How To Install and Setup a Floppy Disk Drive For Use With A Desktop Computer

This illustration shows an older generation floppy drive cable.
This illustration shows an older generation floppy drive cable.

This article explains how to setup and configure a floppy disk drive for use with a personal computer and Windows XP operating system. It is an older article listed as a general reference purpose only and will be archived soon. Before installing your floppy disk drive please shut down your computer and unplug all cables attached to the back of your computer. These include power and monitor cables, your keyboard and mouse.

Learning Objectives and Article Overview:

The following learning objectives are presented in this article:

  1. Learn how to install a 3.5″ floppy drive.
  2. Learn how to configure a new floppy drive installation through a Windows operating system.
  3. Learn terminology associated with floppy disk drive technologies.

Prepare The Installation:

Gather Your Tools and Hardware:

This installation requires you to have the following tools and hardware:

  1. 3.5 Floppy Disk Drive.
  2. Phillips screw driver.
  3. (4) Standard floppy drive screws.

Hardware Installation Procedures:

Identifying Connectors On Floppy Drive and Identify The Exact Area On a ATX Case For Installation:

 
Standard 3,5
Standard 3,5″ Floppy Disk Drive

On the back of the floppy drive there is one power connector used to give the drive its juice required to function with the rest of the computer.

There is also a data interface connector (normally 34 pins) that provide a way for data to get to and from the floppy drive and media.

Floppy Disk Drive Mounting Area on an ATX Power Supply Case
Floppy Disk Drive Mounting Area on an ATX Power Supply Case
 

Opening The Computer Case:

To accomplish the task of opening the computer’s case you will need a Phillips screwdriver. The case is normally secured to the metal chassis with two or four screws.

Opening the Computer Case and Identifying Where The Floppy Drive Should Be Installed Into
Opening the Computer Case and Identifying Where The Floppy Drive Should Be Installed Into

Connecting The Power Cable

This 4 pin floppy drive power connector is known as a BERG connector.

This 4 pin floppy drive power connector is known as a BERG connector.
This 4 pin floppy drive power connector is known as a BERG connector.

This type of power connector can be identifiable as four pins in a white socket, and is about half the size of a Molex power connector.

Connecting The Data Interface Cable

The next step is to connect the data transfer cable from the floppy drive to the internal connector on the motherboard.

This port is used to connect the floppy disk ribbon cable to the internal port on the computer's motherboard.
This port is used to connect the floppy disk ribbon cable to the internal port on the computer’s motherboard.

There is usually one pin missing in this area; the floppy disk connector on the motherboard is also missing one pin.

When connecting the data transfer cable to the floppy drive, you must connect the red line on the floppy cable to the pin furthest to the right on the drive.

Connecting the cable in the wrong orientation will cause errors the next time your computer is powered on. You may also damage the drive by connecting the floppy cable the wrong way.

Take some time to ensure that each hole on the cable is aligning perfectly with each individual pin on the floppy drive.

The picture shown above illustrates a properly connected data and power cable connected to a mounted floppy drive.
The picture shown above illustrates a properly connected data and power cable connected to a mounted floppy drive.

To provide an interface between the floppy drive and the computer’s motherboard, you need to string the cable inside of the PC so that it connects up with the 34 pin connector on the motherboard.

Identifying The Motherboard Connector

As shown in the illustration above, the floppy drive connector is a series of 34 gold plated pins. If you cannot find this connector please look at the documentation that came with your computer system for more help.
As shown in the illustration above, the floppy drive connector is a series of 34 gold plated pins. If you cannot find this connector please look at the documentation that came with your computer system for more help.

Gently connect the floppy drive cable to this connector. It’s important to connect the cable in the correct orientation. Match up the missing hole on the connector with the missing hole on the cable to make the connection.

That should complete the physical part of the hardware installation. The next step is to ensure the BIOS can properly recognize your newly installed floppy drive so that the operating system can properly initialize the drive.

Configuring Hardware Through The Basic Input Output System

Assuming everything has been configured correctly after your computer restarts the Basic Input Output System (BIOS) will detect the new hardware and attempt to initialize it according to factory default settings.

Enter the system bios by pressing the F2 key when prompted. On other machines this key could be different. such as F-10. F-11. or F-12.
Enter the system bios by pressing the F2 key when prompted. On other machines this key could be different. such as F-10. F-11. or F-12.

On the main BIOS window press the enter key so the Standard CMOS Features sub-menu is selected.

Configuration of the new Floppy Disk Drive by entering System BIOS settings
Configuration of the new Floppy Disk Drive by entering System BIOS settings

On The Standard CMOS Features screen press the cursor down key to access the option Drive A. Press Enter when that option is selected.

Detecting The New Floppy Drive Via BIOS Settings
Detecting The New Floppy Drive Via BIOS Settings

A pop up menu should appear allowing you to make a selection based on the settings configured in the BIOS.

The option you want to specify is 1.44M 3.5″ option.

Press the Enter key to confirm the selection.

When you are finished making changes to the BIOS you need to apply the changes.

Press the F10 key on any screen to finalize all changes. You will be presented with a screen similar to the one shown in the illustration below.

Confirmation of Successful Changes To The Basic Input Output System
Confirmation of Successful Changes To The Basic Input Output System

Cursor down and over to the Save & Exit Setup option.

Press the Enter key.

Press Y to finalize the operation. After a short delay your computer will be restarted. The floppy drive connects internally to the motherboard’s floppy disk connector.

Configuring Hardware Through The Operating System

Assuming everything has been configured correctly after your computer restarts the Basic Input Output System (BIOS) will detect the new hardware and attempt to initialize it according to factory default settings.

Floppy drives and floppy drive controllers don’t need added configuration if everything is working properly.

In Windows XP you can check the stat of your floppy drive by following these steps:

  1. Left click the Windows Start menu.

  2. Left click the Control Panel menu item.

  3. Left click the System icon.

  4. Left click the Hardware tab.

  5. Left click the Device Manager button.

  6. In the Windows device manager check the status on devices named Floppy disk drive or floppy disk controller.

    The Windows Device Manager will show you a newly functioning floppy drive controller and floppy drive component.
    The Windows Device Manager will show you a newly functioning floppy drive controller and floppy drive component.


  7. If your floppy drive is not functioning properly yellow exclamation points will be shown.

Upon a successful restart the operating system installed on your computer will detect the newly installed floppy drive.

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About Mike Casimir 147 Articles
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