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To Floppy or Not to Floppy?

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January 5, 2008 11:33:15 PM

I'm building a new machine from the ground up, and am trying to decide whether or not I need a floppy. I certainly don't want one, but I'm wondering if there might be some off instance where Vista or the mobo would require a floppy boot.

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January 6, 2008 12:18:56 AM

Some components flash their BIOS from a floopy boot, but that's only if you like to tinker with odd things. Floppies basically suck even more now than they did in their heyday. I salvaged an old one and planted it in my new system. Came in handy trying to get an old laptop to boot LINUX.
January 6, 2008 12:45:35 AM

Well, to be honest, my previous desktop builds all included floppies because I used them to flash the BIOS and install RAID drivers.

However, I was forced to use a thumb drive to flash the BIOS on my laptop and that took some HW.... I used some HP utility to format a USB thumb drive as a boot disk so I could load up a new BIOS. I have NOT tested a thumb drive with the installation of SATA drivers though...
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January 6, 2008 1:05:55 AM

Just don't toss all of your flobby drives.

When you need a drive you could slap a drive into a slot for temporary use.
January 6, 2008 1:15:49 AM

... or just keep it out of the boot list in the BIOS so it doesn't slow down the boot process.
a b G Storage
January 6, 2008 3:54:05 PM

I haven't had floppy drive in my PCs for the last 5 years. I don't miss it.
January 6, 2008 4:21:06 PM

I haven't had a floppy in any of my pc's either in at least 6 years and have never needed one in that time.
January 6, 2008 4:59:47 PM

I don't have a floppy drive in my current system. I update the BIOS from the BIOS using a flash drive but one time I updated to a beta version which was bad and the only way I could install an older version was from a floppy. I had to get a floppy drive out of an older system to use briefly but that was the only time I needed one. I have a media card reader in place of the floppy drive and if your concerned there are also floppy/media readers available which will allow you to have the best of both worlds. This one is pretty expensive, I've seen them much cheaper but just to give you an idea http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
January 6, 2008 5:22:14 PM

I agree with StevieD, as long as you have one floating around somewhere in your house, just install it if and when you need it.
a b G Storage
January 6, 2008 5:36:57 PM

If you have one, and the motherboard has a place to plug it in, why not install it? It doesn't bother anything. Just disable it in the boot order and disable floppy seek. You will never know it's there unless you do need it for something.
January 6, 2008 6:59:15 PM

I guess I'm just going to avoid the floppy. If I end up needing one, I'll worry about it when the time arrises.
January 6, 2008 8:02:00 PM

My poppy drive is the best investment I ever made. Cooking up heroin is kind of a pain in the ass, but it's sooooooo worth it.
January 6, 2008 10:52:06 PM

Can't really see a reason not to get one. Ther're $6 or $7, don't detract from the appearance, don't use connectors that can be used for anything else, and you can always get a round data cable if you're worried about hear or appearance.
January 8, 2008 8:37:35 AM

I'd get a floppy disk drive. When i had my computer built to my custom spec, I made a point of having a FDD. There abt $5-10, or ~20 for one that includes a media card reader on its faceplate.

Some hardware needs floppies for flashing, bios updates, and for windows xp drivers if you don't slipstream them.

Also very useful, when your trying out DOS apps, as its a waste to burn a new CD-R every time e.g. memtest, dban, ms-dos, wd diagnostics, windows memory diagnostic, nvidia card bios flasher
January 8, 2008 9:52:56 AM

Hi,

best of all :

buy a floppy usb.

It's cheap, and nearly all new motherboard can boot from them.

Just use it when needed, on any system.

Brad
January 8, 2008 10:43:08 AM

So far, all my builds use a floppy. They seem so tiny in the information that they store, yet there are lots of times that I find one handy. Whether its flashing a BIOS, running memtest, or just transfering a small file from one computer to another, I think they still have their uses.
January 8, 2008 11:07:33 AM

just get it. u wont lose anything. n it might come to help u later on.
a b G Storage
January 8, 2008 11:14:53 AM

RAID drivers. Nuf said :p 
January 8, 2008 12:37:08 PM

djbrad007 said:
Hi,

best of all :

buy a floppy usb.

