Writing To A 3 1/2" Floppy

User avatar
hlewton
PlatinumLounger
Posts: 3751
Joined: 24 Oct 2010, 23:39
Location: Canton, Ohio USA

Writing To A 3 1/2" Floppy

Post by hlewton »

I have an external 3 1/2" floppy drive and It seems I need to be able to write to it on a Windows machine. I have tried on both Win 10 and Win 11 machines to do this and I have not yet had any success. On some of the machines it will not even appear in Windows File Folder's left hand pane or tree structure. Even without a formatted disk in it. Even on the machines where it does show up in the File Explorer tree, I can't write to it. I know it uses a different format than Windows machine. I keep reading where I should be able to read and write to this floppy drive but I cannot. Any ideas what I can try? I can try most any suggestion on the machine I am playing around with since if I destroy it, I'm not really losing anything since I can't use it now anyhow. Any ideas?

Thanks.
Regards,
hlewton

User avatar
stuck
Panoramic Lounger
Posts: 8080
Joined: 25 Jan 2010, 09:09
Location: retirement

Re: Writing To A 3 1/2" Floppy

Post by stuck »

Have you checked that the disk is not set to 'write protect'?

Look at the disk from the back and then look in the bottom right corner. There is a small tab that slides up and down and that reveals a hole when it is down. Make sure it is UP, i.e. make sure the hole is covered because if you can see through the hole, then the disk is set to read-only.

Ken

User avatar
hlewton
PlatinumLounger
Posts: 3751
Joined: 24 Oct 2010, 23:39
Location: Canton, Ohio USA

Re: Writing To A 3 1/2" Floppy

Post by hlewton »

stuck wrote:
09 Feb 2023, 16:40
Have you checked that the disk is not set to 'write protect'?

Look at the disk from the back and then look in the bottom right corner. There is a small tab that slides up and down and that reveals a hole when it is down. Make sure it is UP, i.e. make sure the hole is covered because if you can see through the hole, then the disk is set to read-only.

Ken
No none of the disks are write protected. Even without a disk in it, most of my computers will not show it in the folder tree, that is why I can''t access it, I believe. That is what is so frustrating because I can find no reason this is happening.
Regards,
hlewton

User avatar
stuck
Panoramic Lounger
Posts: 8080
Joined: 25 Jan 2010, 09:09
Location: retirement

Re: Writing To A 3 1/2" Floppy

Post by stuck »

A quick search found this:
https://www.thewindowsclub.com/use-flop ... windows-10
which includes this:
How to use Floppy Disk Drive on Windows 11/10

If you have an old physical Floppy Drive that you can attach to your device, then you will need to download the latest driver from the Windows Update website to use it with Windows 10. Attach the drive, open the Device Manager and select Scan for hardware changes and then Install or Update the driver. If this works, good, else go down to the manufacturer’s website and download and install the latest device driver.

If you plan to buy a new one, then there are several USB Floppy Disk Drives available even now in the market that are Plug and Play. and work just fine on a Windows 10 computer. Just plug the device, wait for the device to install the drivers, and start using the Floppy Disk Drive on your Windows 10 once the process is completed.
Does this help?

Ken

User avatar
hlewton
PlatinumLounger
Posts: 3751
Joined: 24 Oct 2010, 23:39
Location: Canton, Ohio USA

Re: Writing To A 3 1/2" Floppy

Post by hlewton »

stuck wrote:
09 Feb 2023, 18:51
A quick search found this:
https://www.thewindowsclub.com/use-flop ... windows-10
which includes this:
How to use Floppy Disk Drive on Windows 11/10

If you have an old physical Floppy Drive that you can attach to your device, then you will need to download the latest driver from the Windows Update website to use it with Windows 10. Attach the drive, open the Device Manager and select Scan for hardware changes and then Install or Update the driver. If this works, good, else go down to the manufacturer’s website and download and install the latest device driver.

If you plan to buy a new one, then there are several USB Floppy Disk Drives available even now in the market that are Plug and Play. and work just fine on a Windows 10 computer. Just plug the device, wait for the device to install the drivers, and start using the Floppy Disk Drive on your Windows 10 once the process is completed.
Does this help?

Ken
Thank you. I am going to read this and see. I'll post back if it works but I have to say I had searched high and low and did not find this article. I must be very poor at searching if you found it so quickly. I honestly have been searching for days. Again, thanks.
Regards,
hlewton

User avatar
hlewton
PlatinumLounger
Posts: 3751
Joined: 24 Oct 2010, 23:39
Location: Canton, Ohio USA

Re: Writing To A 3 1/2" Floppy

Post by hlewton »

I did read the link and, even though it was not one I found, I read another that had me do a very similar procedure. I am going to try to find the manufacture's WEB site but it was plug and play. The manufacture is some place in China or Taiwan, so I don't hold out hope that will work but it is worth a try. I'll see if the device manager can find an updated driver again but I had no luck the last time I tried this procedure. Thanks though for the link.
Regards,
hlewton

