View Full Version : Floppy drive capacity question

Billy T
15-03-2015, 11:22 PM
Hi Team

My newish computer does not have a floppy drive, so I have been using a Toshiba PA3043U-1FDD usb drive to access legacy instrument programs that were supplied on floppy disks only.

This afternoon I was checking some old game disks to see if they were OK, but discovered that some were being reported as unformatted. On checking a few more disks, a small number read normally but the majority did not. I had made backups for one game on double sided high density disks and they read normally via the USB drive.

The original game disks seemed to be mostly double sided high density, and it makes me wonder if my USB floppy drive is perhaps single sided low density, but I couldn't find an answer on the web, and the only other rational answer might be that the device is malfunctioning.

Any ideas?


Billy 8-{) :confused:

16-03-2015, 12:29 AM
I would be very surprised if a USB floppy drive wasn't compatible with high density disks.
1.44mb is the high density capacity.

It sounds like the disks are just to old and have degraded and are unreadable.

16-03-2015, 10:46 AM
Yep, most likely is the floppies are just unreadable. Really not that uncommon.

Norton Disk Doctor/disk tools? (it was a long time ago) had a disk revive function for floppy disks, that sometimes worked quite well back in the day.
Back in the day when Nortons rep was still good :-)

16-03-2015, 10:58 AM
How long since you accessed these disks? Floppies are not good for long term storage. See if you can find someone with a floppy drive to try them on otherwise you may be out of luck. If you get them to work copy them onto your hard drive and don't rely on floppies if you can avoid it. You can make and mount floppy images if necessary for software that needs to run from a disk but most things work just fine if copied to a hard drive folder and run from there. Games might be protected though and trickier or impossible. As far as disk type goes, a modern USB drive would have to be 1.44MB compatible as CyaBro says and the one you mentions definitely is.

Do you really still want to play games of floppy drive vintage these days and if so are they even compatible with modern windows? For stuff that old there's a reasonable chance it can be had for download cheap or free. Also are these PC games? because other machines used formats windows will not recognise, my Atari ST games on floppy always showed up as unformatted under dos/windows for example.

PC's have abandoned the floppy, It's really time you worked on doing the same. I still have 1 or 2 drives of unknown condition floating around somewhere but I don't remember how long since I used one. Do modern motherboards even have the connector any more? I suspect not.

16-03-2015, 11:41 AM
Hi Team

..... legacy instrument programs that were supplied on floppy disks only.

Probably a good idea to back those up as well, to the HD (not to other floppies)
Either copy them across , or make images of them all.

16-03-2015, 12:09 PM
Note I did a quick google search and saw a comment on another forum that some disk formats would not read on a USB drive but would read on an internal so it's possible you may have that issue. Floppies were not very standard for a long time.

16-03-2015, 08:49 PM
Most likely they have just failed due to age. Old floppy disks are about as reliable as cheap USB flash drives (eg: not very reliable!)

But you are right in thinking that USB floppy drives are not as good as "real" ones.

16-03-2015, 10:15 PM
Do modern motherboards even have the connector any more? I suspect not. Nope long gone, same with IDE connectors, they are all sata.

17-03-2015, 08:38 AM
You can still get PCI IDE cards, or IDE to SATA adaptors though.

And there was(?) this: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Individual_Computers_Catweasel

17-03-2015, 11:15 AM
I got inspired and raided my Junk pile and assembled a sempron 2500+ machine with an IDE hdd and a 1.44 mb floppy, found a boot disk and gave it a try - Disk I/O error lol. Floppies do not keep well. Eventually got it to boot off what turned out to be a windows millenium boot disk :yuck: and am contemplating setting it up to transfer data from any old floppies I might have. A solution like this might work for you, old hardware of the sempron / pentium era tends to sell for peanuts. I have 3 working sempron boards myself I'd happily give away at least 2 of to anyone willing to collect them from Hamilton. I think the one I tried may be faulty though as I can't install an OS on it so far.

17-03-2015, 09:15 PM
You should really eliminate the requirement for a floppy drive billy t.

I remember the days where dell started leading the way of no floppy drives. So long ago, but I recall having to fake the floppy drive with a cdrw, so backups could still work. I think that's an alternative you could take. I created a start up batch file that made the ROM drive the required floppy drive letter it needed. I'm thinking "NET" DOS command made it possible? In making it a network drive that you assigned the drive letter to.

And since this a blast from the past, the very first CDROM drives that came out were heavy and solid, they made them reliable and more to the point, to make sure they ran as it was a new age. Now they the new floppy drives, very cheap and not that reliable.