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Farewell To the Floppy Disk 616

Posted by kdawson
from the first-they-came-for-the-Morse-code dept.
s31523 writes "Those of us who have been in the IT arena for a while remember installing our favorite OS, network client, power application, etc. by feeding the computer what seemed an endless supply of 5.25" soft floppy disks. We rejoiced when the hard 3.5" floppies came out, cutting our install media by 1/3. We practically did backflips when the data CD-ROM arrived and we declared: we will never need any other disk than this! It is with sadness that I report the beginning of the end for the floppy: computer giant PC World has announced it will no longer carry the floppy disk once current supplies run out."
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Farewell To the Floppy Disk

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  • by ArcherB (796902) * on Tuesday January 30, 2007 @05:22PM (#17819430) Journal
    I wonder if this means that MS will stop requiring floppies to install a 3rd party RAID controller during the installation.

    (I bring this up because I had to install a floppy on a computer I was reinstalling XP on the other day so I could use the SATA drive! I kinda felt dirty after doing that!)
    • by DarkShadeChaos (954173) on Tuesday January 30, 2007 @05:28PM (#17819536)
      I second that, as well as being the easiest method of updating the BIOS (which happens more often than not on my DFI Lanparty nf4 sli-dr expert).
      • by Midnight Thunder (17205) on Tuesday January 30, 2007 @05:31PM (#17819618) Homepage Journal
        I second that, as well as being the easiest method of updating the BIOS (which happens more often than not on my DFI Lanparty nf4 sli-dr expert).

        Given the abundance of USB-Flash keys, I would hope that most modern PCs can be booted off USB devices.
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by rikkards (98006)
        Vista supports USB keys, Cd etc for initial drivers. What I would have liked though is that in XP SP2 if you had slipstreamed it into your cd that it could have added such a feature. I would love to get rid of my floppy drives.
    • by ditoa (952847) on Tuesday January 30, 2007 @05:30PM (#17819598)
      I wish Microsoft would release an application which automates integration of SATA/SCSI drivers so a floppy isn't needed during install. This can be done manually (although it is annoying complex) or with Nlite however an official tool would be great. I am surprised their deployment tools does not include an Nlite type application in all honesty.
    • by COMON$ (806135) *
      ya, I think it is funny that our department has a USB floppy drive sitting around since many of our servers have no 3.5 drive but we cannot live without it yet.
    • by Nik13 (837926) on Tuesday January 30, 2007 @05:34PM (#17819658) Homepage
      For Win XP yes, that is, until they make a new installer for it, based on Vista's (been hearing about this lately), which they will do mainly to support the new deployment techniques replacing RIS. Vista doesn't need a floppy for drivers (the installer uses WinPE, and can load drivers from just about anything, including USB memory sticks). Meanwhile, you can integrate driver packs [driverpacks.net] (including mass storage adapters) or just your own drivers on your XP install disc, and you won't have to provide a floppy anymore. It's not as hard as it may sound, and it only takes a few minutes to do. Go to MSFN [msfn.org] if you need information on things like this, and lots more (unattended installs too, which save a lot of time)

      Personally, I haven't had a floppy in any of my PCs for at least 5 years. For the odd time I needed a win98 boot floppy or such, then I have floppy images on several bootable DVDs (there's lots of them out there if you're too lazy to do it yourself or don't know how).

      However, I still have an old floppy drive (and a trusty LS120) somewhere on a shelf, for the odd time it might come in handy (rescue data, reflash a BIOS from dos - although I prefer to do that from a hard disk as floppies are unreliable, and things like that).
      • by peragrin (659227)
        I haven't used a floppy in 8 years, and tossed all my disk's out a couple of years back. Though I did make copies of my DOS 6 install floppies, as well as a fat32 boot repair disk I had. now a day's though none of that is very useful. linux live cd's rule.

