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View Full Version : 5.25" floppies and modern era Windows



Quest
April 3rd, 2012, 08:26 AM
Hello - I think this might be a dense first post, but I think that you guys might be able to point me in the right direction...I'm rather Googling in circles!

I'm curious as to whether it's possible to read 5.25" floppies from the 1980s using a machine that's running either Windows XP or 2000?

Long story short - I had an Amstrad PC1512 in 1988 and it gave up the ghost in around 2002. I kept all of the disks (and we had hundreds) in case I ever worked out a way to read them on a "modern PC"...I stumbled across them again the other day and it started to press on my mind.

Do I have to go down the route of finding an actual PC1512 to use the disks (assuming that they'll even work given that they were last used over 10 years ago and are around 25 years old!), or is there a way that I could get them to work on a more modern machine? (I say more modern, but my PC is 6 years old in itself...the bios is phoenix tech 6.00 pg, last updated in July 2006!)

Would it be a case of obtaining a 5.25" Amstrad disk drive and attaching that to my motherboard? Or would a generic 5.25" drive work? Or is there a USB device that would work instead?

...and then, if I did get it all connected, is it just a case of putting the disk in and exploring the contents / playing, or would they need to be converted or copied to my harddrive or slowed down so they'd work?

I realise this is a lot of questions...I do apologise, I'm a real novice to all of this - I'm just so intrigued as to what's on the disks. I know we had a ridiculous amount of games, and although most of the big names are available online (such as Bruce Lee, Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, Sopwith, Paratrooper) in some form, I'd love to see some of the older games. It doesn't help that some of the labels on the games are things like, "Pango and other games," - which I know meant something to me when I was 6 but I have no idea what those other games are now!

Chuck(G)
April 3rd, 2012, 08:35 AM
A 5¼" disk drive, preferably 1.2MB, would do just fine to read those PC1512 floppies. Now, running those games on a modern machine running Windows XP or 2000 would be a very different matter. The reason is that most of those games manipulated the hardware in a very direct manner, something that's blocked by later operating systems for reasons that should be obvious.

Your best bet is to find an older system running MS-DOS to play those games.

Great Hierophant
April 3rd, 2012, 08:41 AM
It is possible, but there are hurdles. First, the best option, unless you want to find a working vintage PC, is to use a High Density Drive (1.2MB) with Windows 2000/XP. Windows 2000/XP will support High Density but not Double Density (360KB) drives. The Amstrad used Double Density Drives. So go buy a High Density Drive and attach it to the floppy controller on your modern PC motherboard. Check your BIOS beforehand to see that it will have an option to select that kind of drive. You can use your HD drive to transfer files off the disk or to make disk images using WinImage. Do not use an HD drive to write to your old disks. This will only work for games without disk-based copy protection. There are versions of DOSBox that support the Amstrad's special graphics mode.

Chuck(G)
April 3rd, 2012, 08:46 AM
2K is a bit more permissive with 360K drives. I've got one installed on a 2K SP4 system and it works just fine. YMMV.

Great Hierophant
April 3rd, 2012, 11:29 AM
Another option is to boot to a real DOS off a USB drive. If your system is sufficiently modern, this can be done. If you have an Parallel IDE port, you can use a Compact Flash card with a simple converter. Of course, you have to install DOS to the drive first.

angel_grig
April 3rd, 2012, 11:50 AM
First of all welcome to the forums!
Now about your questions:

I'm curious as to whether it's possible to read 5.25" floppies from the 1980s using a machine that's running either Windows XP or 2000?

Yes you can.If your motherboard supports a 5.25 1.2Mb floppy then you can read 360k floppies with win xp(tested on my Asus P2b machine with win xp)

Would it be a case of obtaining a 5.25" Amstrad disk drive and attaching that to my motherboard? Or would a generic 5.25" drive work? Or is there a USB device that would work instead?

It's better to get a 1.2Mb floppy if you want to use it with windows xp
The usb device is this:http://www.deviceside.com/fc5025.html

...and then, if I did get it all connected, is it just a case of putting the disk in and exploring the contents / playing, or would they need to be converted or copied to my harddrive or slowed down so they'd work?

The simplest question :you can copy them on your hard drive and run them under dosbox http://www.dosbox.com/

hmjswt
April 4th, 2012, 04:49 AM
Hallo,
I have a Amstrad (Schneider) PC1512DD still running.
I have replaced one of the 5 ¼ inch drives by a 720 K 3.1/2 drive.
I also have 2 Iomega ZIP 100 drives working on the PC1512.
And I have connected the PC1512 to an IBM NetVista (running XP) by a serial cable and use Kermit (DOS and Windows) for transferring files and controlling the PC1512 from the IBM.
If I can help you, just let me know. A lot is possible…
Henk Siewert

Elvi
April 4th, 2012, 06:07 AM
Windows 2000/XP will support High Density but not Double Density (360KB) drives.

I'm not so sure that's completely true, albeit i've used a 1.2mb drive BUT i've formated and used 360k disks in it with no problem.
Just have to type the right command in dos promt and it works "format a: /T:40 /N:9"

monoxrom
April 4th, 2012, 06:35 AM
I have 3.5-A and 5.25-B in my new PC (asus P5QL, socket 775 motherboard)
windows XP and 7 64 bit working good with 360 an 1.2 mb diskettes

I was write program who adding second floppy to CMOS ram
In new PC you have only one floppy drive in BIOS. Run this program in pure DOS
http://www.retro-pc.net/docs/flpb/sf.com
and after restart you have drive drives A - 1.44 and B- 1.2 mb (not in BIOS, in all operation systems, because when system starting she reading floppy configuration from CMOS ram)

Next you can see floppy drive B in windows.
But this drive can't working. Also you need to connect 12 and 16 pin of floppy drive cable with GND (ground). When you connect this pins drive will work. For this I use the toggle.

Unfortunately I do not know English well, for tell better
Maybe this video help you understand
www.youtube.com/watch?v=_HbB-Yfa29Q

Stone
April 4th, 2012, 06:55 AM
I'm not so sure that's completely true, albeit i've used a 1.2mb drive BUT i've formated and used 360k disks in it with no problem.
Just have to type the right command in dos promt and it works "format a: /T:40 /N:9"Elvi, a 360k disk is not a 360k drive. The question at hand is can you or have you successfully used a 360k drive with WIN 2000/XP?