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Apple II Csa2 FAQs: Diskettes, Part 7/25

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Archive-name: apple2/faq/part7
Posting-Frequency: monthly
Last-modified: 2009/12/01
URL: http://home.swbell.net/rubywand/A2FAQs1START.html

See reader questions & answers on this topic! - Help others by sharing your knowledge
The comp.sys.apple2 Usenet newsgroup Apple II FAQs originate from
the II Computing Apple II site, 1997-2010. 

Csa2 FAQs file ref: Csa2DSKETTE.txt  rev141 December 2009







Diskettes


 001- How many tracks can I use on a 5.25" diskette?
 002- Can I use high-density 3.5" and 5.25" diskettes on my A2?
 003- How can I tell DD from HD diskettes if they are not labeled?
 004- Some old 5.25" disks with splotches don't boot. What gives?
 005- How can I defragment a diskette and what is the speed gain?
 006- Why aren't my old diskettes recognized by GS/OS?
 007- Can I read Apple II diskettes on my PC?
 008- Where the heck can I buy double density 3.5" & 5.25" diskettes?
 009- Where can I find out about different floppy disk formats?
 010- How can I copy disks?
 011- How can I read Apple II 5.25" floppies on a Mac?
 012- Can I create standard 3.5" IIgs diskettes on a Mac?
 013- Can I transfer files on MS-DOS disks to my IIgs?





From: Rubywand

001- How many tracks can I use on a 5.25" diskette? So far,
     I've heard 35, 36, and 40. What's the actual number?

     The standard number of tracks on a 5.25" diskette is set by DOS 3.3 and ProDOS at 35, numbered 0-34 ($00-$22 in hexadecimal).

     The original Disk ][ drive can usually handle 36 tracks with no problem. Newer 5.25" drives can handle 40 tracks.

     Various modified versions of DOS 3.3 allow using 36 tracks and a few allow using 40 tracks. These mods, especially the 36-track versions, were fairly popular before the advent of 3.5" diskettes when an extra track made a noticable difference in capacity. However, unless the extra capacity is vital for some specific application, it is best to stick with 35 tracks in order to retain full compatibility with disk utilities (such as Copy II Plus) and other wares.

----------------------------


002- Can I use high-density 3.5" and 5.25" diskettes on my Apple II?

     I did some magnetization tests on Double Density (800kB) and High Density (1.4MB) diskette surfaces. The tested DD surface produced more than twice the deflection of the tested HD surface. Clearly, there is a big difference in signal levels required to reliably store data on HD vs. DD.

     In fact, 5.25" HD (1.2MB) diskettes will not work at all on Apple Disk ][ drives. The 3.5" HD's may work fine on your 800k drives; or, they may just seem to work fine. Either way, there's no question: a drive optimized for DD will not be optimized for HD. If you'd rather not 'roll the dice' on your software collection, stick with Double Density diskettes.

____________________________



From: Rubywand, George Rentovich, Mad ATARI user alternate, Joel

003- How can I tell the difference between unlabeled DD and HD diskettes?

     3.5" HD (1.4MB) diskettes come with a square notch in the upper left corner. DD (800kB) 3.5" diskettes do not come with this notch. In the early days of PC computing, some PC users punched or drilled notch holes in DD diskettes and used them as HD diskettes. If a 3.5" diskette has a circular notch in the upper left corner, it is likely to be a DD diskette.

     DD 5.25" (360kB) diskettes look very much like HD 5.25" (1.2MB) diskettes; however, HD diskettes seem to almost never have a hub ring, while DD diskettes usually do. The hub ring may be white paper, etc. and easy to spot or cut from the same material as the diskette and barely noticeable. This difference has been mentioned by Peter Norton (of Norton Utilities fame) in one of his books.

     The hub ring makes it easier for the Apple Disk Drive II and other older DD 5.25" drives to clamp and hold the diskette. Older DD drives also tend to damage the center when there is no hub. If the hub ring of a DD diskette has fallen off due to age, it's a good idea to transfer the contents to a new diskette.

