virtualbox, WinXP, floppy drive, SuSE 12.1

Hi folks,

how can I access the floppy drive (/dev/fd0) under WinXP in virtualbox 4.1.x?

Thanks,

Uwe.

I might be wrong
But there my not be any support for Floppy Drives
Does anyone still use them?
I guess they must…

I suggest that you read the VirtualBox User Manual
http://download.virtualbox.org/virtualbox/4.1.8/UserManual.pdf
where section:
12.6.4 Linux host floppy not found
suggests


export VBOX_FLOPPY='/dev/fd0'

if your floppy is actually at * /dev/fd0*.
Do you have an* /etc/fstab* entry for* /dev/fd0* ?

  • In VirtualBox Manager, for your XP vm, click on “Storage” and select “empty” below the Floppy Controller.
  • Click on the floppy icon at the top right corner next to the combo box labeled “Floppy” and select “Host drive 3.5” 1440 K (fd0)"
  • Click OK.
  • Boot the vm and the floppy will appear as drive A: in Windows.
  • It should not be mounted under Linux … or it won’t work.
  • Please use the virtualization subforum if you have other questions related to VirtualBox.

Hi folks,

thanks for your suggestions. YES, I would like to mount a floppy drive!
This can be done with vmware.

In WinXP as a guest, using the explorer, I see the floppy drive A:, but
trying to mount it I get the following messages:

          Unable to mount the floppy Host Drive FDD 1 (fd0) on the machine
          Windows_XP

          Could not mount the media/drive '/dev/fd0'
          (VERR_ACCESS_DENIED)

          Details

          Result Code: 
          NS_ERROR_FAILURE (0x80004005)
          Component: 
          Console
          Interface: 
          IConsole {1968b7d3-e3bf-4ceb-99e0-cb7c913317bb}
          Callee: 
          IMachine {5eaa9319-62fc-4b0a-843c-0cb1940f8a91}

Any hints?

Thanks again,

Uwe.

Apply the steps I described before booting the vm. I tried and it worked. You have to attach the floppy to the vm first (as well as detach it when you don’t need it anymore).

Hi all,

first: I hab to add the “floppy” group to my <username>! Then I could apply the steps
“please_try_again” mentioned, and it worked. But… I cannot see the floppy disk. The
drive is there and the light goes on (and stays on!) at the disk drive, but a WindowsXP
/ DOS dir gives: “The device is not ready”. Trying to format a new disk gives: “Cannot
open volume for direct access”. So VirtualBox v4.1.8 seems to have an error (?!?!). What
do you think? Which (working) version do you use?

Thanks again and Merry X-mas,

Uwe.

If the light stays on, it’s not good. It usually means that it cannot read the floppy and keeps trying.

Make sure that it is not mounted (or automatically mounted) under Linux. Alternatively you can also use the mtools, a set of commands to read, write, format DOS floppies - without mounting them (!) - unless you need to access them in Windows.

Same version, from Oracle. I don’t know how old are your floppies. But I usually have to try a couple ones before I find a usable one.

Nichts zu danken und frohe Weihnachten!

Most often, if this is an FDC type floppy drive with a one of two drive floppy cable, the cable is plugged in backwards as in the pin one stripe is on the wrong side OR, the cable is off by a pair of pins OR of course the floppy or cable are just bad. When the light is on, one can say that it does have power, which is a good sign. I never found an FDC floppy drives to work very well in openSUSE and highly recommend you switch to a USB floppy drive type (while you can still find one to buy) and I even have a USB Floppy script you can use to format a disk, but only for USB.

S.U.F.F. - SuSE USB Floppy Formatter - Version 1.28 - Blogs - openSUSE Forums

Thank You,

The light would be on all the time even is there is no floppy inserted, as soon as you power on the computer… and the drive would probably die after a couple hours.

  • Btw, Merry Christmas to you and your beloved, James!

So I never left a cable plugged in wrong long enough to burn the floppy out, but I have had it in wrong as most cables are not keyed in such a way to prevent getting them in backwards at the floppy drive. I have always found it best to plug the cable into the floppy drive while it is out of the case so you can see what you are doing as the cable plug that goes to the motherboard is most easier to get plugged in right.

And …

Merry Christmas to you as well please_try_again!

