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Old 10-01-2006, 06:19 PM   #1
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Question Mounting 5 1/4 Floppy

Hi all,

I have a huge bundle of old 5 1/4 DOS formatted floppies from years gone by. I'd like to take their data and burn them into a CD.

I have an old computer with SuSE 10 and is runnning well. I pulled the 5.25 drive from my old 286 and installed it in this Linux box. I set the BIOS to "Diskette A = 1.2MB 5/14" and rebooted.

After inserting a 1.2MB HD flopppy I issue the command:

mount -t msdos /dev/fd0 /media/floppy

The light on the drive turns green and the spindle spins. However I then get the following message after a few seconds:

mount: block device /dev/fd0 is write-protected, mount read-only
mount: wrong fs type, bad option, bad superblock on /dev/fd0, or too many mounted file systems

I even commented out the floppy reference in fstab and tried again. No luck.

Any ideas will be greatly appreciated.
Old 10-02-2006, 05:46 AM   #2
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Try using with the floppy entry in fstab not commented out;

mount -t auto /dev/fd0 /media/floppy

Maybe the read/write heads on the floppy drive are dead or the media is no longer good, both happen over time.
Old 10-02-2006, 01:22 PM   #3
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It may be easier just to sidestep the linux issue. Burn a freedos cd/dvd, boot to it and then copy your files.

Old 10-03-2006, 10:05 AM   #4
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Maybe, but I'm not sure that FreeDos has CLI utilities to burn CD's.

Besides, I am convinced that Linux will do everything that I need if I just get my hands a little dirty. There are several variables that need to be cleared first, such as the health ofthe drive, the condition of the floppies, and the correct format directive.
Old 10-03-2006, 05:44 PM   #5
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I guess I meant that you could copy the files to HD temporarily.

I am sure linux can do it too, but if you have a hardware/etc problem freedos will let you know right away. With linux how will you determine if the problem is with linux, the hardware, the format or other? I assume you do not have a known good disk of known format.

Old 10-03-2006, 11:30 PM   #6
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O.K. folks,

Here it is... I'm an idiot. That's it.

I was finally able to have Linux read my 5.25 drive by simply inverting the floppy. The drive does not indicate which way is up and I assumed that the light on the drive was mounted on the "top" side of the drive, thus should follow the floppy.

Once I got the floppy facing the correct way, it took a whole minute to mount and read the contents. I posted the original question in comp.os.linux.hardware and got the following answer from John Thompson:

First, are you sure the drive is capable of reading 1.2M floppies? Older
drives might only be able to read 360k (or even 180k if they're truly
ancient). And then there's some odd-ball 720k quad-density 5-1/4" drives
as well. And if they were formatted for e.g. Apple ][, all bets are off!

Try explicitly using the expected format instead of relying on
autodetect to sort it out:

To specify format, add to the autodetect device number:
0 = /dev/fd? Autodetect format
4 = /dev/fd?d360 5.25" 360K in a 360K drive(1)
20 = /dev/fd?h360 5.25" 360K in a 1200K drive(1)
48 = /dev/fd?h410 5.25" 410K in a 1200K drive
64 = /dev/fd?h420 5.25" 420K in a 1200K drive
24 = /dev/fd?h720 5.25" 720K in a 1200K drive
80 = /dev/fd?h880 5.25" 880K in a 1200K drive(1)
8 = /dev/fd?h1200 5.25" 1200K in a 1200K drive(1)
40 = /dev/fd?h1440 5.25" 1440K in a 1200K drive(1)
56 = /dev/fd?h1476 5.25" 1476K in a 1200K drive
72 = /dev/fd?h1494 5.25" 1494K in a 1200K drive
92 = /dev/fd?h1600 5.25" 1600K in a 1200K drive(1)

mount /dev/fd0h1200 /media/fd (for DS/HD diskettes)
mount /dev/fd0h360 /media/fd (for DS/DD diskettes)

So now everything works witn an average access speed of 4 seconds. Not bad.


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