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Moving files from a 5.25 floppy to a 3.5 floppy

Posted on 2016-09-10
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I would like to move some files from really old 5.25 floppy disks to newer 3.5 floppy disks. I had submitted this question to this form long time ago with no satisfactory resolution resulting. I remember years ago using a card on my motherboard that contained its own BIOS. The floppy ran from that card even though it could not be seen by the computer's actual BIOS. I have an internal dual drive, 13.5 and one 5 1/4, but no way to connect it. My remaining computers are all running Windows 10, 64-bit. Does anybody know if that type of board is still available and whether it would work on a Skylake based computer? I also have an IVY bridge. I realize it's a long shot, but any suggestions on how to do this, even externally, would be appreciated and points awarded. Thanks.
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Question by:mzimerman
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by:John Hurst
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That was back in 2008 and the question was abandoned at that time.

Does anybody know if that type of board is still available and whether it would work on a Skylake based computer? I also have an IVY bridge

No. That will not work. BIOS in these computers (I have Ivy Bridge and Haswell) will not support floppy drives. My 3.5" IBM USB Floppy drive does not work in new machines.

You would need to source an older machine, preferably a Desktop machine, that has a floppy drive interface. Assuming you find such a machine (likely available), do a one time copy everything off.

I have some old 5.25 inch disks in my basement and I am just going to ditch them. Anything on them has no more value, even though it once did.
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by:n2fc
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You can get USB connectable floppy drives very inexpensively from either Amazon or EBay...
Typical prices are between $10-$25, which might be cheaper than trying to interface your old drive to modern equipment...

A FDD to USB bridge is described here:   http://ascii.textfiles.com/archives/2503

Note that there are actually USB to FDD emulators out there (the opposite of what you are describing) that allow devices that only recognize floppy disks to attach thumb drives!
See: http://www.ebay.com/itm/Floppy-Drive-to-USB-Converter-Charmilles-Roboform-Robofil-Wire-Cut-EDM-720-DD-/290774328751?hash=item43b38025af:g:lnIAAOxyYSJR9k-f
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by:rindi
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When you ask a Question you should return to it and respond to the comments of the Experts. The question back in '08 was answered satisfactorily with the info you gave. If those comments didn't help, you should have told the experts what the problem was.

As mentioned there, you need a 5 1/4" inch floppy drive, as well as a 3,5" floppy drive, and then you can just copy over the data. A problem is that 5 1/4" inch floppy drives are rather uncommon these days, and they will probably not even be supported on a modern OS like Windows 10. As already mentioned you will have to get some old hardware, along with an old OS to be able to do this. Even then it will be unlikely to work. Floppy disks don't last forever, and the data you have on that old floppy will probably not be accessible by now due to deterioration in the magnetic surface of the disk.

It also sounds as if your hardware at that time was something legacy which was needed for that software, and there will be no hopes for you to get such a card now, unless the company still exists and supports that old stuff. So your only real chance is to get into touch with that company.
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by:garycase
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Well ... you can get a 5.25" to USB interface card here:
http://shop.deviceside.com/prod/FC5025

You already have a 5.25" drive, so it's probably fine, but just in case it isn't compatible with the card, the specific drive they suggest is available on e-bay:  http://www.ebay.com/itm/TEAC-FD-55GFR-5-25-Inch-Floppy-Disk-Drive-Diskette-19307351-49-5-1-4-/122120874312

If you have access to an old PC with a floppy controller, you could simply attach your drive to that PC => you can likely get a PC of that vintage for no more than the price of the interface card ... especially if you can find one locally (Craig's List, etc.).   For example, a Dell Dimension 2400 sells for ~ $20 plus shipping on e-bay (the shipping is usually the biggest cost).

