Multibooter

LS-120 SuperDisk drive under Win98 and DOS

118 posts in this topic

32MB formatted floppy disks - Bad Sectors (2)

Bad sectors in the data area cause data loss. Attached is a screenshot of a 32MB formatted floppy disk with bad sectors in the data area. The bad sectors were created by adding files to a previously "burnt" 32MB floppy disk, using the setting "File At Once (FAO)", which should not be used.

I still have to test whether 32MB-formatted floppies auto-decay and develop bad sectors rapidly. 32MB floppy disks are very dense media, and I would be surprised if they don't auto-decay as fast as Blu-ray disks.

post-183045-0-14482200-1311109218_thumb.

Edited by Multibooter
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32MB formatted floppy disks - CanNOT repair bad sectors

When you click on "Move" in the NDD window (see screenshot above) , 2 windows pop up (see attached screenshot). It is not possible to repair damaged 32MB floppy disks with Norton Disk Doctor, because only SuperWriter32 can write to 32MB-formatted floppy disks.

post-183045-0-69613200-1311110072_thumb.

Edited by Multibooter
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It seems like the FD32 uses a ZBR (Zone Bit Recording) and PRML... As always happens there are contrasting info, see this... The actual "right" data should be this one...

Documentation of 32MB formatting

There is some technical info in Spwt32.hlp [6356KB], especially in the chapter "Feature", in the install-to folder of Matsus***a SuperDisk Utility v2.03.

"SuperWriter32 Manual.pdf" [320KB], also in the install-to, seems to be a much abbreviated English language version, written in a hard-to-understand English. A different installer file of the SuperDisk Utilities can be downloaded from http://web.archive.org/web/20030608221432/http://www.mke.panasonic.co.jp/data/mkehp/docs/driver/240_fd32e.exe . 240_fd32e.exe has a little earlier timestamp of 12-Nov-2001, as displayed by MiTeC EXE Explorer, in contrast to the version in the Toolbox in posting #1, which has a timestamp of 29-Nov-2001. 240_fd32e.exe contains the Japanese SuperWriter32 Manual.pdf [829KB], which can be extracted from 240_fd32e.exe\data1.cab with UniExtractor v1.6.1.

My (very free) translation of an excerpt of an Imation Japanese FAQ, readly findable by googling "FD32MB.SYS":

The Japanese SuperWriter32 Manual.pdf [829KB] has about twice as many pages as the English version [320KB]. QUESTION: Is there any useful additional information contained in the Japanese SuperWriter32 manual?

Edited by Multibooter
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The Que! SuperDisk LS-240 USB drive

Hi jaclaz,

ls240.pdf in the above link is the 2-page product description/product flyer of the Que! SuperDisk LS-240 drive.

My black Que! SuperDisk LS-240 drive is the Matsus***a model LKM-FK73-D, manufactured May 2001. "Manual.pdf" is the 17-page "instruction manual" of the LKM-FK73-D and can be extracted from 240_fd32e.exe http://web.archive.org/web/20030608221432/http://www.mke.panasonic.co.jp/data/mkehp/docs/driver/240_fd32e.exe The manual contains pictures of a black unit, without the Que! QPS insignia, and has the manual number LMQT00524, created on 26-Apr-2001.

I have also come across a similar manual, with the only differences that it contains a white model, is marked "Imation", has the manual number LMQT00539 and was created on 18-May-2001. manual.pdf can be extracted from LS240.exe obtainable from http://members.driverguide.com/driver/detail.php?driverid=497476 This LS240.exe seems to be an older version of the SuperDisk Utility, with a timestamp of 17-Oct-1998. The last version of the SuperDisk Utility, listed in the Toolbox in posting #1, seems to be preferable.

Edited by Multibooter
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Using 720KB floppy disks under WinXP

There seems to exist a belief that one cannot format 720KB floppy disks under Windows XP. Guy Hart-Davis, for example, in his book "Mastering Windows XP Home Edition" (2nd ed., Sybex, 2002) writes on p.352:

"NOTE: XP can format only 1.44MB floppies. It can't format 720KB floppies - neither from tte Format dialog box nor from the command line FORMAT command - though it can read 720KB floppies formatted using other operating systems"

On all my computers, however, under WinXP SP2 Professional, I can format, read and write to 720KB floppy disks. The above belief seems to be caused by the following:

1) The Windows XP Format program (i.e. WinXP Explorer via the dialog box) indeed cannot format a 720KB floppy disk. The Capacity field in the dialog box has only a single selection, 1.44MB, and when you try to format a 720KB floppy disk you get the err msg: "Formatting 3 1/2 Floppy (A:). Windows was unable to complete the format."

2) Curt Simmons, for example, in his book "Windows XP Secrets" (Hungry Minds, 2002) writes on p.71, in the table with the Format Command Parameters:

"/f: size specifies the size of the floppy disk. The values are: 160, 180, 320, 360, 720, 1200, 1440, 2880, 20.8MB (magneto-optical disk). The physical disk must be able to handle the size you choose here."

When I used the above syntax under WinXP SP2 and entered in the Command Prompt window "format a: /f:720" I got the msg "Invalid parameter - "/F:720

So, the Format command under WinXP can't format 720KB floppy disks? WRONG!

The syntax to format a 720KB floppy disk under WinXP SP2 is just "format a:", without a parameter. With the command "format a:" you can format a 720KB floppy disk. The format command under WinXP SP2 apparently gets its format parameters from the Media Type on track 0 (not from the absence of a 2nd punched hole characterizing 720KB floppy disks). BTW, the Windows XP Format command canNOT format bulk-erased 720KB floppy disks, where track 0 was wiped out, you get the err msg: "The type of the file system is RAW. The new file system is FAT. Verifying 1.44M. Invalid media or Track 0 bad - unusable media."

3) Many floppy drives seem to be able to handle only 1.44MB floppies, not 720KB floppies. So there may have been some confusion as to what can't be done because of Windows XP, and what can't be done because of the hardware.

External floppy drives which can read, write and format 720KB floppies are not that common. All LS-120/240 SuperDisk drives, however, are able to read, write and format 720KB and 1.44MB floppies. I have several external USB Buslink floppy drives model No. FDD1, which can read, write and format 720KB and 1.44MB floppies.

Edited by Multibooter
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Yes/no. :rolleyes:

What you are saying is mostly about re-formatting a 720 kb floppy.

And yes, XP does attempt reading the existing info on the floppy.

JFYI ;):

http://www.winimage.info/forum/viewtopic.php?f=3&t=3117

and yes, NOT "news" :whistle::

It is perfectly possible to format also a "bulk" floppy as 720 K:

FORMAT A: /T:80 /N:9

OT, but still FYI, besides FORMAT144 we also have FORMAT720:

http://www.denispetrov.com/?page_id=3

jaclaz

Edited by jaclaz
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It is perfectly possible to format also a "bulk" floppy as 720 K: FORMAT A: /T:80 /N:9
Hi jaclaz,

Thanks for the correction. In my comment in the previous posting I just wanted to point out the default format info taken from the media byte.

OT, but still FYI, besides FORMAT144 we also have FORMAT720: http://www.denispetrov.com/?page_id=3
Thanks for the link. Can FORMAT720 do any tricks which the tools below can't?

Tools to format 720KB floppies under WinXP

1) Matsus***a SuperDisk Format Utility

- works only in a SuperDisk (LS-120 or LS-240) drive

- you must NOT enter a Volume Label into the field "Volume Label" and must NOT select "View Result"

- if you enter something into the field "Volume Label": at end of a full format, you get the err msg: "Error Message. Can not create a volume name. No disk is in the drive or the disk

is protected, or the drive does not work well."

- if you enter something into the field "Volume Label": at end of quick format, you get the err msg: "Error Message. Can not create a volume name"

- if you do not enter a volume label, but select "View Result", you get the err msg: "Error Message. Can not get the disk information" 7/18/2011

- works fine with bulk-erased floppies

2) command window prompt:

- "format b:" formats an already low-level formatted 720KB floppy; the 720KB format type is read from track 0

- "format b: /t:80 /n:9" formats a bulk-erased 720KB floppy

3) WinImage v8.5 under WinXP CAN full-format a 720KB floppy, in a regular 720KB/1.44MB floppy drive, in an LS-120/240 drive and in a BUSlink USB floppy drive, IF you set:

-> Options -> Settings -> Disk tab -> de-select Verify writing

if "Verify writing" is selected, however, you get a lot of err msgs like: "Error. Disk error on track 1, head 0. Floppies do not match"

4) VGACopy after some tinkering

5) Format720 (added to this list on 22-Jul-2011)

Edited by Multibooter
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Old floppy disk formats (360KB, 160KB etc) under WinXP

a) Formatting

VGACopy, after some tinkering, CAN format, under WinXP SP2 on my old 700MHz laptop, 720KB floppy disks (or 1.44MB floppy disks with a taped left hole) to most old diskette formats on a regular 720KB/1.44MB floppy drive. Unfortunately VGACopy does not work with LS-120/240 drives, only with a regular floppy drive. I have not yet tried to get VGACopy to work under WinXP on my 2.2GHz dual-core desktop with a bfg 7800GS card.

b ) Reading and writing

Once a floppy disk is formatted to an old format (360KB, 160KB, etc) it can be read and written to Ok with other applications under WinXP, e.g. Beyond Compare. To avoid that WinXP crashes "chkdsk b:" (or a:, etc) should be entered right after inserting the odd-formatted floppy disk, to clear the drive. SuperDisk drives (LS-120/240) read and write floppies with these old formats much faster than regular floppy drives.

Working under WinXP on these old floppy formats with an LS-120/240 drive seems to be more stable than with a regular floppy drive. Some regular floppy drives sometimes refuse to read odd-formatted floppy disks, for unknown reasons; LS-120/240 drives always work fine with odd-formatted floppy disks if you run chkdsk after inserting the floppy..

Under Win98 odd-formatted floppy disks have issues in a regular floppy drive, much less so under WinXP and in an LS-120/240 drive. WinXP seems to be preferable to Win98 when reading and writing odd-formatted floppies (except for 1.2MB formatted 3.5" floppies, see posting below). Win98 is preferable for formatting odd-formatted floppies, unless VGACopy can be used.

