What 3.5 inch floppy drive is works with all 3.5 inch disks?

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What 3.5 inch floppy drive is works with all 3.5 inch disks?

Postby PixelLogix » 2018-1-15 @ 01:58

I was thinking about adding a floppy drive to my PC and I was wondering what drive can be installed into my PC that works with all 3.5 inch disks. I've heard that SuperDisk drives work with Standard 1.44MB and 720KB drives, but not with 2.88MB disks. What drive works with all disks?
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Re: What 3.5 inch floppy drive is works with all 3.5 inch disks?

Postby Ozzuneoj » 2018-1-15 @ 01:59

I've personally never seen or used a 2.88MB disk. I wouldn't worry about it. Superdisk drives are awesome if you have a spare IDE connector.
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Re: What 3.5 inch floppy drive is works with all 3.5 inch disks?

Postby PixelLogix » 2018-1-15 @ 02:25

What about ZIP Disks, HiFD Disks, or "Floptical" Disks? Will those work in a SuperDisk drive?
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Re: What 3.5 inch floppy drive is works with all 3.5 inch disks?

Postby Auzner » 2018-1-15 @ 02:41

The most common drive supported 360K/720K/1.44MB. As such, that's also what published retail software disks were using. If the program was larger, they spanned multiple HD (1.44MB) disks.
What is your objective with reading "all 3.5 disks?"
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Re: What 3.5 inch floppy drive is works with all 3.5 inch disks?

Postby Ozzuneoj » 2018-1-15 @ 03:34

PixelLogix wrote:What about ZIP Disks, HiFD Disks, or "Floptical" Disks? Will those work in a SuperDisk drive?

Zip is not a floppy, I'm not sure what HiFD is and I don't think I've ever seen a floptical either.
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Re: What 3.5 inch floppy drive is works with all 3.5 inch disks?

Postby PixelLogix » 2018-1-15 @ 03:50

My objective is just to get a variety of disks to work to put game files on. Trust me, it's not monetary, it's just to store some games on. As for Ozzu:

1. The HiFD is a disk type released by Sony in 100 and 200MB versions.
2. I just found the term "floptical" while browsing the internet at random.
3. ZIP disks are compatible with 1.44MB disks, though, right?
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Re: What 3.5 inch floppy drive is works with all 3.5 inch disks?

Postby Auzner » 2018-1-15 @ 04:04

PixelLogix wrote:store some games

Is there an old system you're trying to restore? Someone's last will and testament is on a ZIP disk? Cold Fusion schematics are on a HiFD? A lost novel is on a 2.88MB? Why complicate things with floppy? Burning CDs will give you a larger range of compatibility (late 80s to present vs. early 80s to mid 90s). By the late 90s everything was on CD.
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Re: What 3.5 inch floppy drive is works with all 3.5 inch disks?

Postby PixelLogix » 2018-1-15 @ 04:18

To be completely honest, this is what I'm trying to do:

About a month ago, I bought this bundle on Steam that includes Ultimate Doom, Doom 2, Final Doom, and the Master Levels for Doom 2. I realized, when looking at the files, that the games were just the old files with a DOS emulator (DOSBox). I then downloaded DOSBox 0.74 and put each game in the A: drive. What I want to do now is just put the files onto a floppy disk of some sort and be able to plug the disks in and play, like an old DOS PC would. The thing is, the games I want to put on floppy disks (Doom, Quake, maybe some abandonware) are 15MB or more. That's why I was trying to get full compatibility: so that I could fit what types of games I want on many sizes of disk. I know CD and DVD is an option, but I don't like all that empty space on the CDs, as I have tried putting the games on CDs, and they're more prone to damage. If the game files go over 1 GB, i'll typically use a CD or DVD, but I want to try to stick to 3.5 or 5.25 if possible.
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Re: What 3.5 inch floppy drive is works with all 3.5 inch disks?

Postby cyclone3d » 2018-1-15 @ 04:27

PixelLogix wrote:My objective is just to get a variety of disks to work to put game files on. Trust me, it's not monetary, it's just to store some games on. As for Ozzu:

1. The HiFD is a disk type released by Sony in 100 and 200MB versions.
2. I just found the term "floptical" while browsing the internet at random.
3. ZIP disks are compatible with 1.44MB disks, though, right?


Zip disks/drives are in no way compatible with 1.44MB disks. And Zip disks/drives are horrible reliability wise. I can only imagine how bad they are 10+ years after they were actually being sold new.

