Making modern computer see and work with 5¼" floppy drive

Posted on 2002-06-26
Last Modified: 2012-05-04
I have a large collection of classic adventure games that were published using 5¼" floppy diskettes. The computer I had that supported these disks has finally died of old age. I have two other computers but neither one has the 5¼" drive. One is a PIII, 450mhz, Win98 and the other one is PIII, 1000mhz, WinXP. Is there some way I can use a 5¼" drive with either of them? I have heard that there is a problem in getting the OS to recognize the drive.

If there is, how would I do that?

If there is, where would I get an external 5¼" drive?
Thank you
Question by:Modell
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LVL 13

Expert Comment

ID: 7112313
Good luck finding an external drive, but an internal one is no problem.  Check your local independent computer parts shop (CompUSA will NOT stock them) and get a second hand one for $5.  The BIOS settings for even the newest computer still have '1.2MB' as an option for floppy drive type.  The OS as well will have no problems.  Just check to see if your cable has the right kind of socket because it probably doesn't.  You can get one at the aforementioned local parts shop.
LVL 32

Expert Comment

ID: 7112324
I think you'll be hard pressed to find an EXTERNAL 5.25" drive but putting an internal one in a system with a standard 1/2 height bay should be simple.  The interface is electrically the same as your 3.5" drive but you'll need to locate a card-edge cable vs. the newer pin-type connectors that the new drives use.

Even recent BIOS versions will properly detect 5.25" drives and Windows is find with them.  I have a Teac 5.25"/3.5" combo drive that I use on a Win98 system to read some old stuff.  Search around some old hardware/junk stores and see if you can locate a decent looking drive.  You might also locate one on EBay or similar.

I have a few old drives lying around here.  I'd be happy to send a couple your way for the cost of shipping....

Accepted Solution

yabelson earned 100 total points
ID: 7113696
i hope u didnt throw away your old computer,since this was the best way for you to get that drive,although you need to get internaly installed.
this shouldnt be too hard,since the cable that attaches your 31/2" floppy can also be rigged to be attached to this floppy.if you dont know how-just take the old floppy cable and use it to install the floppy onto your comp.
your bios should identify the floppy,but i am sorry to say that the problem is not there.
most of the good old games were written in a way consists with opld computers.
it does not work well with new hardware,and has many problems with current os' your problem is one of hardware,but of software.
if you insist on playing these games,i suggest you "downgrade" one of your computers to dos or eve windows 3.1*.
this way,most of the games should still work,but you still have a problem.
unfortunately,the designers never thought that computers would be as fast as they are today.
this means that the games you will try playing ,will probably run so fast you wont even have time to see what you r doing.
anyway-good luck trying.
my suggestion-try finding them on the net in sites that deal with this sotr of games-maybe youl find something simillar that works well on todays computers.


hope this helped
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Author Comment

ID: 7113729
Thank you all for your suggestions. The most important fact is that I do not have an available bay for an internal drive. The drive must be external. I guess that I should follow yabelson's advice and rebuild the old computer and dedicate it to early windows and DOS. This is not a happy solution :-(
LVL 13

Expert Comment

ID: 7114112
"I do not have an available bay for an internal drive. The drive must be external"

Let's think outside the box:  Why not put one of your existing drives that take up all the available bays in an external enclosure?  For example, if you have an internal IDE CDROM and the computer has a USB port, the drive can be put in an IDE/USB external box.

Otherwise you are stuck with the dedicated machine solution because as has already been pointed out, a 5.25" external floppy is so rare (I've *never* seen one).

Expert Comment

ID: 7114239
The comment posted by  yabelson is indeed valid.  Most of your old games will run super fast.  However, you can download and run Mo'Slo.  This way you can slow down your computers speed to allow the games to run quite well.
LVL 32

Expert Comment

ID: 7114258
I sure hope you got what you wanted because you just "slapped" several experts who were trying to help you in the face.  The accepted answer is just a regurgitation of earlier posts.

Author Comment

ID: 7116244
jhance, for whatever I did that so offended you, I sincerely apologize. Never for one moment did I mean to insult any of the wonderful people here who have helped me so often in the past. This group has been too good to me and I would never wish to seem ungrateful.

Perhaps the rules have changed and I would now be allowed to split the points. If so, I am unaware of that fact. Your advice was most informative and I thank you for it.

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