PROBLEM: The Floppy Disk Drive will not access a disk when it is installed in the
Is the disk good? Is the drive new? Is the disk new? Does the light flash when you
press the enter key, make the access sound... and then go off? Either the heads on the
drive are bad or the disk is bad. Try the disk on a different computer.
Solution: Is the cabling and power correct? Does the floppy disk work in other
computers? In some instances, the case of the computer can bind against the floppy disk
drive, preventing the motor from spinning. If this occurs, carefully adjust the case until
the problem is resolved, or replace the case.
Note: If you have young children, LOCK THAT COMPUTER
UP!!!! Small kids love to put things into holes... most parents protect their children
against electrical sockets, knives, and other dangerous items. Car manufacturers have
require you to step on the brake in order to shift a car out of park. However, most people
don't think about protecting their computers from their children. After all, is that one
of the reasons the computer is at home with small kids... so they can learn and benefit
from the great programs, information, games, educational stuff, and all while having fun.
Well, floppy drives get stuffed full of the most interesting things... crayons, coins,
barrettes, crackers, hair pins, and all kinds of stuff - rendering the drive inoperable in
PROBLEM: The computer will not Read from or Write to a Floppy Disk Drive.
Solution 1: Does the BIOS match the type of floppy drive you have?
Solution 2: Does the floppy drive light come on and appear to work
properly? If yes, you could have the wrong type of disk (trying to access a 1.44MB
floppy in a 720KB drive is impossible), or it could be a defective diskette (which is very
common). Replace the diskette with one you know works and try again.
Solution 3: Has the case or floppy drive been changed? Or removed and
reinstalled? Maybe it is bound, twisted, or out-of-level just slightly? Are the screws on
the same level (bottom on both sides, or the top holes on both sides - or in all of the
holes on both sides). If this is true, then try resetting the drive. If it is not true,
then move to the final probability, Solution 4.
Solution 4: Replace the Floppy Disk Drive. If that doesn't work, replace the
Floppy Disk Drive Controller.
PROBLEM: The computer will not Read from or Write to a Hard Disk Drive.
Solution 1: Is the BIOS set correctly? If yes, try the "Auto detect
HDD" that exists in most BIOS's to see if the computer SEES the drive. If the drive
is seen at the BIOS level, then you must be sure that the installed settings are the same
as those you are currently set at. Most drives have two or three different settings. The
general rule of thumb is drives below 540MB is usually the "normal" setting, and
drives above 1.6 Gigabytes are most always LBA (Large Block Access). Disk drives between
those size settings could be Normal, Large, or LBA try all three of them. If the BIOS
can't see the drive at the BIOS level on the auto-detect, then you have bad power supply
or a plug, cabling that isn't connected correctly, a controller problem, or bad drive. It
is also possible that the read-write permissions have been password protected, or the
drive has been locked with software.
Solution 2: Try a different Hard Disk Drive or Replace the Hard Disk
PROBLEM: The mouse does not respond.
Solution 1: Makes sure that the mouse is properly connected to the computer.
Solution 2: Make sure that the software drivers are load for the mouse
(Windows95 will automatically detect the mouse if it connected correctly and working
properly - and reasonably standardized - DOS mode usually requires drivers to be in either
the Config.sys or Autoexec.bat files).
Solution 3: If you have a modem installed, verify the IRQ settings don't
Solution 4: Try replacing the I/O port that the mouse is connected to.
PROBLEM: The printer will not print.
Solution 1: Verify that the printer is connected to the correct port, some
scanner and SCSI port can appear to be printer ports, and that the printer is turned on
and On Line. If the failure is in Windows, verify that it doesn't work in DOS mode also
(from the DOS prompt, type: TYPE AUTOEXEC.BAT>PRN and press enter. Laser Printers and
some Ink Jets will require a "form feed" button to be pushed, but all should
have a "data" or "working" light on that wasn't previously on.
Solution 2: Replace the printer cable, newer printers REQUIRE an IEEE1284
cable... which looks and feels like a regular cable, but is made with higher standards and
Solution 3: Replace the printer drivers. They may have become corrupted, over
written with incorrect drivers, or otherwise not functioning. You might try to replace the
port - on integrated computers, all you can do is disable the integrated port(s) and
plug-in an internal I/O card.
Solution 4: Replace the printer itself. It is rare that a printer itself has a
problem of this nature, but it does occur.
PROBLEM The computer has 16 or more MB's of RAM, but the largest executable program is
RAM in DOS mode is never going to be much more than 600K (in fact that is considered a
lot by most standards). The first Megabyte of memory is set aside for DOS and DOS based
programs and requirements. The balance, up to 24 megabytes, is used by Windows. This is
normal, and requires an expert to "tweak" for the particular program which is
otherwise failing (and gives you the message regarding low RAM).
Solution: This is a normal occurrence. System memory is divided into three
categories, Conventional, Extended, and Expanded. Conventional memory is all memory
located below 1MB, of which 384KB are reserved for the hardware, leaving 640KB for
programs. To access Extended and Expanded Memory you must use a memory manager such as
HIMEM, EMM386 or the third party program QEMM.
PROBLEM: The computer seems to be running slow.
Solution 1: Make sure that the system is running in Turbo Mode. Is the turbo led
lit? Turbo Mode allows the computer to process information at its full potential, 33 MHz
for a 33 MHz machine, and so forth. If you are NOT in turbo mode, your system may only be
running in 16MHz (which is very slow - snail's pace by today's standards). Are the proper
video drivers installed?
Solution 2: Try to cleanup your computer. Kill all TEMP files,
clear CACHE on your web browser, get rid of the garbage (if you know it is for sure
garbage and how to safely do it). Then DEFRAG your hard drive. You really don't ever want
to allow your system to become more than 2% fragmented, as it can really slow your system
Solution 3: Another trick, make more memory available to the
system by using memory managers intelligently and/or removing unnecessary TSR's,
(Terminate and Stay Resident Programs) which remain in memory even though you don't really
know the programs are running in the back ground. Pressing Ctrl/Alt/Delete in Win95 will
display a list of most of the programs and non-driver files that is currently loading your
systems memory. Are the drivers installed? Is the printer cable attached to both
the printer port on the back of the computer AND to the printer? Is the cable a parallel
connection? If no, you will need to setup the serial parameters. If yes, then restart the
system in DOS mode and type TYPE AUTOEXEC.BAT >PRN and press the enter key. Most
printers will then print... though lasers and some ink jets will NOT automatically eject
the paper, so you will need to press the page feed button on the front of the printer.
Copyright 1998 T.E. Mercer, all rights reserved. This page was last updated 17 April 2000