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When and How Did the 3.5 Floppy Drive Become Dispensable?


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20 replies to this topic

#1 of 21 OFFLINE   Arthur S

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Posted August 13 2005 - 06:01 AM

Low price desktops don't come with floppy drives anymore. Admittedly, I don't use mine often, but are they obsolete or is this just a way to make the cheapest possible computers?

Thanks

#2 of 21 OFFLINE   Ken Chan

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Posted August 13 2005 - 06:40 AM

It's not an either/or; they are pretty much obsolete, and it does make the computers cheaper. Apple stopped including them a long time ago. I built a Windows box without one a few years back, and missed having the floppy only once or twice.

People use networking and email to send files to others. To carry files yourself, USB thumb drives have much more capacity, don't go bad like floppies do, and are very cheap. About the only thing floppies are good for now is creating boot diskettes to flash the BIOS. Once booting from USB thumb drives is commonplace, floppies will be dead (for new computers).

#3 of 21 OFFLINE   Glenn Overholt

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Posted August 13 2005 - 06:47 AM

Not even that! I have flashed my bios from my hard drive.

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#4 of 21 OFFLINE   Christ Reynolds

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Posted August 13 2005 - 08:59 AM

some motherboard manufacturers still require a floppy drive to flash your bios. it's the only reason i have one.

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#5 of 21 OFFLINE   Tekara

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Posted August 13 2005 - 10:01 AM

you can flash your bios from a bootable cdrom, just copy the "floppy's" contents to a bootable cd and your good. It's how I handle all my flashing nowadays.
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#6 of 21 OFFLINE   Bob Graz

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Posted August 13 2005 - 02:42 PM

The basic problem with floppies is that their capacity became a gating issue given the large size of files today. 1.44 meg isn't enough to do much with. So why should manufacturers invest dollars in a PC with a legacy device that has very little value now. There's very little margin in desktops or laptops these days. Better to let customers use their USB port to plug their own devices in, such as a USB drive.

#7 of 21 OFFLINE   Joseph Bolus

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Posted August 13 2005 - 04:37 PM

If you really need access to a 3.5" floppy you can purchase an outboard drive that plugs into your USB 2.0 port for around $35.00 at CompUSA :

http://www.compusa.c....95056&pfp=cat3

The nice thing about this drive is that it can be carried from computer to computer and doesn't even require an AC source (it derives all the power that it needs from the USB port).
Joseph
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#8 of 21 OFFLINE   StevenFC

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Posted August 13 2005 - 05:36 PM

Though I rarely use mine, I like to have it in case someone gives me a file on a floppy. Plus I never know when I might need one to work on an older PC. But they won't be around for much longer, I think.
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#9 of 21 OFFLINE   David Williams

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Posted August 13 2005 - 07:14 PM

Quote:
I like to have it in case someone gives me a file on a floppy.

Does this happen often?!? I can't remember the last time this happened to me.

The truth is that the Zip et al drive long ago eclipsed the meager floppy in the era of the multi-megabyte file and even the Zip/Jaz is outré.

Welcome to the Age of USB drive. No moving parts, reliable and easily portable.
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#10 of 21 OFFLINE   Kyle McKnight

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Posted August 14 2005 - 12:31 AM

I haven't had a floppy drive for the past 3 years and don't plan on buying one again heh! USB drives rock.
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#11 of 21 OFFLINE   Jeff Jacobson

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Posted August 14 2005 - 03:03 AM

I build a computer for my parents which only had a single SATA hard drive. I had to copy some drivers onto a floppy in order for Windows XP to recognize the SATA drive.

#12 of 21 OFFLINE   Diallo B

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Posted August 15 2005 - 02:12 AM

floppies are obsolete and i hate them. that 1.44 mb of space is insulting. i try to avoid including them with my builds at all costs but some people are stuck on this old technology.

i have collected a million of them over the years and they are very unreliable. one will work in one system and not the other one. that dangone metal slider will stick and jack up the drive or get stuck in the drive. they are really SLOW.

install a flash memory reader or get a usb drive. this is some of the best technology ever and it is reliable and fast.

listen with your own ears...
watch with your own eyes...
make your own decision.
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#13 of 21 OFFLINE   DaveBB

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Posted August 15 2005 - 04:27 AM

Quote:
If you really need access to a 3.5" floppy you can purchase an outboard drive that plugs into your USB 2.0 port for around $35.00 at CompUSA :

http://www.compusa.c...195056&pfp=cat3

The nice thing about this drive is that it can be carried from computer to computer and doesn't even require an AC source (it derives all the power that it needs from the USB port).


But can you flash motherboard BIOS from that since it's USB?


#14 of 21 OFFLINE   Ken Chui

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Posted August 15 2005 - 04:27 AM

Quote:
some motherboard manufacturers still require a floppy drive to flash your bios. it's the only reason i have one.

Same here. Some optical drive manufacturers also require a FD for flashing firmware upgrades.


#15 of 21 OFFLINE   Francois Caron

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Posted August 15 2005 - 04:43 AM

I keep a floppy drive handy just in case I need it for BIOS updates, but it's not installed in the computer. I haven't used it in over a year now.

#16 of 21 OFFLINE   Chris Bardon

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Posted August 15 2005 - 05:03 AM

The only reason I still have a floppy drive in my machine is to fill the hole in the case. Can't even remember the last time I used it (probably 3 years now at least).

CDR made a dent in floppies, but it's been the USB drive that has (will be) what finally kills the floppy drive.

Is it really that much more expensive though? Last time I checked, they were 20 bucks or less at most computer stores.
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#17 of 21 OFFLINE   Holadem

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Posted August 15 2005 - 08:38 AM

I helped a friend buy a laptop last year and it took a really long time to convince her that she didn't need a floppy drive - it was one of her requirements and she just wouldn't let go.

More than year later, she hasn't needed it once.

I have always hated the darn things myself and don't have one.

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#18 of 21 OFFLINE   Shane Martin

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Posted August 19 2005 - 07:51 AM

Quote:
I build a computer for my parents which only had a single SATA hard drive. I had to copy some drivers onto a floppy in order for Windows XP to recognize the SATA drive.
This is the only reason I had one. I removed it once I got my computer built and in Windows.

#19 of 21 OFFLINE   Al.Anderson

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Posted August 19 2005 - 08:33 AM

Not dead yet. I have kids in 5th and 7th grade who are required to use them in school for transfering files.

#20 of 21 OFFLINE   Scott L

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Posted August 22 2005 - 05:52 AM

Hah, I remember we had to buy those 5.25" disks labeled Tandy brand for school. Posted Image

I either use networking, email, or my ipod to transfer files around. It takes much less time to hook up an ipod as a removable drive than to sit there and wait while a floppy is being read/writed on.

For BIOS flashing I do what Rob mentioned and follow the directions on bootdisk.com to create a bootable CD-R.


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