|There is nothing regarding XP itself that would cause your problem.|
I have 1.44mb floppy drives on all my desktop computers, and they work fine in any operating system.
Were you using the same floppy drive on all 3 computers that you installed XP on ?
If yes - the floppy drive or it's data cable connection is probably defective.
Are you SURE it's a 1.44mb floppy drive ?
It doesn't make sense for you to have problems with 3 different floppy drives, unless all of them are defective or all of them have a data cable problem or one or the other of those things.
If you EVER plug in the power connector to a floppy drive so that it's on the wrong pins and then run the computer, the floppy drive's board is damaged and will never work properly after that. The led may light up but the drive will not work properly.
It only takes a problem with one wire's connection in the data cable to cause problems.
This is about IDE hard drive data cables but the same things apply to floppy drive data cables......
It is common to un-intentionally damage IDE data cables, especially while removing them - the 80 wire ones are more likely to be damaged. What usually happens is the cable is ripped at either edge and the wires there are either damaged or severed, often right at a connector or under it's cable clamp there, where it's hard to see - if a wire is severed but it's ends are touching, the connection is intermittent, rather than being reliable.
Another common thing is for the data cable to be separated from the connector contacts a bit after you have removed a cable - there should be no gap between the data cable and the connector - if there is press the cable against the connector to eliminate the gap.
80 wire data cables are also easily damaged at either edge if the cable is sharply creased at a fold in the cable.
Try another data cable if in doubt.
The head alignment of floppy drives DOES sometimes vary,and you may be able to read a particular floppy disk fine in one drive but not in another one, but in that case you have no problem formatting a floppy disk, if there is nothing wrong with it, in the drive that could not read that particular floppy disk, and that disk reads fine in the same drive it was made in.
Defective floppy disks.....
I have noticed that floppy disks made since about 2000 are more likely to spontaneously develop bad sectors as time goes by, for as many as 2 or 3 out of ten disks of the same brand that were in the same batch. If the floppy disk develops bad sectors near the beginning of the data it cannot be read properly and you may not be able to format it either.
It won't read properly in ANY floppy drive.
If you can format it, if you do a FULL format, the previously undetected bad sectors will be detected. (A Quick format will not detect them.)
Different floppy drives may find different amounts of bad sectors when you FULL format them.