Wanna save something.. oh sure, well I'll just erase the disk for you instead. Oh, you saved something on there and want to access it two days later.. good luck with that.
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Re: What 3.5 inch floppy drive is works with all 3.5 inch disks?

Postby cj_reha » 2018-1-15 @ 04:37

SuperDisk drives can read the LS-120 disks as well as regular 1.44/720K disks. I would not suggest trying other floptical media in it, it probably won't work and may damage the drive. And Zip disks aren't even the same size as regular floppies...

Like 99 percent of floppy media was put on bog standard 1.44/720k disks. I wouldn't worry too much about more obscure formats, and even if you do find some it would be rare.
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Re: What 3.5 inch floppy drive is works with all 3.5 inch disks?

Postby PixelLogix » 2018-1-15 @ 04:41

So a SuperDisk drive should be fine for a majority of formats? Also, I should try to find a floptical drive for myself, because of the disk's 21 MB size, which is good for Doom and Doom 2.
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Re: What 3.5 inch floppy drive is works with all 3.5 inch disks?

Postby Auzner » 2018-1-15 @ 04:46

PixelLogix wrote:I want to do now is just put the files onto a floppy disk of some sort and be able to plug the disks in and play, like an old DOS PC would. The thing is, the games I want to put on floppy disks (Doom, Quake, maybe some abandonware) are 15MB or more.

So you want older games stored and played on removable media that isn't modern. The approach here is anachronistic. You're in the wrong era for this with these games. Doom is from when software was archived across multiple disks (or CD) and installed to a hard drive. The hard drive was part of the requirements when they advertised the software. They weren't quite like console cartridge games then. Games played directly off of the floppy are from when computers had two 5.25" drives and no hard drive or a 10MB drive (1980s). Some early 90's games were like this as well on 3.5" or could go either way. But hard drives were so much faster that you always copied it over when you had the space.

CDs are 15 cents and they won't protest empty space. The floppy disk formats being discussed here are extinct and extremely rare. Games were not distributed commercially on ZIP or JAZ or 120MB or anything else. Those formats were for home document backups before CD burners became affordable and before people had cloud, home networks, wifi, and NAS in their homes. So 1.44MB is practically all there is for disks.

Of course it's all just data and you're free to do whatever you want and buy more stuff. One thing though is the read speed off of these drives may bottleneck the game's performance. Also your OS may not have a driver for the drive or its interface. There wasn't so much USB for these things back then. You're looking at SCSI, IDE, or Parallel. Newer PCs today don't have any of those interfaces so you will need an adapter.

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Re: What 3.5 inch floppy drive is works with all 3.5 inch disks?

Postby PixelLogix » 2018-1-15 @ 05:10

The approach here is anachronistic.


Isn't that the whole point of this forum group? Retro gaming is bound to be anachronistic unless using an emulator on modern hardware and software.

Doom is from when software was archived across multiple disks (or CD) and installed to a hard drive.


You mean like the many games from about 2004 to 2013-ish that used setup software spanning 3 or 4 CDs?

CDs are 15 cents and they won't protest empty space.


I just don't want all that empty space on CDs going to waste.

Games were not distributed commercially on ZIP or JAZ or 120MB or anything else.


These aren't for commercial use, however. These are personal disks.

your OS may not have a driver for the drive or its interface.


Are you referring to that the drivers won't work on modern machines, or that the drivers might be long gone?

You're looking at SCSI, IDE, or Parallel. Newer PCs today don't have any of those interfaces so you will need an adapter.


I do definitely know I will need an adapter. Is parallel to serial a thing?

I just want my PC set up like an older PC would: I want to try and run games without taking up too much storage on my hard drive and without all the empty space on the CDs.
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Re: What 3.5 inch floppy drive is works with all 3.5 inch disks?

Postby Auzner » 2018-1-15 @ 05:40

PixelLogix wrote:Retro gaming is bound to be anachronistic unless using an emulator on modern hardware and software.

Nobody ever gamed off of a superdisk. Just like in 1978 nobody worried about their computer being Y2K compliant. I get what you're trying to do but these formats were never a part of PC gaming history. You're trying to acquire hardware for a medium you don't have any of, to load games onto media they were never sold on. This journey is being treated like SD, SDHC, and SDXC cards and compatible readers but it's very different from that. Your Steam application installed is larger than all of those games combined. Good luck then.
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Re: What 3.5 inch floppy drive is works with all 3.5 inch disks?

