How to turn a floppy into an external drive

Written by donna armstrong
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How to turn a floppy into an external drive
Building an external floppy drive will save hours of inputting old data. (floppy disks image by Christopher Nolan from

Most computers produced today do not come with internal floppy drives. What do you do if you have all your data on floppy disks and no way to use them? Creating an external floppy drive from an older internal drive is a great solution. Creating these drives not only gives you access to your floppy disks, but it also helps reduce waste when you reuse old parts.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • Floppy drive
  • External floppy drive enclosure
  • Set-up floppy disk or blank disk
  • Screwdriver
  • USB Cord

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  1. 1

    Purchase an external floppy disk enclosure. Many computer and electronic speciality stores carry these enclosures, such as Fry's and Tiger Direct. The enclosure is not the drive itself; it is simply a case to hold the drive. Most of these cases will have 34-pin-to-USB converters included. If the converter is not included, 34-pin-to-USB cables are also available.

  2. 2

    Remove the floppy drive from the old computer. To do this unscrew the case and locate the floppy drive. Remove all connecting wires and screws holding the drive in. The drive will slide out of the slot once all screws have been removed.

  3. 3

    Open the floppy drive enclosure and insert the drive into the enclosure. The drive will plug into the converter in the enclosure or the enclosure will have an opening to plug a cable into the drive. Close the case and screw the enclosure together.

  4. 4

    Connect the USB cord to the external floppy drive and to the new computer, then turn on the drive. There is an on/off switch located on the back of most of these enclosures. A power cord might also be used to power the drive. Some drives are powered through the USB connection but some are not.

  5. 5

    Run the set-up floppy from the drive to set up the drivers or download the drivers from the Internet. You can open the Control Panel and add new hardware or wait for the computer to recognise the new drive. If you do not have a set-up disk with the drivers, go to the manufacturer's website and find the drivers. Download the drivers and save them on a floppy. This will allow you to set up the floppy on different computers as needed. Different operating systems may require different drivers. More than one set-up disk may be required.

Tips and warnings

  • Most enclosures include a fan or vents to keep the floppy drive well ventilated and cooled down during use.

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