How to Drive a Floppy Drive From a Parallel Printer Port

Written by greyson ferguson
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How to Drive a Floppy Drive From a Parallel Printer Port
Install an external floppy disk drive. (floppy disk image by robert mobley from

External floppy disk drives connect to a computer through either a parallel port (the same port used via parallel printers) or through a USB data cable connection. The main downside to using a floppy disk drive containing a parallel port connection is most computers currently produced fail to have the parallel port plug built into the system. Due to this, the only way you can control a floppy disk drive (or "drive" the disk drive) is by connecting the parallel port to a USB port on the computer.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

Things you need

  • External disk drive
  • Parallel cable
  • Parallel port-to-USB adaptor
  • USB cable
  • Driver installation CD

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  1. 1

    Connect the parallel cable to the parallel port on the back of the external floppy disk drive. Make sure the thumb screws on each side of the cable are tightened to secure the connection.

  2. 2

    Plug the opposite end of the cable into the parallel port end of the adaptor. Tighten the thumb screws to secure the connection.

  3. 3

    Insert the USB data cable into the USB end of the adaptor. Plug the free end into an open USB port on the computer.

  4. 4

    Power on the external floppy disk drive. More than likely the computer states it has detected a new, removable piece of hardware (do not worry if it doesn't, as you still need to install the hardware drivers).

  5. 5

    Insert the provided driver installation CD. The drivers instruct the computer how to read the floppy disks and how to send data to the drive. If the driver installation wizard fails to load after inserting the disc, click "Start," "My Computer" and double-click the removable disc drive.

  6. 6

    Click "Next" on the welcome page of the installation wizard, leave the installation name and location as is then choose "Install" to install the drivers onto the computer. Once done, you can begin using the parallel port floppy disk drive on the computer.

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