Is there any such thing as a 5.25 external USB floppy drive?

By Locrian_Lyric ·
I have a customer who's equipment got destroyed during Hurricane Sandy. All of his software was on 5.25 floppy disks, is there any equipment I can hook up to a 5.25 to make it work with a new (windows computer? I know that once I can get the software setup, I can run DOSbox to run the software, but how do I get around the hardware issue?

This conversation is currently closed to new comments.

Thread display: Collapse - | Expand +

All Answers

Collapse -

Not knowing what the replacement hardware consists of,

makes it a bit difficult, but I'll make a suggestion. You might be able to find a PCI to ISA
converter card for the new motherboard, if so you could then insert an old ISA controller
card for a 5.25 inch floppy drive and access the floppies this way. Alternatively, and this
may be more feasible, find an older PC, could probably find a freebie somewhere, that
either has, or you could install one in, a 5.25 in floppy drive. I keep a couple of these
upstairs in my tech-graveyard, hehe, just for these types of emergencies. I've also got
a few ISA NIC cards that I could use to network the old beasts if needed.
Other than that, you might be able to find some sort of connector online, maybe
search Amazon or eBay?? However, I'm not sure on this since the technologies are
so far removed from each other. You might also look into the feasibility of copying the
data on those 5.25 in floppies to another media format.
Does the replacement equipment have an IDE controller? If it does, you could be able
to buy an IDE cable for a 5.25 in floppy drive and use the drive in a spare drive bay.
That's all the ideas I have at the moment...good luck!

Collapse -

Parallel Port

by TheChas In reply to Is there any such thing a ...

The last 5.25" external drive I saw connected up to a parallel port.

I would need to dig, but I think I still have an IBM PS/2 external 5.25" drive in the box.

I also have an old 386 system that should boot up that does have a 5.25" drive in it.

ebay is the only place I found any drives for sale. All the controllers I saw were ISA bus though.

Best bet would be to check with computer recycling and resale companies in your area.


Collapse -

Reponse To Answer

by wizard57m_cnet Moderator In reply to Parallel Port

My old IBM PS2 is a Model5500, 386 based, but the diskette drive is 3.5 in
not 5.25. The issue with the IBM PS2 gear is it is all "MCA", MicroChannel
Architecture, and not really compatible with "AT" based machines.
Somewhere in my graveyard is a couple of 386 chips, another SX CPU and 387 FPU!

Collapse -

Reponse To Answer

by TheChas In reply to Parallel Port

What I have in the box is an EXTERNAL 5.25" Floppy drive for a PS/2.
Not a PS/2 system.

I think it is a parallel port connection, but I would need to dig out the box and verify.

I bought it as surplus over 10 years ago.


Collapse -

Caution: IDE != floppy

by r_widell In reply to Is there any such thing a ...

re. the suggestion by wizard57m-cnet:
IDE cables have 40 pin connectors whereas IIRC floppies have 34 pins. They are not equivalent.

While I concur with TheChas that external 5.25" drives (that I remember) all connected via the parallel port, that probably won't help with a new machine that doesn't have such a port. Moreover, it would require a special driver which will likely only run under MS-DOS.

I seem to recall some PCI add-in cards (sold by SIIG IIRC) which had IDE and floppy ports. You may be able to find one on eBay. You won't have a true "external" floppy drive, but you can temporarily leave the case open and run the cables out the side.

I also have serious concerns as to whether Win8 even knows how to talk to a floppy drive (I haven't tried it). You may need to run some Linux LiveCD to get the hardware to work.


Collapse -

Reponse To Answer

by wizard57m_cnet Moderator In reply to Caution: IDE != floppy

Which is why I said IDE for floppy and not hard drive. The other problem
which I too overlooked is the power supply cable. Depending on the
model, the PSU in the new equipment might not even have a power
connector for any floppy drive. So there is another obstacle. Might
be able to find an adapter, haven't checked myself, which is why I keep
a couple of functioning older systems on hand. Then if needed I can
use a NIC card and connect it to the network.

Collapse -

Reponse To Answer

by OH Smeg Moderator In reply to Caution: IDE != floppy

Ron Win 8 can read a 3.5 Floppy as my Test Rig has one in it that I loaded 8 to and it shows up in My Computer or whatever 8 calls that now. I have copied files to the drive though it was more to see what would happen than anything else and 8 could read the floppy that it made. I'm not sure about reading disc's made on older platforms but I can see no reason why it wouldn't. Though running the program that is on these disc's is another story and I very much doubt that it would even come close to working.

As a 5.25 Floppy uses the same connection I would hazard a guess that 8 would be able to read the floppy but depending on what is actually on the floppy that in itself may not be enough as the program that is attempting to be accessed may not run on 8.

This is why it is very important to verify that whatever you have as a Backup Option actually works as it should and is restorable to new hardware in the event of a total loss of the existing hardware.


Collapse -

Reponse To Answer

by info In reply to Caution: IDE != floppy

@Wizard57: That was the point. The IDE controller isn't what connects to the floppy drive, it's a separate controller (that was often on the same card) and a separate type of cable.

Collapse -

I saw a few some years back for laptops as USB 1.0 - but I think you may be

by Deadly Ernest In reply to Is there any such thing a ...

better off using an old machine with a 5.25 floppy and CD burner to copy all the programs onto CDs to fix this now and for the future.

The USB Floppy I saw was:

Imation USB floppy drive, model 01946

do a google, you may find one for sale.

I got some old gear that works and have 5.25 floppies, but I've not tried using the floppies for several years.

Collapse -
by magicbbs In reply to Is there any such thing a ...

They have at the bottom of their page that there is no such animal ... Aaaarrgh!!
I'm looking for one two and I thought I try again to see if they had something.

"Need to read 5.25 floppies?
There is no USB drive for 5.25 inch floppy disks.
But, we can transfer data from your floppies"

Will keep trying. If I find one I'll pass on the info.

Related Discussions

Related Forums