VOGONS


First post, by i486_inside

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Today I got my 6 boxes of 5 1/4 HD disks I ordered off of eBay, I had one box of Dysan 100 disks in a neat plastic case and 5 boxes of Fujifilm disks in cardboard boxes. All of the boxes were brand new and sealed , the Fuji disks seem to be from around 1990 because they have something about the 1990 World Cup on the box. I opened one of the boxes of Fuji disks up and I created a dos start up disk and played around with it for a while, then I decided I would format and copy the system files to another disk out of another box, when I tried I got an error about the disk being unsuitable for a system disk, so I tried more of the disks from that box with the same results, so I decided I would reformat all 60 disks, I found that essentially one whole box of the Fuji disks would either fail to format or would format with a lot of bad sectors with the exception of two disks that I still wouldn't trust since the rest of the box was bad, only one disk out of the other Fuji boxes formatted with any bad sectors and it only lost ~30kb due to bad sectors. Sadly 4 of the 10 Dysan disks formatted with bad sectors.

So my point is do you find that it is a good idea to reformat 5 1/4 floppies even if they are preformatted and brand new since most of these disk have been sitting in unknown conditions for 25+ years and if they have degraded formatting them will expose bad sectors?

Reply 2 of 10, by kaputnik

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Always reformatting any floppy before putting them to use, just to make sure they work. It doesn't take all that long, and it can save you from some disappointment.

Reply 3 of 10, by Errius

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Yes, format early and format often.

I think chkdsk /r also works. If there are bad sectors it will catch them.

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Reply 4 of 10, by Tetrium

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I'm with above.
Back when I was still using floppies a LOT, I ended up making it a habit of having the tendency to format a disk before use, unless it really wasn't that important if the content of the disk were to become corrupt (for instance when only running some quick tests or when the disk had been formatted already very recently). I basically had a rig next to my main rig and formatted, then rode my chair-on-wheels back to my main..clicked some more till the other rig was done, rolled back..rinse repeat 🤣

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Reply 5 of 10, by brostenen

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I format every single disk I get a hold on. New/old/unused/used does not matter. I format them all.

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Reply 6 of 10, by Matth79

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NFORMAT / FDFORMAT is the king, by using a skew format, you can get a lot more speed out of a floppy - I think there may be an option to test in one of them, but otherwise a skew of 0/1 for head and typically 3 for track will work.

With the stock format, crossing tracks will always waste a rotation, and depending on the head switch speed, it may need a skew of 1 to guarantee that it catches the transition

Reply 7 of 10, by chinny22

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I'm the opposite.
I only use floppies for very temp storage, single file copy from 1 system to another and networking isn't up, or 1 use boot disk.
It's only if I get a read error do format or run scandisk (well NDD actually)
I'll even del *.* rather then format to try get round newly found bad sectors killing disks that were ok for a file transfer pre format.

Back before Gotek and networks though yes I used to format more often to make sure the disk was ok.

Reply 8 of 10, by Joey_sw

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kaputnik wrote:

Always reformatting any floppy before putting them to use, just to make sure they work. It doesn't take all that long, and it can save you from some disappointment.

Excatly, and avoid 'quick-format' if the quality of floppies are questionable.

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Reply 9 of 10, by AlaricD

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I've had some luck with using a very strong magnet (like a hard drive magnet) to quickly bulk erase a floppy before trying to do the unconditional format. It's worked a few times after the original attempts to format a floppy have failed. However, if the surface actually has damage, it's not likely to help.

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Reply 10 of 10, by KCompRoom2000

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I can't really say much about 5.25" floppies, but most of the time I reformat 3.5" floppies whenever I plan on using them for something.

Sometimes when I image them I skip formatting if it's a preformatted disk (image as in burn an *.IMG onto one with RawWrite/WinImage) but that sometimes led to some disasters resulting in reformatting then reburning the image.

I've found that formatting inside DOS is the best way to format a floppy, for the most part it skimps on bad sector info whenever I format one on NT-based Windows systems, but when I format floppies in DOS or Windows 9x it picks up the bad sector info a lot more than NT reports whenever I format a questionable floppy, YMMV.