Computers Connecting a 5.25" floppy drive to a modern laptop?


Code Monkey
Staff member
I find myself working on a little project that I never thought I'd be doing.... trying to save data off of a large volume of 5.25" floppy disks! :eek:

Mrs. Kevin and her Dad both have data on several old computers that they'd like to recover. The oldest computer is a 286 AT! Yikes. If they had stored everything on 3.5" floppies it might have been easier to but there is still data on both the various computer hard drives and boxes of floppies (mostly 5.25", a handful of 3.5") so I need to get the ancient computers up & running again, browse the hard drives for anything they might want, transfer that stuff to floppies, and then go through all of the floppies to try & get the files off of the floppies and onto their laptops. The AT has both 5.25" and 3.5" drives. The rest of machines are newer and just have a 3.5" and CD-ROM drive.

My final goal is to recover as much data as I can, convert any old formats to new formats when possible (such as from WordPerfect .WPS files to .DOC files which is now almost a generic format), and then put everything in a shared cloud based location (like Google Drive) so that they can upgrade their laptops in the future without worrying about losing their data as well as being able to access the files from their mobile devices.

That's the plan, at least. Much to my chagrin I have come to the realization that while USB 3.5" floppy drives are easily available there is no easy way of hooking up a 5.25" drive to a modern laptop. I'm finding a few custom board interfaces, such as the FC5025 from DeviceSide, but after buying the controllers, a 5.25" drive, an external case, and a molex capable power supply, it ain't cheap!

Not wanting to spend a lot of money on something that'll likely end up in the bottom of my 'junk drawer of ancient & obsolete tech' I'm thinking the best plan at the moment is get the old machines up & running again, transfer as much as possible to 3.5" floppies, and then use a USB 3.5" external drive on my laptop to copy the files to my laptop, do any conversions & recovery there, and then copy the files to the cloud.

Thoughts? Anybody else to try & recover data from 5.25" drives? Is there a better organization plan that I'm not thinking off? :thinking: