Are there different 3.5 inch floppy standards?

  Batch 14:24 19 Mar 2014

I've offered an old internal 3.5 inch floppy drive to an acquaintance who still uses 3.5 inch floppies a fair bit (why? - don't even go there).

As it turns out his existing drive (on his old Windows NT machine) packed up about a month ago and he said that the person that usually looks after his PC told him that he can't get one now.

Now, I know full well that they are readily available (albeit maybe secondhand) on ebay, as are external USB 3.5 inch floppy drives.

I told him that his "man" was talking rubbish, but it did make me wonder if, by slim chance, there was more than one internal 3.5 inch floppy standard (not for the floppies, but for the drive interface). Anyone heard of such??? I thought they were all the same. Alternatively, would NT have had to have had drive specific drivers?

The only other conclusions I came to is that either his "man" does not know what he is talking about or he just can't be bothered.

BTW, please don't suggest an external USB floppy drive or pen drives. Been all round that, but for my acquaintance please read dinosaur.

  wiz-king 15:03 19 Mar 2014

They are normally formatted as Fat 32 but could be formatted as something else, and, yes the drivers for the drive may vary. see

  imendpc 15:17 19 Mar 2014

It is not FAT 32, not for 1.44MB capacity, it is just FAT ! If your question was about the interface connector which is to connect to the common floppy cable. it is very easy to identify as you are offered. The floppy is drivable at a DOS/BIOS level so the NT bit may be a red herring. The formatting is also doable at DOS level. I would just open up the old equipment, try and see and chances are very likely to work as the 3.5" 720k and 1.44MB were so dominant as a standard starting from DOS days, right up to a few years' ago when cheap USB flask sticks came into being.

  Batch 15:24 19 Mar 2014

wiz-king - not sure what you are referring to in the Wikipedia article as there is only one reference to drivers there and it is not relevant in this context.

He's not using any non-standard formatting - just standard 1.44MB (I'm not sure you're even given a choice of FAT type when formatting).

  Batch 15:29 19 Mar 2014


"chances are very likely to work" that's what I thought (in fact I couldn't see why it wouldn't) - hence why I thought's his "man" was talking rubbish.

But just trying to see if there might have been some oddball thing that I'm not aware of before going to the effort of sorting out the logistics of fitting the drive for him (he's definitely not capable and he's not that nearby).

  wiz-king 17:29 19 Mar 2014

12" long double-jointed fingers needed for some computers - if you come across one where only one side panel is screwed on and the other fixed with pop rivets.

  Batch 18:39 19 Mar 2014

It has just dawned on me that his PC may not even have USB ports anyhow - so that alone would make an external floppy drive that much more hassle.

  Fruit Bat /\0/\ 19:31 19 Mar 2014

Internal Floppy drives are still made and available for older PCs/

modern PCs / motherboards no longer have the floppy controller or slot so you would need a USB type if your machine is less than 5yrs or so old.

As for why you need them ... I work on locomotives that still use programs than require to download to A drive however with a little jiggery pokery we have conned the old machines into thinking that a USB port is A drive so we can save to USB sticks rather than floppy disks.

  bumpkin 19:35 19 Mar 2014

Just change the existing drive, any functioning one should work. Any other attempts to help USB etc and it will become your fault if he cannot use it or anything else goes wrong.

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