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First post, by CraigAB69

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Hi,

I can't seem to find the external Floppy emulator that goes from the USB on the PC to the floppy emulator.

There are plenty that have the floppy cable connection, but I can't seem to find one that has the USB connection.

I see that Phils Computer lab uses it, but the link to Ali express, on youTube, does not seem to return anything.
Ebay has plenty of the FDC versions. Just not the USB version.

GoTek seem to only sell the FDC version.

Any suggestions?

Regards,
Craig

“Wyrd bið ful āræd. Fate is inexorable.”

Reply 1 of 12, by LSS10999

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Gotek floppy emulator is for use cases that requires a FDC connection.

I think you're just talking about front panel USB hubs. On some PCs there are actually options to specify USB storage device as floppy or maybe other stuffs (like CDROM, ZIP) on a per-device basis.

But usually you'd be using USB as-is and do the emulation on software level via bootloaders (like GRUB). Some bootloaders already have the ability to load floppy images.

EDIT: I might have gotten it wrong. Are you referring to a 5.25/3.5 inch floppy drive that goes to USB instead of FDC? If it's about that... well... there are some external USB 3.5 inch floppy drives, just not internal ones.

Last edited by LSS10999 on 2022-06-15, 02:28. Edited 2 times in total.

Reply 2 of 12, by darry

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CraigAB69 wrote on 2022-06-15, 02:01:
Hi, […]
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Hi,

I can't seem to find the external Floppy emulator that goes from the USB on the PC to the floppy emulator.

There are plenty that have the floppy cable connection, but I can't seem to find one that has the USB connection.

I see that Phils Computer lab uses it, but the link to Ali express, on youTube, does not seem to return anything.
Ebay has plenty of the FDC versions. Just not the USB version.

GoTek seem to only sell the FDC version.

Any suggestions?

Regards,
Craig

Using something like this https://www.aliexpress.com/item/1005001344597523.html (not an endorsement, just an example) along with a Gotek floppy emulator (or similar) should allow you to simulate a 1.44MB floppy USB floppy drive using only hardware, if that is what you want want/need .

If memory serves, some USB flash drive controllers chips from the likes of Phison could (still can ?) be reprogrammed to appear to a system as a USB floppy drive (or a USB CD/DD drive) backed by flash memory. This functionality was meant to be enabled by OEMs/manufacturers so end-user ability to this may not be easy .

Then there is the fact that most popular operating systems (Windows, Linux, MacOS, probably BSD variants) that are modern enough to handle USB storage also actually have the ability to mount/access/modify something like a floppy image either natively or through the use of free/inexpensive third party software. Consequently, using a strictly USB based solution is probably unnecessary for most use cases (maybe even yours, feel free to share more details), which explains why there isn't a multitude of all-in-one solutions available to do that .

Reply 3 of 12, by LSS10999

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Technically you can dd a floppy image or a CD image into a USB drive then use it like one, but you would unnecessarily waste spaces as you cannot use the rest of the disk that way.

I think you can consider using Ventoy. This is a game changer as it made dd-ing the images to the USB unnecessary. You just need to put the images you want to boot on the USB disk and that's it, and you can use all your disk space as usual.

Reply 4 of 12, by CraigAB69

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Sorry guys,

Honestly, I forget that I am dealing with technical people. I am so used to dumbing things down, that it has become a habbit. Sorry.

Ok, so I have a Dell D800. I can just copy most old software off the floppy image to a directory and install from there. But things like Microsoft C 7.0 wants to see the floppy disks (Images).

The D800 can see a USB floppy device so that works. So if I can use the emulator I can load all the floppy images on to a USB key and go from there.

Cheers,
Craig

Last edited by CraigAB69 on 2022-06-15, 03:07. Edited 1 time in total.

“Wyrd bið ful āræd. Fate is inexorable.”

Reply 5 of 12, by CraigAB69

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darry wrote on 2022-06-15, 02:17:

Using something like this https://www.aliexpress.com/item/1005001344597523.html (not an endorsement, just an example) along with a Gotek floppy emulator (or similar) should allow you to simulate a 1.44MB floppy USB floppy drive using only hardware, if that is what you want want/need .

That looks good. But being in China, it might take months to get here to Australia.

Cheers.

“Wyrd bið ful āræd. Fate is inexorable.”

Reply 6 of 12, by CraigAB69

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LSS10999 wrote on 2022-06-15, 02:35:

I think you can consider using Ventoy. This is a game changer as it made dd-ing the images to the USB unnecessary. You just need to put the images you want to boot on the USB disk and that's it, and you can use all your disk space as usual.

Very Interesting, not what I need at the moment. But still very useful.
Thanks for that.

Cheers.

“Wyrd bið ful āræd. Fate is inexorable.”

Reply 7 of 12, by darry

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CraigAB69 wrote on 2022-06-15, 02:53:
darry wrote on 2022-06-15, 02:17:

Using something like this https://www.aliexpress.com/item/1005001344597523.html (not an endorsement, just an example) along with a Gotek floppy emulator (or similar) should allow you to simulate a 1.44MB floppy USB floppy drive using only hardware, if that is what you want want/need .

That looks good. But being in China, it might take months to get here to Australia.

Cheers.

If you search for "1.44mb 3.5" floppy drive connector 34 pin 34p to usb cable adapter pcb board" on a certain auction site, you will find sellers located elsewhere, but probably for more $$$ .

