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Death to the 3.5" Floppy?

michael posted more than 12 years ago | from the ad-te-omnis-caro-veniet dept.

Technology 1449

BawbBitchen writes "PC World in NZ is running this story about PC makers struggling to try to kill the floppy as a standard PC part. Gateway has started to take $10 off the price of a PC if you order the PC without the floppy. Hum, well my Mac does not have a floppy and I do not miss it & my Linux Server has one that I have never used. Does anyone out there still use their floppy?"

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fp (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3981207)


yes (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3981214)


PropS to DeAd HomiEZ...And SPORKS

3.5" Floppy (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3981215)

I use them to back up my 5.25" inch diskettes.

Yes (-1, Redundant)

WhyDoubt (472635) | more than 12 years ago | (#3981216)

They are great for emergency situations...

BOOT DISK (5, Informative)

shaldannon (752) | more than 12 years ago | (#3981217)

Maybe I'm the only one left, but I find my floppy drive real handy for booting the computer still; particularly for installing operating systems...

This is particularly true since I still have to boot off a floppy to install Linux (something about autoboot and my scsi CD-ROM)...

Re:BOOT DISK (1, Insightful)

Hollinger (16202) | more than 12 years ago | (#3981237)

Why not use a boot CD? Most good cd-burning apps can make a CD bootable.

Re:BOOT DISK (4, Funny)

gimpboy (34912) | more than 12 years ago | (#3981297)

i know the parent was a long comment, and you probably missed this part:

This is particularly true since I still have to boot off a floppy to install Linux (something about autoboot and my scsi CD-ROM)...

which would suggest that he as trouble booting off of cd's and likes the alternative floppy disks give him.

Re:BOOT DISK (0, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3981303)

Why not use a boot CD?


"something about autoboot and my scsi CD-ROM"

Re:BOOT DISK (2, Informative) (555899) | more than 12 years ago | (#3981298)

Please mod parent up.

This is one of the few times I would think I ever realy used a floppy. While I still use them ocasionaly to transfer files instead of FTP, when needing a boot disk these solutions don't work.

And am I the only one with about 120 floppies sitting in my computer room in boxes? Including the boot disks for Windows versions 95 - XP?


number6.3 (512525) | more than 12 years ago | (#3981306)

No, I'm with you, brother. I could see replacing the humble 1.4M floppy with a beefier 100M (or 200M, or whatever) ZIP drive (or whatever), but DO NOT take away my ability to alternate boot the machine! Boot from CD is not a "nice" option for me :(

Stirring the pot since 19 mumblty mumble...


allenst (597213) | more than 12 years ago | (#3981320)

I dual-boot Linux with that other os (work related)--makes life much easier..

Re:BOOT DISK (3, Informative)

TheMatt (541854) | more than 12 years ago | (#3981333)

YES! You and I are kindred, shaldannon. My Linux box also will not boot a bootable CD-ROM no matter what the BIOS or SCSI BIOS setup. The main ones I deal with are RH update ISOs for which I must dd a boot disk.

Re:BOOT DISK (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3981337)

Yeap. Refuse to remove floppy drive for fear of DRM only OS on PC.

How the heck would you "flash" a BIOS ? Do you reinstall Windows over linux just to do that ?

Floppy is still Superior in at least one way (5, Insightful)

cosmosis (221542) | more than 12 years ago | (#3981347)

There is not a de-facto standard for anything else. If we get rid of the floppy, what is to replace its easy re-write characteristics? Zip Drive failed to do it. The CD-RW haven't done it. And as the previous poster mentioned what else can you use for BOOT? The floppy has been such a de-facto standard, that no drivers are ever necessary to make it work. The same cannot be said about the Zip or CD-RW, or any of its equivalents.

Until a new, better, higher capacity equivalent comes along, I can see no sound reason to get rid of the floppy drive.

PC Bios updates... (5, Insightful)

bmacy (40101) | more than 12 years ago | (#3981218)

I don't own a PC that will "officially" allow me to to flash the BIOS from anything but a DOS boot floppy.