I did exactly what you're talking about well over a decade ago ... copied all the files from my old 8" floppies and 5.25" floppies to hard drive and archived them on a DVD.   One DVD held several thousand floppies :-)    I finally tossed my 8" drives nearly 20 years ago; but still have my 5.25" drive in my "old stuff" cabinet.    I also kept one old PC that I can attach this old stuff to if ever needed => the 5.25" floppy; some old ZIP drives; etc. ... but it rarely gets turned on [Primarily to attach and test old PATA drives if somebody needs to extract data from an old system].
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by:garycase
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As rindi noted, the answers we gave to your question in '08 provided all the info you needed to do what you asked (basically the same as in this question).

The simple fact is that all you need is a 5.25" floppy drive.   Although your question asks how to transfer this data to 3.5" disks, I think you should reconsider the destination => 3.25" disks are also very obsolete.    I'd copy your data to a hard drive;  a USB flash drive; or even to DVDs .... but NOT to floppies.

Assuming you want to do this yourself, the easiest approach is to either get an old PC with a floppy interface and connect your 5.25" drive to it;  or buy the deviceside card I linked to above [ I assume it's still available => the web site is active; and if you click on "Buy Now" it takes you to a checkout page; so I assume it is].    With this card you could use any modern PC to extract the data, since it interfaces the drive via USB.

You can simply create a folder [e.g. "Old 5.25 Inch Floppies"] and then create a subfolder for each floppy you're extracting and copy the entire floppy to its own subfolder.    That's what I did ~ 15 years ago with all my old 8", 5.25", and 3.5" floppies.
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by:John Hurst
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The key here is the "old" PC. Newer ones will not do what you need. You need an older Desktop (2008 vintage or earlier). My XP Desktop that expired in 2010 had floppy connectors and BIOS to go with it.

Start looking for an old PC. The rest is easy to do.
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by:garycase
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Note that it has to be truly OLD => some of the later (mid-2000) PC's with floppy interfaces did NOT have 5.25" support in the BIOS.   A Dimension 2400 would be a good choice that's likely fairly easy to find.
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by:rindi
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I think from the description of the problem it isn't just a simple copy of data to a new media. It sounds more like a legacy applications that needed a legacy interface and probably also the floppy uses a legacy format. Something like that you can't just copy, there are too many requirements that have to be met. It is almost like a "Copy protection".
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by:John Hurst
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If that were the case (was not for me back then), the old application would be needed with the old PC.
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by:mzimerman
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Is there a usb connectable 5.25 drive?
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by:John Hurst
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Any 5.25 inch floppy I have seen is BUS connected via a special cable (to permit booting from it). Even the vintage drives (link above) have the 28-pin (??) connecter to plug into the PC (card or mainboard).
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by:mzimerman
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Does anyone think that the dual drive (3.5/5.25), an Epson SD-800, would work with the FC5025 USB 5.25" Floppy Controller.

Manufacturer: Device Side Data
In Stock
Price: $55.25

I'm good with just transferring the data to a local hdd or usb.
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by:John Hurst
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I could only say it might. No guarantees at all. It might need a special controller.
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by:dbrunton
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The FC5025 is designed to read only 5.25 disks and not 3.5" disks.  See http://www.deviceside.com/fc5025.html  So if you get the SD-800 working as a 5.25 you won't get 3.5 as well.

See http://ftp.epson.com/desktop/SD800.TXT for the SD-800 manual.

Again no guarantee that the SD-800 will work with the FC5025.
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by:John Hurst
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You are really best to get an old machine that has a built in 5.25 inch floppy drive. See if it can come with XP so you can get the data onto a hard drive and then go from there.
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by:David Johnson, CD, MVP
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You will need a motherboard that has the 34 pin floppy drive connector.  The card you mentioned won't even fit in a modern motherboard as the AT Bus is more than obsolete. Even finding a PCI-Bus card will be difficult

 Copying to a USB thumb drive will be more economical

Purchasing that card is a waste of money. You could probably go to a recycler and pick up a vintage PC dirt cheap.
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"... Does anyone think that the dual drive (3.5/5.25), an Epson SD-800, would work with the FC5025 USB 5.25" Floppy Controller. "  ==>  Yes, I'd expect it to work fine.   There's one potential issue ... see the following:

First, you'll need a cable like the following to connect the drive:   (Do you already have this ??)

