PC hardware--CPU & Motherboard & RAM/Hardware question...


QUESTION: Bobbert,
I've got a Dell XPS 410 running Windows XP Pro.
A couple of things I really dislike about it are that:
1.  Both the keyboard and the mouse connect via USB connections, and
2.  It has no floppy drive.

Would it be real complicated to add a card that would let me connect the keyboard and mouse via the old serial PS/2 connections?  And would it be real complicated to add a floppy drive?  I've taken a working floppy drive out of an older computer, and it looks like it'll fit.  (There is a space on the XPS 410 for a floppy.)  Would I have to make any new complicated changes in the current bootup settings?

Any suggestions/advice you could give are greatly appreciated.
Warm regards,

ANSWER: If the motherboard has a proper header for the floppy drive (it'll look narrower than the IDE connector for hard-disks and CD drivers, but very similar), it's more or less plug and play (with the system off, of course); it may not "start" the first time you power on (it may hang on a BIOS screen and require a restart as it detects the new hardware), but Windows should automatically acknowledge the drive and have no hiccups there. The reason I'm not providing a specific "yes" or "no" is that I'm finding two different systems that are identified as "XPS 410" in literature, and they're quite different. If you have the service tag for the machine handy, you can plug it into the Dell support website and it should provide you with a motherboard specsheet that will list all of the available expansion slots based on the factory specifications, which would illuminate this issue.

On the keyboard and mouse - you can get USB controllers that will provide PS/2 connectors, but compatibility is probably not going to be as universal as an older machine with PS/2 support. Is there any specific reason you want this functionality?


---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: No real reason...just like the keyboards I have now, and they're all PS/2.
I ordered a card that supports PS/2 keyboard and mouse connections, and also has a couple of extra USB connections as well.  It was cheap, and that way I've got both bases covered.  
On the floppy, I think I'm just going to sissy out and get a small external USB floppy drive.  They're cheap, too, and that way I'll have a floppy for all systems going forward.  (Yeah, I know...floppy are old technology as well.  What can I say?)
Thanks for the quick response, and the helpful suggestions.  (And thanks for donating your time and trouble to AllExperts.)
Warm regards,
David Gardner

Conversion should be no problem for a keyboard or mouse - the reason I was primarily asking is because some (very old) legacy devices will use serial connections and may not work with the conversion hardware (and I wasn't sure if this was your intention or not).

Regarding the diskette drive - an external solution is probably the most universal, as you've noted, and should have zero compatibility issues with diskettes (assuming they're IBM formatted and appropriate density for the drive (e.g. if the drive cannot read 2.88MB diskettes)). I'm not sure where to point you as far as buying new media for such a drive though (although I'm assuming you have pre-existing media that you wish to use) - perhaps eBay would be of some use here though. One additional point I'd make, is that if possible you should probably consider a migration strategy for any data that is exclusively stored on diskette - for example making back-ups to CD-RW or DVD-RW depending on how much data you're dealing with, as it will both reduce the likelihood that the data is lost due to drive or diskette failure, and it may make access much faster (as a CD-RW can hold roughly 450 diskettes, and will read the data faster).


PC hardware--CPU & Motherboard & RAM

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I have nearly two decades of experience in IT, computer repair, and related fields and will attempt to provide the most solid, brand-agnostic advice when it comes time to purchase a new computer, or upgrade an existing machine. I can answer anything from the seemingly basic to the downright complicated - and will do my best to provide this information in a clear and concise manner.


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