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Formatting 720k Floppies

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  • Joe Giliberti
    I m trying to format a 720k MS-DOS boot disk for a zenith laptop I received at the party. My computer is running XP Pro SP3. I start CMD, and enter format a:
    Message 1 of 10 , Jun 4, 2009
      I'm trying to format a 720k MS-DOS boot disk for a zenith laptop I received at the party. My computer is running XP Pro SP3. I start CMD, and enter "format a: /t:80 /n:9" (I had heard /f:720 didn't work in XP, but I tried it anyway to no avail) It asks be to insert a new disk, and it ends up saying something to the effect of "Error writing track 0, disk unusable."
      I just bought these disks Office Depot. Five shouldn't all be bad.

      I then tried something a bit different. I made a standard 1.44m boot disk for DOS 5.0. I then connected an older 3.5" drive (from an old 286 box, thinking the drive in my computer may be too new.) to my computer. I booted the computer with the DOS 5.0 disk, which went fine. I then tried both the /t:80 /n:9 and the /f:720 routines, but it still could not perform the format. I also tried some older floppies, that were readable, but also could not be formatted.

      Is there anything else I should try?

      Thanks
      Joe
    • Mike Loewen
      ... According to Microsoft, you can t format 720KB disks in Windows XP: http://support.microsoft.com/default.aspx?scid=kb%3ben-us%3b302113 Can you boot up
      Message 2 of 10 , Jun 4, 2009
        On Thu, 4 Jun 2009, Joe Giliberti wrote:

        > I'm trying to format a 720k MS-DOS boot disk for a zenith laptop I received
        > at the party. My computer is running XP Pro SP3. I start CMD, and enter
        > "format a: /t:80 /n:9" (I had heard /f:720 didn't work in XP, but I tried it
        > anyway to no avail) It asks be to insert a new disk, and it ends up saying
        > something to the effect of "Error writing track 0, disk unusable."
        > I just bought these disks Office Depot. Five shouldn't all be bad.

        According to Microsoft, you can't format 720KB disks in Windows XP:

        http://support.microsoft.com/default.aspx?scid=kb%3ben-us%3b302113

        Can you boot up FreeDOS or OpenDOS from CD-ROM and format from there?


        Mike Loewen mloewen@...
        Old Technology http://sturgeon.css.psu.edu/~mloewen/Oldtech/
      • Mr Ian Primus
        ... I just bought these disks Office Depot. Five shouldn t all be bad. Are these 720k floppies, or are they high density floppies? If you re using high density
        Message 3 of 10 , Jun 4, 2009
          --- On Thu, 6/4/09, Joe Giliberti <Starbase89@...> wrote:
          I just bought these disks Office Depot. Five shouldn't all be bad.

          Are these 720k floppies, or are they high density floppies? If you're using high density floppies, you need to tape over the hole, otherwise the drive logic will always write in HD mode.

          -Ian
        • Mr Ian Primus
          ... Actually, you can. You just can t use the /F:720 option anymore, and there s no option in the Windows format for it. But you can use format a: /t:80 /n:9
          Message 4 of 10 , Jun 4, 2009
            --- On Thu, 6/4/09, Mike Loewen <mloewen@...> wrote:
            > According to Microsoft, you can't format
            > 720KB disks in Windows XP:
            >
            > http://support.microsoft.com/default.aspx?scid=kb%3ben-us%3b302113

            Actually, you can. You just can't use the /F:720 option anymore, and there's no option in the Windows format for it. But you can use 'format a: /t:80 /n:9' and it'll format a 720k disk just fine.

