14 Replies Latest reply: Jan 18, 2013 9:09 PM by userid42
Kristy Effinger Level 1 Level 1 (55 points)

I suddenly am not able to use my floppy drive anymore. Granted, I seldom ever use it, but I wanted to just back up some small files, and inserted a disk into my external floppy drive, and I'm no longer allowed to write to a floppy disk. I have the little slider button in the unlocked position, and I was always able to write to a floppy with my old OS, Tiger. Now I have a new iMac computer with the most update version of Snow Leopard, and I cannot write to a floppy disk anymore. Does anyone else still have one of these, to tell me what is going on with it? Did Apple just discontinue support at all for floppy disks? I can still insert the disk and read what is on it, and even copy it to my desktop, but I cannot write to the disk. I've tried several different ones, and they all tell me the same thing. Under Info and Permissions, it says that I am only able to read the disk, and it won't let me change it at all. I guess if this is not possible anymore, I can just toss this device, but it pains me, because I'd still like to be able to use it. Thanks for any information you can provide.

Kristy


iMac, Mac OS X (10.6.8)
  • rkaufmann87 Level 8 Level 8 (48,260 points)

    Kristy,

     

    Have you considered using a USB flash drive? They're much more compact, up-to-date (I don't think Apple has used a floppy drive in over a decade) less expensive and will store much more information. You can pick them up almost anywhere that sells computer gear including your local office supply store.

  • Kristy Effinger Level 1 Level 1 (55 points)

    I do have a USB flash drive, and yes, they are very useful. Unfortunately, that does not answer my question. I would like to know why or if Apple has discontinued the kind of support for external floppy drives that would allow me to write to a floppy disk? Is there some driver that needs to be installed on my new computer? I do still have the CD that came with the USB Slim Floppy Drive I originally bought back when Macs stopped having internal floppy drives. I don't remember if I had to install some driver when I was using this floppy drive with my G5 iMac running Tiger. Maybe that's all I need to do. Can anyone help me? Thanks!

    Kristy

  • Allan Eckert Level 8 Level 8 (46,775 points)

    Apple dropped floppy drive because the vast majority of the users stopped using then because of their limited capacity.

     

    Allan

  • Kristy Effinger Level 1 Level 1 (55 points)

    I know that is why Apple dropped floppy drives from their computers, but they did still support for many years, external floppy drives. Snow Leopard still does recognize my floppy drive, and allows me to read disks, and even has the icon for a floppy disk when I insert one into the drive. It just no longer lets me write to a disk, which is inexplicable, since up to a few months ago, I was able to both read & write to floppies with my old G5 iMac running Tiger. I still wonder if something is missing that I need to install, in order to be able to write to my floppies.

    Kristy

  • babowa Level 7 Level 7 (26,950 points)

    You said you were using it with your old G5 with Tiger, so that was a Power PC. You are now using Lion which does not support anything PowerPC related. If it is no longer recognized with Lion, I'd suggest you get your old G5 and transfer some files over so you can then get them on your new OS/machine and back them up on a newer medium such as an external hard drive, or a CD or DVD.

  • Kristy Effinger Level 1 Level 1 (55 points)

    Excuse me, but I did not say I was using Lion. I have a new iMac purchased in February 2011 that is running 10.6.8, Snow Leopard. I also have Rosetta installed on that. All I wanted to know is why Snow Leopard is allowing me to read my floppy disks from my external floppy drive, and NOT let me write to floppy disks. It seems really strange. It still has something in the OS that recognizes floppies. I do have other options for backing up files. That is not the issue. I just wanted a simple answer to a rather simple question, but I cannot find anything on Apple's support website about why they would no longer let me write to a floppy disk, even though they recognize floppy drives and disks.

    Kristy

  • babowa Level 7 Level 7 (26,950 points)

    Very sorry that I missed that. Unfortunately, you may not get an answer here - unless someone else is also actually still using such media, your chances are slim to none - the same probably applies to Apple's website since Apple is pushing the "no media" future of downloads only, they would only have something covering that if they are actively supporting it.

