The Floppy Drive Must Die

The problem with computers today is taht as soon as you get into it, you have to play by their rules, unless you are some sort of coding wizard (I’m computer savy, but I could never program anything worth a damn). I’m hoping that soon enough either windows changes, or people overthrow it because the fact is that they hold back the progress of computers using stone-age technologies… So in closing, don’t blame IBM, blame the bums at Microsoft… I’d say the safest thing to do now is hop over to linux

I have seen a lot of technology die. No problem. I just hate to see floppies die because it could take my embroidery machine with it. Yeah, I could upgrade to a flash drive machine for $8000. They do not stitch as well as the one I have. What did I do to deserve that punishment? let it live.
Obsolescence is not always necessary to make a buck.

Dear Jeff,

 Aside from their low capacity, in today's terms, there is abysmal quality in new floppys.

I have bought 50s and 100s of IBM and SONY branded floppys and tested them with 'superformat". Most of them are not suitable for booting, where all the contiguous sectors (and tracks) must be good. I don’t blame the drives because the same disks choke at the same place on another machine.

 The best I;ve found were some "excess to need" manufacturer's surplus OEM driver floppys that had obsolete stuff on them.  Superformat reformatted about 98% of them.  Far better than the optimistic 70% you get from 100% guarenteed floppys from Staples!

 I can't honestly say that bad drives are the major problem but I often wonder why nobody stresses the poor quality of new floppys.  A lot of boot failures are due to defective floppys.

 Legacy BIOSes should be able to read a non-standard format from a stick - they work with oversize disk formats.  Building a reader that looks like a floppy drive at the connector means undoing what a floppy controller does.  If they can do it for a tape drive they should be able to do it for a flash drive or memory card.  To get thru a boot, the data would probably have in the part of the device that can be specified in the standard BIOS PARAMETER BLOCK.

 Now, I have my $0.02 worth in.

                D. Snyder


What’s your problem with floppies? Ok, they are VERY old and small! But we also still use VHS video tapes - 30 years after their invention and after the invention of DVD!!
I love the good old floppy drive! With a simple boot diskette is easy to handle. Ok, for the storage I use no more diskettes, also not CDs, DVDs ore USB-sticks, only external HDD’s. But in a emergency case you can save your files for more than 10 years on a floppy disk. That’s never going to work with a USB-flash drive, trust me!! With DVD? Maybe! W’ll see in the future…

I left the floppy 1998 when bootable CD:s came, never regretted it!
Kept a couple floppies and a drive just in case, but never needed them :slight_smile:

Biggest issue i have which still requires the floppy is on XP/2003 setup where it says Press F6 to install thid party driver. Wont install unless you do due to SATA/RAID. The thing only looks at A: USB floppys dont always work and nor should i have to use them, would rather use USB Key or CD.
nlite is a life saver, it slipstreams the drivers into a new Windows install CD for you. Very easy to use and you dont have to sit and learn all about unattended setups from Microsofts website.

Die floppy die… fdd will die if all mobo makers start using EFI/firmware chips (8/16/128meg chips are so cheap :wink:

I agree… Dell defaults to no floppy for a couple years.

Microsoft wants you to install 3rd party drivers during setup from floppy.

Emergency Boot within Windows wants to use a floppy.

Come on… if your hard drive crashes, it should be simple. Nope… Microsoft cant catch up to manufacturers or vice versa…

End the use of floppies and force everyone to do it the same

what can i say is that part of the programmers in the world do appreciate what helped them to develop today’s great software for computers or industrial machines. (The Floppy drive of course) Since the day they built the “Hello World” program, everything still depends on the floppy. technologies today weren’t expected during that time. and among all storage medias, floppy is still the easiest to control. not all coders are brilliant enough to use more advanced storage and some may be lazy and just get back to floppies. moreover, even a number of motherboard manufacturers still hang on with floppies. we cannot just force all manufacturers to be parallel in their products or everything produced will have almost no difference and left us no choice for our hardware customization. today’s China still have some organisations actively using P1 computers and can be expected that there might not have USB for substitution. also, many factories, firms or even educational fields still using old machines with floppies. where can those new students find floppies if it is out of computing arena? it is also agreeable that microsoft cannot catch up with the hardware advancement. how many software did microsoft produced during the time when USB, DVD, DDR module, Intel cores and other hardwares advances or born? and how many coders are there in this world compare to hardware manufacturers? that’s why microsoft still a step back to floppies. even in tetiary studies on electronics and programming, floppy is still a popular character. mechatronics students for example, will consider more on their budget for their project thus might look for old PCs to control their systems. and just because of the A:, today’s SATA and USB still can’t be independant . transformation from IDE to SATA needs floppy for driver. USB also can’t emulate A: drive very well. if it is really to take floppy out, this will be like a huge revolution where billions will need to spent in other to migrate old machines in many firms and factories to get rid of floppies. we also cannot assume that all firms and factories are rich enough for that revolution. it is not like this world is so wonderful that there’s no poverty. so don’t just care of tech trends and new tech standards to get rid of floppies. floppy still needs to survive, at least, for 5 years before the world of computing allows it to retire.