            -Ian
          • Bill Degnan
            ... there s no option in the Windows format for it. But you can use format a: /t:80 /n:9 and it ll format a 720k disk just fine. ... I agree, but even if
            Message 5 of 10 , Jun 4, 2009
              >
              > --- On Thu, 6/4/09, Mike Loewen <mloewen@...> wrote:
              > > According to Microsoft, you can't format
              > > 720KB disks in Windows XP:
              > >
              > > http://support.microsoft.com/default.aspx?scid=kb%3ben-us%3b302113
              >
              > Actually, you can. You just can't use the /F:720 option anymore, and
              there's no option in the Windows format for it. But you can use 'format a:
              /t:80 /n:9' and it'll format a 720k disk just fine.
              >
              > -Ian

              I agree, but even if that does not work, you should be able to format a
              disk in the other computer you have with DOS 5, using the 720K commands.
              Make sure first you can format a disk "regular".

              What I would do is

              1) boot the 5.0 disk, get to an A prompt

              2) type format b: /t:80 /n:9 /s/v

              3) whenever the system asks for the disk for drive B, insert the disk you
              wish to have formatted.

              You will end up with a DOS 5.0 boot disk. The /s adds the system files to
              the disk, making it bootable. The /v is optional (volume name). I like
              using volume names or the other OS equivalents so I can name a disk to
              match the drive I used to make the disk, the OS used, etc. for future
              reference.

              Bill
            • Kelly D. Leavitt
              I would add to Bill s procedure: If using an HD disk in an HD drive but aiming for 720k, tape over the hole in the top of the floppy. ... From:
              Message 6 of 10 , Jun 4, 2009
                I would add to Bill's procedure:
                If using an HD disk in an HD drive but aiming for 720k, tape over the hole in the top of the floppy.

                -----Original Message-----
                From: midatlanticretro@yahoogroups.com on behalf of Bill Degnan
                Sent: Thu 6/4/2009 10:00 AM
                To: midatlanticretro@yahoogroups.com
                Cc:
                Subject: Re: [midatlanticretro] Formatting 720k Floppies






                >
                > --- On Thu, 6/4/09, Mike Loewen <mloewen@... <mailto:mloewen%40cpumagic.scol.pa.us> > wrote:
                > > According to Microsoft, you can't format
                > > 720KB disks in Windows XP:
                > >
                > > http://support.microsoft.com/default.aspx?scid=kb%3ben-us%3b302113 <http://support.microsoft.com/default.aspx?scid=kb%3ben-us%3b302113>
                >
                > Actually, you can. You just can't use the /F:720 option anymore, and
                there's no option in the Windows format for it. But you can use 'format a:
                /t:80 /n:9' and it'll format a 720k disk just fine.
                >
                > -Ian

                I agree, but even if that does not work, you should be able to format a
                disk in the other computer you have with DOS 5, using the 720K commands.
                Make sure first you can format a disk "regular".

                What I would do is

                1) boot the 5.0 disk, get to an A prompt

                2) type format b: /t:80 /n:9 /s/v

                3) whenever the system asks for the disk for drive B, insert the disk you
                wish to have formatted.

                You will end up with a DOS 5.0 boot disk. The /s adds the system files to
                the disk, making it bootable. The /v is optional (volume name). I like
                using volume names or the other OS equivalents so I can name a disk to
                match the drive I used to make the disk, the OS used, etc. for future
                reference.

                Bill
              • Joe Giliberti
                What other hole? Does it go all the way through the disk?
                Message 7 of 10 , Jun 4, 2009
                  What other hole? Does it go all the way through the disk?

                  On Thu, Jun 4, 2009 at 10:43 AM, Kelly D. Leavitt <kelly@...> wrote:


                  I would add to Bill's procedure:
                  If using an HD disk in an HD drive but aiming for 720k, tape over the hole in the top of the floppy.