Brian Macy

Re:PC Bios updates... (1)

Lester388383 (577003) | more than 12 years ago | (#3981286)

Sorry, I need some help here. What are some unoffical ways to do that?

yes (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3981219)

Sho nuff, sucka. they come in handy just for little transfers.

Remember slashdot when the iMac first came out? (5, Insightful)

lordpixel (22352) | more than 12 years ago | (#3981220)

I do.

The noise!
The fury!
The whining!

It'll never sell, they said. What will people do without their floppy drive!
Hell, I hardly even use the Zip drive on my G4 for anything anymore.

yes, i do quite often. (1)

joe_bruin (266648) | more than 12 years ago | (#3981223)

how else would i install openbsd? it takes too long for the cd's i bought to get here.

i'd rather see a replacement to the floppy (that's bootable!). how about compact flash slots?

All of my systems still have floppy drives (1)

RatBastard (949) | more than 12 years ago | (#3981226)

All of my systems still have floppy drives. I'll go without using them for months at a time, however. My server's floppy drive has not been used in about a year. My primary workstation's floppy was last used three days ago, but I was only moving a small file around the sneaker net.

At work almost no one uses them anymore. I could probably remove them all and only three people would notice.

Fifteenth post! (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3981227)

The 20 second delay really sucks.

I use my floppy disks to hold all my mp3's! Then I play them in the car. I can store the first 300 milliseconds of each song!

yea i need floppies (0, Flamebait)

j1mmy (43634) | more than 12 years ago | (#3981228)

my warezed copy of win98 doesn't like to boot properly from cd, so i use boot disks.

Yes I do :) (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3981230)

When sometimes I have to start up a f..d up Winbloze with a Win98 startup disk (with CD Rom support :) for eventually reinstall it :)

Standard on almost every PC (1)

ardmhacha (192482) | more than 12 years ago | (#3981231)

Does anyone out there still use their floppy?"

Yes. Whenever a network goes down it is still a great way to transfer a file between two PCs

useful.... (0)

nealrs (75987) | more than 12 years ago | (#3981232)

yeah, pc makers might be trying to get rid of them, but what about software companies? how many of us still have software on floppies that is irreplaceable? and how many of us still have windows 95/98 recovery disks etc. don't most linux installations still recommend creating a root disk etc? until software ocmpanies no longer make software available on floppies and all of mine break, all my pcs will still have a floppy drive -nrs-

trash em (1)

freeefalln (541648) | more than 12 years ago | (#3981235)

havent used one in about 4 years. trash em.

Floppies (1)

CrazySaru (567610) | more than 12 years ago | (#3981236)

Floppies can die for all I care...

join the CD-R revolution!

get a Mac!! (-1, Troll)

mAIsE (548) | more than 12 years ago | (#3981238)

yeah i plug mine into my iBook whenever i want to read old disks.

Maybe PC's can make the evolution the same ways Macs did in 97. Just use an external USB drive when needed.

GPG (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3981239)

Is there a better removable RW medium for a GPG keyring?

Sure do . . . (1)

kalidasa (577403) | more than 12 years ago | (#3981240)

They're cheap as pins, practically, and after all, they do hold 1.44 MB formatted; and most of the stuff that I need to carry around with me will fit on that.

Some Sony Cameras use it as a standard (1)

screenbert (253482) | more than 12 years ago | (#3981241)

I still use my floppy and many people still have their Sony cameras (and I'm sure other devices) that use ONLY the 3.5" floppy.

This article almost seems like a troll since and industry standard has not been widely accepted to use as a replacement. ZIP and LS-100 have had a limited success. Not everyone has internet access yet either.

Speaking of ZIP and LS-100, has anyone ever booted to one of these devices? I'm sure the LS-100 wouldn't be much of a problem...