Well said Brian, but just because there are companies that cannot afford new equipment, or new technologies, does not mean the rest of us have to suffer.

Here I am trying to install Windows XP on a laptop that came with Vista, and I cant because Windows needs the sata to be installed from a floppy. The laptop doesn’t have a floppy drive !!

So I have to find other means to emulate a floppy drive, be it with USB drive or whatever. Just a huge pain in the ass. Atleast give me the option to use a floppy, USB flash drive, or CD.

Can you make the thumb drive appear to be a floppy drive? Or is just making the thumb drive bootable as close to that as you can come?

Actually, I’ve seen a few - VERY few - floppy drive adapters for SD cards. You slip the SD card into this thing that looks like a floppy, insert it into a floppy drive, and hey presto, you can read the SD chip.

Here’s a site over in Europe that sells them - or used to, I can’t tell if they still have any in stock.

Get a few cheap SD cards, and poof, you have 16 megabyte floppy disks.


Ed Becerra

I have been working in IT for years and I can’t remember the last time I used a floppy. You don’t need it installed for the computer work properly. However there are some applications that require is. Backwards compatibility seems to be a major issue with any x86 based system. Everything has to work. Apple had the balls to put their put down and say no backward campatibility.
Still thee is nothing wrong with the floppy drive. It’s just antiquated. I never had issues with floppies other than mistreatment of media or aging.

What is really annoying about floppies and flash disks is several years ago i purchased a usb flash disk ( A little 32mg) and it came with a little switch that converted it into a floppy drive, worked perfectly, showed up in bios as a normal floppy, worked exactly like a floppy under all situations i tested for. Well long story short i lost the damn thing and ive never seen them sold again

I have Optical test equipment that is only equipped with floppy drives, and have had to spend THOUSANDS on airfare, meals, hotels, car rentals and labor to re-test something because the damn floppy disk went bad between the site and the office. I need a solution that will just plug into the floppy port and work like it was a floppy drive, we can’t load drivers onto these machines!

nice guide, thanks

Four years, later, in 2009, I STILL need floppy to install XP on SATA RAID. Something is just plain wrong! I am moving to Vista, eventhough I haven’t planed it for sure. Damn you Microsoft!

The Floppy Drive Must Die along with the narrow minded idiots that think the world revolves around themselves and the latest software updates. I need a floppy to run some old machinery at my shop, but if the all knowing all wonderful Jeff Atwood will kindly send me $75,000.00 to upgrade my machine so that I can use a sata box, then all will be well. I’m saying think before you condemn! One big problem with the world is there’s constant change, and there’s no refinement and or standardization. Yeah, go and start flaming me now, or is the term ‘flaming’ obsolete too?

I need the floppy forever!
Yes I know about the problems with the floppies. But here’s one more: I have more music keyboards(Korg, Yamaha, Roland), and the only way to make them communicate with the computer, is the floppy (sometimes it needs to be old DD - 720kB - this is PAIN). And all the new computers do not have a floppy drive, so one should buy a stupid usb drive, that doesn’t work many times, and cannot even format a floppy to 720 k. My keyboards have midi connection, but this doesn’t help with the file transfer… (by the way, the new stupid computers, do not have the midi interface, but they are expensive enough, and they become even more expensive after you buy 30 adapters to fit every gadget you have…)
Don’t get me wrong, I don’t like the floppies, they are stupid and they give errors all the time, but I don’t think about any way to make all the keyboard makers to make adapters for the older keyboards they made…