                  -----Original Message-----
                  From: midatlanticretro@yahoogroups.com on behalf of Bill Degnan
                  Sent: Thu 6/4/2009 10:00 AM
                  To: midatlanticretro@yahoogroups.com
                  Cc:
                  Subject: Re: [midatlanticretro] Formatting 720k Floppies







                  >
                  > --- On Thu, 6/4/09, Mike Loewen <mloewen@... <mailto:mloewen%40cpumagic.scol.pa.us> > wrote:
                  > > According to Microsoft, you can't format
                  > > 720KB disks in Windows XP:
                  > >
                  > > http://support.microsoft.com/default.aspx?scid=kb%3ben-us%3b302113 <http://support.microsoft.com/default.aspx?scid=kb%3ben-us%3b302113>
                  >
                  > Actually, you can. You just can't use the /F:720 option anymore, and
                  there's no option in the Windows format for it. But you can use 'format a:
                  /t:80 /n:9' and it'll format a 720k disk just fine.
                  >
                  > -Ian

                  I agree, but even if that does not work, you should be able to format a
                  disk in the other computer you have with DOS 5, using the 720K commands.
                  Make sure first you can format a disk "regular".

                  What I would do is

                  1) boot the 5.0 disk, get to an A prompt

                  2) type format b: /t:80 /n:9 /s/v

                  3) whenever the system asks for the disk for drive B, insert the disk you
                  wish to have formatted.

                  You will end up with a DOS 5.0 boot disk. The /s adds the system files to
                  the disk, making it bootable. The /v is optional (volume name). I like
                  using volume names or the other OS equivalents so I can name a disk to
                  match the drive I used to make the disk, the OS used, etc. for future
                  reference.

                  Bill






                • Kelly D. Leavitt
                  On HD 3.5 disks there is the write protect window with a slider. On the other corner there is a rectangular through hole. This should be covered with an
                  Message 8 of 10 , Jun 4, 2009
                    On HD 3.5" disks there is the write protect "window" with a slider. On the other corner there is a rectangular through hole. This should be covered with an opaque tape if you're going to try to use an HD disk as a DD disk.

                    -----Original Message-----
                    From: midatlanticretro@yahoogroups.com on behalf of Joe Giliberti
                    Sent: Thu 6/4/2009 11:22 AM
                    To: midatlanticretro@yahoogroups.com
                    Cc:
                    Subject: Re: [midatlanticretro] Formatting 720k Floppies





                    What other hole? Does it go all the way through the disk?


                    On Thu, Jun 4, 2009 at 10:43 AM, Kelly D. Leavitt <kelly@... <mailto:kelly@...> > wrote:




                    I would add to Bill's procedure:
                    If using an HD disk in an HD drive but aiming for 720k, tape over the hole in the top of the floppy.

                    -----Original Message-----
                    From: midatlanticretro@yahoogroups.com <mailto:midatlanticretro%40yahoogroups.com> on behalf of Bill Degnan
                    Sent: Thu 6/4/2009 10:00 AM
                    To: midatlanticretro@yahoogroups.com <mailto:midatlanticretro%40yahoogroups.com>
                    Cc:
                    Subject: Re: [midatlanticretro] Formatting 720k Floppies








                    >
                    > --- On Thu, 6/4/09, Mike Loewen <mloewen@... <mailto:mloewen%40cpumagic.scol.pa.us> <mailto:mloewen%40cpumagic.scol.pa.us <mailto:mloewen%2540cpumagic.scol.pa.us> > > wrote:
                    > > According to Microsoft, you can't format
                    > > 720KB disks in Windows XP:
                    > >

                    > > http://support.microsoft.com/default.aspx?scid=kb%3ben-us%3b302113 <http://support.microsoft.com/default.aspx?scid=kb%3ben-us%3b302113> <http://support.microsoft.com/default.aspx?scid=kb%3ben-us%3b302113 <http://support.microsoft.com/default.aspx?scid=kb%3ben-us%3b302113> >

                    >
                    > Actually, you can. You just can't use the /F:720 option anymore, and
                    there's no option in the Windows format for it. But you can use 'format a:
                    /t:80 /n:9' and it'll format a 720k disk just fine.
                    >
                    > -Ian

                    I agree, but even if that does not work, you should be able to format a
                    disk in the other computer you have with DOS 5, using the 720K commands.
                    Make sure first you can format a disk "regular".