User avatar
hlewton
PlatinumLounger
Posts: 3751
Joined: 24 Oct 2010, 23:39
Location: Canton, Ohio USA

Re: Writing To A 3 1/2" Floppy

Post by hlewton »

Well it is the same thing. It is plug and play, apparently. Device manager recognizes it as a floppy drive and choose a driver. I told it to look for an updated driver. Came back saying it was using the most current driver. I searched for a WEB site of the manufacture and none existed that I could find. So it still remains a mystery why I can't write to it in Windows 10. Thanks again for your help.
Regards,
hlewton

User avatar
hlewton
PlatinumLounger
Posts: 3751
Joined: 24 Oct 2010, 23:39
Location: Canton, Ohio USA

Re: Writing To A 3 1/2" Floppy

Post by hlewton »

Now I am forced to ask a question I am almost certain there is no answer for. The 3 1/2" external drive this thread is about can only, at least for me, be accessed when my computer is running DOS. I have Lotus 123 release 4 but apparently disk #2 is corrupt because Lotus installs to the point of telling me to insert disk 2 and then says it is not the correct disk. I am starting to believe it.

Twice now I have tried to install Lotus and I have had to type Install at the A: Prompt. As I mentioned above, it bombs out when asking for disk #2. At another forum a fellow asked me if my disk 1 looked like a screenshot he posted. So I just fired the machine up in DOS and ran a directory on disk 1. I noticed Install.exe was missing. For the heck of it, I ran a directory on disk 2. They were identical. It may be unbelievable but all the Lotus disks are still "write protected." I know these disks are destroyed because I know of no way to get Install.exe back but what I don't know is how this happened.

I have another set of disks for Lotus 123 on its way to me. It is release 2. So, if there are any ideas what is happening I'd appreciate knowing because I don't want to ruin another Lotus program.

By-the-way, on disk 1 I tried to run Install even thought it wasn't listed in the directory and it said it was a bad command. So it is definitely gone.
Regards,
hlewton

User avatar
hlewton
PlatinumLounger
Posts: 3751
Joined: 24 Oct 2010, 23:39
Location: Canton, Ohio USA

Re: Writing To A 3 1/2" Floppy

Post by hlewton »

OK, just so no one wastes their time, I believe I discovered something and I do not know how to correct it. If I start that DOS computer up booting to a system disk and then run a directory it shows all the 16 files that are on the system disk. If I then place a Lotus 123 disk in it and run a directory it shows the exact same 16 files. Apparently the RAM is not being cleared after first looking at any disk. I then tried booting from a DOS installation disk, exiting it before it installed again, and immediately ran a directory on the Lotus disk 1. It had 32 files on it and one of them was the install.exe file so it was still there, as it should be. Then I ran a directory on Lotus disk 2 and it showed the exact same 32 files as was on disk 1. So that is why I cannot install Lotus. I think the RAM or whatever memory DOS is using, is not clearing and allowing DOS to recognize another disk. So now the question becomes what, if anything, can I do to make sure the RAM clears in order to behave as it should?
Regards,
hlewton

JoeP
SilverLounger
Posts: 2029
Joined: 25 Jan 2010, 02:12

Re: Writing To A 3 1/2" Floppy

Post by JoeP »

I have questions going back to the first post in this thread.
What do you mean by the floppy drive using a different format than Windows?
On a PC where the drive is recognized, can you read files from it?
If not, do you get an error code?
Have you checked the system log files for errors relating to the drive?
Have you checked the drive properties to see what Windows thinks it is?
Have you check the drive security properties to see that your user-id has the proper access?
Joe

User avatar
hlewton
PlatinumLounger
Posts: 3751
Joined: 24 Oct 2010, 23:39
Location: Canton, Ohio USA

Re: Writing To A 3 1/2" Floppy

Post by hlewton »

JoeP wrote:
10 Feb 2023, 19:02
I have questions going back to the first post in this thread.
What do you mean by the floppy drive using a different format than Windows?
First let me say that this machine either runs Win 10 or MS-DOS 6.22 by me switching cables from one HDD to another HDD.