It's cheap, and nearly all new motherboard can boot from them.

Just use it when needed, on any system.

Brad


Bingo...get a USB floppy. Its easy, cheap, & bootable. Sony (and perhaps others) even make 'em that read/write @ 2X so they're only 1/2 as slow. ...and when you don't want to look at its yesteryear-ness you can instantly put it away in a closet. ...but for RAID, etc. drivers you may find you need a floppy so I'd say a USB 2X floppy drive could be a good addition to your arsenal.
a b G Storage
January 8, 2008 1:23:43 PM

If you have it already, I say might as well. I still find floppies quite useful, but then again, I still install and mess around with the 9X family of Windows which require a floppy boot disk. If you don't have one, get a card reader/floppy drive. Here's one for $19:

http://www.newegg.com/product/product.asp?item=N82E1682...
January 8, 2008 1:30:02 PM

There is realy no need for FDD, i didnt used it in last 5 years.
Older windows do need driver for some SATA/SCSI/RAID controler they dont know (if you want to instal system on it), but this can be fixed adding driver directly on instalation CD (for example nlite can do it for you).

Its almost simple, nlite will extract instalation files from CD and you can modify many things in it, add or remove components/ etc then save changes, burn it and you are ready to go.
a b G Storage
January 8, 2008 1:30:02 PM

I used to put a floppy drive into my computers pretty much as a habit. Two laptops ago, I got a USB floppy drive. It gets used enough (5 - 6 times a year) that I'm glad I have one.
January 9, 2008 4:05:54 AM

I haven't actually used a floppy disk, floppy drive, or anything floppy related in about five years. They hold the minimal amount of information, and are very easy to corrupt. If my computer takes a dump on me, and needs drives or a boot disk, I'll go to a brick and mortar and pick one up.

You know, it's funny, I can remember when I thought 3.5" floppies were the shiz-nasty. This was around the time they were displacing 5.25" floppies (ie: the ones that were actually floppy). Must have been about 15 years ago now. I used to use floppies all the time, but with the advent of email attachments, cheap CD burners, and (best of all) USB flash drives, I see no place for them. Outmoded is an understatement.

I do have some old documents on floppies that I'd like to recover. God only knows if the information is still intact. I'll make that my project for tomorrow...
January 9, 2008 8:39:07 AM

I loaded windows vista onto floppies because I LOVE to switch the floppies out all the time. Just because it takes me 18 hours to boot up doesn't mean a thing...

Ok, just joking, but can you imagine loading an OS now from floppy, such as was the standard back in the day? ROFL!!!!
January 9, 2008 9:03:21 AM

using raid arrays/ide/sata cards for system disk?

yes = get one
no = loose it

usb sticks for everything else
January 9, 2008 2:47:12 PM

Nah, I haven't the need, nor the desire to run any form of RAID.
January 9, 2008 3:11:38 PM

Check out the mobo your going to buy, see if its have a windows bios update. And if your going to use Vista then you don't need a floppy for raid drivers. You can just use a thumbdrive flashdrive w/e u wanna call it.
January 9, 2008 3:43:34 PM

If you need a floppy to flash a BIOS or update firmware:

1) Use a Virtual Floppy Drive:
http://chitchat.at.infoseek.co.jp/vmware/vfd.html

2) Create virtual floppy drive.

3) Save image.

4) Burn to CD's boot sector. Most burning utilities have some type of "Make bootable" functionality.

5) ?????

6) Profit!

If you need to use one to F6 any SATA or SCSI drivers, then you're better off slipstreaming said drivers to your OS installation source.

Occasionally, you'll run into some poorly written drivers that totally break your OS installation if they're slipstreamed, but work like a charm if F6'd from a floppy. In those cases, buy a USB external floppy drive.

From Windows Vista onward, this shouldn't be a problem anymore.