Floppies for old computers (1)

bfootdav (18971) | more than 12 years ago | (#3981242)

Sometimes it's just easier when dealing with old computers to use floppies (installing Linux or whatever). Additionally when going to a new computer you are assured of at least being able to use a floppy. It is good to have some kind of ubiquitous storage medium like the floppy for transferring a few files around.

Rest asured.... (1)

KewLinux (217218) | more than 12 years ago | (#3981243)

....that you will only ever need a floppy drive after you removed it...

Does anyone out there still use their floppy? (1)

Inexile2002 (540368) | more than 12 years ago | (#3981244)

I'm offended that you'd even ask! My god man, that's private... oh, disk drive... um... never mind...

No! And they'll never take my 5.25" either! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3981245)

I have a dual-drive thing that I've had for years now, moved from computer to computer. 3.5" and 5.25" in one unit. It's great. I love it.

Okay, so I don't use the 5.25" ever anymore, and I rarely use the 3.5", but I need it! I... love it! It's true. It's a great conversation piece about where things have been and where they're going.

When I was in college and living in the dorms (96-99), I actually did occasionally get to use it though. There were students with computers with ONLY a 5.25" drive! Yes, I was amazed, too.

Removing the floppy has security advantages (1)

sgtsanity (568914) | more than 12 years ago | (#3981246)

I've seen many buisnesses get computers without floppy drives not to save money, but to stop things like viruses. Most people already have access to all the files they need through a network. And forcing the transfer to be through a network connection or through the internet allows firewalls to scan the data and make sure it's non-lethal.

Add to that the instability of floppies in general and you have every reason to make sure that none of your company computers have a floppy drive.

Floppyfw (2, Informative)

Atzanteol (99067) | more than 12 years ago | (#3981247)

I have a HDDless P120 running Linux off a floppy disk as a firewall thanks to Floppyfw!

emergency boot (1)

alcourt (198386) | more than 12 years ago | (#3981248)

As long as CD RW drives have not been standard for at least another year, floppy drives need to remain standard. I use floppies as a quick and dirty way to transfer files from one system to another. That said, I realize that joe average user with Windows ME or XP probably hasn't used their floppy ever. For a setup with only one PC in the home, the floppy does become less useful-- until you need to recover that system. Boot floppies are useful precisely because they are easy to make, easy to change.

Maybe minidisks should replace floppies as the standard "quick and dirty" media.

The only use for a floppy... (5, Funny)

PissingInTheWind (573929) | more than 12 years ago | (#3981251) as a boot disk.

Anyone conserving important data on one of those is stupid.
Unless they wrap them in aluminium to protect them from solar flares...

I used to have a floppy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3981252)

Until it became a hard drive overnight.

The floppy is dead, long live 3.5" media (1)

soupforare (542403) | more than 12 years ago | (#3981254)

I'd have absolutely no trouble with the death of the floppy, as long as a sane standard came to replace it.
3.5" MO drives are an excellent idea, the media costs a bit, but if everyone had it, the price would drop some.

MO just makes sense ^_^

All the time (2)

Xaoswolf (524554) | more than 12 years ago | (#3981256)

I need to install the NIC drivers, so I copy them from the network to a floppy, take the floppy to the PC and install the drivers.

I need to do a BIOS update, so I download the new bios to a floppy, put it in the drive and boot the machine.

Out of the hundreds of floppies that I have gone through, I have only had a few go bad, unlike CD's which I have had several turn into coasters while writing, and almost the same amount get scratched.

Floppies, not evil (2)

halftrack (454203) | more than 12 years ago | (#3981257)

Floppies aren't evil. They are rarly in use, but then again; the cpu isn't either. You don't see PC makers trying to kill them off.

Small file transfers (2)

unicron (20286) | more than 12 years ago | (#3981260)

I used mine last night at a lan party. Had to re-install Windows, went to install the drivers for my nic, realized the disk was at home, had someone download them and put it on a floppy. Not really worth wasting a cd for a 500k .zip is it? Of course, Winzip is almost 1.44 megs exactly, so I had to use the disk twice.

