View Full Version : Floppy Imaging Software

January 21st, 2006, 08:14 AM
Anyone know any good software for making floppy disk images in Windows 3.1? I mentioned on my website what the plans were, I just need some good imaging software to do it now.


January 21st, 2006, 08:52 AM
This isn't specific to Windows 3.1, but I like it anyway.

The program is called DITU and it can be found on the web or on my specific web pages at http://www.brutman.com/PCjr/pcjr_downloads.html

It's a DOS program that makes a raw binary image of the disk. Just a sector dump, nothing else. It runs on something as simple as a PCjr. It should run fine in a DOS box on other otherating systems. (I've used it with Win98 and Win2K.)

The raw images can be mounted on a Linux box using the loopback option .. it's the equivalent of using dd on a Linux box.

I *dont* like the disk archivers that add meta-data or compress the image. Once they've done that, they've made the image non-portable.

For copy protected images I use Teledisk. It's not 100% reliable, so for the really good stuff I use a Central Point Option Board. Both need to run in plain, unadulterated DOS. I doubt there is a good solution that runs under any form of Windows that can handle copy protected diskettes.

Also check out http://www.brutman.com/PCjr/diskette_handling.html for details on my experience with archiving floppies.

January 21st, 2006, 09:06 AM
I knew I should have asked you first. :)
I would rather have the imaging station run in DOS anyway. Is there a way to make these images avaible for download so anyone who wishes to have a copy can make one with out any thing too special? Like not having to have linux.


I got the Topic reply while typing this.

January 21st, 2006, 10:48 AM
Copy the images to a web server maybe?

January 21st, 2006, 11:46 AM
Duh, I ment after people download them what would they need to make the disks. I really havent messed with disk images that much. (as you can probably tell. ) I was saying should I include some program that writes the image to the floppy. And what program should that be.

January 21st, 2006, 01:08 PM
Ditu will work on a new machine with a modern OS, so all the user needs is the correct floppy drive on the machine.

Teledisk requires DOS. The Central Point Option Board requires DOS and special hardware.

To make a long story short, if you are imaging non-protected stuff, use something like Ditu that doesn't add meta data. If your target audience is Windows users, there are Windows programs that do similar things, but they usually add meta-data to the image.

January 21st, 2006, 01:43 PM
Well, seeing how ALL of the disks are 5.25, I highly doubt there is anything Windows based except Windows it self. It's DOS based stuff. So I'll give Ditu a try.

Thanks for the help.


Micom 2000
January 22nd, 2006, 11:03 AM
I read the doc and it seems to indicate that you can copy 8" disk images which could then be transferred to ie; HD floppies. Is this so ? It says it's raw dump, does that mean you could copy a non-DOS disk ? Obviously that would require having a DOS FDD 34 to 50 adapter.

Great site. Have to unbury my PCjr one of these days.

How well does the Refresh.exe program work ?


January 22nd, 2006, 04:21 PM
Sorry - 8" diskette drives are out of my realm of expertise. I've seen them on older IBM AS/400s, but I've never used one on a PC. From what I've heard you can connect some 8" drives to standard PC floppy controllers and use them, but I've never seen it done.

DITU and the other archivers make a binary dump of the diskette into a file. They really don't care what the data is. You tell it how many tracks, heads, and sectors, and it will do the rest.

The OS and diskette drive have to be able to find and read the sectors. If you've got some oddball format that skips sector numbers or has a error in a strategic spot (as many copy protection schemes do), then it doesn't work. Raw isn't quite as raw as you would think .. it just means that the software was able to read the sectors of the disk with no special tricks. Odd sector sizes would also throw it for a loop.

For reading oddball formats on a PC take a look at 22disk. It can read lots of different formats, including ones from CPM machines.

As for the 8" floppy, if you know how it is formatted, you can try to format a 360K or 720K diskette the same way and put the data on that. Those 8 inchers didn't hold very much .. It's basically the same trick I pulled on the Jr when I replaced a 5.25" drive with a 3.5" drive. But that swap is more straighforward, as the only difference was the number of tracks.

Another thing to keep in mind is hard sectoring vs. soft sectoring. I think that PC drives are all soft sectored, so trying to image a hard sectored disk isn't going to work.

Refresh works pretty well - it's trick is just repeated reads. It will attempt to read a sector 12 times before giving up on it. Normally DOS only attempts 3 retries. When it gives up, it does not mark the sector as bad, but it will tell you about it. In that case you should try another diskette drive - slight differences in alignment can save the day ..

January 25th, 2006, 04:24 AM
I use Winimage for no copy protected disks in Windows 3.1

February 1st, 2006, 08:14 AM
why does it have to be inside Win 3.1? I believe Dave Dunfield's Imagedisk program runs on DOS. It's like the thing to use at the moment. Supports 8" disks and can archive just about anything. Just do a search for "Dave's old computers" and you'll find his site. He also has info on how to connect an 8" drive (some anyway) to a pc. Dave is the man!

February 1st, 2006, 08:44 AM
Thanks, But I mbbrutman helped me get some software already.

Thanks for the info though.


February 11th, 2006, 07:56 AM
DITU works well and I've recommended it in the past, but it has a serious flaw - it doesn't retry when it gets a disk error. This is bad because a lot of disk errors will go away if you just retry the operation once or twice.

I bumped into some old diskettes that were readable at the file level but not readable by DITU without errors. At the file level DOS will give you the option to retry a bad read, and you can usually get around bad sectors that way. At the BIOS level there is no such retry mechanism - it has to be coded into the program.

Anyway, I wrote a replacement for Ditu that does retries when it gets a sector error. This should help when you have a marginal floppy. I've tested it on a 386-40 running DOS 5, an Athlon 1100 running Windows 2000, and a PCjr running DOS 5 on diskettes both with and without errors so I think it works well, but I'd like a few more hands to test it before unleashing it on the world. If you need something like this or just want to play around, drop me a private message.

February 11th, 2006, 08:00 AM
Wow, thats Great! I haven't gotten to the floppies yet, but I'm getting closer.


February 16th, 2006, 08:40 AM
I finally got it tested and properly documented .. it can be download from http://mail.magnaspeed.net/~mbbrutman/PCjr/downloads/DskImage.zip

The parent page is http://mail.magnaspeed.net/~mbbrutman/PCjr/pcjr_downloads.html

It runs on pretty much everything .. a PCjr all the way to Windows 2000 (and probably XP too).