Postby PixelLogix » 2018-1-15 @ 06:13

Alright
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Re: What 3.5 inch floppy drive is works with all 3.5 inch disks?

Postby derSammler » 2018-1-15 @ 10:12

While the SuperDisk / LS-120 is quite good on paper (can read DD/HD 3.5" disks as well as the LS media), it's reliability is even worse than Zip100. For Zip100, the reliability is of no importance to me, since I only use it for transfering files, not for storage. But if you intend to play games from a SuperDisk, you'll end up with headaches. Mind you, I bought these drives when they were new. They all failed within weeks of usage. First they start to no longer accepting LS-120 disks at first try, so you have to insert it several times to make it recognize the media. Shortly after, it will no longer recognize LS-120 disks at all. Interestingly, no drive ever failed to recognize standard 3.5" disks - so the laser tracking is apparently its week point.

But as for the very first question: there is no drive that can read all 3.5" disk formats. There were four: DD, HD, ED, and Mode 3. The latter stored 1.2 MB and was mainly used in Japan. ED is completely irrelevant. It never had any success and 2.88 MB disks are expensive as hell. So you really don't need to care about anything but DD/HD.
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Re: What 3.5 inch floppy drive is works with all 3.5 inch disks?

Postby Ozzuneoj » 2018-1-15 @ 16:53

derSammler wrote:While the SuperDisk / LS-120 is quite good on paper (can read DD/HD 3.5" disks as well as the LS media), it's reliability is even worse than Zip100. For Zip100, the reliability is of no importance to me, since I only use it for transfering files, not for storage. But if you intend to play games from a SuperDisk, you'll end up with headaches. Mind you, I bought these drives when they were new. They all failed within weeks of usage. First they start to no longer accepting LS-120 disks at first try, so you have to insert it several times to make it recognize the media. Shortly after, it will no longer recognize LS-120 disks at all. Interestingly, no drive ever failed to recognize standard 3.5" disks - so the laser tracking is apparently its week point.

But as for the very first question: there is no drive that can read all 3.5" disk formats. There were four: DD, HD, ED, and Mode 3. The latter stored 1.2 MB and was mainly used in Japan. ED is completely irrelevant. It never had any success and 2.88 MB disks are expensive as hell. So you really don't need to care about anything but DD/HD.


I still have my original internal LS-120 from my 1999 Gateway G6-400 and the two starter disks it came with it. All still work perfectly and I've never had a problem with them. I remember my brother having a terrible time with the external Imation drives though.
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Re: What 3.5 inch floppy drive is works with all 3.5 inch disks?

Postby cyclone3d » 2018-1-15 @ 17:43

If you really want to just appear to run stuff the way it was back in the floppy drive days, you could just put a bunch of shortcuts on the floppy and then have the game files on your HDD or SSD.

Insert floppy, browse floppy, double click on the game shortcut for the game you want to run.

Completely gets rid of all this crazy disk size nonsense and will just work.

Never mind the fact that these games were almost always installed on the HDD back then anyway.
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Re: What 3.5 inch floppy drive is works with all 3.5 inch disks?

Postby Ozzuneoj » 2018-1-15 @ 19:36

cyclone3d wrote:If you really want to just appear to run stuff the way it was back in the floppy drive days, you could just put a bunch of shortcuts on the floppy and then have the game files on your HDD or SSD.

Insert floppy, browse floppy, double click on the game shortcut for the game you want to run.

Completely gets rid of all this crazy disk size nonsense and will just work.

Never mind the fact that these games were almost always installed on the HDD back then anyway.


This is the most logical way to accomplish what you're trying to do. Anything else would make the gaming experience worse, and since none of it is period-correct, doing the least detrimental thing that accomplishes your goal (inserting a floppy to play a game) is your best bet.

If you really want to relive the days of playing good games directly from floppy disks, you'll want to find a Tandy 1000 or some variant of 8bit Atari computer (like a 130xe) and play the games meant for those. Both systems usually had no hard drives (Tandy probably did in some versions) and would play games that looked more like NES games than like Doom. Anything more complex was simply never meant to be played without a hard drive.
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Re: What 3.5 inch floppy drive is works with all 3.5 inch disks?

Postby PixelLogix » 2018-1-15 @ 21:09

So with the way I'm trying to use them, either I'm stuck to 1.44MB 3.5 inch drives, or it's impossible to run games off any 3.5 inch drive?
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