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Tom Briant

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Sunday, May 29, 2016

Floppy Disk Access when your Mac runs on OS X 10.11 El Capitan-Scenario #5

We have now come to Scenario #5, where you only have a brand-new Mac running 10.11 El Capitan and you don’t have any other computers. 

Now fellow Mac users, I have tried one idea, which is to boot your Mac from Linux and temporarily turn your Mac into a Linux computer. The current version of Linux, at least Ubuntu Linux 16.04, will read Windows floppies. 

When this works, it’s great. The operative word, though, is “when it works”. I’ve had a hell of a time getting my Mac to boot from a Linux DVD or boot flash drive. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t. I imagine at this point, your nerves are shot and your vocabulary is pretty foul.

Rather than spell out the procedure for creating Linux boot media on your Mac, I will advise you to have a heart to heart talk with that other person asking  you to copy their old floppy disks to modern media to do the following:

1. Buy or rent an older computer to do the job. 

2. If it’s used Apple computers you want, PowerMax in Oregon and Smalldog Electronics in Vermont have excellent reputations. As for eBay, I’ve had mixed success with buying Macs from eBay for a client. 

3. If you still want to try Linux, for God’s Sake use a Windows computer to temporarily boot into Linux using Live Boot media. I own a Windows 10 computer that will boot into Ubuntu Linux from a Ubuntu Live DVD every time. Go to for the procedures. They’re an excellent Web site.

4. Finally, if the other party has boxes and boxes of old media in varying degrees of condition, it’s time to tell them to consider a professional file transfer service. offers transfer services and they charge for every attempted recovery. Because people send them media that’s been stored in hot garages and such. Another service to consider is 

 5. I know you may have thought I was Captain Nerdtastic with the arcane solution to all puzzling problems. Well, I’m just a civll servant in his shorts on a Sunday morning. I’m telling you that to some problems the best solution is to break out the plastic and spend the money. 


Tom Briant

Editor, MacValley Blog






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