At the risk of being way to geeky here, I would like to ask the computer world if they could find some way for me to have a RAID disk drive array on my custom built PC's without having to also buy and install a floppy disk drive that I only use once. For those who don't know, a RAID is an array of multiple, usually identical, hard drives that can be combined together for redundancy. For example, two 250GB hard drives can be combined in a RAID such that they appear to be one 250GB drive to the system, but all data is mirrored on both drives, so if one fails, you still have everything, even without making backups. I usually build RAIDs into my computers, either for redundancy or, if that is not needed, at least to combine multiple drives into one drive letter. You can even build a raid where all files are split between the two drives, which is a reliability problem but makes for wicked fast drive access (kind of like splitting calculations between two CPUs)
Unfortunately, on most motherboards, the only way to install the RAID drivers if I want to install Windows onto the RAID is to load them with an old 3-1/2 inch floppy. Which means I usually install a floppy drive on every build -- OK, its only $20 or so, but it still seems like a waste. On my own computers, I just have one redundant floppy I pass around, but when I build for others, I don't want to leave them hanging if they have to reinstall the OS.
I would think that this should be doable via a USB key, but I have never tried it. Anyone out there know a better way?
</geekiness> OK, I will now return to economics and business.