Checking out the Gotek Floppy Emulator

Floppy disks were a massive part of the computing landscape in the 80s and 90s. Back in a time before high speed internet and USB drives, if you were moving data between two PCs the chances are you were using a floppy disk.

The problem with using floppies on retro PCs in the 21st century is that even the later ones are knocking on 15 years old now, and some floppy disks in circulation on places like eBay could be closer to 30 years old.

Floppies were never that reliable even when they were new, but add 30 years sitting on a shelf and even new-old-stock ones are less than ideal.

Enter the Gotek floppy emulator.

Originally this device was produced for manufacturing purposes. A lot of older manufacturing equipment is designed to boot from a three and a half inch floppy, and rather than riping out entire plant systems and replacing them with modern equivalents, it was a much easier option to simply produce a device that replicates a floppy drive while still appearing to the host system as a physical three and a half inch drive.

To the front of the device is a USB port which will accept any cheap USB memory stick, on to which you can place image files containing the contents of original floppy disks. As far as the host system is concerned it just sees a bog standard floppy drive with a disk inserted, it’s brilliant.

As with many things, the Gotek has been adopted by the retro PC community and now you can install custom firmware on the Gotek called Flash Floppy which makes it much more usable in an IBM PC enviornment.

In this video I take you through my initial experiences with the Gotek floppy disk emulator, running Flash Floppy.

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