floppy disks dont read in windows, but do read in linux?

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  1. Posts : 1,163
    win10 PRO on 5 PC's and Linux mint
       #1

    floppy disks dont read in windows, but do read in linux?


    I was looking at some old disks, cleaning up and figuring out things and found out the windows simply has severe issues with my floppies, most all were made on windows 95,98,ME. some are boot disks. Window looks at for a while, then says disc needs formatting. And if you try to format it, explorer immediately crashes.
    I tried a couple different drives on couple different modern windows PC's and all act very much the same way.

    then I popped them into a Linux machine, and they all read fine. (after your done with a floppy you have to right click and unmount to read another diskette. I also swapped drives and the problem is in the windows OS, not the old hardware.

    So what's going on with this old stuff and windows today?
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  2. MisterEd's Avatar
    Posts : 590
    Windows 10 Pro 64-bit v20H2
       #2

    The floppy disks may be formated using Distribution Media Format (DMF).

    Distribution Media Format (DMF) is a format for floppy disks that Microsoft used to distribute software. It allowed the disk to contain 1680 kB of data on a 3-inch disk, instead of the standard 1440 kB.
    Distribution Media Format
    Distribution Media Format - Wikipedia

    You could try using WinImage to read the floppy disks.

    What is WinImage
    What is WinImage
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  3. jimbo45's Avatar
    Posts : 10,592
    Windows / Linux : Arch Linux
       #3

    sdowney717 said:
    I was looking at some old disks, cleaning up and figuring out things and found out the windows simply has severe issues with my floppies, most all were made on windows 95,98,ME. some are boot disks. Window looks at for a while, then says disc needs formatting. And if you try to format it, explorer immediately crashes.
    I tried a couple different drives on couple different modern windows PC's and all act very much the same way.

    then I popped them into a Linux machine, and they all read fine. (after your done with a floppy you have to right click and unmount to read another diskette. I also swapped drives and the problem is in the windows OS, not the old hardware.

    So what's going on with this old stuff and windows today?
    Hi there

    What are you using (hardware wise) to read the Floppy Discs -- if it's a USB device ensure the USB driver is compatable with USB 1.0 if on Windows.

    On a VM same thing ensure USB driver recognizes the hardware correctly.

    You can't compare Linux and Windows kernels -- Linux will support a whole slew of this type of hardware without any problem whatsoever.

    Booting from a Floppy though -- even from a USB device will need the machine to be able to boot from MBR (BIOS) -- no way will a floppy even think of booting to UEFI.

    A Linux OS often has "Hybrid boot" that can boot either from UEFI or MBR even if the "Booted OS" is MBR and your machine normally boots as a UEFI boot.

    Some older machines will need CSM module enabled for this (it's in the BIOS setup -- only exists on quite old hardware BTW).

    If you really have a PC that has actual floppy disc slots (rather than a USB ->floppy adapter) then I suggest you offer it to the Smithsonian -- you'll get a wad of EUR, USD, GBP, RBL ( Roubles) etc or whatever for the hardware -- and it will probably be added to "Computer Hall of Fame".

    Cheers
    jimbo
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  4. Posts : 1,163
    win10 PRO on 5 PC's and Linux mint
    Thread Starter
       #4

    it is an old diskette drive with ribbon cable, like old hardware from maybe 25 years ago, or older.

    I did look into switches and jumpers.
    Like a JU-257A053H, what are sw1 sw2 sw3 supposed to be on.
    Panasonic JU-257A - 1.44 MB Floppy Disk Drive Service Manual (Page 4 of 27) | ManualsLib

    for me sw3 is on 1, with a range of 0-3 (drive selection numbers I think, back then floppies could be 4 drives in a system)
    sw2 is on MO
    sw1 is on RY

    are those the default settings?

    You can tell I am killing time here.
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  5. MisterEd's Avatar
    Posts : 590
    Windows 10 Pro 64-bit v20H2
       #5

    Is there any reason you have to read them with Windows? Since Linux can read the floppies why can't you just copy the files to your computer. When I dual-booted Windows with Linux I had a small partition that I shared files between them.