        Though if you want fun I do have a Magento Optical drive and a couple of disks floating around. It uses a SCSI interface so good luck.
    • by cnettel (836611)
      There is this new version called Vista. You might have heard of it. DRM and floppy-less driver install!
    • by Echnin (607099)
      I'm pretty sure an XP install disc with SP2 slipstreamed will have SATA support, FWIW. Boot Camp requires a Windows disc with SP2 slipstreamed to install on a Mac, and I suspect this has something to do with all Macs using SATA drives.
    • by Reaperducer (871695) on Tuesday January 30, 2007 @06:36PM (#17820770)
      Does this mean that the Dell-heads will stop telling me that "No floppy drive" is a valid a reason not to switch to a Mac?
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by TheMeuge (645043)
      You can use Nlite [www.nliteos.com] to slipstream the drivers into an unattended Windows installation. Given that Windows usually needs to be reinstalled every 6-12 months, nLite is an invaluable tool to eliminate the hassles of attended installation and driver loading.
  • by Rob T Firefly (844560) on Tuesday January 30, 2007 @05:22PM (#17819432) Homepage Journal
    (-1, Redundant)
    • by Intron (870560) on Tuesday January 30, 2007 @05:57PM (#17820088)
      ITYM

      (-1, Insertful)
    • by EmbeddedJanitor (597831) on Tuesday January 30, 2007 @06:08PM (#17820286)
      I did approx half of my CS degree with punch cards. Luckily in those days code density seemed to be higher. I did a compiler on less than 2000 cards. Perhaps the media forced people to be frugal. Tripping and dropping a box of 2000 cards, then having to put them all back in order is an ordeal that the modern CS student does not have to face. At least you could spot the geeks... they carried a punch card box and a slide rule.

      I well remember moving to 8 inch, then 5.25 inch floppies. My wife made me a few shirts with extra big pockets which could take a couple of 5.25s.

      Even with all these fond memories, I prefer CD.

      • by that this is not und (1026860) on Tuesday January 30, 2007 @08:00PM (#17821818)
        When my father first started programming for IBM there was a tiny 'drum' memory that was temporary, a tiny amount of 'random access r/w memory,' a high speed card reader, and a high speed card punch. I think the whole CPU was vacuum tube at that time.

        Writing and running a program consisted of:

        1. Typing out your source code, one line of code per card.
        2. Getting the 'compiler/assembler' program card deck out of storage.
        3. Reading the 'compiler/assembler' deck into the computer and starting it running.
        4. Loading your source code deck as data cards.
        5. The compiler/assembler would churn away and then punch out your object card deck.
        6. Move the object card deck from the card punch 'out' bin to the card reader 'in' bin.
        7. Load your 'object' card deck into the computer and start it running.

        For each pass, and each change to your program, the computer would have to punch out a new 'object' deck. There was no other intermediate storage available.

        I'm pretty sure I am remembering this right. Dad was a programmer a long, long time ago, and I only know this process from him telling it to me.

  • Why spend the first few sentences talking about how unnecessary floppies are, and how happy we've all been to replace them, only to start the fourth sentence with a lament at the demise of the floppy?

    Also, this is not news.
    • Some of us still have fond memories of them. This is why we lament the fact that they're one step closer to being gone.

      Personally, I remember the cases of them that I had for the various software that I used.
      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by Intron (870560)
        Nobody who still has a stack of 8" floppies is reminiscing about those newfangled 5.25" floppies.
  • Sadly... Good! (Score:5, Informative)

    by HomelessInLaJolla (1026842) * <lajollahomeless@hotmail.com> on Tuesday January 30, 2007 @05:23PM (#17819448) Homepage Journal
    > computer giant PC World has announced it will no longer carry the floppy disk once current supplies run out.

