Floppy Disk Drives / 8 inch / Running under DOS
Homepage

Introduction

Meanwhile I have written a lot about operating 8 inch floppy drives under the DOS (Microsoft or IBM) operating system. For this reason you should read this page first, because on the following pages some information is older or outdated, but I don't want to change the pages. So:

Variant 1

  1. You can run a 8 inch floppy under DOS if your computer system (BIOS, FDC) supports a 1.2 MByte 5,25" floppy disk. You need ...
    • ... a 8 inch floppy drive ;-)
    • ... a selfmade power supply,
    • ... a selfmade controller cabel.

In this variant, however, DOS is faked with a 1.2 MByte floppy drive with 80 tracks. 8 inch drives have only 77 tracks! Real (old) 8 inch floppy disks cannot be read without further aids! Variant 1 is only a pseudo solution!

Access to the both 8 inch standard logical DOS formats (250 KByte: 77 tracks, 26 sectors/track, 128 bytes/sector and 1.2 MByte: 77 tracks, 8 sectors/track, 1,024 bytes/sector) is NOT possible, not even with DRIVPARM or DRIVER.SYS! These parameters are NOT supported by IBM compatible machines with MS-DOS or PC-DOS. You can try, but you will fail! Believe me.

Variant 2: Variant 1 + software solution

  1. If you want to have real access to old 8 inch floppy disks you need ...
    • ... ImageDisk (by Dave Dunfield) to read and write disk images. However, direct access to individual files is not possible (read, write, copy, rename ...). ImageDisk is free for non-commercial use.
    • ... 22DISK (by Sydex). 22DISK is a CP/M-to-DOS Diskette Interchange Utility, but this software ist obsolete, you can not buy a registered version. There are only shareware versions with a limited definition list on the internet. With 22DISK you can have direct access to CP/M floppy disks.

Even with variant 2, a direct file access to the both 8 inch standard logical DOS formats is not possible.

Variant 3: Variant 1 + hardware solution

  1. If you want to have real file access to the first 8 inch standard logical DOS format (250 KByte: 77 tracks, 26 sectors/track, 128 bytes/sector) you need ...
    • ... the CompatiCard I, II or IV (by Micro Solutions).

Variant 4: Variant 3 + software solution

  1. If you want to have real file access to both 8 inch standard logical DOS format (250 KByte: 77 tracks, 26 sectors/track, 128 bytes/sector AND 1.2 MByte: 77 tracks, 8 sectors/track, 1,024 bytes/sector) you need ...
    • ... UniForm (by Micro Solutions).

Conclusion

It took me almost a whole year to reach variant 4, and I was very lucky to get a CompatiCard on eBay. And that for little money!

--> And now get started: How do I install a 8 inch (8") FDD in a DOS PC?