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I recall seeing an IBM PC compatible or similar system many years ago in a business environment that had a distinctive boot error screen. The system showed a spinning floppy disk on the screen, prompting the user (if I recall correctly) to insert a boot disk, and restarted itself every few minutes or so in this state. The graphic was relatively crude: it was monochrome and drawn in text mode. It's this spinning floppy graphic that caught my eye but sadly, I was never able to take a closer look at the system. I believe the system took 5.25" floppies, and was not recent enough to use 3.5" disks.

Any idea what this system was?

  • some old Compaq perhaps? they needed a floppy to go to BIOS setup. – Spektre Nov 27 '17 at 8:04
  • Did any IBM PC compatible ever natively use 8" floppies? I can't think of any, and it would make data exchange with other types of systems quite difficult since with the typical 5.25" bays, you couldn't even fit an 8" drive in the box if you wanted to. – a CVn Nov 27 '17 at 8:14
  • Come to think of it, I'm pretty sure they were 5.25" floppies. The floppy disk graphic on the screen was animated to make it look like it was spinning (IIRC a square moving in the center of the disk) and looked like a 5.25" disk. – bwDraco Nov 27 '17 at 8:16
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    @Raffzahn PCs have their own separate floppy controller and also support DMA so there's very little CPU involvement necessary when using floppies. They also support disk change notification which can be cheaply polled while animating an icon and waiting for the user to insert a disk. Also a lot manufactures took the Pheonix/AMI/Award BIOS and added their own customizations, just like modern motherboard manufactures. – Ross Ridge Nov 27 '17 at 21:35
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    @Tommy: United States (more specifically, New York). The system was intended for business (IIRC data entry/secretarial) uses. Chances are good it's an extended compatible, but as far as I recall, the computer in question did not have any special graphics hardware – the animation was entirely in text mode. I might be mistaken as to whether it was an IBM PC compatible or kin, but it looked like one. It did have a horizontal form factor. – bwDraco Nov 27 '17 at 22:54

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