Use 'virtual floppy drive' to mount floppy images

          'Virtual floppy drive' is a very small(140K) and handy utility that allows us to mount floppy disk images and access data available in them without writing on actual floppy diskettes. We can read, write and modify files on the images in 'RAW mode'.

What is place of floppy disk drive in 2009:
          Before 2000, you may have seen lots of PCs with floppy drives but today situation is different. Many hardware companies are withdrawing floppy drive support from their product to reduce the size and cost of their product. It is also crystal clear on software front. Ubuntu 8.10 kernel module for floppies is deactivated by default. Means OSs have also started to shed support to floppy drives.
          You may be thinking, where did those bulky computers with floppy drives and big CPU go. India is still developing and there is still big market in selling and buying PCs produced before 2000. I have seen many village students still use P3 or P4 for fulfilling their technical needs. They still need to use those floppy disks, full of drivers to install an OS in their PC.
          There are still many vendors who sell floppy drives with improved interface. You can get a USB floppy disk drive for Rs. 1500/-. Visit to buy an USB floppy disk drive.

Benefits of using virtual floppies and virtual floppy imaging tools:

  1. Ability to boot certain applications - like a Linux virtual router/firewall on a floppy.
  2. Ability to transfer files between systems
  3. No Floppy media to storage, search or get damaged
Download and start virtual floppy drive:
  1. Download the Virtual floppy drive from this link
  2. Latest version is 'Virtual Floppy Drive 2.1' which is released on Feb. 6, 2008. No changes have been made since that release.
  3. Extract the zip ''. It has vfd.exe which is a command line utility for installing, starting, stopping and uninstalling 'vfd.dll driver' and assigning drive letter for virtual drive. It also contains 'vfdwin.exe' which provides GUI to VFD control panel.
Uses of VFD:
  1. Create floppy image from data: To proceed, assign drive letter to Drive0. Click on 'open/create' button and click create on the next screen. Now go into the drive from windows explorer and copy files to it. Close the window and click save to save data as floppy image. You can burn this image file to actual floppy with winImage or RawImage.
  2. Modify a floppy image and save changes:Open a floppy image, modify it and again save it with another name.
More about VFD
  1. Windows 2000/XP Explorer's check disk does not work with VFD drives.
    Use command line CHKDSK.EXE instead.
  2. Some program does not recognize VFD drive as floppy drive if assigned a drive letter other than A or B.
  3. VFD is not compiled for 64 bit windows version. Although a binary provided on the official website may work in some cases. You can try it at your own risk.
  4. VFD can not create image from or save to actual floppy disk. To create image from a floppy, use WinImage (shareware).

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Carry 'portable apps' on pen drive with ' Platform'

 Platform is very convenient tool which allows us to carry favorite portable computer programs along with bookmarks, settings, email and use on any computer without leaving any personal data behind. It works with any hardware like (USB flash drive, iPod, portable hard drive, etc.)and is 100% free. It provides a perceivable menu interface which resembles start menu on Windows OS.

Downloads: There are 3 different packages offered by Visit 'Download Suite and Platform' page.

  1. Platform(1 MB): Contains ' Menu', Backup and custom Folders, Icons & Autorun
  2. Suite Light(46 MB): Abiword is included to read and edit Microsoft Word files.
  3. Suite Standard(124MB): Openoffice included to read and edit Microsoft word files, spreadsheets, presentations. Abiword is not present.
How To Start ' Platform':

          Download one of the package listed above. Install it in root directory of the pen drive. When you insert pen drive, you can start the menu by clicking 'StartPortableApps.exe' present in the pen drive. A system tray icon will appear which facilitates showing, hiding, closing the menu and also provides interface for safely removing pen drive.

