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Using FloppDisks in LINUX


I have two queries
1)  How do I read a floppy disk in LINUX. Is it by going to mnt\floppy directory?

2)  I am not able to read any empty, new floppy, nor am I able to copy any contents to it. Do i have to do some special formating of floppies to use it in LINUX?

Kindly reply

1 Solution
Hello Munira...

1) If you have a new linux with something called automount enabled going to /mnt/floppy would be engouth, now if you are not able to ready any floppy (if the directory is always empty) then you might not have automount on or it might be misconfigured, now automount isn't needed to use linux and setting it up isn't easy, if you ever want to get a look at it you should see a file possibly found in /usr/doc/Howto/HTML/mini called automount-howto.html, now let me explain about the floppy itslef.... when you want to read removable or net based media (like floppys, cd-roms, NFS network disks) in Linux you need to "mount" them, this means, you tell linux there is something on the drive and that you want to read it, what you do with mount is to "connect" the floppy or cd-rom or others to a directory in Linux so you can read it.

How to do it: well once you insert your floppy in the drive you use the mount command like this: "mount -t type /dev/floppydrive directory" ok this is the step by step explanation of it: type is the kind of floppy or cd-rom or media you try to read, so linux knows how to read it... normally you will be able to use mount without the type (try without the -t and the type) as some versions autodetect... but if it fails you must specify... how? well choose one of these mostly used for your floppy and that's all: vfat, it will read dos and windows 3.1, windows 95 or windows 98 floppies....., ext2, will read floppies formated for linux (it's not the only type for linux but it's the most common one, bout 99% of the cases).... so it would be "mount -t vfat" or "mount -t ext2" until now...

Next the floppy drive: you have to tell mount what drive you will read, if you have only one floppy drive in the machine this drive will be /dev/fd0 now if you have more than one what would be drive a: in windows would be /dev/fd0 in linux and what would be drive b: in windows would be /dev/fd1 so let's imagine we're mounting a windows floppy on drive a: up to now we have "mount -t vfat /dev/fd0".....

Directory: here you tell linux what directory you would like to use to read the floppy... normally this would better be a naturally empty directory... many linuxes today come with a /mnt/floppy and /mnt/cdrom directories premade for easyness.... so let's use the default to mount our windows floppy in the drive a: "mount -t vfat /dev/fd0 /mnt/floppy" and that's it, if you go to /mnt/floppy you will se the floppy contents....

Now after you are finished using the floppy and either after or before you remove the floppy (if you do it after do not read the directory you mounted to, it will give you an error.) you have to unmount the floppy, this means saying to linux "i'm ready with it, liberate the direcotry for using another floppy", this is rather easy to do, you just do "unmount directory" wich in our example would be "umount /mnt/floppy".

2) Today most floppies come preformated, but that is not a rule, for a floppy to be usable by linux or any other system it must be formated... first you can check the box, it might say "Pc formated" or "Mac formated" Now if they don't say try to read the floppy in windows... if it appears empty it is formated and working, (and usable by linux) if it gives you an error (don't worry it's normal) then it 1) isn't formated, or 2) is formated for anything other than windows (most comonly mac preformated floppies, or most rarely other systems like linux itself or other unixes) for formating a floppy for linux you can format it under windows as a windows disk using format a: or format b: depending on wich drive the floppy is, or you can format it for windows or linux under linux with the "makefs" command. (It's slightly an advanced topic but if you want to learn some look at the manual page "man makefs" but don't try to format under linux without the help of an experienced user next to you!!!!!!!!!!!).

I hope i've helped you out.

muniraAuthor Commented:
Hi Lars

Thanks for the reply. I will try ur instructions and get back to u.

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