    Since '95 the quality control on floppy disks has been so low that it hasn't been worth buying them anyway. At one time a SS/DD 5.25" could be used as a DS/DD reliably for five years or more without errors "just appearing". Maybe a patent ran out or QA began paying more attention to HD and CD manufacturing. Whatever it was, though, after '95 the floppy disks which I've bought have an average lifespan of about three months before random errors begin appearing on the media.
    • by i_should_be_working (720372) on Tuesday January 30, 2007 @05:35PM (#17819676)
      There's a silver lining: the poor reliability of floppies is what taught me my good backup habits.

      The !silver lining is that because of their poor reliability and the stress it's caused me, whenever I see floppies (or tapes) I throw them to the ground and stomp them to bits. Even if they're not mine.
    • by sshore (50665) on Tuesday January 30, 2007 @06:30PM (#17820664)

      Whatever it was, though, after '95 the floppy disks which I've bought have an average lifespan of about three months before random errors begin appearing on the media.

      Floppy drives are rarely used and have outside air continuously drawn through them while the computer is on, collecting a significant amount of dust. When they're called into service again, the vibration of operation drops the dust and debris into the disk, and the full-contact readwrite head ensures that the dust is ground in nicely.

      Back in the days when floppy drives were used daily, there wasn't opportunity for this amount of dust to build up.

      One strategy to improve floppy disk reliability these days is to pop in a "sacrificial disk" and do a few operations on it before putting in the actual disk you want to read/write. Another alternative is to use a positive pressure case with an air filter on the intake.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        Personally, I just leave a sacrificial disk in the drive when I'm not using it.

        I have 25+-year-old Commodore drives around here somewhere; I haven't looked at 'em in a decade, but I'll bet that they, too, have sacrificial disks in them at this very moment.

        The nice thing about my scheme is that whatever dust would fall to the bottom of the drive falls on the disk; you spin the disk every now and then, the dust gets trapped inside the disk; you pop the disk out, boom, the drive is already clean and ready to g
    • by natrius (642724) <niranNO@SPAMniran.org> on Tuesday January 30, 2007 @06:51PM (#17821016) Homepage
      That's not a bug, it's a feature to make sure you don't copy that floppy. [google.com]
  • by Anonymous Coward
    It wants its article back.
  • BIOS Upgrades... (Score:5, Informative)

    by xTK-421x (531992) on Tuesday January 30, 2007 @05:24PM (#17819464) Homepage
    For those who still upgrade their BIOS via floppy (which seems to be the last major use), here's how to format your USB key to be bootable: http://h18000.www1.hp.com/support/files/serveropti ons/us/download/23839.html [hp.com]
    • by currivan (654314)
      Thank you, I was just about to post asking about this. I seem to remember not being able to update the bios with a bootable CD, but it probably depends on the motherboard.
    • Don't forget though, that your motherboard needs to support booting from USB in order for this to work.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Jeff DeMaagd (2015)
      I have a four year old Compaq notebook that didn't need any bootable medium to update the firmware. The notebook did not include a floppy, it was just an option. The upgrade process went remarkably well. I'm wondering what happened to that idea.
  • Old Archives (Score:4, Interesting)

    by adambha (1048538) on Tuesday January 30, 2007 @05:25PM (#17819484) Homepage

    I recently found an old 3.5" floppy with some useless, but nostalgic data on it. So, I dug through my box of spare 'parts' and found an old drive. As I went to install the drive in my desktop machine to pull the data off the floppy I realized an important fact: that box has no floppy controller.

    In that sense, the floppy has already been gone for some of us for awhile now.

  • I am a Dell ESF tech and the floppy is the staple diet of all server systems. Ever try to install Windows 2003 native without even a USB floppy? Kind of hard to install without the RAID drivers.

    Vista supports other media on that front, but even today, I see people buy the floppy option on even new PE2950 even if they support USB boot. Floppys are fairly gone from desktop, but even I had to install it for firmware updates to my desktop system.
  • Huge stone monument of anodized marble should be built like a floppy disk. It should be in a garden, with a reflecting pool, and with many gold fishes.

    Today the clouds are dry, and the birds have deaf and mute.

