VOGONS


Do I really need a floppy drive?

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First post, by RedCharles

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I feel like I should have one. But I can't figure out what I would need it for.

Reply 2 of 20, by dionb

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You might get into trouble with some installers/auto-extractors/disk creators that absolutely insist on running from or to A:

Complete pain in the rear-end but they exist.

Of course, you don't need a real floppy drive to solve that, a Gotek works just as well, if not better,

Reply 3 of 20, by ShovelKnight

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dionb wrote on 2020-11-22, 21:39:

Of course, you don't need a real floppy drive to solve that, a Gotek works just as well, if not better,

Yes. I keep several empty blank images on my Gotek (with FlashFloppy firmware) for this very reason.

I have a real floppy drive in this machine as well, mostly because I like the floppy boot seek sound, but I don't even own any floppies.

Last edited by ShovelKnight on 2020-11-22, 21:59. Edited 4 times in total.

Reply 4 of 20, by SodaSuccubus

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+1 for the Gotek. Easy to setup with flashfloppy and unlike most floppy drives, it's reliable and won't die on you if ya bump it akwardly.

The only floppy drives worth having for the sake of having IMO are the 5.25" ones. But that's just because they feel so old and unique.

Reply 6 of 20, by Horun

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Depends on what you are thinking of putting it in. If an XT, 286, 386 or early 486 then yes you will most likely need one. A Pentium or P2 you could go Gotek or floppy even if you think you can get by with just a CDROM. Thumb drives just do not work well in most anything below a P3 from my experience......
And yes the floppy seek sound at boot is what makes a good vintage computer 😀

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Reply 7 of 20, by brian105

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Horun wrote on 2020-11-23, 06:02:

Depends on what you are thinking of putting it in. If an XT, 286, 386 or early 486 then yes you will most likely need one. A Pentium or P2 you could go Gotek or floppy even if you think you can get by with just a CDROM. Thumb drives just do not work well in most anything below a P3 from my experience......
And yes the floppy seek sound at boot is what makes a good vintage computer 😀

USB drives work on my K6-2 machine, though 98 definitely needs a few tweaks to use them properly. Also whenever I plug in a USB stick the USB mouse stops working and it has to be replugged. I imagine 2000 and ME would have much better USB support, but 2000 might be too heavy for some P2 class machines.

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Reply 8 of 20, by hwh

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I have one and it doesn't work! I do feel that I need it, however.

Of course, if you just don't know what to do with it, I guess, I mean, your goal isn't to build a "vintage computer."

Reply 10 of 20, by gex85

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I use regular 3.5" floppy drives in every machine up to P4 / Athlon XP. They come in handy when flashing the BIOS, for diagnostics or transferring drivers to a newly installed OS and for these use cases I find them to be relatively hassle-free. So I do use them on a regular basis. I have a USB floppy drive hooked up to my main Windows 10 PC to prepare the disks which still works well enough.
If you feel that these use cases don't apply to you, the only reason to get a floppy drive would be the authentic looks...

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Reply 11 of 20, by manos426f

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gex85 wrote on 2020-11-23, 07:50:

I use regular 3.5" floppy drives in every machine up to P4 / Athlon XP. They come in handy when flashing the BIOS, for diagnostics or transferring drivers to a newly installed OS and for these use cases I find them to be relatively hassle-free. So I do use them on a regular basis.

Same here!

Reply 12 of 20, by chinny22

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If you have multiple PC's it's 100% worth it, I'm also a Gotek user but just with stock firmware.

Same as most people here I mostly use it for driver disks. Either BIOS updates or NIC drivers after which point it can get everything else off the network, or SATA drivers for WinXP install's.
If I was tight on money I'd just use the 1 drive and move it from PC to PC as after the machine is up and running it hardly gets used.
(I also keep a copy of the drivers on a separate partition once owning a PC for a while)

but for the small cost I put them in all my reto pc's, gives me options.

and yeh also have a few PC's that also have a real FDD just for that sound at start up 😉

Reply 13 of 20, by Hoping

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I use floppy drives on every machine that has an 32bit or 16 bit OS (on 64 bit OS I've had problems because of the lack of 16bit support I think), floppy disks are the basic file transfer system for me for drivers, bios, and of course games on older systems.

Reply 14 of 20, by shock__

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Mostly use them as slot covers on my machines these days.
Occasionally use the 3.5" for writing disks for another platform, but don't think I've ever used the 5.25" one in my builds.

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Reply 15 of 20, by Mister Xiado

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The bigger argument is, do you legitimately need a computer at all? If you're not concerned about need, then it's about want. I prefer to have floppy drives, provided the system can support one without a needlessly costly solution. GOTEK is the "ultimate" floppy drive, but it doesn't feel legitimate, in spite of its superior functionality and reliability. It lacks... romance. It's a crying shame that there are apparently no PICe floppy controllers. I'm on my first computer with no floppy drive, but I still have a USB floppy drive just in case.

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Reply 16 of 20, by konc

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As most people wrote before me, if you don't have a use for it then you don't need it.
It's a personal thing, for example for me even a gotek is not enough as I want to write disks for home computers.

Reply 17 of 20, by Tetrium

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SVD wrote on 2020-11-22, 22:06:

You need a floppy drive for the classic floppy seek sound under boot 😉

^This! =)

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Reply 18 of 20, by Tetrium

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Hoping wrote on 2020-11-23, 11:03:

I use floppy drives on every machine that has an 32bit or 16 bit OS (on 64 bit OS I've had problems because of the lack of 16bit support I think), floppy disks are the basic file transfer system for me for drivers, bios, and of course games on older systems.

Floppies were always around back then and basically always worked (provided no malfunction or anything).
Later on I moved towards USB ZIP drives though as these could move much larger files and worked with WinME out of the box, so no extra drivers needed =)
But I'd still install a standard floppy drive, if only because it does help with troubleshooting sometimes. The floppy seek sound is a part of this process for me.
People who've been in this hobby for a longer time will probably not need to purchase a 1.44MB floppy drive anyway. In such cases there isn't usually much reason to omit it.

64bit Windows may support the USB versions of the (super) floppies. I know my USB ZIP drive worked fine with Win7 =)

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Reply 19 of 20, by ultimate386

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I still use 3.5" floppies on a somewhat regular basis. Usually it's a boot disk or driver disk for something I'm troubleshooting and/or testing. A USB floppy drive has a semi-permanent home next to my modern rig. I could probably do everything just as well with a Gotek (and, in fact, I just ordered my second Gotek for an upcoming build), but I doubt I'll get away from disks 100% in my lifetime.

On a side note, I recently obtained a NOS PATA SuperDisk drive (dumb luck find at a thrift store). I'm really hoping it will work on a PATA->SATA adapter in my modern rig!

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