5.25 drive

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nutmegct

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Merry Christmas all!

I've been wanting to read some old 5.25 disks on my Dell Dimension 4300, so I just installed a used 5.25 TEAC drive and cable in place of my original 3.5 drive and cable.

The drive powers up and is recognized by the BIOS and by WinXP, but only as a 3.5" 1.44MB drive. BIOS (v. A06) has no option to change to a 5.25 1.2 drive, and Win sees the drive through the BIOS (so it accesses the disk but sees it as "unformatted").

Any suggestions on how to use the drive?

Thanks again folks - and happy holidays!
Tom
 

jiml8

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I am trying to recall the details. I wrote a magazine article about this back in 1990 or so but I was connecting a 5.25 to an amiga.

There is a hardware interface difference between the 3.5 and the 5.25, which is how the BIOS knows the two apart. Basically, the BIOS toggles one of the signal lines on the floppy bus in a specific fashion, and the way the device responds tells what it is. It could very well be that more recent BIOSes don't do this any more.

In that event you would need a driver for the 5.25 floppy, and I don't know that those can be found for XP. The 5.25 was deprecated even in 1990 when I wrote that article.

An old version of MSDOS (release 3) might be tricked into cooperating; not sure.

I googled for a 5.25 driver and came up pretty much blank. If you are into writing the driver, their might be an occasional user who would thank you.:)
 
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Have you set the second drive to slave and auto detect in the bios setup?
 

nutmegct

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Jim - wouldn't the problem be the BIOS, rather than the XP driver? If BIOS sees the drive as a 3.5/1.44 I'm wondering if changing the XP driver would make any difference.

Bear - HD0 is master, HD1 is slave; autodetect for both in BIOS. The 5.25 floppy has no jumpers for master/slave, and the BIOS has only OFF and 3.5 as options in floppy properties.
 

jiml8

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nutmegct said:
Jim - wouldn't the problem be the BIOS, rather than the XP driver? If BIOS sees the drive as a 3.5/1.44 I'm wondering if changing the XP driver would make any difference.

Bear - HD0 is master, HD1 is slave; autodetect for both in BIOS. The 5.25 floppy has no jumpers for master/slave, and the BIOS has only OFF and 3.5 as options in floppy properties.
You can have a device disabled in BIOS and still have the OS detect and use it. Modern OS's don't pay much attention to what the BIOS says about connected drives; they scan the busses themselves.

An appropriate driver would properly control the drive. I don't know if that driver exists, though it might. Wouldn't be too difficult to write though.
 
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I know that the A07 BIOS does not support 5.25 floppy drives. My educated :p guess is that the A06 doesn't either.
 

JohnWill

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I truthfully never even considered that 5.25" support was dropped, but I guess that makes some sense. :eek: I wonder if there's a driver to support the drive like there used to be for old 8" drives in an earlier day?

The latest BIOS I have in a machine here is a Phoenix August 29, 2005, and it supports all the options up to 2.88mb. What kind of MB and what BIOS date is in that machine? Is it a Phoenix BIOS, or some other maker?
 
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You could check to see if a BIOS update for your board added 5.25 support, but I doubt it, especially after what norton850 said.
 

crjdriver

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I think the problem here is the fact that it is a dell. Dell boards come with a limited bios as far as options. An after market board like an asus or abit will have the option in the bios to choose a 1.2 meg [5 1/4] drive. Even my new Epox nforce4 ultra still has this option.
 

nutmegct

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John - Per PC Wizard the m/b is Dell Dimension 4300 (PC Wizard gives no other mainboard info other than 5H43Z01, the chassis serial number). BIOS is Phoenix/Dell version A06, dated 29 May 2003, the latest available from the Dell support site. As the BIOS has only 3.5/1.44 or OFF as floppy drive options, I tried changing to OFF and letting XP find the drive. XP finds no floppy drive unless the BIOS is set back to 3.5. Will this mad mad circus of delight ever end? :)
 

crjdriver

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You have the answer; your bios only gives the option for a 1.44.

Again this is because it is a dell. If you had a standard mb like asus, abit, etc you would have the option for a 1.2 [5 1/4] drive.
 

nutmegct

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CRJ - I'm just an old network admin ... no hardware knowledge to speak of. Is there a way to *write* an XP driver that will "trick" XP into reading the 5.25 disks? As XP now sees the drive as a 3.5 and asks if I want to format it ... wonder if I can inveigle XP to continue seeing it as a 3.5 but read/write to it as a 5.25? or even recognize it as a 5.25 from the get-go despite the BIOS setting?
 

crjdriver

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Not to my knowledge. What I would do would be to find a system with a standard mb [not dell, compaq, hp, etc] and install the drive on that. Copy whatever you want. Most floppy cables still have the end for the 5 1/4 drive since you have to use a different end [the one closest to the mb end]
 

crjdriver

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Just to clarify, it is not a driver problem, xp and all other ms os have drivers for the 5 1/4 drive [and floppy controller] It is a bios limitation. This is because when dell orders the mb from the mfg [asus intel, etc] they specify the options they want in the bios.

While it is technically possible to write a custom bios [ I have done this for people in the past] to give the option, it is not financially viable. To have someone write a custom bios would cost quite a bit even if you could find someone to do this.

I would just connect the drive to any standard system ie NOT dell, compaq, hp, etc. Any system running a standard mb should have this option.
 

JohnWill

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Actually, it may be possible to fool the system in to recognizing the floppy. The descriptive tables are stored somewhere that define the drives, but I have no idea where. Once the BIOS is out of the picture, the O/S just looks at the definition of what hardware was detected and uses it. If you can alter that data... :)

I've never seen a MB that didn't still offer the 5.25" option, so it never occured to me when we had the original discussion.

He has cables to match the drive, so that's not an issue.
 
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