I'm not sure about Linux or Macs, though...
January 9, 2008 3:57:28 PM

I'll be running Vista, so all the more reason to shun the floppies. In fact, last night was the first time I've used a floppy in years. This thread reminded me that I had some old documents saved to a few floppies I stashed away back when Clinton was president. I jumped on my brother's machine, the only floppy comp in the house.

He got a laugh out of the whole thing. He's had his computer for just shy of two years now, and apparently I'm the first one to use the floppy drive. They worked though, for what that's worth. For the better part of a decade I've had those floppies thrown in the back of a drawer, and they worked. LoL...it took about a minute a megabyte to rip data from the floppy to the desktop.

...I can't help but feel a pang of regret. Those three disks were the last remnants of a bygone era, and now they're resting comfortably in the bottom of my trash can. Oh well, such is the nature of progress.
January 9, 2008 4:02:48 PM

it is good to have a Floppy, you never know when its gonna save your life or when you gonna use it.
January 9, 2008 4:06:43 PM

When it's going to save my life? Is there some Chuck Norris edition floppy drive that I'm unaware of?
January 9, 2008 4:34:48 PM

I remember when I used to ZIP up mp3's files into 1.4 meg chunks, and span -1- song across 3/4 floppy disks... ohhh how much fun that was. I haven't used a floppy disk since the 90's, except for when I built my current rig and needed to install raid drivers. I say avoid the floppy drive like the plague, you really do not need it. esp with 4gb usb keys going for $20/$30

January 19, 2008 4:31:41 PM

it depends on if you will ever need to flash a bios or something like that from it and thats the only option and i would try to salvage one from an old rig instead of wasting money if your motherboard supports it go for a flashdrive since they have alot more storage and are 1) smaller and 2)work with any computer that has a usb port which is 99.999999% of them
January 19, 2008 4:52:07 PM

The only reason that you need a floppy is to load raid drivers in Windows XP or lower.
Unless you have an older motherboard where you need to update the bios and a boot floppy is the only way to do it.
Me I use the Mitsumi floppy card reader on all my builds it's cheap and gives you and easy way to read media cards on the computer.
a c 115 G Storage
January 19, 2008 6:18:55 PM

Floppy Drives are kinda like a spare tire in the trunk. You don't need it .....well..... until you need it. I haven't used one in at least 12 years, but 13 years ago I did get a flat on a lonely 2 laner, out of cell phone range and in -10 degree weather. Sure was glad I had that spare tire then.

I had a friend build an all SATA XP system with no floppy a year or so ago and when he tried to load XP SP1 he couldn't ..... no floppy available to load the SATA driver so he called me and we flew over to Compuseless and grabbed one of those 20-in-1 card reader / floppy combos and a round floppy cable....we left with change from a $20 bill.

To me its like building a $3,000 gaming system w/o buying a UPS. "I never needed it in 5 years" sounds kinda hollow when lightning strikes or a branch falls on the power line outside ya house and fries the bugger.
January 19, 2008 6:45:04 PM

I'm not sure I bout the floppy. I know my girlfriend doesn't like floppy!
Ryan
January 20, 2008 11:44:05 PM

People. USB floppy drives are cheap. It's not even worth the discussion. Sheesh. Get one, you may need it. If you don't its not like you wasted $100. If you don't ever use it you'll have an unused USB floppy...the world won't end.
January 21, 2008 12:16:00 AM

I have floppy drives in all my systems, as a computer tech I still have customers or friends that sometimes need access to floppy's.
Having said that I have sold stacks of computers in the last 2 years and only 2 (customer orders) that have had floppy's in them. In most cases nobody needs them or wants them.
January 21, 2008 2:17:03 PM

I'm a fan of the combo drive. Got mine as a combo deal for about $20. Prior to this last build I hadn't used floppy in more than 5 years, but with Raid and some apps like memtest it is a simple thing to install and run by floppy. Yes, it can be done other ways but I am a simple caveman who doesn't like wasting time figuring out how to avoid the floppy.
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