Floppy Cable for 5.25" drive
=>  The 5.25" connector should match the connection on your SD-800 (According to the pictures of an SD-800 I found, it does)    The SD-800 is powered by a standard molex power connection, which you should have available from your PC's power supply.

=>  Depending on how the SD-800 is configured, you may need to connect it to the 5.25" "A" connector; or to the 5.25" "B" connector.    If it's not connected to the correct connection, then the FC5025 will attempt to read from the 3.5" drive.

If you don't have the cable, they're available here:  https://www.amazon.com/CablesOnline-Universal-Floppy-Ribbon-FF-002/dp/B00FZ3IL80/ref=sr_1_fkmr1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1473552811&sr=8-2-fkmr1&keywords=dual+floppy+drive+cable+with+5.25%22+support
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by:garycase
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.... as for "picking up a vintage PC cheap" =>  It's unlikely that any PC you can find will have a 5.25" drive; or even a cable that supports one.    So you'll need the drive (which you have); and the cable (which you may/may not have) regardless of how you proceed.

So it's probably pretty close to a "wash" which way you go => $55 for the USB controller vs. perhaps a bit less than that for a PC that supports floppies.    Note that if you get a PC, you'll need to ensure the BIOS supports 5.25" drives (if it allows setting one of the floppies to 1.2MB then it does).   The controller card clearly supports them.

FWIW I found 4 vintage PC's on e-bay with 5.25" drives => priced between $199 and $349.

You should, however, be able to find a PC from the early 2000's with a floppy controller that would work for no more than the price of the controller card, although with shipping it could be considerably more.

Assuming you only need to read the data from these floppies, I'd be inclined to go with the FC5025 (which only reads).   You've already got the drive;  it's already in the PC you want to use; and either have the appropriate cable or can buy it inexpensively.    The card will let you get the data off your old floppies very easily; and will also let you retain that capability in the future using ANY computer (at least any one that has a USB connection -- and these aren't likely to be obsolete anytime soon).
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by:John Hurst
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@mzimerman  -  You may be in luck.

http://www.deviceside.com/fc5025.html

provides a USB controller that you can use in a modern machine to read 5.25 inch floppies. Read only.

I have a USB 3.5 inch drive that worked in XP, Vista and Windows 7. But it would not work on my Windows 8 machine (which is the one I am working on right now). But this machine became Windows 10 Pro and the same drive DOES work!  Windows 8 was one HUGE BUG nothing more. I am reading a 3.5 inch floppy now. I tried this on both Windows 10 machines here and it works.

Try that adapter above. It could really help you if it works.
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by:garycase
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We've been discussing the DeviceSide FC5025 all day :-)
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by:John Hurst
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I figured that because I found I could use my 3.5 inch floppy drive (that was good news to me) I thought I would post again.

Yes I went back and did not connect my find with your post. My oversight.
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by:mzimerman
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Sorry to respond so late, but I did order the interface card and it came today. I'll try to install it on the weekend and see what, if anything, I can extract from some of the floppies. Either way, we'll know soon if this will work.
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by:mzimerman
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I got the card, installed the drivers, and tried to create the image to mount. It was not successful, with many errors. Although it is possible that the configurations I tried were bad, I tried many different ways, with no success. I may experiment further in the future, but for now, I have to get back to work. Thank you all for a very valiant effort. I wasn't really expecting such a volume of responses to my reissued question. I learned quite a bit that I didn't know before. Experts Exchange is great, as are the techies that always are able to help less knowledgeable folks. You're more than welcome to the points; wish I could award more.
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by:mzimerman
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Thanks again.
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by:John Hurst
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I have used my 3.5 inch floppy several times since this post and I can always format (but not install a system).
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by:garycase
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How many "...  really old 5.25 floppy disks ..." are you talking about ??
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by:mzimerman
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Thanks.
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by:serialband
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Have you tried the following device?  http://www.deviceside.com/fc5025.html
You could try contacting them directly and see if they support newer chipsets.
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