I use it, but it should still go (1)

pyite69 (463042) | more than 12 years ago | (#3981261)

It definitely shouldn't be a standard part. But
I would like to see a new low cost read/write
standard emerge - and a Real standard, not
something proprietary like Zip.

CDR (1)

rattler14 (459782) | more than 12 years ago | (#3981262)

ever since CDR media has dropped to less than a buck a disk, there has been little need of a floppy disk that cost 4 or 5 times as much.

then there's the fact that everything is networked now. I can just keep all of my files on my ftp and retrieve them from anywhere, just like everyone else

Floppy disks? haven't even touched one (and i'm not overexagerrating) in over a year and a half

Yeah (5, Funny)

Jonny Ringo (444580) | more than 12 years ago | (#3981264)

I using mine as an apache web server.

I would post the link but I really think it deserves its own /. article :-)

Boot ?? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3981265)

Booting off a cd isn't as easy as it seems. Some mobo's just don't like it or freeze allot. Seems floppies are surviving basically off this alone. I can't think of any other use for them honestly. For moving small files I like those usb keychain drives. I think its safe to say flash killed the floppy, not cdr, cdrw like many think. Flash is the small portable memory of choice. If only there were only 1 standard and not 5 or 6 of the damn things ;)

On bootup (1)

Indomitus (578) | more than 12 years ago | (#3981266)

I use my floppy drives to boot off of regularly, to rescue systems and work around screwed up lilo installs. I also use them to load drivers (such as RAID which Redhat seems to forever have trouble with) when I install Linux on my machines. That's it though, I don't remember the last time I used a floppy for something after boot or install.

What floppy?? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3981268)

Since I bought my USB Thumbdrive I haven't used a floppy in months.

it's worthless (1)

stevewz (192317) | more than 12 years ago | (#3981269)

If you've got a Zip drive, the 3.5" floppy drive is close to worthless. Except for Emergency disks.

kickstart (1)

frizz (91565) | more than 12 years ago | (#3981270)

I use them for kickstarting several different machines.

School (1)

lowtekneq (469145) | more than 12 years ago | (#3981271)

I don't have a floppy drive, but i have needed it at time. Everytime there is a project, or assignment due have some time to work on it at home and in school, and we are supposed to use floppy disks for the transport (i just ftp it). But i have gotten points taken off b/c i didn't have a backup!

Bye bye floppy... (2)

drudd (43032) | more than 12 years ago | (#3981272)

I don't really use any removeable media anymore (with the exception of cd's, but only for installing software).

Everywhere I go has an internet connection, so I simply scp/ftp my files around whenever and wherever I need them.

This is really convenient, since I no longer lose important documents to bad floppies, or bad lab floppy drives (people are such slobs! Food + floppy drive == bad!).


Duh (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3981273)

I use floppies to transfer small samples to my Kurzweil K2600XS. Fortunately, my new laptop came with an external USB floppy drive, so I'm covered for a while.

BIOS Upgrades (1)

jdclucidly (520630) | more than 12 years ago | (#3981274)

For those of us on the bleeding edge of hardware build-it-yourselfs, performing a BIOS upgrade without a floppy is difficult. It's almost impossible if you don't have a Windows operating system. Currently the process to upgrade my Linux box's BIOS includes obtaining access to a Win 98 box or earlier, making a bootable floppy, extracting the BIOS update executables, making an image of the disc and then burning an El Torrito bootable CD that will be compatible with my Linux CD-ROM. That's too much work!

If manufacturers really want to get ride of the floppy, they need to work with BIOS makers.

The LAW says- (5, Funny)

matticus (93537) | more than 12 years ago | (#3981276)

Murphy's law of floppy drives-
Once you get rid of your floppy drive, within three days you will have dire need of it.

Re:The LAW says- (5, Funny)

unicron (20286) | more than 12 years ago | (#3981315)

"I'm going to burn my mscdex drivers on a cd for when I need them".

Re:The LAW says- (5, Interesting)

topham (32406) | more than 12 years ago | (#3981354)

The funniest part about that is it's actually usefull.

