View Full Version : Booting from a FDD only on new PC

D. McG
20-06-2004, 04:35 PM

I have bought and assembled a new computer with a Soltek NV400-L64 motherboard and AthlonXP (Barton) 2600+ processor, and started to test the thing with the FDD from my old PC Company computer. My hard drive and optical drives are still in the old computer (which I'm using to write this), so the FDD is the only drive in the new computer.

I've powered on and set all the things up in BIOS, tried rebooting with a bootable disk in the drive (which was tested and confirmed as working on the PC Co. machine).
On the new machine I got an error with the message (in all caps):
"Disk Boot Failure, Insert System Disk & Press Enter".

After reading the motherboard manual I realised that a jumper needed to be set to the '166 / 200" setting to allow a FSB frequency of 333MHz for the Athlon. After changing the jumper the disk would still not boot. I had also told the BIOS to only boot the FDD - no CDROMs or HDD (since none was connected).

Before I take the 'leap of faith' and migrate the rest of my hardware across (drives & PCI devices), what would be causing this error? I have checked the power and data cable connections and both are connected properly. On 'boot' the FDD light lights up and the drive tries to read the disk, before stopping and eventually displaying the message after a few seconds pause. Do FDDs need the HDD to be connected first so that it can read the OS before going back to boot the disk? Or do I need to reset the CMOS settings and try again (since the jumper has been changed from the default since the first attempted boot)?

I've tried the FDD back in the PC Co. machine and noticed that a "Floppy Disk(s) Fail (40)" error message was given after changing the BIOS settings to recognise and boot from the FDD, but after letting Windows ME load (and restarting the PC with the original BIOS settings for the FDD and boot) the drive is back working as normal and booting properly. I have noticed that the HDD light comes on before the computer executes the bootloader from the floppy drive.

Thanks for any help.


20-06-2004, 04:45 PM
try a few differernt floppy bootdisks...

Graham L
20-06-2004, 04:46 PM
A bootable floppy uses only itself. :D

A HD light flashing before the floppy is quite normal --- that's the BIOS software looking to see what's there.

The error message from the other computer is suspicious. Try another floppy. Do a full "thorough" format and scandisk on it before writing it.

D. McG
20-06-2004, 04:48 PM
Done that. It's the same FDD moved between 2 different machines, all to no avail. Do the boot disks produced by Windows ME explicitly try to access the C: drive? If that is the case the boot disk is bound to fail on the new computer without a HDD.

Thanks, all the same. Any other ideas?

D. McG
20-06-2004, 04:57 PM
> A bootable floppy uses only itself.

That's what I'd expect, though it could be possible for MS to have sabotaged the system boot disk creation system in WinME so that the boot disk depends on the HDD to boot properly! BTW, creating a boot disk via Add/Remove Programs on the Control Panel was a PAIN! It kept asking me for files with an .EBD extension to complete the process. So I renamed files from a Win98 boot disk (saved to my C drive) to have that extension. Needless to say that there were errors when it tried to boot up...

20-06-2004, 09:09 PM
Try creating your boot disk from windows explorer.
Right click on A drive and select format.
On the format menu select the create start up disk option

D. McG
20-06-2004, 11:11 PM
Thanks for the suggestion, but unfortunately there isn't a 'create startup disk' option in Windows Explorer (probably because it's Millenium Edition).

Anyway, here's the latest update: I have transported all my peripherals to the new computer, booted up, let Windows install all the drivers for the new Soltek motherboard (and even the new DDR-400 RAM, would you believe it!), and am using it to write this. Although my new system is up & running, the FDD does not read the disks properly - Windows thinks they need to be formatted.

There is one possible explanation for this: the case has some metal tab bent out of the enclosure that stops the drive from going in fully - it is about a quarter of the drive height from the bottom, and the metal casing on the drive has a small gap half-way up from the bottom. At the moment the drive was able to be pushed slightly upwards to go in all the way. Funnily enough the drive worked perfectly back in the PC Co machine.

Is it standard for 3.5" floppy drives to have the gap quarter of the way up from the bottom as the case design suggests? Therefore would my FDD supplied by the PC Co. be nonstandard thus requiring me to buy a new FDD? Or is there something wrong with the case design that would require me to punch out the 2nd metal face plate and use the second slot instead?

Thanks for your help.


Graham L
21-06-2004, 04:59 PM
If you are forcing the drive in, you could be bending it enough to misalign the head. That would stop it working. If you need to remove a knockout to get it in without forcing, do that.:D

Graham L
21-06-2004, 05:00 PM
If you are forcing the drive in, you could be bending it enough to misalign the head. That would stop it working. If you need to remove a knockout to get it in without forcing, do that.:D