superformat(1)              General Commands Manual             superformat(1)

       superformat - format floppies

       This  manpage  has  been automatically generated from fdutils's texinfo
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       items, such as cross-references, footnotes and indices are lost in this
       translation process.  Indeed, these items have no appropriate represen-
       tation  in  the  manpage  format.  Moreover, only the items specific to
       each command have been translated, and the  general  information  about
       fdutils  has  been dropped in the manpage version.  Thus I strongly ad-
       vise you to use the original texinfo doc.

       *      To generate a printable copy from the texinfo doc, run the  fol-
              lowing commands:

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       *      To generate a HTML copy,  run:

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              A       pre-made       HTML      can      be      found      at:

       *      To generate an info copy (browsable  using  emacs'  info  mode),

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       The  texinfo doc looks most pretty when printed or as HTML.  Indeed, in
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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 de-
       scription of the syntax for the media description.   If  no  media  de-
       scription is given, superformat formats a disk in the highest available
       density for that drive, using standard parameters (i.e. no extra capac-
       ity 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  one to format 2m formats.  Be aware, however, that
       these 2m formats were specifically designed to hold an MS-DOS  filesys-
       tem,  and that they take advantage of the fact that the MS-DOS filesys-
       tem uses redundant sectors on the first track (the FAT, which is repre-
       sented  twice).  The  second  copy of the FAT is not represented on the

       High capacity formats are sensitive to the exact rotation speed of  the
       drive  and the resulting difference in raw capacity.  That's why super-
       format performs a measurement of the disks raw capacity before proceed-
       ing  with  the  formatting.  This measurement is rather time consuming,
       and can be avoided by storing the relative deviation of the  drive  ca-
       pacity  into the drive definition file file. See section Drive descrip-
       tions, 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  con-
       troller.   Do  not  copy  it  to other computers.  Remove it before in-
       stalling 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 in-
              stead of at each track. Verifying the disk at each track has the
              advantage of detecting errors early on.

              Skips the verification altogether.

              Does  not  format,  but  prints  the  drive  deviation.  If file
              /etc/driveprm exists and provides a  deviation  for  the  drive,
              nothing is printed and the disk is not formatted.

Advanced Options
       Usually,  superformat  uses  sensible default values for these options,
       which you normally don't need to override.  They are intended  for  ex-
       pert  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 pur-
              poses. 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  sec-
              tors  used  during formatting. They are used to handle heteroge-
              neous 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 automati-
              cally switched off when formatting zero-based.

Sector skewing options
       In order to maximize the user data transfer rate, the sectors  are  ar-
       ranged  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.

Media description
       Please see the Media description section in the full fdutils documenta-
       - Texinfo documentation (info fdutils)
       - HTML documentation in /usr/share/doc/fdutils/Fdutils.html
       - or DVI documentation in /usr/share/doc/fdutils/Fdutils.dvi.gz

       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  con-
              troller  as the one being formatted, superformat has to wait un-
              til 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 parame-
              ter, and add the suggested margin parameter to the command line

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

See Also
       Fdutils' texinfo doc

fdutils-5.5                         03Mar05                     superformat(1)
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