Friday, February 23, 2007

I want virtual floppies

I just had to find an actual floppy in order to install Windows 2003 on a new server, because that server uses a RAID controller that Windows doesn't recognize on its own. Windows allows you to get around this by hitting F6 during the boot process to signal that you want to load additional drivers before continuing with setup. The problem, however, is that you can only load drivers from a floppy. This would be great, if my server had a floppy drive. It doesn't. Neither does my workstation. And we don't keep very many floppies around here.

Fortunately, I do have a USB floppy drive, and fortunately Server 2003 Setup will recognize the drive if it's present during the boot sequence. So I found a floppy in a disused desk drawer, used the drive with my workstation to write the driver disk, and then restarted Setup with the drive attached and loaded the driver.

However, eventually it won't be possible to get floppies. The thing is, though, there's really nothing preventing a USB key from being a "virtual floppy drive". So, why doesn't someone already do this?