We had to wait until 2022 and the recent release of Windows 11, but here we are: the floppy drive is finally starting to disappear from the operating system. Even if the ancestral device is still recognized by the OS, Microsoft is gradually starting to push it towards the exit door.
Since Windows 95, and still today under Windows 11, the device manager defaults to the path “A: ” when you want to add drivers to the system environment. Clear, the old floppy drive is taken into account. Subsequently, once you have determined another path, it is this one that will be systematically used. But some habits are tough and Microsoft had never changed the path when it comes to adding new drivers.
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Let’s be honest: in the age of “everything dematerialized”, who still uses a floppy drive on their PC? Although storage media like Blu-Ray drives, external hard drives or USB sticks still exist, few machines still come with a floppy drive. Equipped with a very low storage capacity (1.44 MB for the standard versions) and a reading speed to make even the less impatient leap, the floppy disk is now obsolete. Microsoft has therefore decided to make a small change within Windows 11, in order to ensure that any reference to the floppy drive gets lost over the updates.
In 2022, Windows 11 begins to free itself from the floppy drive
If a few users sometimes venture to connector a floppy disk drive to their PC, as shown below, this is often to find that their media is no longer readable or that they cannot exploit the content using current applications. So of course, there are many solutions like Kryoflux, SuperCard Pro or other Greaseweasels, but on the one hand these are not recognized by File Explorer (specific programs are needed to access them), and on the other hand, they are generally reserved for archivists of the retro. In short, the fact that Windows 11 prioritizes the floppy drive when adding new drivers does not no more sense these days.
Good news, therefore: in Build 22000 of Windows 11, the device manager no longer points by default to A: . The application automatically detects the drive on which the OS is installed. By default, this is C: . If you have saved your installation drivers on this drive, then you can more easily indicate their location to the device manager.
A minimal change in short, but which could augur that Microsoft will one day abandon support for the player. In the meantime, if you still have 3.5 ″ or 5.25 ″ floppy disks in your possession, rest assured: you can still connect to the drive to install new drivers. Recognition of the ancestral drive is still required and Windows 11 continues to support this type of device, although it is obsolete.
Source: Windows Latest