th, 2019 at 06:06 AM.

  2. #2

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    Does it have the same symptoms in DOS?

  3. #3
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    If everything works but the floppy drive, don't send it to the scrapper. This might be caused by a DMA conflict; remove the sound card and see if the problem persists.
    Offering a bounty for:
    - The software "Overhead Express" (doesn't have to be original, can be a copy)
    - A working Sanyo MBC-775, Olivetti M24, or Logabax 1600
    - Music Construction Set, IBM Music Feature edition (has red sticker on front stating IBM Music Feature)

  4. #4

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    Quote Originally Posted by Trixter View Post
    If everything works but the floppy drive, don't send it to the scrapper. This might be caused by a DMA conflict; remove the sound card and see if the problem persists.
    Hey, that reminds me, when I did try out both versions of Win98, it would boot to the desktop and you would hear only a split second of the Windows startup sound, then the whole thing would freeze.

    There was also a graphical glitch of a tiny 1-pixel vertical row of black pixels in a very short line. It showed up in the middle of the screen. Imagine a stray mark on the middle of a piece of paper. It happened at the same time.

    Hmm, I'll fill you in with more info after I have time to tinker with it again and I try the advice above. Thanks guys.

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    Quote Originally Posted by computerdude92 View Post
    Hey, that reminds me, when I did try out both versions of Win98, it would boot to the desktop and you would hear only a split second of the Windows startup sound, then the whole thing would freeze.

    There was also a graphical glitch of a tiny 1-pixel vertical row of black pixels in a very short line. It showed up in the middle of the screen. Imagine a stray mark on the middle of a piece of paper. It happened at the same time.
    I had a similar instance but with IRQ's when an InPort mouse card was set to the same IRQ as another device. System would boot and load the mouse driver fine but the instant you touched the mouse the machine locked solid.
    = Excellent space heater

  6. #6

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    The graphical glitch in Win98 stayed put on the screen cause the OS was frozen.

    I also was going to say that in Win95C there is no audio driver present for the OPL3-SAX card, so that may describe why it didn't freeze after the OS install. I'll take a look at it soon.

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    I'd also suggest trying a different power supply, I've had weird issues like this on older machines where the power supply was the culprit. The voltages would appear fine, but the ripple was so high that it was causing certain components to glitch.

  8. #8
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    Try a bare minimum configuration with all non-essential hardware removed (and go into the BIOS and disable any unnecessary onboard hardware) and see if that makes any difference. If it is an IRQ conflict you may resolve it by freeing up IRQs and then no where to start.

    I would also never rule out a RAM problem. If you have other RAM available try swapping it out (or if your 64MB is comprised of 4 x 16MB SIMMs, remove two so it runs on 32MB then gradually swap the modules around). I've seen many systems where bizarrely random problems turn out to be down to Faulty RAM.

    Could even be a caps problem - I have a K6-2 machine which was solid as a rock in DOS/Windows 3.1 but would only run Windows 9x in safe mode. Replacing a few caps fixed it.

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