                    What I would do is

                    1) boot the 5.0 disk, get to an A prompt

                    2) type format b: /t:80 /n:9 /s/v

                    3) whenever the system asks for the disk for drive B, insert the disk you
                    wish to have formatted.

                    You will end up with a DOS 5.0 boot disk. The /s adds the system files to
                    the disk, making it bootable. The /v is optional (volume name). I like
                    using volume names or the other OS equivalents so I can name a disk to
                    match the drive I used to make the disk, the OS used, etc. for future
                    reference.

                    Bill
                  • Joe Giliberti
                    I covered the hole in tape, covered by black sharpie. It works. I have DOS 5.0 running on the zenith Thanks joe
                    Message 9 of 10 , Jun 4, 2009
                      I covered the hole in tape, covered by black sharpie. It works. I have DOS 5.0 running on the zenith

                      Thanks
                      joe

                      On Thu, Jun 4, 2009 at 11:38 AM, Kelly D. Leavitt <kelly@...> wrote:


                      On HD 3.5" disks there is the write protect "window" with a slider. On the other corner there is a rectangular through hole. This should be covered with an opaque tape if you're going to try to use an HD disk as a DD disk.


                      -----Original Message-----
                      From: midatlanticretro@yahoogroups.com on behalf of Joe Giliberti
                      Sent: Thu 6/4/2009 11:22 AM
                      To: midatlanticretro@yahoogroups.com
                      Cc:
                      Subject: Re: [midatlanticretro] Formatting 720k Floppies





                      What other hole? Does it go all the way through the disk?


                      On Thu, Jun 4, 2009 at 10:43 AM, Kelly D. Leavitt <kelly@... <mailto:kelly@...> > wrote:




                      I would add to Bill's procedure:
                      If using an HD disk in an HD drive but aiming for 720k, tape over the hole in the top of the floppy.

                      -----Original Message-----
                      From: midatlanticretro@yahoogroups.com <mailto:midatlanticretro%40yahoogroups.com> on behalf of Bill Degnan
                      Sent: Thu 6/4/2009 10:00 AM
                      To: midatlanticretro@yahoogroups.com <mailto:midatlanticretro%40yahoogroups.com>
                      Cc:
                      Subject: Re: [midatlanticretro] Formatting 720k Floppies








                      >
                      > --- On Thu, 6/4/09, Mike Loewen <mloewen@... <mailto:mloewen%40cpumagic.scol.pa.us> <mailto:mloewen%40cpumagic.scol.pa.us <mailto:mloewen%2540cpumagic.scol.pa.us> > > wrote:
                      > > According to Microsoft, you can't format
                      > > 720KB disks in Windows XP:
                      > >

                      > > http://support.microsoft.com/default.aspx?scid=kb%3ben-us%3b302113 <http://support.microsoft.com/default.aspx?scid=kb%3ben-us%3b302113> <http://support.microsoft.com/default.aspx?scid=kb%3ben-us%3b302113 <http://support.microsoft.com/default.aspx?scid=kb%3ben-us%3b302113> >

                      >
                      > Actually, you can. You just can't use the /F:720 option anymore, and
                      there's no option in the Windows format for it. But you can use 'format a:
                      /t:80 /n:9' and it'll format a 720k disk just fine.
                      >
                      > -Ian

                      I agree, but even if that does not work, you should be able to format a
                      disk in the other computer you have with DOS 5, using the 720K commands.
                      Make sure first you can format a disk "regular".

                      What I would do is

                      1) boot the 5.0 disk, get to an A prompt

                      2) type format b: /t:80 /n:9 /s/v

                      3) whenever the system asks for the disk for drive B, insert the disk you
                      wish to have formatted.

