Have you wanted to read and write data off your old 5.25″ floppy disks with a modern computer? Or how about reading/writing floppies for Apple II, Amiga, ST, or a host of other systems? Or maybe even hooking up a 8″ floppy? It is possible!
There are solutions out there, but they can easily run $100 or more. I, however, just picked up the GreaseWeazle and read some of my old 5.25″ disks. Best yet, it only cost $31 Canadian and is one of the more extremely capable solutions. You can even use old DOS drives to read/write images for other platforms. Pretty darn cool.
Items you’ll need:
- GreaseWeazle by Decromancer – the plug-in USB board that makes it all possible. Plug in 3.5″, 5.25″ and 8″ drives and read/write the flux data for hordes of different formats.
- Floppy drive – any 5.25″, 3.5″ or 8″ floppy that uses the Shugart interface. This is almost all old PC drives. Even better, GreaseWeazle can use these older DOS drives to read and write Apple, Amiga, ST, and a host of other formats.
- Floppy disk cable – CablesOnline has a universal floppy cable Item # FF-002 for $9.99
- Power supply with Molex connectors for the floppy drive. Either using a PC power supply with a Molex connector, or a stand-alone power supply with Molex connector
- USB A to B cable (commonly known as a “USB printer cable”) to connect the GreaseWeazle to your PC
Note that your drive won’t show up like it did back in the old DOS days like A: or B: – or a modern USB plug-in 3.5″ drive. Instead, you have to load and write whole images to the drive in one go. This means you need to work with images.
- Set up your floppy drive.
- Attach the power cable to a power supply
- Attach the data cable to the floppy drive and the GreaseWeazle
- Follow the instructions on GreaseWeazle setup and software setup guide.
- Install and run GreaseWeazle GUI to format a disk, read a disk image, write a disk image, etc.
- Use the HxCFloppyEmulator to examine and covert the raw disk images to anything you need.
Finally, WinImage is a great tool for creating and converting disk image formats.
If you’re interested in seeing it at work on some unusual formats, this fellow gives a walkthrough of using Amstrad 3″ disks.
- Order your GreaseWeazle
- GreaseWeazle V4 setup: https://github.com/keirf/greaseweazle/wiki/V4-setup
- GreaseWeazle V4 software setup: https://github.com/keirf/greaseweazle/wiki/Software-Installation
- GreaseWeazle GUI – very handy if you don’t want to use the command line
- HxCFloppyEmulator – amazing tool for examining and extracting files you read from the raw flux files you read from disks using GreaseWeazle.
- Look under the USB HxC Floppy Emulator and download the ‘HxCFloppyEmulator software’ (https://hxc2001.com/download/floppy_drive_emulator/HxCFloppyEmulator_soft.zip)
- WinImage – great tool for creating/extracting/editing floppy .img files. https://www.winimage.com/winimage.htm