BTW, the 360KB floppy disk format (40 tracks, 9 sectors/track) is the format of old 5.25" floppy 360KB disks. Formatting a 3.5" floppy to 360KB allows to work with a 5.25" look-alike in a 3.5" drive, under WinXP.

Edited by Multibooter
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3.5" floppy disks formatted to 1.2MB under WinXP

a) Formatting

VGACopy, after some tinkering, CAN format, under WinXP SP2 on my old 700MHz laptop, 1.44MB floppy disks to 1.2MB format on a regular 720KB/1.44MB floppy drive. The 1.2MB format (80 tracks, 15 sectors/track) is the format of old 5.25" floppy 1.2MB disks. Formatting a 3.5" floppy to 1.2MB allows to work with a 5.25" look-alike in a 3.5" drive, under WinXP.

b ) Reading and writing

Once a 3.5" floppy disk is formatted to 1.2MB it can be read and written to Ok with other applications under WinXP, e.g. Beyond Compare. To avoid that WinXP crashes "chkdsk b:" (or a:, etc) should be entered right after inserting the odd-formatted floppy disk, to clear the drive.

Unfortunately 3.5" floppy disks formatted to 1.2MB do not work in an LS-120/240 drive under WinXP, only in a regular regular floppy drive. Under WinXP Windows Explorer (except for its format facility) and Beyond Compare work fine with a 1.2MB formatted floppy disk in a regular floppy drive A: and a 360KB formatted floppy disk in an LS-120 drive B:, copying, deleting, comparing Ok from one drive to the other. Under WinXP

Edited by Multibooter
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Thanks for the link. Can FORMAT720 do any tricks which the tools below can't?

No, the idea behind the two little apps is:

just do it!

no command line parameteres, simply do what is supposed to do.

jaclaz

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OT, but still FYI, besides FORMAT144 we also have FORMAT720: http://www.denispetrov.com/?page_id=3

Hi jaclaz,

I have checked out Format720. It does not run under Win98SE, you get the err msg: "Opening floppy drive A:... Error 2: The system cannot find the file specified"

Format720 under WinXP

Under WinXP Format720 formats Ok already-formatted as well as bulk-erased 720KB floppy disks, both in a regular floppy disk drive and in an LS-120 drive.

When formatting bulk-erased 720KB floppies, a possibly misleading warning msg appears, which can be ignored:

"format720.exe - Unknown Disk Format. The disk in drive A: is not formatted properly. Please check the disk, and reformat if necessary"

After clicking on Continue, the floppy will be reformatted Ok.

Format720 can format a 720KB diskette only in drive A:, not in a drive with another letter. Format720 therefore only works with an internal ATAPI/IDE LS-120 drive or a regular floppy drive which can format 720KB. Format720 does not work on external drives (USB, parallel or PCMCIA), unless there are some special tricks to change the drive letter to A:

Searching for a program to low-level format LS-120/240 diskettes

LS-120/240 diskettes can die quickly, mainly because of a bad track 0. About half of my LS-120 diskettes have died, and the production of LS-120 diskettes was stopped many years ago. Maybe a low-level formatting program could revive 50% of my dead or bad LS-120 diskettes. In 10 years from now, probably most of the LS-120 diskettes around will have died, and recovering LS-120 diskettes with bad track 0 will be essential. 2 years ago I bought a box with 10 LS-240 diskettes for $15, now they are hard to find and cost around $6+S&H at amazon, for a single diskette. At ebay.com there is currently just 1 single LS-240 diskette offered at $15+S&H. A 400-1000% increase in 2 years

I have not yet come across a program which can low-level format bulk-erased LS-120 diskettes. I couldn't get Micro-Scope 2005 to format LS-120 diskettes. Format720, however, can low-level format regular 720KB floppy disks in an LS-120 drive. Maybe Format720 could be modified to low-level format LS-120 diskettes?

Format720 was written in Borland C++. It is a small program and the open source (GNU) can be downloaded from http://www.denispetrov.com/format144/format720src.zip .

How difficult would it be to modify the Format720 program to low-level format LS-120 (or LS-240) diskettes?

Edited by Multibooter
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@dencorso: Thanks for moving the postings from the garage sale topic to this topic. Could you position these postings, currently #1-21, before posting #69, so that the old posting #1 remains the first posting? Thanks again.

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No, soory. :(

I don't think that can be done by a smod, at least, not in a straightforward manner. But I'll think about it and see what can be done.

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How about moving the topic index page, which is currently posting #22, to the front, or putting a copy of #22 to the front?

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Maybe you could Edit both post #1 and post #22, add what you want from post #22 to the beginning of post #1 so that it does not mess up the chronological order, and either leave post #22 the same with a short explanation of the "rearrangement," with whatever is left, blank, or reserve it for a future edit... :unsure:

I would hazard a guess that the reason dencorso cannot rearrange it is because of the timestamps of the posts, but I'm not sure of that... :unsure:

Edited by LoneCrusader
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