Reply 9 of 12, by LSS10999

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CraigAB69 wrote on 2022-06-15, 02:50:
Sorry guys, […]
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Sorry guys,

Honestly, I forget that I am dealing with technical people. I am so used to dumbing things down, that it has become a habbit. Sorry.

Ok, so I have a Dell D800. I can just copy most old software off the floppy image to a directory and install from there. But things like Microsoft C 7.0 wants to see the floppy disks (Images).

The D800 can see a USB floppy device so that works. So if I can use the emulator I can load all the floppy images on to a USB key and go from there.

Cheers,
Craig

Actually there are several ways to achieve that, if what you need is to "mount" floppy images to install old software distributed in multiple disks.

1. Use a virtual floppy driver such as VFD to create a virtual A: and mount your images there, one by one, as instructed by the installer. Useful if the installation actually accesses A: regardless of where it was run, or it needs to access additional information in the disk image (such as the volume label, boot sector, or other data commonly used for copy protection purposes).

2. Extract each disk to separate folders and use the SUBST command to associate A: with the path where the floppy disk contents reside. Once you are done with one folder, use SUBST A: /D to delete the previous association then associate the next one. SUBST command has existed for quite a while, even Windows NT 3.51 has it. Note that depending on how the installation process work, if it was only designed to check the root of the drive letter it was run from, and not hardcoded to access A:, you may use whatever drive letter you want.

3. Some old Windows software actually expects files of each disk to be placed in folders like DISK1, DISK2, and so on. In that case, simply extract the disk contents to respective folders and the installer will pick them up without even prompting you to insert the next disk throughout the install process.

4. Some other software, namely ones that use InstallShield for installer, may behave the opposite to the case above. For InstallShield based installers you may need to put all the CAB files (e.g. data1.cab, data2.cab, ...) in the same folder for it to work, though it may allow you to manually specify where the files on the next disk are and it can be anywhere and does not have to be a floppy drive.

Reply 10 of 12, by CraigAB69

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LSS10999 wrote on 2022-06-15, 07:22:
Actually there are several ways to achieve that, if what you need is to "mount" floppy images to install old software distribute […]
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CraigAB69 wrote on 2022-06-15, 02:50:
Sorry guys, […]
Show full quote

Sorry guys,

Honestly, I forget that I am dealing with technical people. I am so used to dumbing things down, that it has become a habbit. Sorry.

Ok, so I have a Dell D800. I can just copy most old software off the floppy image to a directory and install from there. But things like Microsoft C 7.0 wants to see the floppy disks (Images).

The D800 can see a USB floppy device so that works. So if I can use the emulator I can load all the floppy images on to a USB key and go from there.

Cheers,
Craig

Actually there are several ways to achieve that, if what you need is to "mount" floppy images to install old software distributed in multiple disks.

1. Use a virtual floppy driver such as VFD to create a virtual A: and mount your images there, one by one, as instructed by the installer. Useful if the installation actually accesses A: regardless of where it was run, or it needs to access additional information in the disk image (such as the volume label, boot sector, or other data commonly used for copy protection purposes).

2. Extract each disk to separate folders and use the SUBST command to associate A: with the path where the floppy disk contents reside. Once you are done with one folder, use SUBST A: /D to delete the previous association then associate the next one. SUBST command has existed for quite a while, even Windows NT 3.51 has it. Note that depending on how the installation process work, if it was only designed to check the root of the drive letter it was run from, and not hardcoded to access A:, you may use whatever drive letter you want.

3. Some old Windows software actually expects files of each disk to be placed in folders like DISK1, DISK2, and so on. In that case, simply extract the disk contents to respective folders and the installer will pick them up without even prompting you to insert the next disk throughout the install process.

4. Some other software, namely ones that use InstallShield for installer, may behave the opposite to the case above. For InstallShield based installers you may need to put all the CAB files (e.g. data1.cab, data2.cab, ...) in the same folder for it to work, though it may allow you to manually specify where the files on the next disk are and it can be anywhere and does not have to be a floppy drive.

Thanks mate,
I'll investigate SUBST.
VFD doesn't work with Win 3.1, sorry I should have mentioned that.
The other way I got around it was to make a directory Disk1, Disk2, etc as you mentioned.

The other way I have been thinking around it, was to install Win 3.1 in a VM then format the D800, get it on the network, map a drive and copy everything across.

Cheers.

“Wyrd bið ful āræd. Fate is inexorable.”

Reply 11 of 12, by davidrg

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I've used a floppy emulator called E0X to install MS-DOS 6.22 over the LAN and it works pretty well - just mounts image files to A drive and you switch images with F10/F11. Probably won't work from inside Windows though but if there is a DOS installer available as well as the windows-based one it might be an option.

It would be a little surprising if there wasn't some way to install it without the floppies - NetWare was pretty well established by 1992 and Microsoft of course had their own OS/2-based network products. Surely any businesses installing this on a large number of PCs wouldn't have wanted to sit there feeding each PC 9 disks instead of just installing it from a network drive.

Reply 12 of 12, by OMORES

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How about an actual USB floppy? I use one from IBM, connected to my front USB, and it works perfectly in DOS and especially when I'm installing NT 3.1, 3.5, 4, 2000 etc. (DOS part) I can press F6 to load drivers, make a boot disk for NT 3.1 etc - like there is a real floppy at A:

This emulation is a BIOS treat..., it looks like AMI BIOSes are good at this, especially if your BIOS is 2010+.