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XP will not load, displaying Floppy diskette seek failure...

by Lee Koo (ADMIN) CNET staff/forum admin / May 31, 2013 8:04 AM PDT

Windows XP will not load, displaying "Floppy diskette seek failure..."

My Windows XP Home Edition will not start up. Message reads: Floppy diskette seek failure, press F1 to continue. After pressing F1, I get a blue screen reading: Windows has shut down to prevent damage.

Get same message after trying: hitting F8 to boot to Safe mode, hitting F2 setup to change boot sequence to remove floppy drive from sequence. Any ideas on what this could be and how I can fix this? Please help. Thanks.

--Submitted by Jon D.
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(NT) Disconnect floppy power & data cables.
by wpgwpg / May 31, 2013 9:13 AM PDT
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XP Boot Failure
by MarkinTO / May 31, 2013 9:50 AM PDT

Merely disconnecting the power from the drive (if you even have one) won't solve the problem.

Boot from a Windows CD, into 'repair console' and then issue the 'fixboot' and 'fixmbr' to repair booting issues.
Assuming you have access to a Windows disc, then boot from it and use it to access the 'system restore' points.

Sorry that these solutions depend on have a Windows disc, but if you can borrow one from a friend, you should be able to get back on track.

Also... make sure NOT to have any USB flash-drive installed upon boot-up. This always plays tricks on people and I've watched many presentations get delayed due to people not understanding that the computer will try to boot from the attached device!

Based on my advice above, you would also be able to do a system repair, if booting from a Windows CD. Note that if you try a re-install, Windows will bug you about having it installed already. Quite often, this will mess up your desktop but will indeed replace any damaged OS files so that you're up and running again.

Hope this helps?

Mark in Toronto

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boot failure
by tedtks / May 31, 2013 10:07 AM PDT
In reply to: XP Boot Failure

@MarkinTO made a good suggestion - learned something - Plus have found that my new
HP printer - officejet 6700 - plugs in with a usb cable - cant have that plugged in at startup
because it locks up the system - Looking for a mass storage device - hahaha
anyway - I was going to suggest hitting - Del - at startup and looking at setup - if it is not
listed, then a reset - should - cover it as markin said. if the del wont even get you to the bios
then back to markins answer - again :-))

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Office Jet 6700 issue
by docqualizer / May 31, 2013 1:01 PM PDT
In reply to: boot failure

Instead of unplugging the USB cable, turn your printer off when you start your PC up. Once it is up and running, remove the drivers for your printer and then reboof your PC with the printer ON. The PC should come up and try to configure your printer. If it still tries to boot from your printer, replace the printer cable and/ or make sure your PC is fully up to date driver wise.

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Hp 6700
by tedtks / May 31, 2013 2:18 PM PDT
In reply to: Office Jet 6700 issue

thanks - printer not on at start up. own outlet so I keep it off until needed. not totally happy with
this new printer anyway - they changed some of the printer function software so everything is
some sort of work around.
the restart with it on and the hp programs etc uninstalled sounds like a good idea.
hahaha even when I forget to unplug the usb after use it will take forever when I shut
down for the night.
I will try that, thanks again.

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try this
by walldoo99 / June 9, 2013 1:54 AM PDT
In reply to: Hp 6700

Edit you bios boot menu placing flash under hdd so you boot up doesn't try to find a flash drive in your printer. If your printer doesn't have a flash drive it might have the same driver as a model that does. You can also disable boot from flash until you need it unless you use it a lot.

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For Tedtks -
by Hforman / June 1, 2013 8:43 AM PDT
In reply to: boot failure

Some "printers" ARE mass storage devices. I have not checked. Dooes your printer have card slots for SD cards, etc.? In that case it may appear as a mass storage device as well as a printer and whatever else is attached. If you have to unplug it to boot, I'd suggest removing it from the device manager and uninstall all of its drivers. After booting, don't plug the printer in right away. Many USB device setup instructions tell you NOT to plug in the device until the installation software tells you to. If you get this working OK, then you can update drivers from the web.

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by tedtks / June 1, 2013 10:09 AM PDT
In reply to: For Tedtks -

will try that too...

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One other thing
by Hforman / June 1, 2013 12:38 PM PDT
In reply to: thanks

The BIOS is technically a firmware item that controls POST and a lot of I/O. You might want to make sure it is current. Check the website for the PC mfg under software/drivers/firmware. Also, the HP printer usually comes with drivers AND firmware. Look that up on the HP support site under drivers/firmware/downloads. Also, make sure the printer is plugged into the right version USB port (USB vs. USB 2.0 vs. USB 3.0).

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Disable boot options
by kissatek / June 7, 2013 10:52 PM PDT
In reply to: thanks

Hi, I run into this often with usb devices such as printers with card slots. There are good suggestions here but if you haven't resolved your issue yet try disabling "boot to usb" and or disabling all but the hard drive as boot options in your bios. I have found that going to the last page in the bios and restoring the optimal defaults first is sometimes necessary.

