linux and floppy drive

Jude DaShiell jdashiel at
Fri Oct 5 10:40:49 UTC 2012

I have fdformat and yes I did download the dosfsutils package.  I do have 
/dev/fd0 too and dmesg detects it as an 1440K drive.  mkfs.vfat gets drive 
timeouts and errors and mkfs.ext2 can't write the superblock on the drive 
since it's too small for that.  I may just have to use a different machine 
to solve this problem.  On Fri, 5 Oct 2012, Tony Baechler wrote:

> You know, it's a lot easier to help you if you list the actual commands you
> entered and their output.  See my response inline below.
> On 10/5/2012 1:00 AM, Jude DaShiell wrote:
> > I have a floppy drive debian and arch will not use.  It works well enough
> > when I put an unformatted disk in it and boot the computer the boot
> > process is stopped and remains so until that floppy disk gets removed.
> That doesn't mean anything except that your BIOS is set to boot the floppy
> first.  It could just as easily boot the CD first in which case your
> unformatted disk would make no difference.
> > It's one of the 3.5 inch floppy disks and I noticed several different
> > possible formats for it in /etc/mediaprm when I checked that file.  Even
> > new floppy disks with no low level formatting on them will not low level
> > format and forget about any other access operations.  Unless I'm
> > overlooking something, there doesn't appear to be any command line tool to
> > do a floppy probe operation and write an appropriate configuration file or
> > update /etc/fstab.  kde has kde-floppy but kde hasn't got accessibility to
> > the same extent command line users with speakup have or emacspeak or gnome
> > users have with orca.  I'll probably be able to move files off floppy
> > disks if I can get the internal drive working or if that fails buy a usb
> > floppy and try to get that working.
> I've never heard of low-level formatting a floppy, but that doesn't mean it
> can't be done.  No, you don't want a USB floppy drive.  Apparently you can't
> access the USB floppy controller directly.  Do you have /dev/fd0?  What
> happens when you try to mount a floppy with something on it?  Do you have
> dosfstools installed?  What happens if you use mkfs.vfat or mkfs.ext2 on
> /dev/fd0 to format it?
> From doing a Debian package search, it looks like you want the fdutils
> package.  If that doesn't work, your internal drive might be bad.  You could
> try booting a DOS boot disk and see what happens.  Apparently there is a grub
> rescue package which has floppy boot images, so you could try that.  Do you
> have DOS or another OS on that machine and does your floppy work with the
> other OS?  It shouldn't matter, but what about booting from a live CD and
> attempting to access the floppy that way?  If you go with USB, look at the
> ufiformat package.
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jude <jdashiel at>
Adobe fiend for failing to Flash

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