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    Lounger nzo's Avatar
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    How to manage floppy drive programs on PC without floppy drive?

    Hi all,
    This topic comes and bites me in the bum periodically. What I'd like is to have some way of transferring the data currently on various bootable floppies to a USB stick so I can still boot these programs in an XP SP3 machine without a floppy drive.

    I've tried to inform myself on the web. Some give this advice, some give that advice - it's difficult to know how to find my way through this forest.

    I don't want to burn a disk image of each floppy I have to a CD/DVD, so what possibilities are there of using a USB stick to boot the various programs and what would I have to reconfigure to get it to work?

    Thank you very much for your help!

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    Sounds like all you would need to do is install the program on a bootable USB drive, and set your computer, in BIOS, to recognise bootable USB sticks.
    Most BIOS's also have a function button you can press that allows you to select a boot device.

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    I haven’t been able to figure out yet how you could transfer bootable programs on floppy disks onto a bootable USB flash drive without an imaging program/procedure

    Since you say you don’t want to burn a disk image of each floppy to a CD that tells me you still have the PC on which you can use those floppy disks so would you consider the following ideas?
    --- Remove the floppy drive from that computer and install it into the XP SP3 computer or connect it externally
    --- Or buy an external floppy drive to connect to the XP SP3 computer
    --- That way you can at least use those floppy disks with their programs & data as you have been providing they are compatible with XP

    Then see what it would take to transfer the programs & data to a bootable USB flash drive from there
    --- However, without an imaging program/procedure I do not see how that can be accomplished
    --- What are the programs and how many are there?
    --- Maybe there are modern versions of those programs you can install on the XP SP3 PC or even onto a flash drive
    --- It might cost to get the modern version but that’s the trade-off you would need to consider

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    Bronze Lounger DrWho's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by nzo View Post
    Hi all,
    This topic comes and bites me in the bum periodically. What I'd like is to have some way of transferring the data currently on various bootable floppies to a USB stick so I can still boot these programs in an XP SP3 machine without a floppy drive.

    I've tried to inform myself on the web. Some give this advice, some give that advice - it's difficult to know how to find my way through this forest.

    I don't want to burn a disk image of each floppy I have to a CD/DVD, so what possibilities are there of using a USB stick to boot the various programs and what would I have to reconfigure to get it to work?

    Thank you very much for your help!
    I've been doing what you ask, for several years now. It IS a multi-step process but it's not really difficult.

    Of course you need a PC with a floppy drive to read the original floppy disks.
    Next you need a little utility from HP that allows you to format a Flash Drive, utilizing the 3 boot files from the floppy.
    First, download and install the Utility.
    https://www.box.com/s/ug2xqy1m7xp27avqmeg2

    Then once you format the Flash drive, using the boot files from the Floppy, copy the rest of the files from the Floppy Disk to the Flash Drive.

    The nice thing is, you can add and remove programs and files from the Flash Drive just like you would the floppy disk, only most Flash Drives are much larger. I have several Flash Drives set up with programs that I used to use from a Floppy Disk.

    If you need more details, drop me a PM.

    Good Luck!
    The Doctor

    PS: If you have a CD burning program like "Nero", you can create a bootable CD from a Bootable Flash Drive.
    I've done that too, because many PC's can't be booted up from a Flash Drive.
    Experience is truly the best teacher.

    Backup! Backup! Backup! GHOST Rocks!

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    Quote Originally Posted by DrWho View Post
    The nice thing is, you can add and remove programs and files from the Flash Drive just like you would the floppy disk, only most Flash Drives are much larger. I have several Flash Drives set up with programs that I used to use from a Floppy Disk.
    Hey Doc,
    I have a question...When installing XP , the F6 option wants input from a floppy ...To install Drivers etc. ... Could this "Tweak" ( flash drive ) be used to simulate a "Floppy" ? Regards Fred
    PlainFred

    None are so hopelessly enslaved as those who falsely believe they are free (J. W. Von Goethe)

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    Quote Originally Posted by Just Plain Fred View Post
    When installing XP , the F6 option wants input from a floppy ...To install Drivers etc. ... Could this "Tweak" ( flash drive ) be used to simulate a "Floppy" ?
    No, it won't. The utility Doc linked to is merely one of several ways to make a flash drive bootable, but that's it's only focus. It doesn't make a flash drive appear to be a floppy.

    The F6 option in XP-Setup looks only for a floppy in drive A: (and possibly drive B:, though I haven't tested that). A flash drive, bootable or not, typically shows up as a hard drive--i.e., drive C: or higher. F6 doesn't look there.

    Also note the F6 option doesn't care whether the medium is bootable. It doesn't need to be bootable, it just needs to hold the SATA driver files so they can be retrieved when F6 goes looking for them. You can copy the driver files to a flash drive but unless that flash drive shows up as A: or B: then F6 won't find them.