You can boot from a CDROM and install the mscdex files to a DOS system and reboot and access the CDROM normally...

I don't have a Mac (0, Flamebait)

trailerparkcassanova (469342) | more than 12 years ago | (#3981277)

and have never needed it. I saved over $1000.00 by not getting one.

Sadly...yes. (2)

TheMatt (541854) | more than 12 years ago | (#3981279)

Not that I wouldn't want to rid myself of it, but for some reason, my Linux box will not boot to the CD-ROM drive at all. This is no matter what the BIOS or SCSI BIOS settings are (really). So, the only way to boot to a CD (say, a new Redhat ISO) is to use a boot floppy.

Strangely, my XP box has a floppy drive that hasn't ever been used. I haven't found a need since CD-Rs are so cheap (for floppy-like usage, the cheap spindles are great).

We still use em.. (1)

Pontiac (135778) | more than 12 years ago | (#3981281)

I have 2 floppy drives in my Novell server..
1 5 1/4" that is just there to fill a hole on the case and a 3 1/2 I only used when i built the box 4 years ago.

Around work we use floppy disks all the time for booting new boxes to the imaging network.

Some CD burning software (Roxio) requires a "Bootable Floppy" to make bootable CD's

Not yet! (1)

Telastyn (206146) | more than 12 years ago | (#3981282)

CD burners are extremely cheap, but until I can get one for $20 that works everywhere, floppies should probably stay on something as diverse as PC's.

(Apples and Sun machines can do without as their OS/hardware is not diverse)

Heheh... (1)

GriffX (130554) | more than 12 years ago | (#3981283)

Does anyone out there still use their floppy?
Are you seriously asking Slashdot readers this?

I still use a floppy.... (1)

Psx29 (538840) | more than 12 years ago | (#3981284)

not on a regular basis, however, a floppy is useful for the quick transfer of small text/html files and it also is useful to have the LILO bootloader on a disk. Of course, I could see that a floppy drive is not useful for the average person.

only useful for boot disks and bios flashing (2)

NotAnotherReboot (262125) | more than 12 years ago | (#3981285)

The only uses I've gotten out of them for a long while have been boot disks and flashing the bios. However, if you have a fairly new system, odds are that it can boot off a cdrom and install the OS from there and now you can even flash your BIOS from your OS. Unless you have a digital camera that uses one I see no real reason for them anymore.

A Floppy? Phhht (1)

Twintop (579924) | more than 12 years ago | (#3981287)

Now-a-days if I need something, it usually is larger than 1.44MB (even zipped up). What I usually do is upload it to some website I can get to so I can just d/l it when I get to my destination, or, I burn it onto a CD. Heck, most of the time you can get 50 32x CDs for $20 with a $20 rebate from CompUSA. Rewriteables might be a little bit more, but with Drag'n'Drop CD software out there, they are the new floppy.

Along with it... (3, Insightful)

chill (34294) | more than 12 years ago | (#3981288)

I'd like to see the serial port, parallel port, PS/2 mouse & keyboard port all go away.

Firewire and USB can replace that and more. IDE and SCSI could also go away and be replaced by a Firewire or USB 2.0 bus.

Worst comes to worst, use and adaptor for the USB port to make that must-have serial/parallel device work.

For an interim, an IDE superfloppy, like the LS-120 is a nice way to wean off.

Compact Flash (5, Insightful)

Yohahn (8680) | more than 12 years ago | (#3981289)

I would be VERY happy if they would replace the floppy with a compact flash receptical.

Same idea as floppy... Probably same lifespan...
Easy.. small.. not as fragile (in my experience)

Yes.. compact flash should be the replacement.

(and how about booting off of USB 2.0 hard drives and cdroms) :)

still has uses... (1)

s10god (409764) | more than 12 years ago | (#3981291)

The floppy is still a good cheap way to backup small important data files. Quicken, WordPerfect, Encryption Keys, etc etc...
Its too damned cheap to kill.... 15 bucks for a drive, (if it dies) and ultra cheap meadeum...