  • by WndrBr3d (219963) on Tuesday January 30, 2007 @05:27PM (#17819524) Homepage Journal
    Dell has stopped installing floppy drives in desktops by default now for the better part of two years now.

    I think what should be news is that although everyone is retiring the floppy drive and sending all the disks to the bone yard, nobody has come up with an alternative way to flash device BIOS's. Companies for RAID, Network and other devices sometimes still only release a floppy self-writing image file.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by drinkypoo (153816)

      I think what should be news is that although everyone is retiring the floppy drive and sending all the disks to the bone yard, nobody has come up with an alternative way to flash device BIOS's.

      Nobody? Nobody but me apparently. h0 h0 h0. Seriously though, everyone but you has already figured this out. It's a bit of a PITA but all you need to is use vmware (or similar) with an OS that can read your self-extracting-floppy-making image. Write to a virtual floppy file. Now take that floppy image and use it as

  • How about Vista? Has Microsoft finally learned how to load SCSI drivers and such? So is it "Hasta la vista, Floppy" (as in: farewell), or "Hasta la vista, Floppy" (as in: til the next time I need a SCSI driver)???
    • Given the fact that people aren't really flocking to Vista yet, its probably gonna be "Hasta la XP" for a while - in which case, yeah, its just until you need to install with special RAID/SCSI support.
  • Not for me (Score:5, Informative)

    by willith (218835) * on Tuesday January 30, 2007 @05:29PM (#17819560) Homepage
    When I can upgrade the BIOS and firmware on every device I have to support at work from inside of Windows, *then* I'll bid goodbye to the floppy. With the wild mix of hardware most IT shops have to deal with, I wouldn't count on it any time soon. In the PC world, we're shackled to the floppy disk because of the low level at which it's integrated into the system, and as crappy as it is, some tasks still require it.

    Yes, you can do that with the nifty-keen gaming motherboard on your gaming computer, but my army of Dell Optiplex GX150s and 260s still need me to use floppies (USB sticks aren't allowed in the building for ludicrously retarded "security" reasons).
  • jokes (Score:2, Funny)

    so does this mean an end to the classic jokes about three and a half inch floppy's?
  • 1998 (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Myopic (18616) on Tuesday January 30, 2007 @05:30PM (#17819580)
    In 1998 when Apple released the original bondi blue iMac without a floppy drive, the floppy disc was ALREADY so absurdly useless that no computer user needed them. So, I proffer that this story is late by about a decade.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by kabocox (199019)
      In 1998 when Apple released the original bondi blue iMac without a floppy drive, the floppy disc was ALREADY so absurdly useless that no computer user needed them. So, I proffer that this story is late by about a decade.

      Nah, in 1998 CD burners weren't in my college's computer labs. They had CD readers, but those handy US flash drives weren't really around back in 1998. I actually sunk some money into an external zip drive because I could connect it to all the computers that I had access to, and it would wor
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by MojoStan (776183)

      In 1998 when Apple released the original bondi blue iMac without a floppy drive, the floppy disc was ALREADY so absurdly useless that no computer user needed them.

      I disagree, especially for typical iMac users in 1998. Remember, this was before CD burners, USB keys, and home broadband were mainstream. If you ever saw an Mac computer lab in those days, you'd have noticed an ugly external USB floppy drive hanging off every iMac.

      I thought Apple dropped floppy drives at least a year too early. To move data to

    • Another of Jobs' projects, the original NeXTcube [wikipedia.org], also came without a floppy drive. Instead it had a cutting-edge but oddball 256MB magneto-optical drive. Too bad disks cost about $100 and pretty much nobody else used them.

      I remember that at the time Jobs disparaged floppy drives as "1970s technology," and I thought: Yeah, and keyboards are 19th century technology, but I wouldn't want a computer without one. Eventually he caved and by 1990 the NeXTstation had a 2.88MB floppy drive.

  • by COMON$ (806135) *
    Couple things will keep the floppy alive for several years to come.

