When Microsoft introduced Windows 11, it did so with the idea that it would serve as an excuse to renew our PC. Although it later relaxed its chaotic requirements slightly, one of them made it clear that you could only install it if you had a post-2017 processor. That actually ended up not being entirely true, as Microsoft herself indicated.
That requirement is in contrast to something a user recently discovered, which is quite an irony: that user managed to connect a 5.25 “disk drive without too much trouble. This storage medium disappeared from the map almost 30 years ago, but surprisingly it continues being possible to use it in Windows 11.
Don’t throw away those old 5 and 1/4 floppy disks
The user Jrcraft showed on his YouTube channel how he had achieved that a fairly old computer could work with Windows 11 and with a 5 and 1/4 damper.
The computer’s processor, an Athlon 64 X2 +, was released in 2005, and while it could not theoretically be used with Windows 11, there have long been ways to overcome Microsoft’s requirements. More important still was the motherboard used, a Gigabyte model that had the IDE connectors used for the floppy drive.
Precisely to connect it the user used an old 34-pin IDE strip that is still available in online stores and that he connected to an old 5.25 “unit. Surprisingly, the unit works without the need to use additional hardware or software, and the connection is direct: it is not an external drive via USB, as you might think.
For many, the 5.25 “bay of our PC has become something very different from what was offered with those floppy disks, but these storage media are still interesting especially for preservation purposes of old applications and games.
That format was deprecated when 3.5-inch floppy disks offered higher performance and a more compact size. Floppy disks were something like the “pendrive” of the 90s until the CD boom and until those drives ended up being phased out first from Macs and then gradually from PCs and laptops.
Although in many cases floppy disks are in total disuse, in recent years we have seen cases in which this format continued to be used in surprising scenarios. For example to install critical updates on Boeing 747s or to keep certain data safe, as is still the case in the Tokyo Government, which continues to use it. Although the format in that case is also that of the 3.5 “disk, it is surprising – and even wonderful – that these old rockers are still supported in Windows 11.