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       superformat - format floppies


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          superformat [-D dos-drive] [-v verbosity-level] [-b begin-track]
          [-e end-track] [--superverify] [--dosverify]
          [--noverify] [--verify_later] [--zero-based]
          [-G format-gap] [-F final-gap] [-i interleave] [-c chunksize]
          [-g gap] [--absolute-skew absolute-skew] [--head-skew head-skew]
          [--track-skew track-skew] [--biggest-last] drive [media-description]

       superformat  is  used to format disks with a capacity of up to 1992K HD
       or 3984K ED.  See section Extended formats, for a detailed  description
       of  these  formats.  See  section  Media  description,  for  a detailed
       description of the syntax for  the  media  description.   If  no  media
       description  is  given,  superformat  formats  a  disk  in  the highest
       available density for that drive, using standard  parameters  (i.e.  no
       extra capacity formats).

       When  the  disk is formatted, superformat automatically invokes mformat
       in order to put an  MS-DOS  filesystem  on  it.  You  may  ignore  this
       filesystem, if you don’t need it.

       Superformat allows to format 2m formats.  Be aware, however, that these
       2m formats were specifically designed to hold an MS-DOS filesystem, and
       that  they  take  advantage of the fact that the MS-DOS filesystem uses
       redundant sectors on the first track (the  FAT,  which  is  represented
       twice). The second copy of the FAT is not represented on the disk.

       High  capacity formats are sensitive to the exact rotation speed of the
       drive and  the  resulting  difference  in  raw  capacity.   That’s  why
       superformat  performs  a  measurement  of the disks raw capacity before
       proceeding with  the  formatting.   This  measurement  is  rather  time
       consuming,  and can be avoided by storing the relative deviation of the
       drive capacity into the drive definition file file. See  section  Drive
       descriptions,  for  more  details on this file. The line to be inserted
       into  the  drive  definition  file  is  printed  by  superformat  after
       performing  its  measurement.   However, this line depends on the drive
       and the controller.  Do not copy it  to  other  computers.   Remove  it
       before  installing  another  drive  or  upgrade your floppy controller.
       Swap the drive numbers if you swap the drives in your computer.

Common Options

       Many options have a long and a short form.

       --help Print the help.

       -D drive
       --dosdrive dos-drive
              Selects DOS drive letter for mformat (for  example  a:  or  b:).
              The colon may be omitted.  The default is derived from the minor
              device number.  If the drive letter cannot be  guessed,  and  is
              not given on the command line, mformat is skipped.

       -v verbosity-level
       --verbosity verbosity-level
              Sets  the  verbosity  level.  1  prints a dot for each formatted
              track. 2 prints a changing sign for each formatted track (-  for
              formatting  the  first head, = for formatting the second head, x
              for verifying the first head, and +  for  verifying  the  second
              head).  3 prints a complete line listing head and track. 6 and 9
              print debugging information.

              Verifies the disk by first reading the  track,  than  writing  a
              pattern  of  U’s,  and then reading it again.  This is useful as
              some errors only show up after the disk has once  been  written.
              However, this is also slower.

              Verifies  the  disk  using  the  mbadblocks program.  mbadblocks
              marks the bad sectors as bad in the FAT.  The advantage of  this
              is that disks which are only partially bad can still be used for
              MS-DOS filesystems.

              Verifies the whole disk at the end  of  the  formatting  process
              instead  of  at each track. Verifying the disk at each track has
              the advantage of detecting errors early on.

              Skips the verification altogether.

Advanced Options

       Usually, superformat uses sensible default values  for  these  options,
       which  you  normally  don’t  need  to  override.  They are intended for
       expert users.  Most of them should only be needed in  cases  where  the
       hardware or superformat itself has bugs.

       -b begin-track
       --begin_track  begin-track
              Describes  the  track where to begin formatting.  This is useful
              if the previous formatting failed halfway through.  The  default
              is 0.

       -e end-track
       --end_track end-track
              Describes  where to stop formatting. end_track is the last track
              to be formatted plus one. This  is  mainly  useful  for  testing
              purposes.  By  default,  this is the same as the total number of
              tracks.  When the formatting stops, the final skew is  displayed
              (to be used as absolute skew when you’ll continue).

       -S sizecode
       --sizecode sizecode
              Set  the  sector  size to be used. The sector size is 128 * (2 ^
              sizecode).  Sector sizes below 512 bytes are not supported, thus
              sizecode  must  be at least 2. By default 512 is assumed, unless
              you ask for more sectors than would fit with 512 bytes.

       --stretch stretch
              Set the stretch factor. The stretch factor  describes  how  many
              physical  tracks  to  skip to get to the next logical track (2 ^
              stretch).  On double density 5 1/4 disks, the tracks are further
              apart from each other.