     Otherwise, about the only observable difference is that DD diskette surfaces often exhibit a more brownish cast whereas HD diskette surfaces are generally dark grey or black.

     The surest test for 5.25" diskettes is to place the diskette into an Apple Disk II 5.25" drive and try to do a DOS 3.3 format. If it formats okay, it is almost certainly a DD diskette. (This test will not always work with the newer 40-track drives. Some of these can get through a format with an HD diskette.)

____________________________



From: Rubywand

004- Recently I found that some of my old 5.25" disks would
     not boot. A check showed splotches etched on the surface
     of the media. What's going on?

     As you may recall, a number of the classier 5.25" diskette brands employed (still employ?) a lubricant on their jacket liners. While the lube worked to reduce drag and noise, it also, evidently, served as a growth medium for a particularly nasty plastic and/or oxide-eating fungus!

     It's probably a good idea to check each of your old diskettes. Immediately backup any diskettes with splotchy discolorations.

----------------------------


005- How can I defragment a diskette and what is the speed gain?

     You can defragment a diskette by doing a File Copy of all files to a blank formatted* diskette or RAM disk which is the same size as the original. The Files on the copy diskette or RAM disk will be almost completely unfragmented. 

*Note: If the diskette is supposed to be bootable, the target disk should be INITialized for the DOS (e.g. DOS 3.3 or ProDOS) used on the original before doing the copying. For DOS 3.3, you INIT a disk. For ProDOS, you can do an "Initialize" from the IIgs Finder or a "FORMAT" using Apple's ProDOS FILER utility or a ProDOS version of Copy II+.

     A whole-disk copy back to the original completes the process. Tests show that this method produces much speedier diskettes than using a utility intended for optimizing hard disks.

     For a nearly full 'workhorse' diskette which has seen may deletions and additions, you can expect the File Copy defragmentation method to yield a 30% to 40% improvement in access speed.

----------------------------


006- Why aren't my MECC and many other old diskettes recognized
     by GS/OS and mounted on the Finder display?

     The problem you mention is fairly common. GS/OS via its FSTs has pretty strict definitions for what qualifies as a valid DOS or ProDOS diskette. For example, perfectly good 36-track DOS 3.3 diskettes will not be mounted by the Finder just because the number of tracks is 36 instead of the expected 35.

     Naturally, copy-protected diskettes have practically no chance of being recognized. Almost certainly, this is the reason the Finder will not mount your MECC disks.

     You can, still, run software from most copy-protected diskettes by just booting them.

____________________________



From: Vincent Joguin, Charlie, Rubywand

007- Can I read Apple II diskettes on my PC?

     Yes. There is a way for some PCs to read Apple II DOS 3.3 and ProDOS 5.25" floppies which are not copy-protected.

     By "some PCs" I mean that the PC must have two floppy drives (only one has to be a 5.25" drive) and it must be running MS-DOS or Windows 95, 98, or ME. (It won't work with NT, 2000, and XP).

     You also need a program called "DISK2FDI". (For a link to the program, see Csa21MAIN4.txt.)

     DISK2FDI reads the Apple floppy and creates a disk image (.do) on the PC. These images will work on most emulators.

     You may find that DISK2FDI has difficulty reading some sectors which read fine on your real Apple II. If that happens, try making a fresh copy of the diskette using Disk Muncher or some other fast whole-disk copier.

     For a collection of postings on using Disk2FDI see ...

http://apple2.org.za/gswv/a2zine/Docs/Disk2FDI_InfoPostings.txt .

----------------------------


From: Chris Norley

     A while back I requested some information regarding the reading of Apple II floppies by an PC:


ORIGINAL POST:
--------------------

     We have some old data from a small NMR spectrometer that was run from an Apple IIe. The same spectrometer is now run from a DOS machine and we'd like to be able to access the old data from the PC.