    Non-standard disk drivers and windows installs, requirement - floppy.

    That one computer your company has had since the dawn of time that simply sits there and prints data to the screen never being turned off never being replaced because no one really knows how it works but it is "needed".

    Geeks will need the sex jokes about floppy drives and hard disks.

    I for one am happy to see floppy drives go. I discovered with windows 95 that I am an

  • by TheMidnight (1055796) on Tuesday January 30, 2007 @05:31PM (#17819614)

    Anyone else ever try to download big files from your school's higher speed Internet connection and then use WinZip or PKZIP to try and zip it up over 40 floppies, only to find when you got home, disk #40 had a bad sector in the readme.txt file and the entire archive was bad?

    With as many Word documents I had to rescue for friends from those things with ScanDisk, and as many went bad after 6 months or less, I say good riddance to bad rubbish. Of course, the quality went to hell around the era of Windows 95. Before that, companies actually made good floppies that would last on the order of years.

  • by pyite69 (463042) on Tuesday January 30, 2007 @05:31PM (#17819616)
    I have wasted so much time with bad sectors, it is too depressing.

    With el Torito and CD-RW's, it is easy to get by without a floppy drive.
  • just like many other items that no longer justify the space and power they take up.

    I don't build pc's with floppies in them anymore but I do keep a few at home or around (with cables) just in CASE some wonky install needs one.

    but at this point, I even treat cd/dvd drives like that. they don't get used often enough (for me) to justify keeping them installed in a box. more weight to have to lift (every bit adds up in a chassis) and more air blockage and power consuming for no real return (again, in my case)
  • Save Icon? (Score:5, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday January 30, 2007 @05:33PM (#17819632)
    Should we now have to replace the "Save" icons on all out apps?
    Or shall we keep it around as a memorial (and to confuse the next generation)?
  • Nah (Score:4, Interesting)

    by nurb432 (527695) on Tuesday January 30, 2007 @05:33PM (#17819644) Homepage Journal
    Its not dead yet. Just in serious peril.. We will still be using floppies in 10 years.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by evilviper (135110)

      We will still be using floppies in 10 years.
      SOMEBODY will continue to use even the most obsolete junk for the next hundred years. That doesn't mean it's not dead...

  • Boot sequence via toggle switches, to boot CP/M from 8"
  • by mspohr (589790) on Tuesday January 30, 2007 @05:35PM (#17819688)
    I still have a stash of 8" floppies. (At 256KB data capacity, the bit domains are so big you can actually see the data with suitable preparation.)
  • ...is almost a year back. They were my backup 5.25 inch floppy disks from 15 years ago. Interestingly, I could only read them under Linux- my BIOS doesn't have FDD int13h support anymore. The motherboard doesn't boot from them anymore (so no DOS) and FreeDOS also uses int13h to read floppy disks.

    As a result, I could only run my ancient projects by burning them to CD first, then running them from FreeDOS. Kinda cute too, to see what my code looked like back then *shudder* :)
  • nostalgia (Score:3, Informative)

    by owlnation (858981) on Tuesday January 30, 2007 @05:37PM (#17819720)
    Ah, I shall never forget those words that first gave me so much frustration with MS products.

    Not ready reading drive A: ()Abort ()Retry (Y)Fail?
  • by jez9999 (618189) on Tuesday January 30, 2007 @05:39PM (#17819752) Homepage Journal
    A woman won't accept a 3.5" floppy.
  • Those of us who have been in the IT arena for a while remember installing our favorite OS, network client, power application, etc. by feeding the computer what seemed an endless supply of 5.25" soft floppy disks.

    Humph. Those of us who have really been in the IT arena for a while remember when real geeks had 8-inch floppies.

  • by gstoddart (321705) on Tuesday January 30, 2007 @05:41PM (#17819792) Homepage

    It is with sadness that I report the beginning of the end for the floppy
    I think we're at the middle of the end at a bare minimum.