       -G fmt-gap
       --format_gap fmt-gap
              Set  the  formatting  gap.  The formatting gap tells how far the
              sectors are away from each other. By default, this is chosen  so
              as to evenly distribute the sectors along the track.

       -F final-gap
       --final_gap final-gap
              Set the formatting gap to be used after the last sector.

       -i interleave
       --interleave interleave
              Set the sector interleave factor.

       -c chunksize
       --chunksize chunksize
              Set  the  size  of  the  chunks.  The chunks are small auxiliary
              sectors  used  during  formatting.  They  are  used  to   handle
              heterogeneous  sector  sizes (i.e. not all sectors have the same
              size) and negative formatting gaps.

              For MSS formats, make sure that the biggest sector  is  last  on
              the  track.  This makes the format more reliable on drives which
              are out of spec.

              Formats the disk with sector numbers starting at 0, rather  than
              1.  Certain  CP/M  boxes  or Music synthesizers use this format.
              Those disks can currently not be read/written to by the standard
              Linux  read/write  API; you have to use fdrawcmd to access them.
              As  disk  verifying  is  done  by   this   API,   verifying   is
              automatically switched off when formatting zero-based.

Sector skewing options

       In  order  to  maximize  the  user  data transfer rate, the sectors are
       arranged in such a way that sector 1 of the new track/head comes  under
       the  head  at the very moment when the drive is ready to read from that
       track, after having read the previous track. Thus the first  sector  of
       the  second track is not necessarily near the first sector of the first
       track.  The skew value describes for each track how far sector number 1
       is  away from the index mark. This skew value changes for each head and
       track. The amount of this change depends on how fast  the  disk  spins,
       and on how much time is needed to change the head or the track.

       --absolute_skew absolute-skew

              Set  the  absolute  skew.  This skew value is used for the first
              formatted track.  It is expressed in raw bytes.

       --head_skew head-skew

              Set the head skew. This is the skew added for passing from  head
              0 to head 1.  It is expressed in raw bytes.

       --track_skew track-skew

              Set  the  track  skew. This is the skew added for seeking to the
              next track.  It is expressed in raw bytes.

       Example: (absolute skew=3, head skew=1, track skew=2)

          track 0 head 0: 4,5,6,1,2,3   (skew=3)
          track 0 head 1: 3,4,5,6,1,2   (skew=4)

          track 1 head 0: 1,2,3,4,5,6   (skew=0)
          track 1 head 1: 6,1,2,3,4,5   (skew=1)

          track 2 head 0: 4,5,6,1,2,3   (skew=3)
          track 2 head 1: 3,4,5,6,1,2   (skew=4)

       N.B. For simplicity’s sake, this example expresses skews  in  units  of
       sectors.  In  reality, superformat expects the skews to be expressed in
       raw bytes.


       In all the examples of this section, we assume that drive 0 is a 3  1/2
       and drive 1 a 5 1/4.

       The following example shows how to format a 1440K disk in drive 0:

          superformat /dev/fd0 hd

       The following example shows how to format a 1200K disk in drive 1:

          superformat /dev/fd1 hd

       The following example shows how to format a 1440K disk in drive 1:

          superformat /dev/fd1 hd sect=18

       The following example shows how to format a 720K disk in drive 0:

          superformat /dev/fd0 dd

       The  following  example shows how to format a 1743K disk in drive 0 (83
       cylinders times 21 sectors):

          superformat /dev/fd0 sect=21 cyl=83

       The following example shows how to format a 1992K disk in drive  0  (83
       cylinders times 2 heads times 12 KB per track)

          superformat /dev/fd0 tracksize=12KB cyl=83 mss

       The  following  example shows how to format a 1840K disk in drive 0. It
       will have 5 2048-byte sectors, one 1024-byte sector, and  one  512-byte
       sector per track:

          superformat /dev/fd0 tracksize=23b mss 2m ssize=2KB

       All  these  formats  can  be  autodetected  by mtools, using the floppy
       driver’s default settings.


       FDC busy, sleeping for a second
              When  another  program  accesses  a  disk  drive  on  the   same
              controller  as  the one being formatted, superformat has to wait
              until the other access is  finished.   If  this  happens,  check
              whether  any  other program accesses a drive (or whether a drive
              is mounted), kill that program (or unmount the drive),  and  the
              format should proceed normally.

       I/O errors during verification
              Your  drive  may  be  too far out of tolerance, and you may thus
              need to supply a margin parameter.  Run floppymeter (see section
              floppymeter)   to   find  out  an  appropriate  value  for  this
              parameter, and add the suggested margin parameter to the command


       Opening  up  new  window  while superformat is running produces overrun
       errors.  These  errors  are  benign,  as  the   failed   operation   is
       automatically retried until it succeeds.

See Also

       Fdutils’ texinfo doc