Finally, Death of the 3.5 inch floppy disk

Spehro Pefhany wrote:


Occacionally I have been asked to take a look at a machine shop. Mainly because it gets messy in there and they'd rather not carry disks around and worst case get a splotch of gunk or metal chafings into a drive (happened to me once). But usually there was only one or two of the machines that had RS232, sometimes none.
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Regards, Joerg

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says...

Some machine shops have very old CNC equipment, last year I had an enquiry to find a spare PDP 11/73 card for one, that MIGHT have had a serial but I dread to think what format of media it might have had.
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Paul Carpenter | snipped-for-privacy@pcserviceselectronics.co.uk
<http://www.pcserviceselectronics.co.uk/ PC Services
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Paul Carpenter wrote:

I had to coach someone through repair and calibration of a circuit board test bed from the 80's. All nicely DOS-based so it worked right off the bat :-)
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Regards, Joerg

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The AUTOEXEC.BAT no less? :-)
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Stuart Longland wrote:

Yup, pretty much, a batch file :-)
DOS is so remarkably fast. No grding on hard drives, no wait, it's instant.
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Regards, Joerg

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I have tried using some old 3.5's and had some pretty bad luck. I still have people that want to read the larger floppies, and try finding adaptors for that. Speaking of machine shops, one CF card got currupt, and to fix that, required replacing everything.
greg
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George Neuner wrote:

Doesnt explain the claim that they can be read fine and the problem is with new writes.

See above.
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This doesn't explain why virtually pristine disks (written only once and a visibly impeccable surface) have difficulties reading and are almost impossible to reformat. I go with those saying that the plastic in the surface deteriorates. And it seems to me that double density, and especially single density disk are more reliable. I managed to recover most from Osborne CP/M disks with visibly damaged surfaces, and used very intensively. (Remember those CP/M machines had no hard disk. Floppies were even used for -- small -- databases. )

Groetjes Albert
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Albert van der Horst, UTRECHT,THE NETHERLANDS
Economic growth -- being exponential -- ultimately falters.
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On 29 Apr 2010 10:40:08 GMT, Albert van der Horst

Problems with new disks are primarily head alignment issues with the drive. Computer manufacturers, after all, try to use the lowest cost components and there are now quite a few low(er) quality component vendors. Although all the drives might be technically within spec, differences in drift can make them incompatible.
Many high quality preformatted diskettes are made with an embedded high(er) coercivity track lead (similar to hard drives). These diskettes *can't* be reformatted (your drive doesn't have enough power) but can only be erased ... and if head drift prevents your drives from accurately following the lead track then you have a problem.
IME, since about 1995 it's become common to have machines which can't recognize factory formatted disks or to write with one machine and not be able to read it elsewhere.
George
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George Neuner wrote:

Nope, that is in fact a problem with old disks that may well have been written in a different drive.

Yes, but that effect wont be seen with new disks, just with reading old ones.

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On Tue, 27 Apr 2010 10:56:18 +1000, the renowned John Tserkezis

My latest machine lacks floppy support on the motherboard (Asus P6T WS). They suggest using a USB flash drive or USB floppy for RAID drivers.

Best regards, Spehro Pefhany
--
"it's the network..." "The Journey is the reward"
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Spehro Pefhany wrote:

That's nice, but USB flash drives won't ever map to A: or B:. This is done intentionally, and it makes perfect sense. But it doesn't help the fact that Windows will not look at *any* other drive than A:.
So, that leaves USB interfaced FDDs, or, as already suggested, creating an alternative boot disk with the drivers included.
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I have a Flash Drive that mimics part of its space as a USB Floppy that *does* map to drive A: or B:. Unfortunately it doesn't work very well with most systems. :(

Of course this is all only just for WinXP (ie. that Windows release from 8 years ago), or Server 2003 from 7 years ago..
Vista & Win7/Server 2008 either release have methods to read in RAID/HBA drivers off flash or USB devices during installation while booted into WinPE. And its easy to make a new WinPE boot environment with said drivers if needed.
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Doug McIntyre wrote:

Unfortunately, XP is still the best version of windows for many uses. Lots of companies feel they don't have time to waste testing for compatibility with Win 7, or finding drivers for it, or re-training staff, or handling the support. It's better with the devil they know. Besides, Win 7 has no advantages over XP if you are actually /using/ the computer, rather than admiring the pretty clock on the desktop.

I had to install windows (XP and Win 7) on a couple of computers recently - it is often faster to install Windows from scratch than to start using a typical "pre-installed" system (after it takes ages to install windows from a hidden partition, you then have to waste more time removing all traces of the "demo" and time-limited junk that comes with system). While Win 7 installation is mildly improved over XP, it's still seriously inefficient. And once you have the basic system installed, you then have to find and install the drivers - which are often totally absurd (I had to download a 100 MB file for an Ethernet driver, including it's useless utilities - and it wouldn't even install until I'd added dotnet runtimes!).
The Windows developers really should get hold of a few Linux distributions to see how OS installers /should/ be made - they have a decade or so catching up to do.
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snipped-for-privacy@hesbynett.removethisbit.no says...

That's not exactly true if you're running the 64-bit version of Win 7. It does allow you to use more memory effectively. The downside is that it does require signed drivers---some of which weren't immediately available. About the only application I use that needs that much memory is Matlab.

I'd like to give the originator of .net a piece of my mind----for about as much time and memory as it has cost me!

Good point. I've installed Ubuntu several times---and it has always been pretty straightforward.
Mark Borgerson
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Mark Borgerson wrote:

There's a 64-bit version of XP - I'm running it now. But to be fair, 64-bit XP is an oddity that few people have and few developers test for, while the 64-bit support for Win7 is much more mature (it's now almost as well supported as 64-bit in Linux ten years ago).
The application I see that needs lots of memory is for virtual machines - it's good to have a 64-bit host and lots of GB's if you want to run several VMs at the same time.
Requiring signed drivers, however, makes a system pretty much useless for embedded development work - you don't get signed drivers for the dozens of hardware debuggers, cards, and other bits and pieces that you need. I seem to remember there being ways around the driver signing requirements, however.

Linux distros have worked hard to learn from the best aspects of Windows - it would be good if MS tried to emulate some of the best /important/ features of Linux (they copied a lot of KDE's appearance when making Aero - but that is only skin-deep and totally irrelevant when you are actually using the machine).
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wrote:

a few years ago when I got a stack of dell 1U servers they all had a USB floppy drive in the box with manuals etc.
-Lasse
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John Tserkezis wrote:

Thats why I keep a USB floppy drive, it gets used once in blue moon when I upgrade hardware, but it pays for itself every time.
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Don McKenzie wrote:

No wonder the sales have fallen, I have not seen any for sale for a year or so in any of the big chains or even computer markets.

http://www.examiner.com/x-16352-Japan-Headlines-Examiner~y2010m4d24-Sony-to-discontinue-35-inch-floppy-disk-in-Japan
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F Murtz wrote:

They are still around but the usb stick far out sells them
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