     Does anyone know of or possess some utility to allow the data from the 5 1/4" Apple II floppies to be read from the PC? Any hints as to program names, ftp sites, etc. would be greatly appreciated.


SUMMARY OF RESPONSES:
--------------------

>From uli@izfm.uni-stuttgart.de
>From news ...

Les Ferch

There is a card called the MatchPoint PC card that will let you read and write Apple II DOS, ProDOS, and CP/M disks on a PC 5.25" 360K drive. We used to have one installed in an XT here and it worked fine.

The other common way of moving the data is to connect an Apple II to a PC using a NULL modem cable and using comm programs such as Kermit to transfer the data.

-------------------

Michael Hoffberg

About a year ago, I picked up card for my ibm made by TrackStar.  It is basically an apple II that sits inside your IBM.  When you enable it, it can boot off an apple drive, it uses the ibm keyboard and monitor.

In any case, I think that it is possible to transfer files between the IBM and Apple II with the card. 

------------------

Fred R. Opperdoes

Any Apple II (E or GS) owner having an Applied Engineering PC Transporter card is able to do the job easily. It is maybe not easy to find such a person in your neighborhood. 

Another possibility would be that you ask someone with an Apple IIGS to have your 5 1/4" Dos 3.3 or Prodos disk transcribed to a 3.5" Prodos disk. Every IIGS owner would be able to do so. Files on such disks can then easily be converted to MsDOS files on an MsDOS disk on a Macintosh using the Apple File Exchange Utility that comes with every modern Mac.

------------------

Leonard Erickson

You can use a COPYIIPC deluxe option board or some such. Central Point Software used to sell them.

----------------------------


From: Peter Maloney

You could use an Apple Turnover, a PC/XT card that allows older IBM floppy drives to read/write Apple 5.25" diskettes. It was made by Vertex Systems Inc..

____________________________



From: Rubywand, Brian Hammack, Jay, Joan Sander, Simon Williams,
      Matthew S. Carpenter

008- Where the heck can I buy the double density (DD) 5.25" and
     3.5" diskettes required for my Apple II drives?

     Here are places to try ...

GarberStreet Electronics ( http://www.garberstreet.com/ ) sells 5.25" and 3.5" DD diskettes ($3 per box of ten.)

GSE-Reactive ( http://www.gse-reactive.com/ ) sells boxes of 10 5.25" DD floppies for $5.

Albert Franklin (email: jfrankl1@mindspring.com) sells 5.25" DS/DD diskettes. 

XDR2.com ( http://www.xdr2.com/ click on "Disks") sells 5.25" and 3.5" DD diskettes in bulk (e.g. 50 3.5" for $13).

Meritline.com ( http://store.yahoo.com/meritline/floppydisk.html ) sells 3.5" DD diskettes in bulk (e.g. 100 for $14).

Peripheral Manufacturing, Inc (800-468-6888; email: periphman@periphman.com ) sells 5.25" DD diskettes in 10 packs ($2.95) and 50 packs (with sleeves, $15.00)..

Commodore 64 & 128 Products ( http://www.oldsoftware.com/Commodore.html  search the page for disks for sale)  sells 5.25" & 3.5" DD diskettes.

Floppydisk.com ( http://www.floppydisks.com/ ) sells 5.25" and 3.5" DS/DD diskettes.

Check the non-Apple sections on eBay. Sometimes you'll see boxes of a thousand disks going for the cost of shipping -- if they're listed outside of Vintage Apple they seem to go a lot cheaper.

Thrift shops: you may find packs of used 5.25" DD diskettes at bargain prices.

____________________________



From: David Wilson

009- Where can I find out about different floppy disk formats?

