Kaypro / Format HDD / Part 4


Setting up (formatting) a Kaypro 10 hard disk drive

<-- Back to Part 3: 4K to 8K EPROM Adapter Kit

Setting up a hard disk drive for the Kaypro 10 is actually quite simple. You just have to spend some time and patience.

My system configuration:

The complete procedure basically consists of four steps.

  1. formatting
  2. finding bad blocks
  3. building the system tracks
  4. „on the move with“ PIP

If you want to be on the safe side, then finally run the program CHECK. With this program the complete hard disk is tested again for defective areas. But actually this step is not necessary, because you have already done this in step no. 2.

The standard Kaypro 10 hard disk has 306 cylinder. No matter if it is a Seagate ST-225 (20 MB) or ST-212 (10 MB) hard disk. More than 10 MB are not supported! Furthermore, these 10 MB are logical divided into two drives of 5 MB each. When you boot from the hard disk, the first drive is called A: and the second drive is B:. The floppy is C:.
Four read-write heads are used. Heads 0 and 1 access drive A. Heads 2 and 3 access drive B. Disk 1, cylinder (same as track) 0, heads 0 through 3 refers to a critical area of the disk containing the operating System, BIOS, Error messages, and some overlays for screen graphics.
Reference: The Kaypro 10 user's guide

1. Formatting

In the following I will only write about the original Kaypro programs, because I don't have an extended ROM (Advent TurboROM or KayPLUS) installed in my Kaypro's.

Kaypro (original)

  1. FORMAT06
  2. FMT7305
  4. K10HDFMT
Advent TurboROM
  1. K10FMT


Kaypro 10 FORMAT06
Kaypro 10 - FORMAT06

Both programs have the special feature that they can be used in batch files. But this feature makes them dangerous. Immediately after starting, either cylinders 0-6 or 7-305 are formatted. There is no query if you really want to format. You can cancel the program with CRTL-C, but then the damage is already done, especially with FORMAT06. So please be very careful. Do not do a test run!

Tip! Rename the extension of both files to *.MOC. Then nothing can go wrong. You can use FORMAT06 for a quick formatting if you are sure that your hard disk has no „new“ bad blocks.

Kaypro: FORMAT

Kaypro 10 FORMAT
Kaypro 10 - FORMAT

Unlike FORMAT06 and FMT7305, this program is not batch-capable. You must enter the hard disk parameters manually, usually (1,1) / (0,3) / (0,305). The FORMAT process takes about 15 minutes to format 100 cylinders, i.e. the whole process takes about 45 minutes. This is just barely bearable!

Kaypro: K10HDFMT

Kaypro 10/12
Winchester Disk
Version 1.03

(C) Copyright 1984
Kaypro Computer Corporation
Kaypro 10 K10HDFMT
Kaypro 10 K10HDFMT with Defect Map Entry

I stopped the program because it is so incredibly slow (38 min / 100 cyl).

2. Finding bad blocks

Just run FINDBAD B: and FINDBAD C:, that's all.

BAD BLOCKS are saved in the [UNUSED].BAD file. On the Kaypro 10, this file is normally found in USER 15, but if you do not have BAD BLOCKS, this file does not exist.

Kaypro 10 FINDBAD
Kaypro 10 - FINDBAD
Regardless of the user area, the file name is "[UNUSED].BAD". If you don't find that file anywhere, then you don't have any clusters marked bad by FINDBAD. Sometimes you can get a clue by running STAT d:*.* on a drive, where d: is your drive letter. I'm not certain if FINDBAD includes the SYS attribute on [UNUSED].BAD to make it invisible to a DIR, but if it does, STAT should show it.

There is a difference between a block and sector when it comes to CP/M. CP/M uses a multiple of sectors to form allocation blocks (STAT DSK: will tell you how big the blocks are on each drive)--something like an MS-DOS cluster. Since you can't take a single sector out of circulation, you have to take the smallest allocatable unit that contains that sector out of circulation--a block, in other words. The only way CP/M has to do this is to allocate that block to a file (DOS uses a different method, but the outcome is the same--a group of sectors are rendered unavailable for allocation.)

DOS/Windows use allocation schemes that keep file names separate from allocation maps, so it's possible to mark a bad cluster in an allocation map without having a file associated with it. In CP/M, the file names (directory) and allocation map are all in one place, so it's not possible to allocate a cluster/block without naming it. It's also the reason that CP/M doesn't have sub-directories.
Reference: Chuck Guzis from VCF

3. Building the system tracks

Very simple, just run PUTSYS and PUTOVL.

PUTSYS = system tracks / PUTOVL = overlays for the graphics

4. On the move with PIP

All you need to do now is copy all the programs from the floppy (A:) to the hard disk (B:) and restart the Kaypro 10. After reboot, drive A:/B: is the hard disk and C: the floppy disk. You get used to it with time!

A:PIP B:=A:*.*[OV]

And that was it. The entire process takes a maximum of 60 minutes, with formatting alone taking 45 minutes.


In the depths of the internet I found a nice article (DE) about rescuing a Kaypro 10. In the original this text was of course written with Wordstar 3.3. I read and exported the file with Word 6.0 (Windows 3.1), then transferred it to my iMac, imported it with Openoffice and saved it as a pdf file.

This article is from the transition phase from CP/M to DOS, probably in the early 80's. Simply nice to read. It is a strange feeling, considering that this text was written about 40 years ago. What did you do about 35 years ago?

My series about the: Kaypro

--> Go to Part 5: USER areas