Thank You,

jdmcdaniel3 wrote:

> So I never left a cable plugged in wrong long enough to burn the floppy
> out, but I have had it in wrong as most cables are not keyed in such a
> way to prevent getting them in backwards at the floppy drive. I have
> always found it best to plug the cable into the floppy drive while it is
> out of the case so you can see what you are doing as the cable plug that
> goes to the motherboard is most easier to get plugged in right.

Good idea. The problem I see frequently is one or more pins in the
receptical bent over from inserting the connector at an angle - usually one
of the pins on the corners of the array. You get maybe two-three chances to
straighten the buggers before they finally break off requiring a new
connector (or a new pin, if you are careful and too cheap to replace the
connector).


Will Honea

Yes, bent and then a possible broken pin is bad. I have had pins break a few times before with other things and you do get an extra try to make it right, but you got to be able to see what you are doing as well as having the proper cable and a few motherboards come with slightly modified cables that will not work on a different board. It is part of the learning experience when putting together your own computer. I just love to do that, but the expense can get to you as building a custom rig does not save money generally. The one thing besides getting a custom rig built to your specifications is the ability to upgrade just a portion of the system. Its cheaper in the short run and gives you the feeling of doing something more. When viewed as a hobby, its not too bad, but buying and building computers is the essence of buying high and selling (or giving away) low. lol!

Thank You,

jdmcdaniel3 wrote:

> Yes, bent and then a possible broken pin is bad. I have had pins break
> a few times before with other things and you do get an extra try to make
> it right, but you got to be able to see what you are doing as well as
> having the proper cable and a few motherboards come with slightly
> modified cables that will not work on a different board. It is part of
> the learning experience when putting together your own computer. I just
> love to do that, but the expense can get to you as building a custom rig
> does not save money generally. The one thing besides getting a custom
> rig built to your specifications is the ability to upgrade just a
> portion of the system. Its cheaper in the short run and gives you the
> feeling of doing something more. When viewed as a hobby, its not too
> bad, but buying and building computers is the essence of buying high and
> selling (or giving away) low. lol!

I’ve done a bunch of the buy/build stuff and my experience has been that for
the typical desktop user (home or business) buy generally wins out. Where I
generally wind up building is when the computer has a specific role
requiring special (oddd-ball?) components that don’t show up in commodity
boxes or on bare motherboards.

Lab or field use is a good area for building - A/D converters, signal
multiplexers, support for huge disk arrays and backup components usually
wind up with power specs that require a special supply, for example. Data
acquisition and analysis units to be deployed in the Odessa area oil fields
during the typical summer have special dust filter and cooling
considerations :wink: Those you can justify building but the run of the mill
desktop is usually cheaper as a package.


Will Honea

Hi all,

I think I have to explain something: The cable is allright! I can mount the floppy
drive under Linux (SuSE 12.1) and when I read the directory or print a file the
light goes on, every thing is displayed as usually on the screen and after a while
the light goes off. Unmounting the drive works just fine. I can even boot MSDOS
directly from this floppy drive!

The question is what happens under VirtualBox v4.1.8!! When I start it the light at the
drive goes on and off. After starting virtual WinXP the light goes on and stays on!
When I “remove disk from virtual drive” via the devices button it goes off. It goes on
and stays on, when I attach the disk again. But … I cannot access the floppy disk.

So what’s wrong?

Thanks again,

Uwe.

So if a floppy drive works fine in everything except VirtualBox, then it must be a problem with the VirtualBox driver translator and should be reported to Oracle. Further, i wonder just how badly you need to use a Floppy drive in a VM? They are great for low level boot functions such as BIOS updating, but in general floppy disks are unreliable (You should format one without error at the time of use to make sure it is OK) and are very short on disk space. I seldom ever use one and floppy disk are or will be shortly, out of manufacture. Better buy those blanks disks while you can.

Thank You,

If you really need to access floppy content and you can read it from linux, you could make an image of the floppy and mount the image in virtualbox. I know this is possible in vmplayer, so I presume you can do that in vbox also.

Hi brunomcl,

I tried to make an image of the floppy via “dd if=/dev/fd0 of=<filename>”
but attaching this image to the floppy drive gives:" failed to open the floppy
image". So what to do?

Greetings,

Uwe.

Some vmware tips here and here. I hope they work with vbox - it should, if it has floppy emulation as vmware does.

Hi brunomcl,

thanks for your tips! I created a virtual disk under Linux via
“cat /dev/fd0 > floppy.img” mounted it under virtualbox and can
read from it and copy files to my guest system. But how can I
WRITE to such an image???

Thanks again,

Uwe.