    I bet for a lot of us, we've not handled floppies in several years. And, while my computers still have floppy drives, nothing has been in them for quite a while.

    It's way too late in the decline of the floppy to call it "the beginning of the end".

    Cheers
  • by smellsofbikes (890263) on Tuesday January 30, 2007 @05:50PM (#17819946) Journal
    That's okay: any geek worth anything has boxes and boxes of them, unlabelled, to shore up the dwindling reserves. I think I have two cubic feet just of Amiga software from 1985 on 3.5" discs, and I don't even know how much from Win95 backups.
  • by thewils (463314) on Tuesday January 30, 2007 @05:50PM (#17819948) Journal
    That was reserved for the truly floppy 5 1/4 disks (or even the eight inch ones I used on Datapoint machines).

    I prefer to call the 3 1/2 ones "stiffies".

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      According to TFA, in South Africa, 3.5 inch floppies are called stiffies. In the same vein, it is worth noting that the 5.25 inch floppy was developed at Wang.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by TeknoHog (164938)
      BTW, in Finnish, a floppy is literally translated as "lerppu" and only refers to the 5.25'' kind. The 3.5'' disk is called "korppu" which makes a nice rhyme, and literally means "cracker" (the kind you eat). Unfortunately this has led to a number of drives ruined by some kids inserting actual edible crackers into the drive ;)
  • Old-school (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Ancil (622971) on Tuesday January 30, 2007 @05:50PM (#17819956)

    Those of us who have been in the IT arena for a while remember installing our favorite OS, network client, power application, etc. by feeding the computer what seemed an endless supply of 5.25" soft floppy disks.
    Those of us who've been in IT for a long while remember when the OS and power application lived on a floppy, because the computer didn't have a hard disk.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Digz (90264)

      Those of us who've been in IT for a long while remember when the OS and power application lived on a floppy, because the computer didn't have a hard disk.

      Those of us who've been in IT for a long while remember when the OS and power application lived on 80 column cards.

      (OK, I don't, but my boss tells me about it all the time and I have screwed around with the manual punch machine we still have)

      ;)

  • 8 in floppy (Score:3, Informative)

    by zenray (9262) on Tuesday January 30, 2007 @05:52PM (#17819990) Journal
    "Those of us who have been in the IT arena for a while remember installing our favorite OS, network client, power application, etc. by feeding the computer what seemed an endless supply of 5.25" soft floppy disks.

    The first job I had at Zenith Electronics about 25 years ago had me building a dual 8 inch floppy drive Heath Kit that I had to use. I recall when a single sided, single density floppy for the Commodore 64 cost around $8.00. I had to buy a USB floppy for a system at work because some POS software assumed that data backup went to drive A: and I could not convince the user to use a mapped portion of her hard drive instead.
    I remenber several applicatins assuming that drive A: existed.
  • It's (Score:5, Funny)

    by wsanders (114993) on Tuesday January 30, 2007 @05:54PM (#17820022) Homepage
    [INSERT DISK TO CONTINUE]

    about

    [INSERT DISK TO CONTINUE]

    time.

    [INSERT DISK TO CONTINUE]

    Anybody

    [INSERT DISK TO CONTINUE]

    remem

    [INSERT DISK TO CONTINUE]

    ber the

    [INSERT DISK TO CONTINUE]

    128K

    [INSERT DISK TO CONTINUE]

    Mac?

