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As far as Windows XP is concerned, not all floppy drives are created equal

Most IT professionals consider floppy disks to be nearly obsolete. But even though today they are more likely to be add-ons that function through a computer's USB port than coming installed on the computer as they once were, they are still useful adjuncts to Windows systems.

Furthermore, as far as Windows XP is concerned, not all floppy disk drives are created equal. In fact, only three floppy drives are listed in the Windows XP setup file, and they are the only ones you can be sure will be recognized when you try to install mass storage devices during an XP installation.

The three recognized floppy drives are:

  • Mitsumi drives
  • Y-E Data drives (made by Sony under Sony part number 09K9835)
  • TEAC drives made for IBM with IBM option part number 27L4226, FRU 05K9283

Floppy drives from Hewlett-Packard, NEC, SMSC and other drives from Sony and from Y-E Data will not be recognized upon installation.

The problem is that the drivers for the floppy drives usually come on a floppy disk. Since the system doesn't recognize the floppy disk over the USB bus, it can't read the floppy disk. Therefore, it can't load the drivers.

Microsoft recommends that you use one of the supported drives. However, as a workaround, the company suggests using the

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Microsoft Windows Remote Installation service to add third-party devices in a networked environment.

About the author Speaking of floppies, Rick Cook has been writing about mass storage since the days when the term meant an 80 KB floppy disk.. Today he specializes in writing about issues related to storage and storage management.

More information from SearchWinComputing.com

This was first published in April 2006

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