This floppy drive was purchase so I could install DOS on a completely blank HHD. My understanding, and it may be all wrong, is that DOS used a 16 Bit format back when machine ran DOS.
JoeP wrote:
10 Feb 2023, 19:02
On a PC where the drive is recognized, can you read files from it?
Not if I am running Windows and try to read it? If I am running DOS, I thought I could read it accurately but just found out I cannot. It will read the first disk it sees and not clear its memory of that disk. So any other disk I put in it, the memory still sees it as the first disk. I hope I am explaining this so you can follow me. Let me give an example: If I do a directory of a system dick after booting up it shows there are 16 files on that disk. If I put the Lotus installation disk 1 in and do a directory command again, it lists the exact same 16 files as it saw on the system disk. Even though the Lotus disk has a program on it named "Install.exe" it does not see it because it thinks the DOS system disk is still in the floppy drive. I don't know how to make it clear its memory in order to read disks correctly. I think the RAM in the computer may be incompatible with MS-DOS 6.22 but I have not found any article to exactly say that. I did find this, "No matter how much physical memory you had in your box, the utter most important Conventional Memory was limited to 640 KiB! The Legend teaches us that Bill Gates once declared that “640 KB ought to be enough for anybody”, then designed MS-DOS to enforce this limitation." I believe "utter" is supposed to be upper but I copied the exact quote from the WEB.
JoeP wrote:
10 Feb 2023, 19:02
If not, do you get an error code?
Nothing.
JoeP wrote:
10 Feb 2023, 19:02
Have you checked the system log files for errors relating to the drive?
No and I'm not sure what log files I'd check. I am assuming you mean when the machine is running Win 10. If that is the case, what log file would I look for. However, if my assumption above about the RAM is correct I don't think it would matter since I would never be able to run actual MS-DOS 6.22 on the machine.
JoeP wrote:
10 Feb 2023, 19:02
Have you checked the drive properties to see what Windows thinks it is?
Again, if you mean while the computer is running Win 10 it knows it is running Win 10.
JoeP wrote:
10 Feb 2023, 19:02
Have you check the drive security properties to see that your user-id has the proper access?
If you mean Win 10 operation, there is only one account on it and that account has administrator privileges.

I hope I have explained this so it can be understood. I know it is confusing and now I may just have a reason to give it up if I am correct about the RAM.
Regards,
hlewton

JoeP
SilverLounger
Posts: 2029
Joined: 25 Jan 2010, 02:12

Re: Writing To A 3 1/2" Floppy

Post by JoeP »

The 16-bit DOS internals have nothing to do with the floppy format as long as the floppy disk was formatted for DOS or Windows. I did see in one article that the author recommended getting an older floppy drive on eBay as newer ones are cheaply made and unreliable. See Sony USB floppy drive.

What happens if you put the Lotus disk in first?
Joe

User avatar
hlewton
PlatinumLounger
Posts: 3751
Joined: 24 Oct 2010, 23:39
Location: Canton, Ohio USA

Re: Writing To A 3 1/2" Floppy

Post by hlewton »

JoeP wrote:
10 Feb 2023, 20:14
The 16-bit DOS internals have nothing to do with the floppy format as long as the floppy disk was formatted for DOS or Windows. I did see in one article that the author recommended getting an older floppy drive on eBay as newer ones are cheaply made and unreliable. See Sony USB floppy drive.

What happens if you put the Lotus disk in first?
Another strange happening. If I boot to a system disk, that is the only disk doing a directory command will read and list the files. But if I switch to C: drive and run a directory command it will read the C: drive. If I do a directory command from the C: drive telling it to use A: drive as the drive to run the directory on, it says there is no disk in it. If I switch back to A: drive and try to run a directory command, it says it is a bad command.

If I boot to the MS-DOS 6.22 installation disk 1 and wait till it tries to install DOS and then exit the installation and remove that disk, I can run a directory command on the Lotus disk 1, 2 or whatever disk I choose to run the command on. However, once it lists the contents of the first disk I run that command on, it lists the exact same files on any disk I try to run the command on after that even the DOS installation disk.
Regards,
hlewton

User avatar
hlewton
PlatinumLounger
Posts: 3751
Joined: 24 Oct 2010, 23:39
Location: Canton, Ohio USA

Re: Writing To A 3 1/2" Floppy

Post by hlewton »

I found an extra SATA cable and hooked up the MS-DOS HDD and booted to Windows 10. It sees that HDD and says the format is FAT. I believe what I am going to do, as soon as this memory problem is solved, is to format it to NTFS and remove it and give up. I just don't think DOS is in the cards for me.
Regards,
hlewton

User avatar
hlewton
PlatinumLounger
Posts: 3751
Joined: 24 Oct 2010, 23:39
Location: Canton, Ohio USA

Re: Writing To A 3 1/2" Floppy

Post by hlewton »

Here is another question. The drive I installed DOS on is a Western Digital Blue WD5000AZLX 500GB 7200 RPM 32MB Cache SATA 6.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive Bare Drive. Please see the attachment to see the format is listed as FAT. I know when I used fdisk in DOS to create a DOS partition I told it to make it 10 MB in size knowing I was wasting 490 GB on the drive. Is it because it is formatted for DOS that it only shows the total size of the drive to be 2 GB? When I reformat it to NTFS, will it again be 500 GB?
IMG_0841-1.JPG
You do not have the required permissions to view the files attached to this post.
Regards,
hlewton

User avatar
hlewton
PlatinumLounger
Posts: 3751
Joined: 24 Oct 2010, 23:39
Location: Canton, Ohio USA

Re: Writing To A 3 1/2" Floppy

Post by hlewton »

There were so many obstacles in the path for me to try to run DOS. But finally I ran into one that ended my quest to run it. I won't detail it again but it is posted above. In any case running DOS is now off the table for me.
Regards,
hlewton