Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Floppy Disk Frustrations

Summary: A short post about floppy disk access compatibility on modern Computers.

I thought I had established some work arounds for the extremely inhospitable behavior of A: or floppy drive support in Windows or modern 64 bit operating systems.


Although my Virtualisation computer runs Windows 2012 Server and quite happily under this can Recognise Either

a) the physical 5.25 "360K diskette
b) a physical 3.5 "1.44MB diskette

Initial Rummaging You can not let this device be used by the child operating system.

Example VMWARE

If you recall from this 2014 post I found that Windows 81 Performed even more badly (than Windows 2012) in that although it / buzzed / the floppy whilst booting, once booted there was in the A: drive at all.

So for Windows 81 (also a bootable partition on the Virtualisation computer) there was the chance to pass the floppy to VMware

Native Linux

Again for the reference motherboard is Gigabyte X-58A-UD7

Surprisingly I tried multiple 2014 and 2015 Linux and they could not find the installed 1.2 MB 5.25 " floppy diskette drive.

Another Motherboard?
Having tried multiple Linux OS and always the results worse than for Windows 2012 server, I thought of using a second , old, circa 2007 motherboard ...

The results were not encouraging:

Gigabyte X-58A-UD7 Motherboard
Windows 2012 Storage Server 1.44MB yes yes 360K

360K physical drive
format 360K - No - The device is busy
DIR A: of existing diskette - YES

Freedos can not connect to physical A: drive under Win 2012 storage server

1.2MB Physical Drive

1.2MB disk drive in 1.2M
Admin prompt: format a: / 7 /f:1.2M - Can not open volume for direct access: DUFF drive
trying another ...
format to: / u /f:1.2M - OKay
Explorer - yes

VMware still cant connect to it
chkdsk A: - OK
copy files and command line explorer OK

dir a: - OK
format a: / q / u - OK
copying files with explorer - OK

HXC Floppy emulator - reading 1.2MB OF dsk - OK

360K disk in drive 1.2MB
chkdsk A: - OK
format a: / u / f: 360k - NO - The device is busy

HxC Floppy Emulator - Disk Dump on 360K DOS diskette -

Floppy Disk HxC Emulator- dump mixed with FM MFM Cromemco CDOS format
360K 1.2MB Disk in drive

Managed to figure that the  track 0, first track is in FM format!

Supermicro X7DWA N-2007

Centos 65 x64 None
Ubuntu 13:10 64 None

Windows Vista x32 1.44MB yes, 1.2MB yes
1.2MB format yes
Install fdrawcmd.sys YES
HxC Floppy Disk Emulator dump - fail


No operating system I currently run with a 2007 or similarly ancient motherboard supports the floppy disk A: well.  I've tried Multiple modern Linux flavours, Windows 8.x, Windows 2012

The best way I have found to achieve floppy disk transfer from 1980's systems with 5.25 or 8" disks to modern systems is via images on the HxC Floppy Disk Emulator.