  • Kristy Effinger Level 1 Level 1 (55 points)

    Yeah, well, that's why I thought maybe someone on a forum would maybe still have a floppy disk drive and know the answer to my question. But you're probably right--they've been abandoned for so long that no one has one anymore. I probably wouldn't get anywhere talking to an Apple tech support person either. Oh well. So I've got another useless piece of computer machinery.

  • chrisfromtoms river Level 1 Level 1 (15 points)

    Not sure if the helps. I dug out a usb floppy drive and was able to read/write to it. My mac is a newer 2011 just upgraded to Lion.Maybe you hae a bad disk?

  • Kristy Effinger Level 1 Level 1 (55 points)

    Well, that is the kind of thing I was hoping to hear from someone. I did try several disks, but will try a few more. If I can't figure this out, I will probably call Apple. Thanks so much for letting me know that even in Lion there is still support for a floppy drive.

  • Kristy Effinger Level 1 Level 1 (55 points)

    I lucked out, and a tech support person from Macally, the people who produced my floppy disk drive, responded with the answer to my problem. He explained that with an Intel Mac running Snow Leopard, and most likely Lion also, the only formatting on a floppy disk that the computer would recognize was Mac OS Extended, not Standard formatting. I checked all the disks that had been giving me problems, and even some blank ones that I had, and sure enough, they were all formatted with Mac OS Standard formatting. So I reformatted a blank disk with Mac OS Extended formatting in Disk Utility, and then I was able to both read and write to the disk. Whew! That was a big relief. I do know that floppy drives and floppy disks are almost useless, but I do still have a large number of them with information I need to probably move somewhere else for safe keeping. But it's nice to know that for small files, I could still just pop in a floppy disk and save it, if I needed to. Just wanted to update this post, so you all knew what the answer to my problem was.

  • roger41447 Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    External floppy drive and disks work fine now.   I am running Mac OS 10.6.8 Snow Leopard on a mid 2007 24 inch iMac Extreme and I was trying to use my old floppy external drive to open floppies.  I couldn't at first until I unplugged the other USB devices from my non powered splitter.  I know that was not your problem, but others may run into this problem with old floppy external drives.   When I plugged it in alone on the splitter is worked just fine.  Your persistence in getting a focused answer to your difficulty was encouraging and very helpful.  I was able to open any UNLOCKED floppy that I have run into. I can write on the original doc within the floppy, delete files, duplicate files no matter what the disk is formatted in. The drag and drop to and from the floppy works fully.  I went ahead and reformatted a few in the Mac OS Extended just to make sure it works and let others know it all works fine.   As far as I know, I am not running or even have Rosetta on my machine.  Thanks for your post.

  • Kristy Effinger Level 1 Level 1 (55 points)

    I have a bit of an update to the situation since I originally posted this problem. Even though I did find out that I could reformat my floppy disks as Mac OS Extended, and still use my floppy drive, I rescued all the files from my old floppies and saved it to another source, old 250 MB Zip Disks. Then I upgraded my iMac to Mac OS Lion, and found another situation. I no longer was able to format floppy disks at all with Disk Utility. The only way it would let me format disks was with the old DOS format, and then I could still write to them, which makes no sense to me. For some reason, now it will not let me format floppy disks with Mac OS Extended format so that I can write to them. I can still read them, but it looks like floppies are finally pretty useless with the current Mac operating system. I'm glad that I was able to rescue all the files that I needed.

    Kristy

  • userid42 Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    Hi Kristy

     

    It sounds as though you have solved your problem but I have found a way to fully access floppy disks formatted as Mac OS Standard. This may not work for all though because I have access to a Windows 7 PC.

     

    On my mid-2011 iMac running OS X 10.8.2 (Mountain Lion) I was trying to download and copy onto floppy disks (for an old Macintosh) some software downloaded from the internet.

     

    I found, as you did, that I could read such disks via a USB floppy disk drive, but that I could not write to them.

     

    Thanks to your post I realised that it was simply because such formats have only limited support in more recent versions of OS X.

     

    There is software called MacDisk for Windows. I just ran it in Windows 7 running as my Bootcamp partition accessed via VMWare Fusion. The software is free to test (with some limitations).

     

    I just successfully copied a file via it to a disk and then was able to read it on my iMac.

     

    Hope this helps you, or anyone else looking to do such strange things.