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Dell Saying Goodbye to Floppy Disk Drives

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Dell Saying Goodbye to Floppy Disk Drives

Old 02-07-03, 11:54 AM
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Dell Saying Goodbye to Floppy Disk Drives

Dell Saying Goodbye to Floppy Disk Drives
Feb 6, 8:03 pm ET

AUSTIN, Texas (Reuters) - In what may be the wave of the future, Dell Computer Corp. (DELL.O) said goodbye to the past on Thursday when it announced it would stop making floppy disk drives standard equipment on its higher end desktop personal computers.

Austin, Texas-based Dell, the No. 2 personal computer maker, said floppy drives had been overtaken by technologies offering greater storage capacity and would become an option on its Dimension 8250 models.

Other Dell models may lose the floppy by end of the year, depending on customer response, Dell spokesman Lionel Menchaca said.

He said the decision was made because technologies such as USB flash memory offer much more storage capacity than floppies and are more useful with today's mega-memory computers.

"You insert it right into the USB port, and your computer reads it just like it would read a floppy drive. The benefit is, you've got much more capacity -- instead of just 1.44 megabytes, at the low end you have 16 megabytes."

The floppy drive has been the most widely used method of transferring data between computers since the dawn of the computer age.

The first 5.25-inch floppy drive was introduced by Shugart Associates in 1976 to be compatible with International Business Machines Corp. (IBM.N) mainframe computers, then made the transition to IBM's early personal computers.

Sony Corp. (6758.T) introduced the 3.5-inch diskette in 1980, and by the early 1990s the 3.5-inch floppy, with a capacity of 1.44 megabytes, had become the standard method of data transfer in PCs.

Tens of millions of computer users are familiar with "the a: prompt" as the symbol for the floppy diskette.

In the early days of computing, hard drives of 10 to 20 megabytes, the capacity of a few floppy disks, were common, and the size of computer programs was often small enough to fit on one or two floppies.

But even today's less expensive computers include hard drives one hundred times larger, and most programs are too large to run or store on a manageable number of floppy drives.

Menchaca said the decision to eliminate the floppy drive came following focus group research with customers.

"When we would ask the question to people 'do you need a floppy,' the answer to that question would be yes," he said.

"But when we asked them how long it had been since they used it, they would say six months, a year. Many couldn't remember the last time they used the floppy drive."

Dell says the floppy will first be phased out on higher end computers because those users are more likely to be utilizing flash memory, portable hard drives, and other alternative portable storage devices.

Apple Computer Inc. (AAPL.O) stopped putting floppy drives in Macintosh computers several years ago, but other PC firms, including No. 1 personal computer maker Hewlett-Packard Co. (HPQ.N), still offer them.
Old 02-07-03, 12:11 PM
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It was going to happen eventually. If I ever have to move files smaller than 2 megs or whatever, I just email them to myself. I remember before CDRs came out, and I wanted to give a friend a bunch of wav files. I made like 30 or so floppies.

I figure other companies will soon follow suite.
Old 02-07-03, 12:13 PM
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Yeah, my floppy hasn't been touched in years.
Old 02-07-03, 12:51 PM
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I own the following flash drives:
128MB USB Key Drive
256MB & 32MB CF Cards
128MB & 8MB MemoryStick

I have a built-in (in 5 1/4" bay) CF and SM reader on my desktop, plus I have a 6 in 1 memory card reader. Also a PC Card adater for CF as well as a tiny Zio CF reader that plugs directly into the USB.

Old 02-07-03, 01:17 PM
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this makes a lot of sense - honestly, when was the last time you bought any kind of NEW software that came on a floppy disk? Everything comes on CD's now, as well as some DVD's. I can't remember the last time I used my drive, and I was just thinking last week how that bay could be used for yet another harddrive
Old 02-07-03, 01:23 PM
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It was about 2 months ago when I discovered the floppy drive on my year-old computer didn't work. It probably never worked. I agree, get rid of them.
Old 02-07-03, 01:56 PM
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I can't believe it's taken them this long. Hell, if the chassis stand needed to sit a desktop on its side is optional, you'd think a floppy drive would be as well. I actually wish that my new laptop didn't have a floppy drive in it so it would weigh a bit less.
Old 02-07-03, 02:04 PM
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So, I wonder how much Dell will be charging for the USB drives that they'll be marketing with these systems. If it's close to what a standard floppy is, and you don't have any older systems to support, then it sounds reasonable. Of course, if you do have an older system that you need compatibility with, then it could be a problem.

Not that Dell would care, after all, they would want you to *replace* that system... making the newer systems less compatible works in their favor.
Old 02-07-03, 02:28 PM
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I don't agree with this.

