Now, 5.25″ floppy discs haven’t been in wide use for almost 30 years, but some folks still have some around. Jer wrote in regards to an external drive for a 3.5″ floppy discs: “Great Idea. No more messing with 16 years old machines. Is anyone working on a 5″ disc version?”
Well Jer, the time for that particular device has come and gone. It’s been 20 plus years years that size of floppy was widely available, and I can’t find any new models on the market. You might be able to find some used external drives on sites like eBay.
But the issue with those drives, is that you won’t have the drivers to operate them on your PC and it’s unlikely that manufacturer is still making updated drivers for 30 year-old-drives.
Another concern is that the data on those discs could be compromised. Magnetic storage media is very sensitive to cold, heat and moisture and those early discs are truly floppy and can be damaged pretty easily. The actual shelf life for media like this is usually only a little over 10 years. Now, if they’ve been stored properly, they might still work.
But, then we’ve got another problem. Will those files be in a format that an modern PC can read? Old software probably isn’t going to run and many of those files may be stored in a proprietary format that only works with the program they were created.
There are companies that have the equipment that allows them to do that type of data transfer. So, if you have important data, you might want to consider that option.
Otherwise, using an elderly machine with a 5.25 drive built-in, may be your only option.