Virtual Floppy Saves The Day

A client has an oldish Dell Dimension 8400 with an Intel RAID card that requires you to “Press F6 to add Storage Drivers” when trying to repair Windows. This also means that UBCD4Win (my preferred repair tool) also doesn’t recognize the drives.

Happily, Dell has a set of the drivers available.

Sadly, they’re part of a floppy image.

Grrr!

Enter Virtual Floppy Drive 2.1, a cool piece of shareware that can be glommed from http://chitchat.at.infoseek.co.jp/vmware/vfd.html

This operates along the same line as Microsoft’s Virtual CD-ROM Control Panel for Windows XP, which mounts an ISO image and has it appear as a drive letter.

VFD does the same thing, it mounts an image file (or just creates a small chunk of RAM and treats it like a blank floppy) and you assign it a drive letter.

I loaded the application up — it’s pretty self-explanatory — assigned to Drive B: and then launched Dell’s Floppy making utility, told it to write to Drive B and bingo! I had my extracted files.

From there, it was trivial to copy them to the appropriate install media and we were off to the races.

(I finally searched for a virtual solution, when the one floppy disk I could find was throwing errors. How happy are we that those things have (mostly) gone the way of the dinosaur?)