    I used an old computer with a floppy drive and converted all the DOS 6.22 and Windows 3.11 floppy disks to image files with WinImage. On the Windows 7 computer I could read the floppy disk images.
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  6. Posts : 1,163
    win10 PRO on 5 PC's and Linux mint
    Thread Starter
       #6

    MisterEd said:
    Is there any reason you have to read them with Windows? Since Linux can read the floppies why can't you just copy the files to your computer. When I dual-booted Windows with Linux I had a small partition that I shared files between them.

    I used an old computer with a floppy drive and converted all the DOS 6.22 and Windows 3.11 floppy disks to image files with WinImage. On the Windows 7 computer I could read the floppy disk images.
    Just me wondering why and seeing if I can figure stuff out is all.
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  7. MisterEd's Avatar
    Posts : 590
    Windows 10 Pro 64-bit v20H2
       #7

    sdowney717 said:
    Just me wondering why and seeing if I can figure stuff out is all.
    I bought my first floppy drives for a computer almost 40 years ago. I never had to set any jumpers. The cables generally had 3 connectors. One connector plugged into the motherboard with the other two were for drives A and B. A was on the the other end connector while B was on the middle connector. You could tell which was the drive A/B end because there was a twist in the wires between the A & B connectors. The twist in the wires was to force cable-select for the connectors. They could have done it another way but this was the most common way I saw.

    You also had to make sure you plugged the cables in correctly by noting the red strip which indicated pin #1.

    My first computer actually had 4 floppy drives. Two were 5-1/4 inch drives while the other two were 8 inch drives. There were two floppy cables with two drives on each one.
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  8. Posts : 1,163
    win10 PRO on 5 PC's and Linux mint
    Thread Starter
       #8

    MisterEd said:
    I bought my first floppy drives for a computer almost 40 years ago. I never had to set any jumpers. The cables generally had 3 connectors. One connector plugged into the motherboard with the other two were for drives A and B. A was on the the other end connector while B was on the middle connector. You could tell which was the drive A/B end because there was a twist in the wires between the A & B connectors. The twist in the wires was to force cable-select for the connectors. They could have done it another way but this was the most common way I saw.

    You also had to make sure you plugged the cables in correctly by noting the red strip which indicated pin #1.

    My first computer actually had 4 floppy drives. Two were 5-1/4 inch drives while the other two were 8 inch drives. There were two floppy cables with two drives on each one.
    I did my first programming classes at university with punch cards in the late 70's but by then that tech was getting old. Moved on to fortran. I still have couple old XT and AT IBM machines. And an old original portable IBM PC with little green CRT. Has MFM hard drive in it. It is a real antique, maybe worth something? Its about the size of a medium suitcase.
    I tended to save a lot of old PC stuff, RLL drives, controllers, etc..
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  9. MisterEd's Avatar
    Posts : 590
    Windows 10 Pro 64-bit v20H2
       #9

    sdowney717 said:
    I did my first programming classes at university with punch cards in the late 70's but by then that tech was getting old. Moved on to fortran. I still have couple old XT and AT IBM machines. And an old original portable IBM PC with little green CRT. Has MFM hard drive in it. It is a real antique, maybe worth something? Its about the size of a medium suitcase.
    I tended to save a lot of old PC stuff, RLL drives, controllers, etc..
    I had the four floppy drives on a TS-80 Model I that I bought in 1979. I think I paid $2000 for these drives. The TS-80 Model I had 48KB RAM which was not enough for its disk operating system. That meant the first floppy disk was dedicated to holding the disk operating system.
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  10. Berton's Avatar
    Posts : 10,790
    Win10 Pro Versions 2004 and 2009/20H2, Win10 Pro IP_Dev, Win10 Home 1909
       #10

    I have 2 Desktops with floppy drives still usable running Win10, one Home and one Pro, plus 2 USB floppy drives and a 250MB Zip drive. An issue back a few versions of Windows existed where a 3.5" disk was reported as unformatted, was best to write-protect them so Windows couldn't write anything to them or the data would be lost. I also have the WinImage program. An issue with the internal floppy drive is the motherboard needs the 34-pin port [1 may be blank for indexing] and the BIOS has to support Drive A and maybe Drive B, newer boards don't.
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