Attaching 5.25″ floppies via USB

Attaching 5.25″ floppies via USB

Floppy disks are a relic of the past these days. You might still see the odd 3.5″ floppy – and there are even still companies making 3.5″ USB drives you can plug into your system today. But 5.25″ floppy drives (360k and 1.2 meg variety) are much more scarce. So scarce, in fact, that you’re likely not to find any outside of old vintage computers. Most modern PC’s since the Pentiums don’t even have connectors or interfaces that support them and I know of no vendors that make USB 5.25″ drives.

So what is one to do if they have old 5.25″ floppies they need to read? Turns out others have had the same problem – so you’re not alone. You have the following options:

  1. Find a service that will convert them – Usually for a fee around $5-$10 per disk.
  2. Buy an old vintage pre-Intel Core based computer from eBay that has a working 5.25″ drive.
  3. Use a 5.25″ to USB converter.
    1. Kryoflux – -the Holy Grail of floppy readers. Is able to read all formats. Save as raw stream, or export to common sector formats supporting: Acorn Electron, Apple, Amstrad CPC, Archimedes, Atari 8-bit, Atari ST, BBC, Commodore 64, Commodore Amiga, MSX, IBM PC, PC-8801, Sam Coupe, Spectrum, E-MU Emulator & Emulator II, DEC RX01 & RX02 and many, many others
    2. Device Side Data’s FC5025 – – USB 5.25″ floppy controller plugs into any computer’s USB port and enables you to attach a 5.25″ floppy drive. Even if your computer has no built-in floppy controller, the FC5025 lets you read those old disks. And it’s not just for IBM PC disks – it also understands formats used by Apple, Atari, Commodore and TI, among others.
    3. Supercard Pro. – Here’s a review and this page which contains a lot of useful information.

5 thoughts on “Attaching 5.25″ floppies via USB

  1. Nice, little write-up. Do you know why 3.5″ USB floppy drives with read/write exists but not for 5.25″? Is it solely due to lack of market demand or is are there technical reasons?

    1. At time floppy drives was widely used as configuration and program storage for various industrial devices (automated CNC mills etc.), PBX communication hardware, some military hardware etc. These devices still cost a fortune and in general works just fine. Usually older devices (made circa 1980-ties) use 5.25″ floppy drives and newer ones, made before year 2000 – 3.5″ floppy drives.

  2. SuperCard Pro happens to be the most universally used floppy archiver available. With dozens of third parties supporting through emulators and utilities (which support virtually every disk format known for 3″, 3.5″, 5.25″, and 8″ disk formats). Because of this, it is the “holy grail” of floppy readers. 🙂

  3. Today is April 26th, 2021.
    When you click on the “old vintage pre-Intel Core based computer” link in the article, the first three computers are vintage Macs, which are useless because the first one has a 800K floppy drive and the other two are for parts.

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