     Here is a table of floppy disk formats I have built up over the years:



disk  speed  rate   encode   trk     sector  trk/hd  size    disk
size"  rpm   kb/s   scheme   kb      cnt*sz  count   kBytes  type
---------------------------------------------------------------------
8     360    500     FM      41.67   26*128  77/1    260     SSSD (8)
8     360    500     FM      41.67   26*128  77/2    520     DSSD (8)
8     360    500     MFM     83.33   26*256  77/1    520     SSDD (9)
8     360    500     MFM     83.33   26*256  77/2    1040    DSDD (9)

5.25  300    250     FM      25.00   8*256   40/1    80      SSSD
5.25  300    250     FM      25.00   8*256   40/2    160     DSSD
5.25  300    245     GCR     49.00   16*256  35/1    140     SSDD (1)
5.25  300    250     MFM     50.00   8*512   40/1    160     SSDD (3)
5.25  300    250     MFM     50.00   9*512   40/1    180     SSDD (3)
5.25  300    250     MFM     50.00   8*512   40/2    320     DSDD (3)
5.25  300    250     MFM     50.00   9*512   40/2    360     DSDD (3)
5.25  300    250     MFM     50.00   9*512   80/2    720     DSDD
5.25  360    300     MFM     50.00   9*512   40/2    360     DSDD (4)
5.25  360    300     MFM     50.00   9*512   80/2    720     DSDD
5.25  360    500     MFM     83.33   15*512  80/2    1200    DSHD (4)

3.5   300    250     MFM     50.00   9*512   80/2    720     DSDD (5)
3.5   300    250     MFM     50.00   5*1024  80/2    800     DSDD (2)
3.5   var    var     GCR     var     var*512 80/2    800     DSDD (7)
3.5   300    500     MFM     100.00  18*512  80/2    1440    DSHD (6)
3.5   var    var     GCR     var     var*512 80/2    1600    DSHD (A)
3.5   300    1000    MFM     200.00  36*512  80/2    2880    DSED


(1)  Apple ][
(2)  Applix
(3)  IBM PC
(4)  IBM PC/AT
(5)  IBM PS/2 25,30
(6)  IBM PS/2 > 30
(7)  Macintosh & Apple //
(8)  IBM 3740
(9)  IBM System 34
(A)  AE 1.6MB drive on Apple //

____________________________



From: Rubywand

010- How can I copy disks?

     Neither ProDOS nor DOS 3.3 includes a built-in Disk Copy command. So, to copy diskettes you will need to use some kind of copy utility. The ProDOS standard Utilities Disk includes a Disk Copy option. The DOS 3.3 System Master disk includes a Disk Copy program named "COPYA".

     A very good Disk Copy utility for 5.25" (DOS 3.3, ProDOS, ...) diskettes is Disk Muncher. It is fast; and, the current version will automatically try to copy 36 tracks (used on some diskettes) and it includes verification checks. A good fast-copy utility for 3.5" diskettes is Diversi-Copy. The newer version of the ProDOS Utilities may be adequate for copying many 3.5" diskettes, too. The popular diskette utilities Copy II Plus and Locksmith include plain Disk Copy options, too.

     Most of the above will work with standard disk images on emulators. However, Copy II Plus's regular DISK COPY will not work on emus (whereas, Locksmith's Fast Copy seems to work fine).

     If you are on a PC running Windows, an easy way to copy a .dsk, .nib, etc. disk image file is to do a Right-click drag-and-drop of the file in the same folder.

     On a IIgs, the easiest way to copy ProDOS diskettes is on the usual Finder desktop. You drag the icon of the disk you want to copy to the icon of a same-size target disk.

     The above options are fine for copying diskettes which are not copy protected. COPYA and some other copiers which use the current DOS's RWTS routines can get around some forms of protection via POKEs to DOS which turn off checking of Address header bytes, checksums, etc.. Otherwise, a bit copier, such as the ones included in Copy II Plus, Locksmith, and Essential Data Duplicator, may get the job done. Using it's built-in parms library, Copy II Plus can reliably make copies of many copy protected disks
.

     If a lot of the software you need to copy is from MECC, a good try is to get an MECC copy program by John Kielkopf named "meccopy". It makes deprotected copies of many MECC diskettes.

