Broken floppy disks

Chuck Guzis cclist at
Sun Aug 19 23:53:54 CDT 2007

On 19 Aug 2007 at 20:45, Marvin Johnston wrote:

> I think you meant the /u switch. The /f switch normally requires some other
> parameters telling how to format the disk.

There is the /u (unconditional) switch but  IIRC, specifying /f used 
to result in an implied /u.  e.g. /f:1440 was the same as /f:1440 /u. 
But maybe not in all versions.  There were also a few undocumented 
switches in the older versions of FORMAT, such as the one for "don't 
ask for a console go-ahead, just format the darned floppy." (Used by 
the BACKUP utility)--was it /h?

When you're under 2K or XP or other versions of NT, the driver first 
tries to determine the type of the disk you're trying to format by 
reading the first sector. If the disk contains some alien format, the 
driver can grind for a very long time before it figures that it 
doesn't recognize the format of the original.  It is possible to 
write a formatter that operates under these OS-es that doesn't do the 
initial check.

If you're running MS-DOS, though, there are plenty of other choices.  
I still ocaasionally use CONFMT to format diskettes in the background 
while I'm doing other things (if you want a copy, drop me a private 
email and I'll see that you get one).  Microsolutions offered a 
similar product with the CompatiCard also.  For formatting a batch of 
diskettes when you have more than one drive and are running DOS, you 
can't beat FORMATQM.

(Just my humble opinion :) )


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