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Ole Juul
November 24th, 2008, 07:50 PM
I just rediscovered a great menu driven floppy formatting program called Free Form.

I've seen a number of posts with people having trouble formatting diskettes to various specifications. Sometimes the problem is that the drive (or controller/bios) doesn't support the chosen format, but other times it seems to be just a software problem that could easily be overcome with an appropriate formatter.

This program will format any diskette (3.5 or 5.25) to just about any specification from Osborne SS or MS-DOS 3.2Meg, or any odd custom formats. It gives complete control over all parameters. The name is Free Form and that just about describes what it does. Although the program runs in DOS it will of course format for other systems as well. For anyone who is interested, the archive is called ffrm321a.zip and it is available here: http://www.eunet.bg/simtel.net/msdos/diskutil-pre.html and probably many other places as well. Even if you don't have a floppy format problem, this program is fun to play with.

chuckcmagee
November 25th, 2008, 10:52 AM
Yep, cute program. As expected, didn't work at all with Windows XP and a USB floppy drive. Gives errors just like trying to do a manual format.

wdegroot
November 25th, 2008, 12:32 PM
windows, and I have more experience with 95/98 than anything newer
resits formatting a drive and returns errors
I keep a dos 6.22 floppy handy and boot from that when windows ( dos) gives me fits.

Ole Juul
November 25th, 2008, 01:18 PM
The program is for DOS. The docs say that "FreeForm relies on quirks in the MS-DOS/PC-DOS operating system and BIOS ROM's". I'm a DOS guy so I don't know about Win-95 but I've heard that it doesn't run a lot of DOS programs properly. I've seen the XP 'dos window' which is kinda cute, but again, it's really a different OS. :) The authors say that FF is tested with MS/PC-DOS 3.2x to 6.1 and DR-DOS 5.0 and later. The program works flawlessly for me under MS-DOS 6.22a.

Chuck(G)
November 25th, 2008, 04:29 PM
The difference between a 95/98 DOS "window" and the "restart in command prompt mode" (or its kin in ME) is substantial. With the former, you're still running under the Windows virtualization, sharing the system resources with Windows. With the latter, it's pretty much a plain MS-DOS 7 box without Windows getting in the way.

NT/2K/XP/Vista has nothing similar to the "Restart in Command Prompt" mode. Everything gets filtered through Windows' driver and protection structure.