I've recently picked up a Toshiba T1910CS 486 laptop. It's in OK shape, with a 500MB hard drive and DOS installed. I also ordered a USB floppy disk drive and some floppy disks so that I could install software on it.

Unfortunately when I insert a disk, I just hear a constant whine and disk reads timeout. I suspect the drive is broken. I opened up the machine and getting to the drive is going to be a pretty full on disassembly.

My question is: What is the best way for me to get software onto this machine? Should I get a new floppy drive? A floppy drive emulator? Some kind of hard disk replacement?

I'm a little lost, any guidance would be much appreciated.

  • 1
    New empty floppy disks may need to be formatted first.
    – Anonymous
    Commented Dec 23, 2019 at 6:43
  • What is the exact model of the diskette drive?
    – Jesse Fenn
    Commented Oct 24, 2020 at 17:26
  • New floppies? There's no such thing. Floppies haven't been produced since 2009
    – svin83
    Commented Dec 14, 2020 at 16:24
  • @svin83 I believe they mean New Old Stock, which there is still a lot of floating around apparently.
    – ssokolow
    Commented Jul 3, 2022 at 20:48
  • 1
    @svin83 But Anonymous was referring to "floppy disks that have never been out of the box" and that was obvious from context, while your phrasing suggests you're referring to floppy drives (eg. your reference to drive belts) that were "manufactured long ago".
    – ssokolow
    Commented Sep 6, 2022 at 18:38

3 Answers 3


As far as I know this laptop can’t easily be connected to a network, which leaves three options for getting software onto it:

  1. transfer over the serial or parallel ports, using an appropriate cable and software such as LapLink or the built-in transfer tools in MS-DOS 6.0 or later, PC-DOS 5.02 or later, and DR DOS 6.0 or later;
  2. the floppy drive;
  3. directly accessing the hard drive.

Option 1 requires a matching port on whatever other computer you’re using, and requires getting the software set up on the laptop if it’s not already there. In the long run though I think it’s the best option if you’re planning on using the laptop much!

Option 2 will involve a lot of disassembly and perhaps a fair amount of trial and error. At least if you’re in the US, replacement drives for this laptop are readily available; that’s not the case in other countries. I imagine the floppy drive uses the typical (for PCs) 34-pin interface, so you could replace it with an emulator, but I don’t know whether or how well an emulator would fit inside the case — I get the impression the T1910’s drive is a slimmed-down unit.

Option 3 is the nicest if you have lots of files to transfer, and the T1910’s drive caddy simplifies part of the job (getting the drive out). You’ll need to buy a USB adapter for old laptop drives.

  • I forget who it was, but someone here posted a tiny program designed to be valid machine code that you could type on the keyboard, as a receiver for getting something like LapLink transferred in via serial. Alternatively, I haven't tried it, but I'd be curious to see whether something like COPY COM1 INTERSVR.EXE and COPY INTERSVR.EXE COM1 would work, similar to how you can pipe a tarball through netcat.
    – ssokolow
    Commented Jul 3, 2022 at 20:51
  • ...and, to revise my own comment, I've since added a copy of LapLink Pro (A.K.A. LapLink v4.00) to my collection and it has built-in support for "remote install" via CTTY, so "something like LapLink" wasn't the ideal phrasing.
    – ssokolow
    Commented Sep 6, 2022 at 18:40

Use the following manual for disassembly: http://www.minuszerodegrees.net/manuals/Toshiba/Other/Toshiba%20T1950%20T1950CS%20T1950CT%20-%20Maintenance%20Manual.pdf You have to unscrew about 30 screws. While it is actually difficult to damage something, be careful with the floppy drive ribbon cable. Once you get to the floppy drive (it requires a full disassembly of the laptop, including the LCD panel housing) you have to remove the top cover (it is a citizen standard laptop floppy drive) and pull out the eject button by pushing the small plastic tab. After you pull out the eject button, slide the carriage back and upwards, lift the upper read/write head and take out the carriage. Below this mechanism is the belt you need to replace. I used belts purchased in bulk on ebay. The entire disassembly and assembly takes approximately an hour. The picture below is from the exact same Toshiba laptop that you have.Disassembled FDD from T1910cs

  • 1
    "I used belts purchased in bulk on ebay." - exactly which belts did you get? (I have the same drive and I need a belt for it) Commented Apr 12, 2020 at 2:05
  • 1
    You can use either this (ebay.com/itm/…) or this (ebay.com/itm/…). I have both and while the belts in the second set are thinner both are OK to use. I used one of them for my T1950CT and the other for T1910CS.
    – techgeek
    Commented Apr 14, 2020 at 2:28

There is a USB HDD adapter which has usual laptop and desktop IDE ports (2.5" and 3.5" HDD) Also SATA port and USB. You can copy stuff in each of them when connected to a modern PC. Make sure it has power supply included, if a need transfer from bigger drives as they require more power. I bought this. Just make sure voltage rating suits your country. Then it's easy to copy or transfer almost any software or operation system to any HDD drive. HDD removal is easy on Toshiba T19xx series. I also have an IDE to compact flash adapter and CF card which I intend to use in my Toshiba T1950ct. The floppy drive is the last part witch comes off. Beware the floppy cable and the floppy head also when changing the belt. If you need a new FDD drive make sure it is a 26 pin without power connector from here (2nd from bottom). Be careful as I broke my floppy drive cable in the operation, and I am in a hunt to find replacement.

  • Welcome on the RC SE! Please write "I" in capital letter and avoid "im". Anyways your post is good, so you got an upvote from me. I also converted your links, that you can already do (check the panels in the editor).
    – peterh
    Commented Aug 3, 2020 at 18:47

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