Application supported by There are various sections on Application page at Some of the popular portable apps in each sections are listed below.
  • Accessibility:
    1. On-Screen Keyboard: On-screen keyboard.
    2. Virtual Magnifying Glass: Screen magnifier.
  • Development:
    1. Notepad++: Text editor.
    2. Nvu & KompoZer: Web editors.
  • Education:
    1. Stellarium: Planetarium like google earth.
  • Games:
    1. DOSBox: Play classic DOS games on Windows Vista.
    2. Sudoku: Puzzle game.
  • Graphics & Pictures:
    1. GIMP: Photo and Image Editor.
  • Internet:
    1. Mozilla Firefox: Web browser.
    2. Mozilla Thunderbird: Email client.
    3. Pidgin: IM client for gmail, yahoo, MSN etc.
    4. WinWGet: Manage downloads on the go.
    5. FileZilla: FTP client.
  • Music & Video:
    1. VLC Media Player: Media player
  • Office:
    1. OpenOffice: word processor, spreadsheet, presentations with Microsoft compatibility.
    2. AbiWord: Word processor compatible with Microsoft Word files.
    3. Sumatra PDF: PDF viewer.
  • Utilities:
    1. 7-Zip: File archiver and compressor.
    2. ClamWin: Antivirus.
    3. Eraser: Securely delete files and data.
These things can be done with platform: Visit ' Platform and Suite Support' page
  1. Add .paf.exe app to the menu:
              Download the '.paf.exe' file for the app to add from The downloaded '.paf.exe' file is a html file and when you click on it, it will prompt for downloading .paf.exe installer (executable).After downloading the installer go to menu and click options - Add a New App - Install and then select the '.paf.exe'(installer) file.
  2. Add standalone app to the menu:
              To add standalone portable app, create a directory in 'PortableApps' directory and place it's files in it.
  3. Removing an app from the menu:
              To uninstall an app, delete the app directory from 'PortableApps' directory
  4. Rename an app in menu:
              To rename an app, right-click on it, enter new name and click OK. To reset name to the original name, clear the text from the rename box.
  5. Hide an app in menu:
              To hide an app from menu, rename it to minus sign (-). To get the app back in list, edit the PortableAppsMenu.ini file within 'PortableApps\\Data' directory and remove the entry appname\appnameportable.exe=true within the [AppsHidden] section.
  6. Run an app as administrator:
              To run a portable app as another user, hold down the control button while clicking it.
  7. Add a personal image on the menu:
  8. Use built-in wallpaper swapper:
              You can set to change the wallpaper on the PC to your own while it is running the platform and change it back when you exit. To set wallpaper, save a .bmp file in 'Documents\Pictures' directory and name it as 'portableapps_wallpaper.bmp'. You can also add a 'portableapps_wallpaper_wide.bmp' file which will be used on widescreen displays.
  9. Change menu startup location:
              Move the menu wherever you want. Menu remembers it's relative position on the screen and start up at that same location even if you move to another PC.
  10. Rename drive:
              To rename drive, click on the drive name in the lower left corner of the menu, type in the new name and click the ">" button or press enter. Reinsert the drive for the new name to show up in Windows Explorer.
  11. Change language of the platform
  12. Backup settings (Bookmarks, Email, Preferences, etc.)
  13. Start Minimized, Disable Fading, Remain Visible, Hide Desktop, Transparency etc.:
Safe Portable App-ing: Visit 'safe App-ing' page
  1. Use an antivirus program on your portable device, like ClamWin Portable, and keep its virus definitions up to date.
  2. Scan your PC and portable drive for viruses on a regular basis.
  3. Always wait until the drive access light has stopped blinking and then click the icon in your system tray to 'Safely Remove' your device. Don't just remove it. Just because the application's window is closed doesn't mean the app has fully closed and finished writing to the disk.
  4. Back up on a regular basis, both your applications and your files.

Download more portable apps:
          Here are links to website containing huge collection of Portable apps which you can install along with platform.
Related Posts:
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Installing Windows XP/2003/Vista/2008/7 from USB (GUI Tool)

          Many desktop computers' and laptops' CD/DVD drive becomes nonfunctional after few years of use. It is easy to replace CD/DVD drive in desktop computers and those are cheap too but in case of laptop CD/DVD drives starts from 3000 Rs/- onwards and they get available at few vendors. In such case we can use a bootable pen drive to install new OS on such system. This post tells how to install Windows XP/2003/Vista/2008/7 from bootable pen drive.


  1. Novicorp WinToFlash 0.4.0013 (2.10MB)[Latest version: 0.5.0000 beta]
  2. A pen drive of sufficient size.
Make Bootable Pen Drive:
  • Extract 'Novicorp WinToFlash 0.4.0013' after downloading.
  • Click on 'WinToFlash.exe' to start the process.
  • This software provides two modes of transfer
    1. Wizard mode:
      1. Press Next on Wizard welcome screen.
      2. Select the Windows source path and Usb drive with browse button and press Next.
      3. A license agreement screen will pop up, just click continue if you accept it.
      4. A warning telling data on USB will be formated will appear. Click ok after backing up all data from USB to start process.
      5. After completing transfer wizard, press finish. Pen drive is now ready to boot.
    2. Advanced mode:
      1. Click File->new or click Task tab from main window to select task type.
      2. From drop down menu select type of OS or task and click create.
      3. In 'basic parameters' tab, select Windows source path, USB drive and file system for formatting pen drive. Use default if you are unaware.
      4. In 'setup parameters' tab, you can choose option for unattended installation.
      5. In 'process steps' tab, set option option according to need. e.g. Uncheck 'Format drive' option if you do not want to format pen drive.
      6. Click run to start process.Follow steps 3 to 5 from wizard mode as they are same.
Things to note:
  1. Backup required data from partition where want to install the new OS.
  2. This method does not allow to repair corrupted Windows XP installation if you use pirated CD for preparation of USB device. So make sure to use original CD to prepare USB device.

Choose right size pen drive:
          Use 1 or 2 GB pen drive for XP installation, use 4 GB for Windows Vista and if you create custom installation disk using nLite or vLite then use 8 GB if it exceeds 4 GB size. Note that smaller the pen drive, faster is the copying speed and you nneed to wait for small amount of period before getting into the OS.

Installing OS:
  1. Restart the system. Open BIOS and set 'USB Hard disk' as first boot device.
  2. Boot from pen drive. Select option "1,Text Mode" for starting setup.
  3. After rebooting, boot from pen drive and select option "2, GUI Mode".
  4. After rebooting, boot from pen drive and select option "2, GUI Mode" again. You will be in OS. Remove redundant boot entries from boot.ini file.

  1. GUI interface for making bootable USB.
  2. MuliOS support: Windows XP/2003/Vista/2008/7.
  3. Supports nLite custom Windows XP.
  4. Supports vLite custom Windows Vista.

References:Related Posts:
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