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How do I Choose the Best External Floppy Disk Drive?

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  • Written By: G. Wiesen
  • Edited By: Heather Bailey
  • Last Modified Date: 21 July 2016
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Choosing the best external floppy disk drive can be fairly easy, but there are a few things you should consider and be sure of before making a purchase. For starters, consider what it is you want to use your external floppy drive for and be sure it will work for those purposes. You should also be sure your computer and hardware properly support whatever method the external drive uses to connect. It can also be useful to look for sales on an external floppy disk drive to find one that is inexpensive, especially since other media types may be more reliable or useful for your needs.

One of the most important things you should consider as you look for an external drive is what purpose you have for the drive, so you can be sure it will work for you. One of the most common uses of a floppy disk is to reboot a computer using a boot disk. This may involve needing to start up a computer using only the basic input/output system (BIOS), especially if the operating system (OS) has become corrupted or cannot be used. In this type of situation, you should be sure to find an external floppy disk drive that will work for what you need.

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An external floppy disk drive will often connect through a universal serial bus (USB) port. If you are trying to boot from a floppy disk, then you should be sure the BIOS on your computer include USB support for boot devices. In this type of case, you may be better served using a boot disk on another type of media or installing an internal floppy disk drive.

You should also be sure that any external drive you are interested in purchasing can connect properly to your computer. Most computers have a number of USB ports available, and external drives will often use this type of connection. Some drives, however, may use other connection types and you may find that you need an adapter to properly connect the drive to your computer.

An external floppy disk drive can usually be found fairly inexpensively, and you may even be able to find one on sale. As other types of media have largely replaced floppy disks in popularity, these drives have become more uncommon, and you may want to consider utilizing another form of media instead. If you merely wish to have easy, portable memory at your disposal, then a “thumb drive” or similar memory device may better suit your needs.

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anon994737
Post 2

Some of us need these for specialized legacy equipment, e.g., fluorosocope images, for equipment that is hugely expensive to upgrade, so it is simply much more economic to just use the built-in FDD and transfer the image files to our computer system with the USB-FDD. Once they are in the system, more up-to-date storage and transfer is available. A fluorosocope costs up to $250K. A simple mobo, one that costs $50-150 for your gamer PC, costs $10,000 by the time "medical equipment" flacks get their mitts on it. So, upgrading the FDD to USB, which should be a few bucks, is thousands of dollars.

Logicfest
Post 1

Forget about floppies and just use a USB drive. Think about it -- if you need to make a rescue disc, you can do that with a USB drive which can hold a lot more than a floppy (say 1.44 megabytes on a floppy as opposed to 1 or more gigabytes on a thumb drive) and can be made usually be made bootable if your BIOS supports that option (it probably does).

Floppies are quickly becoming about as relevant as punch cards. For backup or anything else, a thumb drive will usually do the trick and you already have the equipment at hand to take advantage of it (assuming you have a computer made in this century, of course).

If you're just looking for a way to backup your files, you can get all the cloud storage you'll ever need for either free over for very, very little money.

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