How to format 720 kB/DD floppy disks in Windows XP,Vista,7,8

The Yamaha SY99 is a synthesiser combining frequency modulation synthesis (branded as Advanced FM) and sample-based synthesis (branded as Advanced Wave Memory 2) and the direct successor to Yamaha's SY77/TG77

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Clyde
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Re: How To Format a 720k Disc In Windows XP

Unread post by Clyde » Sun May 12, 2013 11:35 am

I kept my old PC running Win98 specifically for doing SY77/99 disks, It is in my storage building and still runs well.
Clyde
DX7IIFD, SY77, SY99, Hammond C3, Steinway L, CP300, AW1600, etc.

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Re: How To Format a 720k Disc In Windows XP

Unread post by JK1974 » Fri May 31, 2013 2:42 pm

You might also consider using a VM on Mac like the free VirtualBox. However, getting Win98 to work is a little mess because you need to search for universal Win98 drivers (e.g. a universal VGA graphics driver for getting higher resolutions).

db7

Re: How To Format a 720k Disc In Windows XP

Unread post by db7 » Sun Jun 02, 2013 12:00 pm

But there is no need to use Windows 98, so I fail to see why it would be worth such hassle. Newer versions of Windows can read and write already-formatted 720 kB/DD disks just fine, and they can format them via a quick and easy detour to the command-line.

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Re: How To Format a 720k Disc In Windows XP

Unread post by Clyde » Sun Jun 02, 2013 6:13 pm

db7 wrote:But there is no need to use Windows 98, so I fail to see why it would be worth such hassle. Newer versions of Windows can read and write already-formatted 720 kB/DD disks just fine, and they can format them via a quick and easy detour to the command-line.
That's fine if your newer computer has a disk drive :D ! My XP and Win7 computers did not have a disk drive (yes I could have added one) nor does my Win8 computer, why go to the effort and expense if you have a perfectly usable Win98 computer/drive that functions perfectly.
Clyde
DX7IIFD, SY77, SY99, Hammond C3, Steinway L, CP300, AW1600, etc.

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Re: How To Format a 720k Disc In Windows XP

Unread post by db7 » Sun Jun 02, 2013 6:54 pm

Of course! :) My point was not against that, rather directed at the recommendation of going to the hassle of using a VM to run an OS that is not necessary to perform the function.

Now that I read the post by JK1974 again, I see it is referring specifically to Macs. In that case, assuming the drive in question (built-in or external) is capable of writing MS-DOS–format disks, which may or may not be true, surely there are native Mac-running programs that can do this without requiring a VM?

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Re: How to format 720 kB/DD floppy disks in Windows XP,Vista

Unread post by JK1974 » Mon Jun 10, 2013 4:33 pm

Back in the days when disks where some of the main distribution media, a DOS tool called "VGA-Copy/386" was very famous as it was also able to copy "critical" disks - you could even set how many times the floppy drive should re-read a faulty disc sector.
When I created images with a "normal" disk imaging tool of all my SY99 and DOS disks several months ago (after I bought a USB floppy drive), I had around 5 unreadable or only partly readable disks left. At that time, I tried to get VGA-Copy/386 to work again. However, I couldn´t get it to work in a native DOS command line environment - my GeForce 450 only showed garbage.

Two weeks ago, I gave it another try with a Windows XP running in VirtualBox, the USB floppy drive set to "pass-through". And guess what: VGA-Copy/386 worked within the virtual XP running on Windows 7 64bit, and I could create an image of nearly all discs (1 or 2 disks were definately unreadable). Then, I was able to copy the images to the host system and analyse them using hex editor (in case I did not know about the contents of the disk).

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Re: How to format 720 kB/DD floppy disks in Windows XP,Vista

Unread post by jp182 » Tue Sep 03, 2013 12:10 am

I know I'm reviving an old thread but was anyone successful with this using a USB floppy with Windows 7? I've tried using the DOS command prompt; I've tried installing Windows XP and 95 in VM Virtualbox and while those got me further into the process I still get the "parameters not supported by this drive" message.

