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Non-system disk... oh, never mind

Have your PC ignore non-system disks
  (+16, -2)(+16, -2)
(+16, -2)
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If you accidentally leave a floppy disk in a drive when rebooting a computer, the PC will attempt to boot from it. If it's not a boot disk, the attempt will fail and your computer displays "Non-system disk or disk error. Replace and strike any key". I propose adding a countdown to this, so that after ten seconds your PC attempts to boot from the hard drive instead. OK, so you could remove the floppy drive, or prevent the system booting from it, but this would retain the boot-from-floppy capability just in case. For many people, this is 50% of the reason for having a floppy drive in the first place.
david_scothern, Oct 13 2004

[link]






       Most people's floppy drives aren't used, but the FDD is still taking a long time to vanish. This might occasionally (very occasionally!) be useful.
david_scothern, Oct 13 2004
  

       Until everyone uses USB flash drives they'll keep making floppy discs. The way of the future!
harderthanjesus, Oct 13 2004
  

       Can one tell the FDD to be ignored with a BIOS setting? Or, at least, the device order with which the machine finds bootable code?
bristolz, Oct 13 2004
  

       [bz] The answer is yes with every BIOS I've played with.   

       I'd like a Boot From Flash Drive option in BIOS.
Worldgineer, Oct 13 2004
  

       I'm fairly certain most new moterboards can boot from a usb key, the bios option is boot from external or peripheral something like that.
Cubical_View, Oct 13 2004
  

       Really? Then [david]'s idea is still valid. I wonder if they've updated the message: "Non-system usb key or fob error. Replace and strike any key other than the usb one"
Worldgineer, Oct 13 2004
  

       Interestingly enough, the message "Non system disk error..." comes FROM THE FLOPPY itself. It is the boot loader, a tiny little assembly language program stored on one of the first sectors of the disk. I once accidentally tried to boot from a copy-protection floppy (remember those?) that was generated by a German company, and the error message came up in German.   

       And so, this idea can be implemented by writing your own replacement for that boot loader, and putting it onto all your floppy disks.   

       I used to work for a software vendor that did this with their distribution disks, except it would come up with a simple explanation ("You've left your original master disk of <product name> in the drive....") and remind you of the company name, address and phone number.   

       One problem with writing custom boot sectors like this is some anti-virus utilities freak if they see anything other than the standard one on a floppy.
krelnik, Oct 13 2004
  

       As a denizen of the rather backward auto industry I use the 'floppy sneakernet' quite often.
RayfordSteele, Oct 14 2004
  

       I use sneakernet also. I'm a denizen of the even more backward population below the digital divide, so I depend on the public library for all my internet use, including the present annotation. Most libraries are too paranoid to allow any kind of removable media. My current location does allow 1.44 floppies, but with a catch that happens to be directly relevant to the present idea. The computers here auto reboot whenever one attempts to read or write a floppy that happens to be bootable. They also undo all HD content changes from the current session with each reboot, manual or otherwise. We sure are living in Hobbesian times...
LoriZ, Oct 15 2004
  

       Gets a + from me. Unlike many here, I use my FDD extensively, principally because my digital camera records on floppies. In fact, I am about to order a laptop and I shall specify a FDD on it.
angel, Oct 15 2004
  

       A few weeks ago, I actually booted DOS from floppy on purpose, on a fairly new machine. I wanted to use a program to bit-bang some stuff out the serial port, and the routine (assembly language) ran much faster under "bare" DOS than under Windows. So I made a boot disk with just DOS, that program, and an auto-start batch file. Felt a little silly, but it worked great.
supercat, Oct 15 2004
  

       What I would like to see would be an OS option that would boot the hard drive immediately if there was no floppy in the drive but, if there was a floppy, print a message like "HIT SPACEBAR NOW TO BOOT FROM FLOPPY". If the spacebar isn't hit within two seconds, proceed to boot the hard drive anyway. This would allow people who sometimes need to boot from floppy the ability to easily do so deliberately, without doing so accidentally.
supercat, Oct 15 2004
  

       I wonder how many readers are thinking 'Boot from floppy? WTF does that mean?'
Is this one of those situations where one of the options is ideal for 'techies' but counter-productive for non-techies and the other is vice versa?
angel, Oct 15 2004
  

       I'd have to agree with [angel] since his anno was the only one that made any sense.
lintkeeper2, Oct 15 2004
  

       Hence in the main text of the idea, I propose a countdown (say ten seconds). If you start the computer with a disk in the drive, the computer will inform you of the fact. If you do nothing, then ten seconds later it will carry on starting as normal. If you were, in fact, trying to start your computer off a floppy disk, the countdown would give you enough time to realise that your floppy disk wasn't able to start the PC either.
david_scothern, Oct 16 2004
  

       i wondered what that little slot in my computer was for.
benfrost, Oct 16 2004
  
      
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