     You can find Disk Muncher, Copy II Plus, and other utilities mentioned above on several archives as separate files, on disks in ShrinkIt whole-disk (.sdk) form, and on emulator disk images (.dsk files).  To download see links in Csa21MAIN4 Q&A 001.

____________________________



From: Streaming Wizard, Phil Beesley

011- How can I read Apple II 5.25" floppies on a Mac?

     Reading Apple II 5.25" floppies on a Mac requires the addition of special hardware. One company, Kennect, did make two drives that would handle this trick: the Drive 360 and the Drive 1200. They were primarily meant for reading 5.25" PC disks but were also advertised as having the ability to read Apple II DOS 3.3 and ProDOS floppies. Both required a device called the "Rapport", which plugged into the Mac's external floppy port and also gave the internal 3.5" drive the ability to read 720K PC disks.

     If your Mac is an LC or some later model with the LC Processor Direct Slot (PDS) and it supports 24-bit memory addressing, you may be able to plug in a IIe LC Card (or "IIe Emulation Card"). This, basically, installs an Apple //e in your Mac to which an Apple II 5.25" Platinum drive can be connected. For more information, see Main Hall Q&A #14.

____________________________



From: Supertimer

012- Can I create standard 3.5" IIgs diskettes on a Mac?

     You are most likely to succeed with an older Mac. However, even older Macs that have built in compatible 800k (DD) drives will often produce a IIGS diskette that is not quite right-- such as a diskette that should boot gives the "Unable to Load ProDOS" error message.

     If you have an older Mac that should write standard IIgs disks properly and it does not, clean your Mac drive and keep trying. For instance, you may need to extract a diskcopy archive a few times for the disk to write properly.

     Newer Macs are, generally, less likely to succeed. Some Macs, such as iMacs with a floppy drive option, cannot format IIgs-compatible 800k diskettes.

----------------------------


From: Simon Williams

     There was a thread discussing the impossibility of creating bootable ProDOS disks from a Mac with a 'force-feed' floppy drive. Seems it ain't necessarily so.

     Using Bernie ][ the Rescue on a G3 iMac with a cheap USB floppy, I first create a Diskcopy 4.2 800KB image, which I copy to a 1.44 MB diskette with the finder.

Then I transfer the disk image to a PowerPC 6100/66 which has the non-auto-inject disk drive (running System 7.5)... copy the image to the HD. Format an 800KB ProDOS disk with the finder and then use DiskDup+ to copy the image to the floppy...

     So far it's worked perfectly. I've made both GS/OS 5 & 6 and ProDOS startup disks this way... :)  The one oddity is that GS-formatted disks take a long time to write, whereas the ones formatted under MacOS seem to write much quicker... 

     DiskDup+ is the key. I wondered myself why I hadn't tried Diskcopy... so I tried it -- without success.

____________________________ 
  
  

From: Rubywand 

013- Can I transfer files on MS-DOS disks to my IIgs? 

     You can use Peter Watson's MUG! program on your IIgs to transfer files via MS-DOS Iomega Zip disks. MUG! will let you read Zip disks on a IIgs equipped with a Zip drive and a SCSI interface. 

     MUG is an NDA; so, it can be installed like other NDA's-- e.g. having the main MUG! file (probably MUG.1.01) in the System/Desk.Accs/ folder when booting. 

     For easy use, start with a regular ProDOS Zip disk in your IIgs Zip Drive. Start a standard IIgs desktop program that does not test inserted disks. A good choice is PMPUnzip. Swap in the MS-DOS Zip disk. Start MUG! from the Apple menu on the top menu bar.
when booting. 

     For easy use, start with a regular ProDOS Zip disk in your IIgs Zip Drive. Start a standard IIgs desktop program that does not test inserted disks. A good choice is PMPUnzip. Swap in the MS-DOS Zip disk. Start MUG! from the Apple menu on the top menu bar.

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