9.10. Installing a Floppy Drive
Chances are slim that you still need a floppy drive. But if you find yourself in need of a new or replacement floppy drive, think about buying an external drive that simply plugs into your USB port. That lets you plug it into any PC you want, including your laptop.
If one of the PCs on your network has a floppy drive, share the drive via the network (Section 14.8.5). You can't boot from a shared floppy drive, but you can read and write files to it.
If you still want to install an internal floppy drive, look for one that combines a floppy drive with a card reader or some easily accessible USB ports. You may end up using those features more than the floppy drive itself.
Whether you're replacing an existing floppy drive or adding one to a PC, follow these steps.
Choose a drive bay, remove the drive's face plate, if necessary, and then slide in the floppy drive .
Like space ships, floppy drives slide into a docking bay . Those rectangles along the front of your computer are actually face plates for your PC's docking bays. (Your CD drive lives inside a docking bay, as well.) Pry off the plastic face plate, if necessary, usually working from the inside out.
If you're installing a 3 ½" drive into a 5 ¼" bay, you need a special front panel to fit; most floppy drives come with one.
Slide the floppy drive into the bay, ugly end first, so the slot for feeding floppies lives in front.
Connect the ribbon and power cables to the floppy drive .
Just like hard drives, floppy drives need two cables. The ribbon cable connects between the drive and the motherboard, and the four-wire cable comes from the power supply.
Ribbon cable . This flat ribbon cable pushes into the drive's long connector, which looks just like the one in Figure 9-8, top right. The ribbon cable's other end pushes into a similarly shaped connector on the motherboard, right next to where the hard drive plugs in. (The motherboard's floppy connector's marked "Floppy" to distinguish it from the hard drive connector, usually called "IDE 0," "IDE 1," or "IDE Pri." A little notch on the ribbon's connector meshes with a little groove on the motherboard's connector to keep you from pushing it in the wrong way.
Power cable . Many strands of cables dangle from the back of your power supply. Most connect to the other drives, but the one that fits into the floppy drive should be hanging unused. Pull off its plastic cap, if necessary, and push it into the drive.
Other cables . If your new floppy drive came with other goodiesUSB ports, for instance, or card readersconnect their cables to the USB jacks on your motherboard. (If you can't find one, look at the cables from your PC's existing USB ports. You may need to steal one of their cables to connect it to your new, more easily accessible port.)
Tighten the drive in place .
See how the little screws hold your hard drives and CD drives to the side of the metal docking bay? Screws hold the floppy drive in place the same way. If your floppy drive didn't come with screws , they're sold at any computer store.
Turn on your computer .
Your computer notices the newly installed floppy drive as soon as it starts up, tells Windows XP about it, and lets you begin using it immediately.
If your PC doesn't notice your new floppy drive, however, it's time to head for your PC's BIOS (Section 17.2), that mysterious area in charge of telling your PC what's connected to your motherboard's ports.