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F6 disk is a colloquial name for a floppy disk containing a Microsoft Windows NT device driver for a SCSI or RAID system. F6 disks are used by other NT-based versions of Windows, including Windows 2000, Windows Server 2003, and Windows XP. On Windows Vista, F6 disks are obsolete; its setup process supports loading third-party drivers from CD-ROMs and USB drives.
An F6 disk is named after the manner in which it is used. During the installation process for Windows, the Setup program must load device drivers for the disk system on which Windows will be installed. Unless the disk system has been established on the market before the finalization of the particular Windows release, the drivers are not included on the Windows installation discs, and must be loaded by means of an F6 disk. An F6 disk is loaded in Windows setup by pressing the F6 key immediately when Windows Setup starts. The message "Press F6 if you need to install a third party SCSI or RAID driver..." is briefly flashed on the screen every time Windows Setup starts.
An F6 disk contains device drivers in its root directory. F6 disks are always floppy disks - the device drivers loaded by Windows Setup at the point of the F6 prompt are unable to read any media other than floppies, with the exception of Windows Vista, which adds USB-flash-memory support or fixed disk support for this situation. Device drivers for RAID and other disk controllers are often provided on CD-ROM, but must be copied to a floppy F6 disk if they are to be used during Windows Setup. An alternate approach to this particular problem is slipstreaming of the required SATA/SCSI/SAS/RAID/EIDE drivers into the windows installation files directory (e.g. i386 for the x86 variety) by means of software like nLite, and create an ISO image that can be burned to CD or DVD media.
- Microsoft support, KB313348