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I had the same problem
by cwiseley / June 8, 2013 3:20 AM PDT
In reply to: XP Boot Failure

I had the same problem on an intel DQ35JO system board and my blue screen occurred with the windows XP CD as well. It was a dual boot machine and Both XP and Win 7 were suddenly blue screening. I was able to repair the Win 7 system with the Win 7 DVD but never could get the XP partition to boot again.

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XP Boot Failure
by PaxCanadiana / June 8, 2013 6:05 AM PDT
In reply to: XP Boot Failure

"MarkinTO" is right on the money with his tips, Jon D. I'm running XP (SP3) on what most might consider a quaint antique of a machine (a Compaq EVO sporting an old CD-ROM drive and a Floppy " A " drive along with a blazing 512MB of RAM Wink ). Even though I know my "A" drive is as dead as the proverbial overly flogged horse, the EVO still sees it as "functioning properly", lights up the little green light at start-up, etc. Since I never use it and it doesn't seem to have any other impact on the machine's functioning, I've just decided to leave the thing be and "let sleeping dogs lie" since "if it ain't broke, don't fix it" as they say. Grin
But, fortunately, I've not encountered the exact problem you seem to be experiencing, Jon. But, the two times where I've managed to completely mess up XP's proper functioning (by my incessant tinkering "under the hood"), I've followed very similiar steps "MarkinTO" listed above with good results. And, oh yeah, don't forget the USB flash drive as he said... I've done that more than once myself. Confused

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Just Something You Might Try
by ajtrek / May 31, 2013 10:14 AM PDT

Hi Jon

Sorry to hear that you can't boot into WinXP Home. This suggestion isn't very computer geek, but it just might work. Try replacing your keyboard and then try F2 setup to remove the Floppy. I'm not kidding...your solution may be just that simple. Wal-Mart has cheap one's for as low as $10. If it doesn't work you can return it. Good Luck!

Together Everyone Achieves More


Hi Jon

I made the assumption that your computer had not been recently placed into service from storage. If so, if you are using a P/S2 keyboard be sure that you have it plugged into the "purple" port and not the "green" port that is used for mice. Also examine the pins to understand if any are bent or broken.

Note: This post was edited by its original author to merge two posts into one. on 06/07/2013 at 12:09 PM PT

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Need more INFO!
by netsiu / May 31, 2013 11:13 AM PDT

We need more information. What kind and how old a computer? How much RAM (Working Memory)?

I just dealt with a HP/Compact (2005) with XP Home. The computer only had 1Gigabyte RAM and had just added a usb printer and Xfinity "Advantage Gaurd Security".
Computer would stop at HP blue screen wait then boot OS, reboot OS, reboot OS then freeze at HP Blue screen.

Added memory up to 4Gigabyte and solved all problems.

Hope this helps!


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Where to begin...? There are so many possible issues here...
by Wolfie2k5 / May 31, 2013 1:53 PM PDT

On the one hand, it could be a hardware issue. Or it could be a virus or some other form of malware, or it could be some new piece of hardware that is causing problems.

If you have access to another computer, try downloading one of the plethora of Linux trial CDs - the ones where you burn the Linux image to a CD and can boot from it. Simply put this will tell you at least one important thing - if it's a hardware or software issue. Odds are if the hardware is FUBAR, then it won't load properly either.

On the other hand, if it does load properly, you will have the option of backing up any files you haven't already backed up. You should be able to plug in a USB based drive and copy the files to the external drive.

At this point, you can of course, either try a repair installation OR you can blow out the hard drive and do a fresh, clean installation. With XP, it's generally best to clean installation. Granted, it's more work doing it that way, but its also more reliable.

if it's a hardware issue,... You will likely need/want a new system - and depending on the system, you can possibly replace the motherboard, CPU and RAM (and potentially the hard drive if that's the problem) - or you can simply replace the entire system with a newer one. But don't throw out the hard drive just yet. You can possibly restore data from it by removing it and putting it in an external enclosure once you've got the system up and running.

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I'd Physically Disconnect the Floppy Device
by Hforman / June 1, 2013 8:52 AM PDT

Assuming that you actually have a floppy device (I've seen stranger), as someone else suggested, I'd completely disconnect both power and data cables and see if the machine comes up. In that F2 setup, check to see if the floppy drive is listed in any other setup screens besides the boot sequence.

Now see if the machine boots. If it doesn't, check to see what BIOS version you are using and then DOWNLOAD the BIOS from the manufacturer's website and flash the BIOS. (Use another PC to create a.. ummm... not floppy disk but a CD. You can always get an external floppy drive (USB) these days if you really need one pretty cheap or go out and replace the one you already have. Make sure if your drive is 2HD that you are using matching floppies. They don't work well with some really old stuff.

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BIOS setup is?
by El_vis / June 1, 2013 9:22 AM PDT

Take that bad floppy disk out of the drive. Doh. (What's a floppy, my son asks!)