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    KerteszAdam (2013-05-12)

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    Quote Originally Posted by dg1261 View Post
    No, it won't.
    The F6 option in XP-Setup looks only for a floppy in drive A: (and possibly drive B:, though I haven't tested that). A flash drive, bootable or not, typically shows up as a hard drive--i.e., drive C: or higher. F6 doesn't look there.

    Also note the F6 option doesn't care whether the medium is bootable. It doesn't need to be bootable, it just needs to hold the SATA driver files so they can be retrieved when F6 goes looking for them. You can copy the driver files to a flash drive but unless that flash drive shows up as A: or B: then F6 won't find them.
    dg,
    Hello.. Thanks for the clarification ... If you were to place "SATA Drivers" on a flash drive and label it "A:" ..... ( also format the flash drive FAT32) would that work? Regards Fred
    PlainFred

    None are so hopelessly enslaved as those who falsely believe they are free (J. W. Von Goethe)

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    Super Moderator bbearren's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Just Plain Fred View Post
    dg,
    Hello.. Thanks for the clarification ... If you were to place "SATA Drivers" on a flash drive and label it "A:" ..... ( also format the flash drive FAT32) would that work? Regards Fred
    I've tried that on a couple of PC's, and it wouldn't work. Seems that the XP installer queries the floppy controller directly. The only luck I've had with SATA drivers and XP was using nLite to roll them into an installation disk. That worked just fine.

    Of course, with a floppy drive, F6 works just fine, also.
    Last edited by bbearren; 2013-05-03 at 10:53. Reason: clarity
    Create a fresh drive image before making system changes, in case you need to start over!

    "The problem is not the problem. The problem is your attitude about the problem. Savvy?"—Captain Jack Sparrow "When you're troubleshooting, start with the simple and proceed to the complex."—M.O. Johns "Experience is what you get when you're looking for something else."—Sir Thomas Robert Deware.
    Unleash Windows

  11. #9
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    I would save the boot floppies as ISO images, as a backup, then you can create bootable USB devices or CDs as required.

    Tools Required (free, of course)
    CDBurnerXP - create floppy images, save ISOs, burn bootable CDs.
    Rufus - create bootable USB devices from ISO images, or direct.

    Create ISO
    1. Run CDBurnerXP and select Data disc.
    2. Select Disc > Boot options.
    3. Tick Make Disk Bootable.
    4. Click Create floppy image > Create image.
    5. When the image is ready select File > Save compilation as ISO file.
    6. Backup your newly created ISOs.

    Create USB
    1. Run Rufus.
    2. Select the ISO Image drop down and choose the ISO you require.
    3. Click Start to create the USB.

    cheers, Paul

  12. #10
    Lounger nzo's Avatar
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    Thanks Paul. It may be silly but burning a CD for each of around 12 to 15 floppies seems a bit wasteful. Is there no other way of doing this?

  13. #11
    Bronze Lounger DrWho's Avatar
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    Going all the way back, to the premise of this thread,,,, for a long time, when new computers started coming out without floppy drives, I carried a New USB Floppy Disk Drive with me on every service call.

    I sold a pot full of those little drives to people who had just bought a new PC, that came with NO floppy drive installed.
    It seemed like everyone had some old floppies with family pictures or some data that they still wanted to be able to access.

    Flash Drives are a lot like floppy disks, but hold hundreds of times more data, so transferring floppies to flash drives is a good way to preserve old data. Floppies DO Forget, after a period of time and some brands forget even faster than others.

    I have a program, that makes a self restoring image file from a floppy disk. Back in the day, I've emailed those images to people all over the world. All they had to do was run the image (an .exe) file and it would rebuild the original floppy to a new disk.
    That was Great, for sharing files over a long distance.

    My main PC, my backup PC and my backup to my backup all have Floppy Disk Drives in them. I use floppies often.

    Cheers Mates!
    The Doctor
    Experience is truly the best teacher.

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  14. #12
    Lounger nzo's Avatar
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    I like your sig Dr.Who - Ghost Is Great!

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    burning a CD for each of around 12 to 15 floppies seems a bit wasteful
    You save the ISO file on your PC and if you ever need a boot floppy you burn the ISO to a CD and boot from that.

    cheers, Paul

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    Lounger nzo's Avatar
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    Dr.Who: Thanks so much for your superb help with my OP. I've been having fun using WinImage to extract data from my floppy library, compressing them and converting them to self-extract.

    One question: with all the floppies I've copied for eventual transfer to a USB stick, there are a lot of what look like duplicate files, i.e. autoexec.bat, command.com etc. I imagine some of that data relates only to the floppy from which it came. Would I not be better to create a folder on the USB stick for each floppy and then type in the path to folder plus exe at boot time, rather than keep all the data from all the floppies mixed up in the root of the USB?

    How does all that hang together?

  17. #15
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    You can't tell a floppy to boot from different directories, but you can customize the boot files config.sys and autoexec.bat. Personally I'd stick to one image per floppy, it's much easier and always works.

    cheers, Paul

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