On Wed, May 8, 2013 at 1:45 PM, Pierre LaMontagne <plamo...@comcast.net> wrote:
> You're right though, I have 3 modern PCs with Win 7 on them, none of which
> have a floppy drive controller.

Almost none of them have it pre-installed these days. I bought a Sony
USB-hosted floppy drive, and it works (in DOS), but I've not used it a
lot lately.

> So, I resurrected an older PC that does
> have a floppy controller. It's a P-III 733mhz that used to run Win 98 back
> in he late 90s.  I must say, running old DOS software on the 733 is so much
> faster than what I used to run DOS in!  I think the latter DOS days were on
> a 486-66 or maybe it was the 386-40(not sure), though early on I started on
> an 8088, 2 360k floppies, no HD, monochrome (my first 'clone' PC).

Yes, "old" machines are more than adequate for most DOS stuff (and
sometimes better, due to more compatible hardware).

>> If not, you have to try something like Bret's USB drivers (and your
>> machine must support UHCI)
> Sorry, what's UHCI?

Apparently the damn stupid "universal" serial bus (USB) has various
versions and host controllers or whatnot. UHCI is one of them,
supported by Intel and VIA motherboards, I gather. Unfortunately, some
computers (like this Lenovo desktop) don't support it, only other
stuff (EHCI). Blech.

I get it, floppies are small, slow, and error-prone. They're not
perfect. I don't expect anybody to "want" to use floppies, but ...
it's so much harder to get USB support on non-mainstream OSes. USB is
just too complicated, but since "everybody" "only" uses Linux,
Windows, ... then "nobody" cares about complexity nor requirements of
anybody else.

>> So from old machine to new machine? Old machine has floppy but new
>> doesn't? I assume you don't (or can't or won't) have networking on the
>> old machine (understandable! frustrating!). If you did (maybe even
>> with mTCP + packet driver), that'd be one way.
> You're right on all counts.  I thought about using an ethernet network since
> the Win 7 PCs have it but wanted to avoid that headache if possible...   :)

It's definitely a headache, at least for me. Maybe some others here
(Ulrich, Mike B.) can give hints, if you're curious.

>> Otherwise, you have to have some drive (hard? floppy?) to install /
>> use with the other machine.
> I do have a USB floppy drive that _could_  work.  Using a flash drive would
> be a lot easier though.

Go for the flash drive. For me, RUFUS works well, so I can't complain
(too hard) about lack of floppy support.

>> In fact, if you can get USB drive working,
>> you can copy files to and from that with ease. This is probably easier
>> than constantly burning a CD-RW or whatever.
>  I was thinking by using CDs, though, I would benefit by having a good
> back-up and storage would be much more compact, (650mb vs 1.44mb).  Storage
> space is now a consideration for me especially since floppies are now
> obsolete?

Sure, compared to floppies, it's fine. But I'm not sure long-term
storage is a realistic goal. Mainly because I've heard (but can't
prove) that CD-Rs don't last but about 5-7 years anyways.

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