Re:still has uses... (2)

WetCat (558132) | more than 12 years ago | (#3981326)

what about CD-RWs for the same purposes?
I was in a great trouble when my floppy disks refused to read after backup...

You know there's going to be a resounding YES (1)

fatwreckfan (322865) | more than 12 years ago | (#3981292)

Come on, floppy's are too convenient to get rid of. All of my programming classes at school require submission of printed off source and a floppy with the code and executable.

What about boot disks, quickly moving a doc to another PC, etc.?

People are going to argue that with networks and email you don't need to physically move files any more, but not all systems are online or networked.

For the small expense, floppy drives are extremely useful still.

I use a floppy for LILO (1)

necrognome (236545) | more than 12 years ago | (#3981293)

It's my preference in a dual-boot sitation.

Debian Net Install (4, Interesting)

Evanrude (21624) | more than 12 years ago | (#3981294)

I find that 2 floppy disks work great for installing Debian over the 'net.

Yes! Or rather, no. (1)

beej (82035) | more than 12 years ago | (#3981295)

I tested memory on a win2k box by installing memtest on a floppy and booting from doesn't even need DOS to run.

And I have a linux boot floppy that I sometimes use. Frankly the slackware rescue CD sees more action.

It's all moot anyway since I'm like in 0.01% of the population, and I'll have trouble buying a floppy for my next computer and will start using CDROMs or DVD-ROMs to do the same stuff.

(Just make "cat bzImage > /dev/cd0" work and I'll be happy.) :-)

Floppys still useful... (1)

Streyeder (569869) | more than 12 years ago | (#3981296)

Until all of the disk utilities I have Images of are ported to a bootable CD-ROM AND all CD-ROM's read CD-R's the floppy will keep saving my ass. I don't see the death of the floppy until ALL Win9x based systems are phased out, even then it will take time to get used to. I tend to love my old school hardware utilities. :)

Bios & Testing (2)

JohnA (131062) | more than 12 years ago | (#3981302)

Actually, I would find it almost impossible to live without my floppy drive, which seems absolutely crazy. Most (if not all) vendor provided hard drive diagnostic tools run ONLY from DOS, and the same appears to be true for most BIOS upgrade tools as well. Some vendors have begun to provide Windows based BIOS reflashing tools, but they don't work under WINE, and it seems easier to keep a floppy drive around rather than a Windows partition.

Hint to vendors: Provide tools that run under Linux, or provide bootable CD images PLEASE!

yep (1)

stipe42 (305620) | more than 12 years ago | (#3981304)

I decided to save $1200 a year by ditching cable tv and cable modem. Since I've got a cell phone and only get telemarketers on the landline, I got rid of the landline to save another $250 per year (ie, no I can't get free dialup). So when I needed to email a word document I've got at home to someone today, I put it on one of those magic floppies and brought it to work.


BIOS Updates (1)

jander (88775) | more than 12 years ago | (#3981305)

About the only thing (that I know of) that commonly uses a floppy anymore is for BIOS updates. There are alot of motherboards that have floppy boot routines hard coded for just this reason.

I remember (2)

thedbp (443047) | more than 12 years ago | (#3981308)

when i was a kid at the lawyer's office w/ my mom during my parent's divorce, the secretary was putting files on these tiny little hard plastic disks. I hadn't seen anything like that available for my C64 (I was around 8 at the time) and wound up begging my mom to get me one for Xmas.

Now I spend my day ranting about how floppies need to go. Seriously, if it's that freaking small, just EMAIL IT TO YOURSELF PEOPLE!

windows2000/XP helped move the process along. (1)

Kevin Stevens (227724) | more than 12 years ago | (#3981309)

The only thing I ever used a floppy for was for a startup disk back when I was using the win9x family. I think bootable CD-ROM's have really helped kick the floppy to the curb, as well as windows 2000/XP, using NTFS, which makes those boot floppies pretty much useless anyway, (unless of course you are smart and have your mp3 type data on a fat32 partition). I imagine a few bucks could be shaved off the price of PC's if we could finally get the floppy monkey off of our backs, as well as freeing up valuable motherboard space to put new features on.

