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  1. #1
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    Formating Old 5-1/4 floppies

    I recently inderited a bunch of brand new 5-1/4 1.2mg floppies. I have a need for 360kb 5-1/4 floppies for a special application. Can these higher density disks be formatted for 360 kb?
    Dave

  2. #2
    Uranium Lounger
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    Re: Formating Old 5-1/4 floppies

    Wow, did you say 'brand new' 5.25 inch floppies? The ones that were actually floppy?

    Being able to format them in the 360kb format would depend on your drive, but it should - key word - should be possible. You can specify format options from within Windows or at the command line, whichever you choose.
    -Mark

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    Re: Formating Old 5-1/4 floppies

    If your drive can write at that density, then you should be able to format. However, once formatted at 360kb, you should not try to reformat them to 1.2 meg, they may become unusable.
    Legare Coleman

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    Re: Formating Old 5-1/4 floppies

    The main problem with using 1.2Mb flopies at 360Kb is that the media 1.2Mb media are different and, though they format as 360kb correctly, some 360kb drives can't read them because the magnetic fields on the disks aren't strong enough. This was especially true, I believe, if the 360kb formatting was done in a 1.2Mb drive.

    Re-formatting as 1.2Mb later on (in a 1.2Mb drive) won't cause any problems.

    The best solution if you really need to use 5.25" disks might be to fit a 1.2Mb drive to the target machine and use it as a 360kb drive there. They've got the same electrical connections as 360kb drives and will look the same to the old machine. And, that way, there'll be no problem using either 360kb or 1.2Mb media (at 360kb) in the old machine.
    Cheers,

    Paul Edstein
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    Re: Formating Old 5-1/4 floppies

    I have had problems reformatting diskettes that were formatted to 360kb back to 1.2meg because the track widths are very different. If the diskettes were written to on a 360kb drive, the wider tracks would cause problems when reformatted to 1.2meg. I don't know if the same problem would occur if the diskettes were never written to on a 360kb drive.
    Legare Coleman

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    Re: Formating Old 5-1/4 floppies

    <P ID="edit" class=small>Edited by macropod on 07-Jun-02 00:30.</P>Curious indeed. Your's was not normal behaviour.

    Formatting floppies (unconditionally, as opposed to a quick format) is supposed to erase and re-write their tracks from scratch. Even if you'd wiped a strong magnet over the disk's jacket, thereby destroying all traces of the previous tracks and sectors , you'd get the correct # tracks and sectors back for whatever format you chose.
    Cheers,

    Paul Edstein
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  7. #7
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    Re: Formating Old 5-1/4 floppies

    The problem with 360K formatted diskettes was that when 1.2M came along, not only did the track size shrink, so did the physical size of the head that reads/writes the data. So, yes you CAN format a '1.2M' floppy as a 360K, BUT if you do it in a drive intended for '1.2M' media, it writes NARROW tracks, albeit fewer of them than it would normally do. As the precise position of this narrow track within the wider space that a true 360K track would occupy varies from drive to drive, you can get what looks like a perfectly good 360K floppy in one machine that is useless in another as the head doesn't get enough overlap with the track to read the data.

    So ... by all means use these floppies, but if at all possible, format them in the machine that is going to read them or failing that you'll have to keep trying alternative PC's until you find one that gives reliable results.

  8. #8
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    Re: Formating Old 5-1/4 floppies

    I have a bunch of 8.5s if anyone is interested. <img src=/S/duck.gif border=0 alt=duck width=23 height=23>
    Granville

  9. #9
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    Re: Formating Old 5-1/4 floppies

    I thought they were 8" ... but that's a long time ago, so I could be wrong.

    I do remember someone following the "... and now insert disk 2 in the drive ... " instruction without thinking he ought to remove #1 8" floppy first!

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