  • by onkelonkel (560274) on Tuesday January 30, 2007 @05:57PM (#17820100)
    Installing Office 95 on a Toshiba laptop. Twenty six (twenty fucking six!) floppies. After it loaded each one the installer would unpack files for about 3 minutes and only then would it ask for the next floppy. It seemed like about 3 hours to install. I also remember screwing up somehow (do you confirm not wanting to continue to cancel? Y/N/Abort) at some point and having to do this twice. Curse you floppy drive!
  • by gklinger (571901) on Tuesday January 30, 2007 @05:59PM (#17820130)
    Those of us who enjoy using older computers (in my case, Commodore 8bit computers) have been dealing with this problem for quite some time. It has been at least seven years since I saw 5.25" floppy disks for sale in a mainstream store. Luckily, there's a company still making 3.5", 5.25" and even 8" (seriously) floppy disks and they sell directly to the public through their website. They're called ATHANA International [athana.com] located in Harbor City, CA and their prices are reasonable. 5.25" DS/DD, 48TPI, soft sectored (unformatted) disks are $7.95 per box of 10 if you buy 2-5 boxes and the price drops to as little as $0.52 per disk if you purchase 500 or more.


    I hope someone finds this information useful.

  • by CrazyJim1 (809850) on Tuesday January 30, 2007 @06:13PM (#17820364) Journal
    I want to use both sides of my CD to store data.
  • by Myria (562655) on Tuesday January 30, 2007 @06:33PM (#17820714)
    Even in Windows Vista, you still need a floppy disk to back up your logon credentials so that you can recover encrypted files if the OS fails. There is still no way to back this up to a disk file so that you can burn it to CD-R then delete it.

    Melissa
  • by kilgortrout (674919) on Tuesday January 30, 2007 @06:37PM (#17820788)
    It's just pining for the fiords.
  • by KylePflug (898555) on Tuesday January 30, 2007 @06:37PM (#17820804) Homepage
    This is news? Seriously, have you gone laptop shopping lately? How many of the models did you see with floppies? My Toshiba from 2001 didn't have a floppy drive (just an external DVD). My new Gateway doesn't have a floppy drive. My tower has a floppy drive that I installed for the sole purpose of disaster recovery back in the Win2k-to-XP transition days.

    Most new computers don't have floppy drives. They were obsolete when I was A+ certified in '03 and they're obsolete now. Let's grow up and move on.
  • Not dead (Score:3, Interesting)

    by bky1701 (979071) on Tuesday January 30, 2007 @07:14PM (#17821296) Homepage
    Floppy Disks are far from dead. While they are not needed by most people, there are a lot of cases where you need one for power-user reasons or fixing glitches ("X.dll not found"). I had to go out and buy a floppy drive just a few months ago so I could flash my video BIOS (curse Nvidia for turning off the temperature sensor!) because I needed to write a backup and CDs couldn't do that. Floppys are not going to die until there is a cheap, writable , bootable replacement. Small hard drives could replace them in time, but not yet..
  • by linebackn (131821) on Tuesday January 30, 2007 @07:26PM (#17821448)
    I really like USB flash drives these days, and this is coming from someone, who back in the day, wrote a floppy disk formatting program to get more than 1.4 megs out of 3.5" disks.


    To me the best thing about flash drives is that they work almost EVERYWHERE now. There are drivers out there for Windows 95 ("B" version and up), Windows NT, and even DOS! Ok, here's a link [toastytech.com]. They will work on my Mac, Linux and even the eComstation (that's OS/2) demo CD I tried!

    I used to think Iomega would rule the world with their Zip drives, but the prices of the disks always remained insanely high and the disks and drives were not as reliable as they should have been. Also, I don't think I ever saw anybody other than Iomega produce zip-compatible drives. Probably patents and BS.

  • News to me. (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Skreech (131543) on Tuesday January 30, 2007 @07:26PM (#17821462)
    My Computer Science class is requiring that I submit program assignments on a floppy disk. She's not flexible about it, in fact she's very strict about even how to attach the disk to the paper (binder clip), using the proper cover sheet, and so on, or get a huge fat automatic zero.

    I understand adhering to requirements. But floppy disks?

    I guess the real lesson I'm learning so far is that some people will force you to use stupid old methods or standards or media because they said so and for no other good reason. Might as well tell me to submit it on five-and-a-quarter, it would the same inconvenience at this point.

"The only way for a reporter to look at a politician is down." -- H.L. Mencken

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