On the Usefulness of Floppy Disks (1)

chetters (134912) | more than 12 years ago | (#3981310)

I still use flopppies on occasion. It is still an unfortunately common occurance that I screw up my boot sector and have to rawrite a boot image to fix things.

However, they aren't that neccesary for the most part. If I've got a CD-ROM, can't I boot a Linux Rescue disk? Yes. In fact, most of the uses of reccue floppies etc... have been eliminated by the rescue CD. Usually, RedHat's install disk has sufficient rescue gusto to get me up and running. Granted I run RedHat, but other distro's have the same feature. CD's are too cheap to not use, and for a file is small enough to justify the use of floppy instead of a CD-burn, I just email it, or SCP it. Even over a modem, a file that small is a quick upload.

Only when CDR's are cheap enough to come standard (1)

shadwwulf (145057) | more than 12 years ago | (#3981311)

Having a CDR/CDRW as STANDARD part of the system would make the floppy obsolete. Until then being able to make a up a quick and dirty boot disk for your OS of choice isn't something you can do without a floppy. So I for see the need for the tried and true, however ageing floppy.

3.5"? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3981313)

I still have my 5-1/4" drive!

Seriosly though, for documents like most homework, the 3.5" still does the trick. 5.25", sadly is only useful for getting old games.

I'm using one right now (1)

PianomanND (539738) | more than 12 years ago | (#3981319)

I work in a chem lab with a lot of old equipment, and our UV spec machine is hooked up to a computer that's not connected to any network. The only way to get the data off is with a floppy.

Yes. (1)

labratuk (204918) | more than 12 years ago | (#3981321)

Of course I do, to boot the system when installing a new operating system. Not everyone has a cd burner, y'know.

Sure, go ahead, remove floppy drives from the standard machine, but it'll just be a pain in the arse for me having to carry around a floppy drive all the time.

tech support tools (1)

spotter (5662) | more than 12 years ago | (#3981322)

a lot of tech support tools are made to use bootable floppies. I was recently having some problems with my thinkpad's laptop so IBM tech support had me download a program that wrote a floppy image for their drive fitness tool. cdr's could possibly replace this, but are not as nice to use as floppies.

Floppies are good (1)

paladin_tom (533027) | more than 12 years ago | (#3981325)

I use floppies. I use a few different computers running different operating systems, and floppies are a quick and easy way to transfer information between them. They're also a life saver when I the network goes down at school, or when I'm using a box on which I haven't set up networking yet.

I also see a lot of students using floppies in the labs at school. People store essays and programming assignments on them, and transfer them between their home computers and the school's lab machines.

Now, I know that there's email for this, and some very technically-saavy types use their own ftp servers. But there are still people who don't have the Internet at home, and need an easy way to transfer files.

Bottom line: sure, floppies are slow, and they can be damaged. But in many situations, they're the only option around that will get the job done.

I have two (2)

MeNeXT (200840) | more than 12 years ago | (#3981327)

I take them out when I need to install a system that the BIOS does not support boot from CD, otherwise they are there in case of an emergency (Do not ask...I know the day I throw them out is the day I'll need them.)

Of course I still use it, can you guess why? (1)

DrD8m (307736) | more than 12 years ago | (#3981328)

Floppy are so usefull this days that I use it to do this: []

So much still depends on floppies... (1)

rayd75 (258138) | more than 12 years ago | (#3981335)

Granted, floppies are useless for storage or transferring data but there are still way too many things that depend on them. Network boot disks (think Win2k RIS and the like) and emergency repair disks immediately come to mind. Heck, I can't even download a driver from HP (Compaq) without being forced to unzip to a floppy regardless of whether I would choose to do so otherwise. I want to get rid of them as much as anyone but manufacturers aren't exactly making it easy yet.

