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This question was originally posted on Gaming Stack Exchange.

I have a small collection of 5 1/4" floppy disks (early Sierra games) that I am trying to read. How can I connect a drive that accepts these disks to my PC.

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I guess the reason that there are no formal, official, branded USB 5.25" floppy drives is because there is not enough demand to justify the manufacturing costs. Even official USB 3.5" drives will get phased out as demand peters off. Seems like a good time to get an electronics kit (breadboard, PSU, wires, etc.) and an Rπ/Arduino to “roll your own”. – Synetech Jul 6 '15 at 15:43
up vote 9 down vote accepted

A company called Device Side Data produces a device called the FC5025 which can adapt a 5 1/4" drive to a USB port. You will still need to power the drive so this approach will require either an external power source or a tower or desktop computer. There are also other limitations to this device, such as the inability to write to the disks or to read most forms of copy protection (back when these drives were common there was a technique to protect their contents form copying by writing intentionally bad data).

Using just original hardware the best approach would be to build or buy a computer that had a 5 1/4" inch drive and could connect to a network or had a 3 1/2" drive as well. 3 1/2" drives are still common enough to find as USB external drives, while networking a old PC would be complex.

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Two other points to ponder: 1. Your floppies might have degaussed after sitting around for 30 years. Not a lot you can do about that. 2. The files you're trying to recover from these floppies might be available from abandonware web sites. Might be easier to download them than to recover the floppy files. Oh yeah, and all retro-game lovers need to know about ScrumVM and DOSBox. The sheer technical kewlness of these and other retro platform emulators boggles the mind. – Isaac Rabinovitch Dec 3 '12 at 3:23
I would use a make an ISO of your floppies so you can always have them – Keltari Apr 14 '14 at 18:54

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