On a recent new laptop setup that had no Floppy drive.
I kept getting a Phantom Floppy Drive in the Device Manager.
It would load the fdc floppy drive controller service and the floppy device driver and fail to start, producing the familiar Error 10 "fail to start" and a Yellow cone Warning sign opened in the Device Manager tree.
This was annoying, while from Vista forward you could use a Group Policy Object security policy to "Block" loading device drivers for specific Hardware IDs. You can't do that on Windows XP. And if your using Home Editions you often don't have Group Policy Objects or a GP Editor.
I found you could "Fix" this by first uninstalling the Phantom drive from Device Manager then going to C:\Windows\Inf and temporarily removing the fdc and floppy (.inf) files from that directory (both the .inf and precompiled .pnf versions) (say move them to the Desktop) then perform a Manual Scan for Hardware Changes in Device Manager.
It will fail to find the fdc and floppy device drivers, and setup failed "stubs" in the Device Tree.
Manually selecting and installed the "Modem/Unknown Modem" device driver for the Phantom will not set up a "service" and will collapse the Device Manager tree as "satisfied" Permanently... with no Yellow Cone Warnings.
It is a "trade" from a Phantom Floppy Drive to a Phantom Unknown Modem device, but much less alarming.. and typically the Unknown Modem is used as a proxy for the example of a "Null Device Driver" that doesn't install or register any start up service for a device in literature.. so its kind of a "lazy mans" way of writing a Null device driver for a Hardware ID that is either wrong or fake.. that you would rather did not produce a false positive error in the logs or on the Device Manager dashboard.
After doing this replacing the fdc and floppy .inf /.pnf files into C:\Windows\inf does not return to trying to dislodge the manual assertion between the device and the Unknown Modem "device driver". Future reboots and manual hardware scans continue to report the device is installed and associated with the Unknown Modem "device driver" and do nothing annoying. This is good in case you do install a really floppy device via USB or some other port means.