Linux Bootdisks (1)

borgasm (547139) | more than 12 years ago | (#3981340)

Linux bootdisks have saved my life on a number of occasions. Kernel panic messages do not make my day any better - and backup images are always nice to have around.

The Linux Router Project aims to put a router and kernel on a floppy disk. I see this as incredibly powerful.

If something else becomes as cheap, and larger capacity, I'd give up my floppy. But only if it has access time as fast as a CD.

That non scratch plastic casing is pretty cool too.

Data transfer (1)

Maverick TimeSurfer (536379) | more than 12 years ago | (#3981341)

Floppies and Zips are the only good medium I have for transfering data between non-networked computers. And, as my laptop has no Zip drive... you can see where I'm going with this.

Yes, for all the serious reasons people gave, plus (1)

mikehoskins (177074) | more than 12 years ago | (#3981343)

I use it for floppy-based Linux firewalls. I just copied one for a friend at work and rebooted my firewall floppy at home, last night. Linux installs on old equipment need them. Recovery media likes floppies. My wife uses them to backup/transfer files, when burning a CD seems overkill.

Besides, El Torito format for bootable CD's is floppy-based, for BIOS compatibility reasons.

Look at FloppyFW, TomsRTBT, Linux Router Project, Trinux, and dozens more floppy-based Linux "distros."

Of course I use floppies -- all the time, in fact.

Heck, they won't buy me a cheapy CD burner at work.

I might use it. (1)

Mojo Geek (28926) | more than 12 years ago | (#3981344)

I think I might use my floppy if it worked.. but it doesn't. I have a replacement on my desk, it's been there for months. If I ever pop the case to install the DVD drive that I've also had for months I'll probably replace the floppy while I'm in there.

Long Live the 3.5"! (1)

adamshamblin (524400) | more than 12 years ago | (#3981345)

That little piece of obsolescence is your friend.

Never mind the fact that the narrow little slot on the front of your 16" case lays mostly dormant. I cannot count how many times it has been a life saver. Be it an emergency boot from a [DOS|LILO|Kernel] disk, or that instance where I only need to run a few lines of code back to the office, the 3.5" floppy has saved my butt more than once, and I will gladly pay the extra $10 to have it.

Consider the floppy analogous to a fire extinguisher: I have never had to use my fire extinguisher, but I'll be damned if I'm going to go without one.

openbsd/freebsd (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3981346)

I use two 3.5" floppies to install freebsd and openbsd every time I install them. It's easier to write two floppies and let the installer download what it needs off the net than to download a 700 meg ISO every time I want to reinstall.

In addition, using a floppy image off lets me do a fresh install straight to a day in the 4-stable branch, so there's no need to install 4.x-release complete with a vulnerable ssh, then update my source, rebuild my world, as well as fix existing security problems, just to become current.

floppy is good (0)

philip.duee (451714) | more than 12 years ago | (#3981348)

i use my floppy drive sometimes. it's usefull for trying out boot-disks. or giving friends files who dont have email.

Yeah, I use them still (1)

eyegor (148503) | more than 12 years ago | (#3981349)

I use a floppy firewall in an old 386 without a hard drive or CDROM. It's nice because I can make config changes and write protect the floppy. I suppose I could use a CDROM-based system, but it'd be a whole lot harder to make config changes.

And I still need a 3 1/2 on my workstation so I can still access all my old ascii pr0n. :)

Nope. (2)

The_Shadows (255371) | more than 12 years ago | (#3981350)

On my old main system (an Athlon 700) the FDC controller died on the third day after I built it. I never even had occasion to use it after that anyway.

Most of my document can be throw on the net in one way or another, and I have no problem with UL/DL a 5K+ file to print it. It's just not a big deal anymore.

My current system does have a working floppy, but I still have only found maybe one/two occasions to use it. In those circumstances, as well, it wouldn't have been a big deal to just use the net or a Zip drive, or a CD-RW.
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