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Thread: Best Way To Format and Test 200+ 3.5" Floppy Disks

  1. #1

    Default Best Way To Format and Test 200+ 3.5" Floppy Disks

    I've recently won a joblot of random floppy disks from eBay, some have software on I want to keep, some have software and files on them that I don't want so will sell on and the remainder have no labels on that I'd like to keep for general use so I'm looking for the best way to format and test approx 250+ floppy disks.

    I've got a Dell D820 (Core2Duo) with an internal Floppy Disk Drive with Windows XP as the OS (I do have older Compaq Pentium & Pentium II laptops but I have spare FDD's for the D820 in case any of the old floppy disks cause any damage etc).

    Is the built-in Windows XP format and disk checking utility OK/reliable enough to do this or does anyone have experience of using a particular utility to format and test floppy disks?
    My personal blog: www.retrocomputing.co.uk

  2. #2
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    If you've got more than one (legacy interface) drive, boot DOS from a floppy and use FormatQM.

  3. #3

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    Quote Originally Posted by Chuck(G) View Post
    If you've got more than one (legacy interface) drive, boot DOS from a floppy and use FormatQM.
    Thanks for the prompt reply - not used FormatQM before so I've learnt something new today I can only find the shareware version of FormatQM I dont suppose you can point me in the right direction of the registered version?
    My personal blog: www.retrocomputing.co.uk

  4. #4
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    No, because it was sold almost 20 years ago and I don't know who owns the rights to it now. But the SW version should work just fine. Last version that I have is 1.62.

  5. #5

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    This brings me back to the days of the early Macintosh. We had a program that, I think, was called "Mass Init". And all it did was format floppies.

    If you recall, the Macintosh floppy drive was auto eject. So, with Mass Init, you'd stick a floppy in the drive, and it would start formatting.

    Meanwhile, you stick another floppy in the other drive, and...just wait.

    After the first floppy was finished, the second one started while the first one was sput out. So, it was a simple matter to swap out the finished disk with a new one to have it ready when the other one finished. The auto eject made the whole process quite efficient.

  6. #6
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    With FormatQM, all you do is insert and remove floppies; the program senses the drive status and does its thing. You can specify if you want "perfect" floppies or floppies with flawed clusters. We also had a program that could use multiple controllers to handle up to 3 floppies simultaneously. That was not shareware I still have the six-floppy tower that we used here--one of our customers ran a 12-floppy version. We also offered a "pop up" TSR formatter that would format stuff in the background.

    Kind of interesting when, nowadays, much of the public doesn't even know what a floppy disk is. Tempus fugit.

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