You could win a TechRepublic T-shirt by submitting a correct solution to the Support Republic’s Pop Quiz. A random winner is selected from all correct entries received. This week, we proudly award TechRepublic T-shirts to Jeff Bruderly and David Nielsen, whose winning entries were randomly selected from all correct entries out of the over 300 e-mails received.
Is the floppy drive bad?
When we last heard from Susan, she had recruited her daughter’s fiancé to upgrade the aging 486 machine that she had purchased in 1996 to something a bit more up-to-date. To save on time and money, the fiancé decided that he would use computer parts he had stored in his office to upgrade the machine.

He took the hard drive, video card, floppy drive, and cables out of her old machine, and placed them into a new computer shell he had brought over to use on the upgraded machine. The shell already had a new motherboard, as well as memory, so all that was required was hooking in the parts from the older machine. After placing all the parts into the shell and hooking up all the ribbons and cables correctly, he booted the machine, only to find that the floppy drive from Susan’s old machine wasn’t working. When he replaced the older floppy with a new one, the replacement did not fix the problem.

If it’s not the floppy, then it has to be…
Susan’s soon-to-be son-in-law wasn’t quite sure where to proceed at this point. He double-checked the cable connection to make sure that the floppy was hooked up correctly and that all connections were tight, and as he had suspected, they were.

After thinking for a few moments, he suddenly realized what he hadn’t checked before. Even though he had replaced the old floppy drive with a newer one, he had left the original FDD ribbon in the machine. He deduced that there could possibly be a problem with the cord itself, so he decided to replace it and see what would happen.

After removing the old FDD ribbon from the machine, he used the new ribbon that had come with the new floppy drive to connect the floppy to the motherboard. After double-checking his connections to make sure they were plugged in tight and correctly, he booted the machine once again.

To his delight, the fiancé noticed the light come on momentarily as the computer began to boot up, meaning that the floppy was indeed booting correctly and the ribbon was operating. Who could have guessed that such a simple thing as the old FDD ribbon could have been the problem the entire time?
Do you have a story that you think would make a great Pop Quiz? If so, we want to hear from you! If we use your story, we’ll send you a free TechRepublic T-shirt for your trouble.