Booting Up with USB Floppy Drive?

  Dumfy 14:48 29 Jun 2006

Hi All,

Had loads of problems with the PC since Acronis True Image failed to restore my system and I've had to start from scratch. It's let me down before, so it's time to revert back to my trusted Powerquest Drive Image 7.

The problem is, this new PC from HP didn't come with floppy drive installed and as Drive Image can rescue an unbootable/corrupt system by booting from rescue floppies not having a floppy drive is difficult!

Is it possible to use a USB floppy drive to boot from - ie - can you boot up from a USB device?

I've looked in the BIOS and the only options to boot from are HDD/CDRom/Network. I've enabled USB Legacy Support elsewhere in the BIOS.



  rmcqua 14:51 29 Jun 2006

I don't belive that it is generally possible to boot from a USB device, as the USB ports do not become initialised and functional until well into the system start process.

  mattyc_92 15:02 29 Jun 2006

Yes, it is posible...

But your BIOS has to have the option.... Go through the BIOS and enable the power option for USBs (can't remember where the option is located) and enable the "Boot From Other" option...

  mattyc_92 15:04 29 Jun 2006

"Depending on the BIOS of your computer, you can set the USB stick as a boot device.
If your PC's BIOS does not seem to support this, check if there is an update for the available BIOS!
Your milage may vary :-)

For some reason most BIOS'es prefer to refer to the thumbdrive as a USB Removable Floppy Disk or USB Zip Disk.
Please email me settings if you found settings that work for a particular BIOS.
Please DO NOT send me questions. Please ask them in the FORUM so others can read the replies as well.

Tip: Some AMI BIOSes require you to enable the option "USB Keyboard Legacy support"!
For example: the Asus A7N8X-E Deluxe - with thanks for the tip to Fernando from Spain!

* Generic approach

If your BIOS is not in the list below, or the settings do not seem to work with your PC, then do this:

- Go into the BIOS
- Go to the page that determines the boot order (usually called "Advanced Setup", "Boot options", or "Feature Setup")
- Try all USB drive variants. Start with "USB ZIP", then "USB FDD", "USB HDD ", etc.
- To speed up the testing, DISABLE ALL other boot devices. This goes for the 2nd, 3rd etc, but also for so called "Alternative boot devices".


Depending on the version of your AMI-BIOS (enter using the "Del" button):

Option 1;
This refers to an AMI-BIOS I found on my own spare computer.
(version number may vary)

Go to "Feature Setup".
"Enable" these options: "USB Function Support", "USB Function For DOS" and "ThumbDrive for DOS".

Go to "Advanced Setup".
Set the "1st Boot Device" to "USB RMD-FDD".

Reboot the PC and it now should boot from the Thumbdrive.

Option 2;
Settings I found on a German website (click here).

Go to "USB Mass Storage Device Configuration".
Select "Emulation Type" and set it to "Harddisk".
Go to the "Boot Menu" and set the "1st boot device" to "USB-Stick".
No you can exit the BIOS, saving the changes. If this does not seem to work, then you can try (it sometimes seems to work) setting the "Emulation Type" value to "Floppy" or "Forced FDD".


On my Shuttle XPC (SN85G4), the Phoenix/Award BIOS:

Go to "Advanced BIOS Features".
Go to the "1st Boot device" and set it to "USB-ZIP".

Tip from Daniel Butler: I have a Phoenix BIOS, Revision 6. After a lot of frustration, I found that you need to go to the Boot Order screen and select "Harddisk" and hit enter, giving you a list of IDE hard drives - for some reason, this BIOS prefers to call a USB device an IDE harddrive...but whatever. :)

And that's all. Reboot the PC (Exit the BIOS saving the changes) and see if it wants to boot from the thumbdrive.
Of the 5 PC's I tried, 4 where succesfull."

From click here

  Stuartli 16:29 29 Jun 2006

A new floppy disk drive is less than a fiver (plus the cable) - probably a quicker and less hassle solution to the problem.

  phil46 19:55 30 Jun 2006

I have an Acer Desktop i have used a USB floppy to boot but they are quite dear to buy,as has been said it's cheaper to install an internal floppy you will find a floppy slot on your computer as i did behind the slide down flap in my case.

  Stuartli 21:18 30 Jun 2006

>>they are quite dear to buy>>

£20 in Currys for a USB1.1 example - I was looking for a standard floppy disk drive last week (original packed up after 10 years!).

Found a rebadged Sony one elsewhere for just over a fiver.

  woodchip 21:24 30 Jun 2006

I may have got my USB floppy at the right time about twenty months ago I got a Sony USB floppy from Ebuyer £10.

It will start from one if the BIOS supports it. But you may as above be better to get a internal one

  Dumfy 14:27 01 Jul 2006

Thanks for the advice everyone. To fit an internal floppy drive would be ideal and that is the route I wanted to take.

However, there's no room for one at all in this HP Media Center PC. There's an FDD socket on the motherboard, but physically no where to install a drive - no bay no nothing. This is why I was going to try the USB route - either floppy or flash drive. Maplin are selling a USB floppy for £21 - which is expensive when compared to a standard drive.

From the advice above, I've since found that I can't seem to get the BIOS to boot from USB anyway. It isn't even mentioned under the boot order. The BIOS is AMI, so without maybe having to flash the mobo (which I'm not keen on) I'm stuck.

The only way I can see to do this is use Drive Image and create the Rescue floppies on my Laptop. Then if disaster strikes and I need to restore an image, I'll have to temporarily plug a standard floppy drive into the mobo, set the BIOS to boot from floppy and then disconnect it all when I'm finished.

Is this a good idea? Or any other suggestions.

Thanks again everyone.


  DieSse 14:51 01 Jul 2006

Use a CD - "all" systems will boot from a CD.

  ed-0 14:51 01 Jul 2006

You don't need to use a drive bay to use the a floppy drive.

You could purchase an internal drive, with cable and connect this to the motherboard. Connect the power connector to the floppy drive. Either lay the floppy drive on to some cardboard or place a sheet of cardboard between the PC and the floppy drive so it does not short on the chasis.

Then just use the floppy drive to restore your immage.

When done, undo the floppy drive and store away. In case you need it again.

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