Apple II Floppy Diskettes Csa2 FAQs-on-Ground file: Csa2DSKETTE.txt rev012 The Csa2 (comp.sys.apple2) usenet newsgroup Frequently Asked Questions files are compiled by the Ground Apple II site, 1997 - 1999. ftp://ground.ecn.uiowa.edu/2/apple2/Faqs http://ground.ecn.uiowa.edu/2/apple2/Faqs for on-line perusing via Netscape, etc. ... http://www.apple2.net/gswv/A2.FAQs.and.INFO/CSA2.FAQs/ ftp://apple.cabi.net/pub/applegs/FAQs.and.INFO/A2.Csa2.FAQs/ ftp://ground.ecn.uiowa.edu/2/apple2/Faqs/Formatted/ (double-spaced) The Csa2 FAQs may be freely distributed. Note: To correctly view tables and diagrams on a super-res display, use a mono-spaced Font such as CoPilot or PCMononspaced. ____________________________ 001- How many tracks can I use on a 5.25" diskette? 002- Can I use high-density 3.5" and 5.25" diskettes on my A2? 003- How can I tell DD from HD diskettes if they are not labeled? 004- Some old 5.25" disks with splotches don't boot. What gives? 005- How can I defragment a diskette and what is the speed gain? 006- Why aren't my old diskettes recognized by GS/OS? 007- Can I read Apple II diskettes on my PC? 008- Where the heck can I buy double density 3.5" & 5.25" diskettes? From: Rubywand 001- How many tracks can I use on a 5.25" diskette? So far, I've heard 35, 36, and 40. What's the actual number? The standard number of tracks on a 5.25" diskette is set by DOS 3.3 and ProDOS at 35, numbered 0-34 ($00-$22 in hexadecimal). The original Disk ][ drive can usually handle 36 tracks with no problem. Newer 5.25" drives can handle 40 tracks. Various modified versions of DOS 3.3 allow using 36 tracks and a few allow using 40 tracks. These mods, especially the 36-track versions, were fairly popular before the advent of 3.5" diskettes when an extra track made a noticable difference in capacity. However, unless the extra capacity is vital for some specific application, it is best to stick with 35 tracks in order to retain full compatibility with disk utilities (such as Copy II Plus) and other wares. ---------------------------- 002- Can I use high-density 3.5" and 5.25" diskettes on my Apple II? I did some magnetization tests on Double Density (800kB) and High Density (1.4MB) diskette surfaces. The tested DD surface produced more than twice the deflection of the tested HD surface. Clearly, there is a big difference in signal levels required to reliably store data on HD vs. DD. In fact, 5.25" HD (1.2MB) diskettes will not work at all on Apple Disk ][ drives. The 3.5" HD's may work fine on your 800k drives; or, they may just seem to work fine. Either way, there's no question: a drive optimized for DD will not be optimized for HD. If you'd rather not 'roll the dice' on your software collection, stick with Double Density diskettes. ---------------------------- 003- How can I tell the difference between unlabeled DD and HD diskettes? 3.5" HD (1.4MB) diskettes come with a square notch in the upper left corner. DD (800kB) 3.5" diskettes do not come with this notch. In the early days of PC computing, some PC users punched or drilled notch holes in DD diskettes and used them as HD diskettes. If a 3.5" diskette has a circular notch in the upper left corner, it is likely to be a DD diskette. DD 5.25" (360kB) diskettes look very much like HD 5.25" (1.2MB) diskettes. About the only remotely observable difference is that DD diskette surfaces often exhibit a more brownish cast whereas HD diskette surfaces are generally dark grey or black. The surest test for 5.25" diskettes is to place the diskette into an Apple II 5.25" drive and try to do a DOS 3.3 format. If it formats with no problem, it is almost certainly a DD diskette. ---------------------------- 004- Recently I found that some of my old 5.25" disks would not boot. A check showed splotches etched on the surface of the media. What's going on? As you may recall, a number of the classier 5.25" diskette brands employed (still employ?) a lubricant on their jacket liners. While the lube worked to reduce drag and noise, it also, evidently, served as a growth medium for a particularly nasty plastic and/or oxide-eating fungus! It's probably a good idea to check each of your old diskettes. Immediately backup any diskettes with splotchy discolorations. ---------------------------- 005- How can I defragment a diskette and what is the speed gain? You can defragment a diskette by doing a File Copy of all files to a blank diskette or blank RAM disk. Files on the copy diskette or RAM disk will be almost completely unfragmented. A whole-disk copy back to the original completes the process. Tests show that this method produces much speedier diskettes than using a utility intended for optimizing hard disks. For a nearly full 'workhorse' diskette which has seen may deletions and additions, you can expect the File Copy defragmentation method to yield a 30% to 40% improvement in access speed. ---------------------------- 006- Why aren't my MECC and many other old diskettes recognized by GS/OS and mounted on the Finder display? The problem you mention is fairly common. GS/OS via its FSTs has pretty strict definitions for what qualifies as a valid DOS or ProDOS diskette. For example, perfectly good 36-track DOS 3.3 diskettes will not be mounted by the Finder just because the number of tracks is 36 instead of the expected 35. Naturally, copy-protected diskettes have practically no chance of being recognized. Almost certainly, this is the reason the Finder will not mount your MECC