superformat(1)              General Commands Manual             superformat(1)

       superformat - format floppies

       This manpage has been automatically generated from fdutils's texinfo
       documentation.  However, this process is only approximative, and some
       items, such as cross-references, footnotes and indices are lost in this
       translation process.  Indeed, these items have no appropriate
       representation 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 advise you to use the original texinfo doc.

       *      To generate a printable copy from the texinfo doc, run the
              following commands:

                     ./configure; make dvi; dvips fdutils.dvi

       *      To generate a HTML copy,  run:

                     ./configure; make html

              A pre-made HTML can be found at:

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

                     ./configure; make info

       The texinfo doc looks most pretty when printed or as HTML.  Indeed, in
       the info version certain examples are difficult to read due to the
       quoting conventions used in info.

          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 one 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.

              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
       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.

Media description
       Please see the Media description section in the full fdutils
       - 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
              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

fdutils-5.5                         03Mar05                     superformat(1)