There is no reason not to put them in. They cost almost nothing, they work reliably, and they are ubiquitous; nor do they rob any PC of resources or slots. You never know when you may need one, and some of us STILL use them to port around small files. CD-R and RW burning is great, and USB datasticks are great, but they are still less common and more time- and labor-intensive to actually use.
Old 02-07-03, 03:04 PM
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About the only time I have to use a floppy is when making a boot disk or an emergency repair disk. Everything else is handled over the network.
Old 02-07-03, 03:52 PM
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Originally posted by BigDave
About the only time I have to use a floppy is when making a boot disk or an emergency repair disk. Everything else is handled over the network.
I was thinking about this one also. Plus I don't think the alternatives are common enough except maybe booting from a CD-ROM drive but I don't think I can do that from Windows 98.
Old 02-07-03, 04:00 PM
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Next, I hope they ditch the serial ports in favor of firewire/usb2, and get rid of the parallel port, too.
Old 02-07-03, 04:20 PM
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Originally posted by Jepthah
CD-R and RW burning is great, and USB datasticks are great, but they are still less common and more time- and labor-intensive to actually use.

CDR drives come standard on alot of the new machines. USB datasticks are less common..... but both are extremely easy to use and fast. With most software you can just drag and drop files.

I replaced my floppy with a bootable zip a while ago.
Old 02-07-03, 04:44 PM
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if you use packet writing on a cdr/rw you can't read the disc unless the computer it's being read in has the software installed.
floppies don't have that problem
and serial ports are still used on a lot of GPS devices people have
I get calls all the time because Sony notebooks don't have serial ports unless you get the port replicator (yet they have 3 usb which makes no sense, just get a hub for more than 2 devices) and people are screwed because the USB to serial adapter they have to use can't mimic a com port so the software doesn't see the serial device
Old 02-07-03, 06:12 PM
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I still use floppies pretty regularly. There cheap, and more than adequet for word and excel files. Sure I can e-mail them to myself, but it's an added hassle.

Anyway, I'm glad the Dell laptop I just ordered comes with a floppy drive.
Old 02-07-03, 06:20 PM
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The parallel port can go, but there are far too many serial devices around to do away with the serial port.

The dumb thing is that manufacturers could have gotten rid of floppy drives as a standard feature a long time ago. All they had to do was enable support for booting from a USB device in the BIOS. There are USB floppy drives and you would only need one and attach it to a machine as needed.
Old 02-07-03, 07:19 PM
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THe floppy just saved me. Windows on my wife's computer had a "soft crash," I could boot in "safe" mode or DOS but I couldn't get Windows repaired. In that state, the floppy is about the only way to get data in or out of the machine. Although it was a big nuisance, I managed to copy files she hadn't backed up to floppy, then restaged the machine. Took 60 floppies, but it beat retyping.

If you can't sell me a computer with a floppy, the next vendor will.
Old 02-07-03, 07:46 PM
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Yeah although I never use the floppy for data storage or transfer, occasionally I find myself using the floppy drive for things like fdisk, DOS, ghost, memtest86...guess there might be another way to get those to work but floppy is easy...at this point I can't imagine building myself a machine and not putting a floppy in it.
Old 02-08-03, 04:27 AM
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Originally posted by Wolfchild
Yeah although I never use the floppy for data storage or transfer, occasionally I find myself using the floppy drive for things like fdisk, DOS, ghost, memtest86...guess there might be another way to get those to work but floppy is easy...at this point I can't imagine building myself a machine and not putting a floppy in it.
Not to mention flashing the bios. Its a nightmare to do without a floppy drive.
Old 02-08-03, 11:10 AM
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One of the replacement toshiba laptops we got for work a month ago, did not have a floppy drive. Sucked for us, as the floppy is pretty important in the work we do.
Dave
Old 02-08-03, 11:25 AM
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Originally posted by TheMadMonk
Next, I hope they ditch the serial ports in favor of firewire/usb2, and get rid of the parallel port, too.
Some MB makers have already done this. (Abit MAX series)
Old 02-08-03, 11:33 AM
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Originally posted by Thrush
Not to mention flashing the bios. Its a nightmare to do without a floppy drive.
Ditto.

Although I totally 100% agree with getting rid of "old technology" how could one flash the BIOS w/o a floppy drive?

...a USB CF/MemoryStick/SmartMedia/SecureDigital Drive?

Is this even possible right now?
Old 02-08-03, 12:40 PM
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Originally posted by TheMadMonk
Next, I hope they ditch the serial ports in favor of firewire/usb2, and get rid of the parallel port, too.
I totally agree. If monitors come out with USB 2.0 or FireWire do you know what the resolution and information capabilities we would have?
Old 02-08-03, 12:40 PM
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I use my floppy pretty regularly for small word and excel files. I also use it every 3 months or so when I have to reinstall windows xp after I do a format.
Old 02-08-03, 01:13 PM
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I use the floppy at work regularly, but I haven't used the one at home since I got XP.

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