I'm currently building up my new Pentium M system for HTPC duties. This means doing a bench (open air) install, clean OS build and Prime95 torture test burn in. I also flash the BIOS to the latest revision from the manufacturer's support page. Sometimes the motherboards are fairly up to date out of the box, but this one was four BIOS revisions behind-- maybe because it's a relatively new model and thus not quite "baked" yet.
This is a companion discussion topic for the original blog entry at: http://www.codinghorror.com/blog/2005/02/the-floppy-drive-must-die.html
I wish the floppy was dead too.
Taking up valuable 3.5 inch bay space in my computer where I could put another hard drive. And we’ve got enough cables in the computer already without a dedicated floppy cable.
I’m with Jeff.
The statements along the lines of “I still need floppies because of X” aren’t decent justification for floppies.
They’re examples of what needs to be changed such that we no longer need floppies.
"You never know when you’ll need it"
If I don’t have any info on floppies and nothing that demands a floppy, I do know when I’ll need it: When hell freezes over.
"…replacement that works half as well or half as universally…"
Bootable USB flash. If it ain’t there yet, it needs to get there. More than I need to keep a floppy around.
“I’ll give up my floppy as soon as Windows setup doesn’t require it for mass storage drivers.”
Another example of a required change that’s been turned into justification. I’m not going to stand behind keeping floppies for this: I’m going to stand behind Windows needing to change how it handles the loading of mass storage drivers.
Why all the bile? Yes, floppies are unreliable and too small to be useful. But since they actually work, and since the universe of manufacturers can’t seem to get their collective bleep together on making a replacement that works half as well or half as universally, we’re going to be stuck with floppies for quite some time to come. Watch that blood pressure…
I’ll give up my floppy as soon as Windows setup doesn’t require it for mass storage drivers. To the best of my knowledge Windows XP will not install 3rd party storage drivers during setup from any other media. I needed a floppy drive to install Windows on my SATA-Raid machine.
Amen, Jeff. I am glad somebody IS thinking exactly the same way I am. Floppy disks must die! We don’t need backwards compatibility if everybody stops using and producing(!) floppy disks. There’s really NO advantage in using them. They are unreliable, expensive, big and old: SUCK!
I can flash the BIOS on my MSI board in Windows. The only time I must absolutely have a floppy is during Windows install (F6) so I can boot off of a SATA drive, and that’s absolutely ridiculous.
I’ll give up my floppy as soon as Windows setup doesn’t require it for mass storage drivers
The only time I must absolutely have a floppy is during Windows install (F6) so I can boot off of a SATA drive
I think the external USB floppy will work in that scenario. The BIOS works some magic to make it “appear” like a standard floppy drive.
since the universe of manufacturers can’t seem to get their collective together on making a replacement that works half as well or half as universally
Once BIOS support is more universal for usb flash drives, I think more manufacturers will pull the trigger on the stupid, ancient floppy interface.
I noticed the other day when setting up my wireless network that XP (SP2 at least) actually gives me the option to write the network settings to a USB flash drive (gape). So, the Windows folks are getting there… But excerting some more pressure on them wouldn’t hurt.
I would note that many blue chips I know think of USB drives as a major security headache so don’t like them being used or point blank stop them being used - but then, floppy drives have the same problems to some extent.
If I could reliably boot my (slightly ageing) pc off a USB drive the floppy drive would be out the window!
many blue chips I know think of USB drives as a major security headache so don’t like them being used or point blank stop them being used - but then, floppy drives have the same problems to some extent.
Probably because they know anyone using a floppy disk to transfer data isn’t smart enough to be a real security risk…
How about a USB flash-memory A: drive emulator? I’ve got a backup/restore application that demands special drivers from Drive A: at startup, and I would be happiest if I could have a USB dongle emulating the diskette drive with the demanded floppy contents hanging in one of the USB jacks. For my issue, it doesn’t even need to be bootable, but bootable USB isn’t much more than a checked bit (in the device; BIOS must recognize it, too). I’ve just (5/13/2005) tried Google’ing for such an invention, no luck yet.
The sure bet is the external USB floppy drive in that scenario, which DOES trick the system into seeing it as an A:/ drive.
I think the same BIOS trickery would work for flash drives if they are bootable; same way a boot CD appears to be an A:/ drive. Hmm.
First of all, thanks for the help. I stumbled across this page and was able to boot from a USB flash drive and update my BIOS because of it.
The BIOS considered the flash drive another hard drive for me so in order to boot from it I had to make it a higher priority than my regular hard drive in the hard drive boot order. Like you, I did not have the option to make it the first boot device in the more general list.
Since disconnecting your hard drive made it work it seems that you may not have noticed the hard drive only boot order list.
Or your BIOS could be completely different from mine.
I also completely agree that floppy drives need to go. When the Windows based utility for updating the BIOS included with my motherboard was not working I was quite upset and worried that I would need to defile my computer by installing a floppy drive.
BIOS support is critical.
I just built a new A64 system and I was able to boot off a USB key much more easily. This BIOS made it a lot more clear what I was booting from, and why…
All of this is a nice exercise buit floppie or no I need a list of motherboards that will boot to a USB device. preferably a USB external hard drive.
Switch to Linux, and you don’t even need a floppy drive
So my care factor on this issue is zero…
Of course, I’d rather an inbuilt SCSI controller instead of a floppy port on my Mobo, so I guess in general I agree.
Hope my inquiry isn’t too far off topic. I have XP. I have many old 1.44 floppy disk that had standard jpeg images on them. I think it was a window 98 machine that processed these disks and the camera of course that put the files there. None of those disks are readable in my Dell A drive. Is there a solution or fix? Any advice is welcome.
But why abandon a cheap, quickly reusable universal format that’s more often than not conveniently avaliable?
The only other methods of file transfer that aren’t through the internet aren’t universally compliant (remember, USB wasn’t around until Win98 SP2…), and cost more than $50 a pop, which is expensive and inefficient if you’re just trying to lug around a single config.sys and simple disk rescue/setup tools.
Why doesn’t someone invent a flash card reader that perfectly emulates a 1.44 MB floppy? Does anyone know of such and invention?
This way you could put your windows install stuff on a flash card and it would stay put. Of course you would be limited to a lousy 1.44 MB on your 64 MB flash card, but at least you wouldn’t have to deal with those stupid floppy disks.
I have an embedded industrial machine that takes 5.25" floppies. I’m looking for a way to get away from that because I can’t find those dinosaurs anymore.
Is it possible to make a DEDICATED A port so when a formatted USB memory key is inserted, it will immediately recognize it as DRIVE A, and not drive C.