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How do I load my floppy-based backups if I have no floppy drive?


I lost all the information on my computer because of a storm strike. I’ve backed those important things on floppy discs, however, my new computer does not have floppy devices. How can I get this loaded? I really appreciate any suggestions. I’m not too good at computers yet. Thanks.

In this excerpt from
Answercast #50
, I look at an easy problem: reading data off of old floppy disks.

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Floppy disk drive

Actually, this has a surprisingly easy answer. There are in fact USB floppy drives available.

Go out to any of the major computer stores or Amazon. You’ll be able to get a USB floppy drive that you would then be able to use as the drive to copy off whatever it is you have backed up.

You may even be able to get those drives to appear as their original drives A: or B:. But nonetheless, you’ll be able to at least, read the data from those drives and get them on to your PC.

And good on you for backing up!

Obsolete hardware

What you’re experiencing is one of the ongoing problems with backups. Backups that are a bit on the old side often are left in the dust by the advances in technology.

I’m assuming you’re talking 3 1/4-inch floppy disks (or 3 1/2, I forget now exactly what size they were). 5 1/4 would be a much more difficult problem. Even then! The 8-inch drives that I used to use many years ago are probably a lost cause.

Keep new copies of backups

So while you’re at it or while you’ve got that floppy drive attached, you might want to consider copying off all of the data you have backed up onto those floppies and write it onto something new:

  • Maybe an external hard drive;
  • Maybe some CDs or DVDs;
  • Something that’s going to last at least a little bit longer.

Then, potentially, revisit this issue every few years.

Do this

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