I taped the whole and colored it black as suggested but it didn't fix the problem. Any ideas?

db7

Re: How to format 720 kB/DD floppy disks in Windows XP,Vista

Unread post by db7 » Tue Sep 03, 2013 12:17 am

Many USB drives simply do not support 720 kB/DD mode. AFAIK, no USB-based FDDs support raw access to the disks, i.e. non-MS-DOS formats, and many of them oversimplify it even further so that they’re only capable of using 1.44 MB/HD-formatted disks. People should check any such drive does before buying it. Perhaps this is not obvious in retrospect. However, basically, for any cheap and mass-produced product like that, if the listing doesn’t specifically say it’s capable of something, there’s every chance that it can’t do it.

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Re: How to format 720 kB/DD floppy disks in Windows XP,Vista

Unread post by shadowmask » Tue Sep 03, 2013 7:37 pm

Many USB drives simply do not support 720 kB/DD mode. AFAIK, no USB-based FDDs support raw access to the disks, i.e. non-MS-DOS formats, and many of them oversimplify it even further so that they’re only capable of using 1.44 MB/HD-formatted disks. People should check any such drive does before buying it. Perhaps this is not obvious in retrospect. However, basically, for any cheap and mass-produced product like that, if the listing doesn’t specifically say it’s capable of something, there’s every chance that it can’t do it.
I found this out last year. Give the DELL floppy modules a try...

http://www.yamahaforums.co.uk/forum/vie ... 099#p29099

Brian
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Re: How to format 720 kB/DD floppy disks in Windows XP,Vista

Unread post by db7 » Tue Sep 03, 2013 7:42 pm

To be fair, some normal USB FDDs support 720/DD just fine. It isn’t going to be necessary for everyone to have to cannibalise an old Dell. :P

However, as your linked post indicates, it can be hard to find the USB drives that really do support 720 kB disks. Checking reviews carefully is the way to go. There must be some listings where users have reviewed them after specifically testing for this capability.

As a more general extension to my first sentence in the above paragraph, it can be almost impossible to know for sure whether there is any veracity to any claims made by mass sellers of cheap electronic products. This applies especially if the product is one of the ones, as your linked post implied, that are cheap clones that one seller ripped off from another, who took it from another, and so on ad nauseam. Chances are they just copy the specs, too, without ever caring to test whether their claims are accurate.

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Re: How to format 720 kB/DD floppy disks in Windows XP,Vista

Unread post by EX5_etc » Wed Sep 04, 2013 7:26 pm

Two USB floppy drives that work under Win7 Professional are the Sony Vaio PCGA-UFD5 and the Imation SuperDisk Drive. I formatted a 1.44MB disk using the windows interface with both drives (right-click on the floppy icon, etc, etc). Then I formaatted a genuine 720kB disk by means of a command window and the string provided by Saul on the first post of this thread.

I did not try to cover the hole of a 1.44MB disk and check if it can be formatted as a 720kB disk. I did not check any of the two disks with my synths because none of them uses a floppy drive anymore; they have been upgraded to USB emulators.

From my work with floppy drives and the various threads we had here about adapting them for our instruments I can say for sure that Sony 1.44MB drives appear to work without issues. Sony apparently has incorporated everything they could in their bios just before they stopped production. Go with a Sony in other words.

The Sony PCGA-UFD5 is small and takes power from the USB port. It is as slow as a regular 1.44MB drive and it makes the usual sounds you would expect from a 1.44MB drive when the head moves during read, write and format cycles. The Imation is a different story. The one I own was made for Macs and as such it has the ability to automatically eject a disk. For PC use you can manually eject the disk by pushing the eject button or use the "eject" command from the windows menu to do so. But if you do the latter you both eject the disk and unmount the drive. Your call.

My favorite? The Imation. It has the ability to format 120MB floppies (we used to have 120MB floppy disks in the past) and because of that reason it is very fast. It formats a 1.44MB disk in about 1/3 the time it takes a regular drive such as the Sony. It is also power hungry and it requires an external power adapter to function.

DrF
Motif XF6, SY99, SY85, QS300, PSR1000, WX5, EX5R, A5000, TG500, TG55, RM50, QY700, QY100, QX5FD, MJC8, YDP2006, REV500, EMP700, EQ500U, MCS2, AW16G, Axiom Pro 49 and a few other things by Behringer, Evolution, Philips, Tascam, Technical Pro, Yamaha, etc, etc,... I wish I had time to use all this stuff; I am not even pro. :-)

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