Jim's Self-Help

Floppy Drive Installation Procedures

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The Floppy Drive

A standard floppy drive features two main connectors, one for power and another for data. The power connector is on one side of the drive and has 4 large pins, with the data connector on the other side. On a 3.5" floppy, the connector has 34 pins and the cable connected to it is usually positioned with the red stripe on the cable (pin 1) towards the power connector.  Since not all manufacturers follow the same layout convention, it is best to look at the printed circuit board on the drive for the indication of pin 1, if possible.

On a 5.25" floppy the connector is a card slot and usually can be plugged in only one way. After installing a 5.25" floppy, if the power light stays on continuously, the data cable been plugged in backwards.

The Floppy Cable

The older standard floppy drive cables featured five connectors, as shown above. On one end is a 34 pin connector much like what is plugged into the back of the 3.5" floppy. This should be plugged into the controller with the red stripe side of the cable towards pin one on the controller (usually marked on the motherboard). Moving up the cable, the next two connectors will be positioned very close to each other. These two connectors are meant for the same drive, the 'B:' drive. Only one will be used, depending on whether your 'B:' drive is a 5.25" floppy or a 3.5" floppy. Use the card slot adapter for a 5.25" drive, or the 34 pin connector for a 3.5" drive. The next set of connectors (at the end of the cable) are for the 'A:' drive and are treated in the same manner as the 'B:' drive connectors. The twist in the cable must be between the 'A:' and 'B:' drives. If you do not have a 'B:' drive, both 'B' connectors should not be used.  Newer floppy drive cables generally no longer come with the obsolete 5.25" drive slotted connectors, only a 34 pin connector at each end - although some cables come with three 34 pin connectors, so you could have an 'A:' and 'B:' drive using two 3.5" floppy drives if you had a need.

The Controller

Pentium Motherboard

The controller is either a 'card' that plugs into the motherboard or is built into the motherboard. The red side of the cable must be toward pin one of the controller. If installing a controller card on a motherboard with a built-in controller, the motherboard controller must be disabled by setting appropriate motherboard jumpers (refer to motherboard manual).


After your floppy drives are connected correctly (lights do not stay on continually), enter CMOS and select the proper drive types. The method for entering CMOS varies with different systems. Most commonly it is accessed by depressing the 'Delete' key while memory is counting up. Your computer may display how to enter CMOS during the bootup process. Watch carefully, it usually appears for only a second. Once in CMOS, find the portion dealing with drive setup. This is usually called 'Standard CMOS Setup' but may go by any number of different names. Change the floppy drive settings to match the drive(s) you have installed. Today's most common drives are high density 3.5" 1.44mb or 5.25" 1.2mb. Exercise caution not to change any hard drive settings as this could prevent the computer from re-booting properly. Exit CMOS, saving the changes. This may be accomplished any number of different ways but normally the 'Escape' key will bring up a menu with an option to exit and save.

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This page last updated 09/28/11

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