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Thread: Compaq Portable 1 Floppy drive problem

  1. #1

    Default Compaq Portable 1 Floppy drive problem

    I bought my compaq off of eBay 8 months ago and have finally gotten around to working on it. The initial problem was that when it starts booting up, it will show an error message saying "Diskette error. Replace and strike any key when ready". Ive taken the drives apart and even lubricated the head so it moves but still nothing. Even inserted a floppy to see and still the same message. Any advice would be greatly appreciated

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2020
    California, United States


    Did you actually clean the heads on the drive? Take a cotton swab (Q-tip) dipped in rubbing alcohol and very gently clean them. Preferably you should use 99% isopropyl, since it evaporates very quickly, but whatever you have on hand should suffice.

    Have you also verified that there's no problems with the bootdisk you're using? If possible, try it in another computer. Make sure it's not dirty, scratched, or warped, and doesn't have any, or a significant amount of bad sectors.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2013
    Marietta, GA


    You didn't happen to write the floppy disk using a 1.2mb floppy drive did you? Long story short, that usually won't work.

  4. #4


    Quote Originally Posted by SomeGuy View Post
    You didn't happen to write the floppy disk using a 1.2mb floppy drive did you? Long story short, that usually won't work.
    Saying that usually wont work is overstating the issue. Saying that won't work reliably is more accurate. I have several HD drives that are able to write DD disks that my 360k drives are able to read OK.
    PM me if you're looking for 3" or 5" floppy disks. EMail For everything else, Take Another Step

  5. #5


    These Old full height floppy drives can be extremely grumpy in their old age. The Magnetic peripherals drive originally in my Compaq has a head that is completely dead, so it will only read side "B" of the floppy disk. I have yet more of these drives were the delicate little wires going to the read/write heads have been pinched or damaged.

    basically, I have a stack of half a dozen of these drives that don't work for one reason or another from several manufactures.

    make sure the heads are clean and the rails are lubricated, but also the drives are often out off alignment which is an even bigger PITA.

    one thing you can do is remove the drive from the Compaq and connect it to the machine you are using to create your boot disk, and write the boot disk with the drive from the Compaq. That way if the drive misaligned it can still read and write its own disks.

    if all else fails, connect a different known working drive to the compaq just to make sure it isn't the cable or the controller.


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