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View Full Version : How to make a USB stick appear as a floppy drive




dubhe
Oct 30, 2008, 06:55 AM
My work is anal about security and we are not able to use USB sticks on the computers, it has been disabled in permissions.

However, we can plug in USB floppy drives as a lot of our work requires permits and licences to be transferred this way.

Is there a way I can format my USB stick to appear as a USB floppy drive on insertion?

The computers are running xp. I am using a MacBook but have XP via VMFusion.

Many thanks for your thoughts :)



drewsof07
Oct 30, 2008, 07:40 AM
So... you're stuck with 1.44mb of removable storage? wow.
This really isn't possible without moderate hardware and software modification. The only way I can think of (only hardware) is to acquire an ATA->CompactFlash converter and install as a floppy drive. Then remove the compactflash and put into a USB adapter. Even then I'm not sure if it would be recognized as a floppy.

gnasher729
Oct 30, 2008, 09:13 AM
My work is anal about security and we are not able to use USB sticks on the computers, it has been disabled in permissions.

If your work is anal about security, could it be that there is a reason?

GSMiller
Oct 30, 2008, 09:50 AM
Boy do I loathe floppy disks. It's amazing how many books I use for school still ask you to save your work to a floppy.

If your work is anal about security, could it be that there is a reason?

But you must admit, that is a bit stupid. How is a floppy disk considered more secure than a USB drive?

synth3tik
Oct 30, 2008, 09:54 AM
Boy do I loathe floppy disks. It's amazing how many books I use for school still ask you to save your work to a floppy.



But you must admit, that is a bit stupid. How is a floppy disk considered more secure than a USB drive?

floppy 1.44mb
flash 2-4G

I think that's why.
hard to fit much on a floppy.

drewsof07
Oct 30, 2008, 09:58 AM
But you must admit, that is a bit stupid. How is a floppy disk considered more secure than a USB drive?

Floppies are cheap and easy to erase & dispose (just properly magnetize and they are useless). And I agree with synth3ik, you can steal less if space is limited. Like using a change purse to steal a computer, you could probably only fit the mouse in it.

dubhe
Oct 30, 2008, 10:10 AM
We are allowed to use floppy discs as they limit the quantity of data transfer, and because we need to use them for transfer of files between computers which are not on the LAN.

So, technically I shouldn't be doing what I am trying to do, but, I am trying to make my life a whole lot easier. I currently have to carry a USB drive and floppy with me, and, when I want to edit something on my mac I have to plug it in, read the file, eject the drive, remove the disc, then if I want to put it in again I have to unplug the usb, plug it in, insert the disc...

There must be something on the usb floppy drive that says it is a floppy and xp allows it access. I need that something!

lee1210
Oct 30, 2008, 10:18 AM
...
So, technically I shouldn't be doing what I am trying to do, but, I am trying to make my life a whole lot easier.

Erm, then don't. Is this minor convenience worth losing your job?


I currently have to carry a USB drive and floppy with me, and, when I want to edit something on my mac I have to plug it in, read the file, eject the drive, remove the disc, then if I want to put it in again I have to unplug the usb, plug it in, insert the disc...

There must be something on the usb floppy drive that says it is a floppy and xp allows it access. I need that something!

Leave the disk in the drive. Then plug in the usb drive, and you have access to the floppy immediately. When you are done, eject the disk (this will safely unmount it, but unfortunately it may also physically eject the disk), unplug the drive, and shove the disk back into the drive. Shoving the disk back in is the only step not needed with a USB key.

It sounds like you're trying to:
1) Circumvent intentional (and it sounds like justified) security measures at your place of work
and
2) Figure out how to trick windows XP into thinking a USB keychain drive is a floppy drive

Neither of these are really suitable for a macintosh programming forum. I don't mean to be rude at all, and think that most people here are willing to help with almost anything, but this seems pretty far out of bounds.

-Lee

robbieduncan
Oct 30, 2008, 10:19 AM
There must be something on the usb floppy drive that says it is a floppy and xp allows it access. I need that something!

Yes, at a hardware level the drive identifies itself to the system as a floppy and the OS uses the correct drivers to talk to it. The USB key is similar: it identifies itself as a USB key.

If you were a hardware engineer it might be possible to build a custom USB key that identified itself as a floppy with huge capacity and worked with the floppy drivers instead of the USB ones, but this would be a lot of work.

There's not a special, hidden file that says "I'm a floppy".

I'd also note that I too work in an environment where the USB ports don't work with USB keys. If I was found to have worked round that in some way I'd expect to be fired for gross misconduct...

dubhe
Oct 30, 2008, 10:25 AM
Thanks for the info, looks like I am stuck :(

As for getting fired, they would never know, my office only has room for me :p

wPod
Oct 30, 2008, 10:27 AM
this reminded me of something i read about ages ago. i do not know if this is what i read back then, but this article is what I was thinking about. . .

floppy disk RAID!!!!

http://www.mac-guild.org/raid.html

dubhe
Oct 30, 2008, 10:51 AM
floppy disk RAID!!!!

http://www.mac-guild.org/raid.html

I'm glad it is not just me that has these crazy ideas! Maybe I am in the wrong job :rolleyes:

gnasher729
Oct 30, 2008, 11:22 AM
But you must admit, that is a bit stupid. How is a floppy disk considered more secure than a USB drive?

Floppy disk: Some idiot copies data of 100 customers and loses it on the bus.
USB drive: Some idiot copies data of 600,000 customers and loses it on the bus.

The reason that floppy disks are allowed is most likely that the IT people haven't seen any floppy disk drive in the last two years and forgot to disable it.

dse
Nov 2, 2008, 01:07 PM
it is possible to log every event on your machine, each keystroke....the very walls might have eyes

If you dont do it you just might not get caught doing it.

afd
Nov 2, 2008, 01:26 PM
I have a USB flash drive that has 2 partitions, a 1.44MB one and the other 256MB less the 1.44, the smaller partition shows up as a floppy in XP. The drive came like this, I don't know if it is formatted differently or if it is because the size matches a floppy that it shows up as one. On a mac it just shows up as 2 drives.

dubhe
Nov 2, 2008, 04:25 PM
it is possible to log every event on your machine, each keystroke....the very walls might have eyes

If you dont do it you just might not get caught doing it.

No, I work for the government... :D

dubhe
Nov 3, 2008, 06:14 AM
I have a USB flash drive that has 2 partitions, a 1.44MB one and the other 256MB less the 1.44, the smaller partition shows up as a floppy in XP. The drive came like this, I don't know if it is formatted differently or if it is because the size matches a floppy that it shows up as one. On a mac it just shows up as 2 drives.

Can you tell me the flash drive you have? I would like to check it out :)

lee1210
Nov 3, 2008, 09:34 AM
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1082402/Tax-website-shut-memory-stick-secret-personal-data-12million-pub-car-park.html
Relevant reading. Just the most recent example of carelessness amongst the government and its contractors leading to the violation of citizens' privacy.

-Lee