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Laptop and bootable floppy disk with external floppy drive, is that possible?
Thread poster: Isabelle Buffard

Isabelle Buffard  Identity Verified
Local time: 18:30
English to French
+ ...
Apr 7, 2006

I have a client who requires me to run a dos program for the translation. As I have not been able to run it yet, I don't know what it implies workwise,but that's not my question.
According to him, I should
1) extract the file that will save itself on the floppy
2) reboot and it will start from the floppy.

I have tried that with an USB stick, and it doesn't work (the booting part, I mean). After ringing a local reseller who knows my brand of laptop pretty well (it's an Asus but apparently the brand doesn't make any difference), the girl told me that I can buy an external floppy drive, stick it on the USB port and it will work exactly like a floppy drive, be detected as a:/ etc.
What I don't quite understand and am not sure of, despite what she said and because of what I read in some forums, is how a floppy drive connected to USB will be detected correctly as a:/ drive? I do have to select USB as 1st boot in the bios, which is what I did for my usb stick, and it didn't work?
I tried to get some informations about making an USB stick bootable, but that seems a bit too complicated, and the client told me, I need a floppy disk, full point.
So if anyone can confirm to me that I can really boot from an external floppy drive and that it is indeed detected as such by the bios, I would be grateful.
I have Windows XP, should you wonder.

I did not state the obvious that my laptop has no built-in floppy drive, but I think everybody will have guessed that)

[Edited at 2006-04-07 07:54]

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Trevor Butcher
Local time: 18:30
Try someone elses computer? Apr 7, 2006

Hi Isabelle,

Have you considered using someone else's machine? It may be a lot simpler and quicker to borrow someone's machine with the right drive than to do the job on your laptop. Many computer technicians have old machines lying around, or small companies.

Unless, of course, you want the challenge or you will get lots of similar jobs


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Local time: 12:30
Can you run from a command prompt? Apr 7, 2006

Booting from a USB device, whether memory stick or diskette, is a real pain. Have you tried launching the program from a command prompt?

Start > Run > cmd

Even if you got your boot to work from diskette or memory stick, you will be working in a very very limited environment with little support for devices, and it would be extremely slow.

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Local time: 18:30
English to German
You *can* boot from an USB drive Apr 8, 2006

I wouldn't buy an external drive. With some fiddling you can boot from an USB stick to DOS, as long as your laptop supports it.
Usually you must press an F key (e.g. F12 on a Thinkpad) to select an alternative boot media.
You'll need to use a special program to make the usb stick bootable. HP USB Disk Storage Format Tool works fine.
You'll also need dos system files (at least and io.sys) from a boot disk. For more information see


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