Seriously, boot to bios and remove the floppy if possible. Change the boot sequence to primary disk first, then CDROM. Last choice should be the floppy if it has to be in there.

Make sure everything is plugged in fully, inside and out. Keyboard, mouse, drive cables...

More info would help. Good luck!

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safe mode
by oldino / June 1, 2013 2:30 PM PDT

Have you tried going into safe mode and restoring to an earlier time? before the problem started!

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Turn off floppy in addition to removing from boot sequence
by Lee Koo (ADMIN) CNET staff/forum admin / June 7, 2013 4:16 AM PDT
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edit bios

enter your bios set up and find the option to disable "floppy seek" if floppy seek is enabled and cannot be found at boot up then the system will not load.

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wrong answer
by pronco / June 7, 2013 12:25 PM PDT
In reply to: edit bios

And his computer worked fine beforehand why? Do you really think the floppy seek enabled might be causing a stop error? No.

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Wrong answer?
by Wim_Damstra / June 7, 2013 10:11 PM PDT
In reply to: wrong answer

What if there physically is a floppy drive attached and it went broke; then the A:-drive really has to be disabled in the BIOS.
There's nothing mentionned about the presence of that floppy drive so it is a possibility!

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by kissatek / June 7, 2013 11:02 PM PDT
In reply to: wrong answer

Sorry, but yes. Not only do we not know from the information listed if there is a floppy drive installed but some boards/bios offer floppy seek and assign a usb port.

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Sump'n Else You Might Try

When you turn your computer on, you might see F2 Setup and F12 Load Devices, or something to that effect. Press F2, which will get you into your computer's BIOS. Using the arrows, scroll down to Startup Order, tap "RETURN" to get into the menu. On some computers, all you have to do is tap the "D" key to push a startup item down on the list of items to start. Tap "U" for raising a highlighted drive up on the list. Make sure that your hard drive or your CD ROM is first, at the top. To get out of that menu, tap "ESC," and "ACCEPT The CHANGE."

Then scroll down to "DRIVES." Tap "RETURN." "Floppy" is probably the first on the list. Tap "RETURN" to highlight "Floppy" and open up the choices. Using the left arrow key, go all the way left and choose "OFF." Tap "ESC," then choose "ACCEPT CHANGES," and tap "RETURN." You might still have to accept "EXIT," by tapping "RETURN."

The machine will shut down and restart. Your annoying Floppy message should have disappeared.

Happy computing to you!

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XP will not load
by sksat2004 / June 7, 2013 11:32 AM PDT

If all not work, its time for a new PC. with the Floppy Diskette Drive, your PC is over ten years old and not much use and could die down any moment.

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by pronco / June 7, 2013 12:23 PM PDT
In reply to: XP will not load

Windows XP isn't being retired until April 8, 2014. He might also have data on the drive that would be nice to get to through the operating system, at the very least.

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Answer by proseandpoetry correct
by jamescc4 / June 8, 2013 9:30 AM PDT

I have had this happen a few times. It appears to be a virus that modifies the bios. The start-up load sequence change is the solution. If you have the first or second start with "floppy" in it, the computer will try to find it even if you don't have one.

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Load Sequence
by RLABruce / June 8, 2013 9:32 PM PDT

I may be mistaken, but I believe if the load sequence was changed so that Drive C is the last device such as "A:, E:, C:", the floppy error would not display if it ended up finding the OS on C:. The BIOS will keep looking in the boot order until it finally got to C: and finds the OS. The floppy error displays because it is the last device listed to be searched for the OS, and it failed. The PC went past Drive C in its search for a bootable OS, indicating a hard drive failure. Don't overthink the symptoms; the simplest and most likely solution is usually right.

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BIOS Boot Order
by RLABruce / June 8, 2013 9:46 PM PDT

So long as Drive C is where the OS is located and it is in the Startup Order list, it doesn't matter what order it tries to boot each device. If C: is the first device it will not search the others on the list since it already found a bootable OS. If it is the last device and a floppy drive is first, it will turn on the floppy drive light briefly, didn't find the OS, then go on to the next device without any error indicators. The error indicates it can't find an OS on ANY device listed and the floppy was the last device it had on the list. Either Drive C isn't on the list, Drive C is not available (crashed), or conceivably the OS on Drive C is corrupted. Hard drive crash is the most likely reason for the floppy error.

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Diagnose your hard drive's health before doing anything else
by pronco / June 7, 2013 11:30 AM PDT

Low-level errors like this may point to the operating system being confused as to the correct drive letter to boot from. Maybe it's not seeing the C: drive, or the master boot record has become corrupted. So it looks to the floppy to see if there is a boot record there, or the like.

The first thing I'd do is run a scan on the hard drive. Use Seatools for DOS to see if you have any bad sectors, or if the SMART has been tripped. If it has, you have a dying drive. Resolving that becomes a whole other issue, but it's where I'd start before I did anything else.

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