disks. You can, still, run software from most copy-protected diskettes by just booting them. ____________________________ From: Chris Norley 007- Can I read Apple II diskettes on my PC? A while back I requested some information regarding the reading of Apple II floppies by an PC. There was a hugh response both in solutions and requests for a summary of solutions. ORIGINAL POST: -------------------- We have some old data from a small NMR spectrometer that was run from an Apple IIe. The same spectrometer is now run from a DOS machine and we'd like to be able to access the old data from the PC. Does anyone know of or possess some utility to allow the data from the 5 1/4" Apple II floppies to be read from the PC? Any hints as to program names, ftp sites, etc. would be greatly appreciated. SUMMARY OF RESPONSES: -------------------- From email@example.com From news ... Les Ferch It can't be done with software alone. There is a card called the MatchPoint PC card that will let you read and write Apple II DOS, ProDOS, and CP/M disks on a PC 5.25" 360K drive. We used to have one installed in an XT here and it worked fine. The other common way of moving the data is to connect an Apple II to a PC using a null modem cable and using comm programs such as Kermit to transfer the data. ------------------ Curt Schroeder It is not possible for a 5.25" PC floppy drive to read Apple II disks. They use incompatible recording technologies. Your options are to get your data into an Apple that can write MS-DOS 3.5" disks (Apple IIgs or Macintosh) or transfer via serial link (either via modem or null-modem cable). The other possibility is to use an Apple II equipped with a PC Transporter and either has a 3.5" drive or 5.25" PC floppy drive(s) attached. ------------------- Michael Hoffberg About a year ago, I picked up card for my ibm made by TrackStar. It is basically an apple II that sits inside your IBM. When you enable it, it can boot off an apple drive, it uses the ibm keyboard and monitor. When I go home I only use it to play moon patrol (I am too lazy to find my other games). In any case, I think that it is possible to transfer files between the ibm and apple with the card. I have never tried it though. ------------------ Fred R. Opperdoes Any Apple II (E or GS) owner having an Applied Engineering PC card is able to do the job easily. It is maybe not easy to find such a person in your neighborhood. Another possibility would be that you ask someone with an Apple IIGS to have your 5 1/4" Dos 3.3 or Prodos disk transcribed to a 3.5" Prodos disk. Every IIGS owner would be able to do so. Files on such disks can then easily be converted to MsDOS files on an MsDOS disk on a Macintosh using the Apple File Exchange Utility that comes with every modern Mac. ------------------- Leo Connolly I don't think this is doable. There are limitations in the PC drive hardware which make it impossible to read Apple II disks. (And the same is true in reverse, for exactly the same reasons). I suggest the following. Transfer the Apple II data to a 3.5" disk. This is easy on a IIGS if you use a utility such as Copy II Plus. Use Apple File Convert on a Macintosh to convert the Apple II files to MS-DOS format. Caution: older versions of this utility cannot handle MS-DOS 3.5" disks, but the newer ones can. Or: send your data through a modem from the Apple to the PC. ------------------ Leonard Erickson It can't be done without extra hardware. The Apple II didn't use a disk controller chip, it used an odd circuit instead. So, machines using the industry standard controller chips can't read Apple disks. You'll need a COPYIIPC deluxe option board or some such. Check with Central Point software, they used to sell them. Another approach is to track down one of the add-on boards that was essentially an Apple II on a PC card. It hooks to the 5.25" drive and plugs into the bus. And you've got an Apple II in your PC. ----------------- firstname.lastname@example.org The cheapest method to get the data would to do a "NULL MODEM" transfer between the two computers. ____________________________ From: Rubywand 008- I'm having a hell of a time tracking down a place to buy double density 3-1/2 & 5-1/4 disks. Any suggestions? Here are a few places to try ... Alltech Until very recently, Alltech (760-724-2404) advertised DS-DD 5.25" disketts for $15/100 with sleeves + shipping. Their price for DD 3.5" diskettes was pretty good, too. Alltech has done a major revision of their web page which seems to omit many favorite items; but, although diskettes are no longer listed, they may still sell them. Midwestern Diskette A few months ago, I was noticing the problem with finding places to get 5.25" DS-DD diskettes. I did not know about Alltech's offer and ended up buying from Midwestern Diskette (800-221-6332). They offered the diskettes in several colors at a good price; so, I bought 500 diskettes in five colors. Actual price was $17/100 for color diskettes with sleeves and labels and shipping. I think Midwestern also sells DD 3.5" diskettes. Note: One oddity I've discovered is that some colors (from Midwestern Diskette) do not accept notching (for using the back) as well as others. There has been no problem notching White, Lavender, Yellow, and Green. However, the Orange diskettes are too brittle to allow a clean square notch-- they can be punched using a round hole punch. Thrift shops Brian Hammack reports finding packs of used 5.25" diskettes at bargain prices.