                      You will end up with a DOS 5.0 boot disk. The /s adds the system files to
                      the disk, making it bootable. The /v is optional (volume name). I like
                      using volume names or the other OS equivalents so I can name a disk to
                      match the drive I used to make the disk, the OS used, etc. for future
                      reference.

                      Bill













                    • Joe Giliberti
                      I was just playing a Ford simulator from 1987 on the zenith. Awesome!
                      Message 10 of 10 , Jun 4, 2009
                        I was just playing a Ford simulator from 1987 on the zenith. Awesome!

                        On Thu, Jun 4, 2009 at 11:25 PM, Joe Giliberti <starbase89@...> wrote:
                        I covered the hole in tape, covered by black sharpie. It works. I have DOS 5.0 running on the zenith

                        Thanks
                        joe


                        On Thu, Jun 4, 2009 at 11:38 AM, Kelly D. Leavitt <kelly@...> wrote:


                        On HD 3.5" disks there is the write protect "window" with a slider. On the other corner there is a rectangular through hole. This should be covered with an opaque tape if you're going to try to use an HD disk as a DD disk.


                        -----Original Message-----
                        From: midatlanticretro@yahoogroups.com on behalf of Joe Giliberti
                        Sent: Thu 6/4/2009 11:22 AM
                        To: midatlanticretro@yahoogroups.com
                        Cc:
                        Subject: Re: [midatlanticretro] Formatting 720k Floppies





                        What other hole? Does it go all the way through the disk?


                        On Thu, Jun 4, 2009 at 10:43 AM, Kelly D. Leavitt <kelly@... <mailto:kelly@...> > wrote:




                        I would add to Bill's procedure:
                        If using an HD disk in an HD drive but aiming for 720k, tape over the hole in the top of the floppy.

                        -----Original Message-----
                        From: midatlanticretro@yahoogroups.com <mailto:midatlanticretro%40yahoogroups.com> on behalf of Bill Degnan
                        Sent: Thu 6/4/2009 10:00 AM
                        To: midatlanticretro@yahoogroups.com <mailto:midatlanticretro%40yahoogroups.com>
                        Cc:
                        Subject: Re: [midatlanticretro] Formatting 720k Floppies








                        >
                        > --- On Thu, 6/4/09, Mike Loewen <mloewen@... <mailto:mloewen%40cpumagic.scol.pa.us> <mailto:mloewen%40cpumagic.scol.pa.us <mailto:mloewen%2540cpumagic.scol.pa.us> > > wrote:
                        > > According to Microsoft, you can't format
                        > > 720KB disks in Windows XP:
                        > >

                        > > http://support.microsoft.com/default.aspx?scid=kb%3ben-us%3b302113 <http://support.microsoft.com/default.aspx?scid=kb%3ben-us%3b302113> <http://support.microsoft.com/default.aspx?scid=kb%3ben-us%3b302113 <http://support.microsoft.com/default.aspx?scid=kb%3ben-us%3b302113> >

                        >
                        > Actually, you can. You just can't use the /F:720 option anymore, and
                        there's no option in the Windows format for it. But you can use 'format a:
                        /t:80 /n:9' and it'll format a 720k disk just fine.
                        >
                        > -Ian

                        I agree, but even if that does not work, you should be able to format a
                        disk in the other computer you have with DOS 5, using the 720K commands.
                        Make sure first you can format a disk "regular".

                        What I would do is

                        1) boot the 5.0 disk, get to an A prompt

                        2) type format b: /t:80 /n:9 /s/v

                        3) whenever the system asks for the disk for drive B, insert the disk you
                        wish to have formatted.

                        You will end up with a DOS 5.0 boot disk. The /s adds the system files to
                        the disk, making it bootable. The /v is optional (volume name). I like
                        using volume names or the other OS equivalents so I can name a disk to
                        match the drive I used to make the disk, the OS used, etc. for future
                        reference.

                        Bill














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