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how to format a 3.5 floppy disk in windows 7 error required parameter missing

Posted on 2016-09-12
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Last Modified: 2016-10-08
Trying to copy our dod wipe disk files to a new floppy and cant even format the new floppy.  Says required parameter missing in cmd.
Tried drag/drop too.
Nothing's working.
Win7
Thank you,
Mark88
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Question by:Mark88
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Expert Comment

by:pgm554
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What's the format?
fat16/32 or ntfs
Do you have the write tab enabled?
You're sure it's not a Linux boot disk right?
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Author Comment

by:Mark88
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I can't get to it to seeif it's a Linux boot disk or not. But I can put Windows files on it from another disk but it won't run it's a system disk error then.
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by:Mark88
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and it does the same thing regardless of which way the tab is flipped
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by:pgm554
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Have you tried running a chkdsk on the floppy?
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by:Dillyn Barber
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Does it appear in disk management? If so, how? The best ways for dealing with floppies or any other storage device is in the disk manager. You can also attempt to format it via command line (as administrator) as such:
format G: /FS:FAT32 /V:FAT32A

Also, check if the floppy has the read only mechanical lock engaged, if it is, disengage it.
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by:Dave Baldwin
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I can't find exact information but general info describes floppies as using FAT12 and FAT16 formats.
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by:John Hurst
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First I would try a new diskette just so see.

Then do FORMAT /? to see the options.

/FS: Filesystem
/A:Size
/F:Size for floppy disks.

See if those help.

I assume you know your diskette drive is OK. I have an IBM USB floppy drive (HD) that works.
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by:Mark88
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I tried to format in CMD and got the error in the question.  another tech sent these to our location and they all look new.  I tried having the lock on/off but no difference.  

in Disk Management the drive is there but no disk in it.  it's really odd.  tried other disks and they do the same thing.  tried to copy disk function where the data stays in cache and when you put the new disk in it says incorrect media or something.
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by:nobus
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try also another floppy drive -it can have problems
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by:Marck911
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install virtual pc from Microsoft then install windows XP 32 bit and try from there. in my opinion XP has better support for these old format.

also you can try on a friend's XP box
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Expert Comment

by:rindi
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What exactly do you need the floppy for? If you just need it to secure erase disks, why don't you boot the utility from a CD or USB stick? The UBCD includes DBAN, which is one of the best such utilities, and you can create a CD or booting USB stick from the iso file:

http://mirror.sysadminguide.net/ubcd/ubcd535.iso
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by:Mark88
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We dont have the authority to make these changes, nor to install XP vm.  All we have are the ibm 3.5 drives and these floppies
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by:Marck911
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did you manually installed the driver or windows plug and play?

if second option try using drive vendor's last driver
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by:Gerald Connolly
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I agree with rindi, get rid of the floppy and use a memory stick
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by:Mark88
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All we have are the floppies
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by:Marck911
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what about the driver?
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by:Gerald Connolly
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So you dont have a USB port?

rindi - showed in his earlier post how you can build a bootable Memory stick, that can then give you a system to erase disks, either using the software you already use or DBAN a well know disk erase program.
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by:Mark88
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We dont have usb drives we can use.
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by:Marck911
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am i being ignored here?
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by:Mark88
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Sorry Marck911.  Busy here.  No problems with driver
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by:Marck911
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OK thanks for answering.
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by:rindi
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Sometimes For copying floppies rawritewin works best. You can use it to create an image file of your working floppy, then restore that image to another. It formats it the way required automatically. I haven't used it for a long time now, but I just started it on windows 10 so it seems to be working.

http://uranus.chrysocome.net/linux/rawwrite-old.htm
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by:Mark88
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the guys sent me 720mb floppies we just found out too.  not sure why that would even matter
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by:nobus
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did you try another drive and cable yet?
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by:Mark88
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yes and the tech who sent me the floppies tried on his desk and it doesn't work there either
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by:rindi
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That does matter. The 720kb floppies would also have to be copied to 720kb floppies. The 1.4mb have a hole where the 720kb ones don't. You could cover the hole with a sticker on those 1.4mb floppies, then the drive will think they are 720kb and will format them as such.
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by:Mark88
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Im trying to format the 720's and copy the 1.44 to the 720's
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rindi earned 250 total points
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That won't work. You will need to get 1.44 MB floppies.
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Expert Comment

by:rindi
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You could try boring a hole in the 720 KB floppy where the hole is on the 1.44 MB floppies. Then the drive will think it is a 1.44 floppy and it might work. But usually you'll get errors while copying, and the end-product may not work properly.
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by:dbrunton
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Well if it is 720 Kb disks then the missing parameter is

/F:720

The only question then is will your application fit on the 720 Kb disk.
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by:Mark88
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The dod wipe pgm only takes up kb's
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by:rindi
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The problem is that it boots to itself. for that you need to do a disk copy, and that can only be done to the same format.
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by:Mark88
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interesting that 720's and 1.44 are different format
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by:dbrunton
dbrunton earned 250 total points
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For format I think you mean size.

The switch I gave above specifies information which tells the format command that this disk is to have 9 sectors per track instead of 18 sectors per track (which the 1.44 disk has).

That is the difference between the two.  The 1.44 disks have an extra hole in them compared to the 720 disks.  This is probably why the complaint about the missing parameter.  The OS can't find the hole for the 1.44 and is complaining.

Also see https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/kb/75131 for information about the disks.
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by:Mark88
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Ok, so why really cant we use 720's together with the 1.44's?
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by:rindi
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Because the original is 1.44. A disk copy will force the same size. You need to get 1.44 MB floppies and then it should not be a problem. If the original disk had been a 720K disk, it should have worked even if the destination is a 1.44M disk. Larger to small doesn't work. but small to larger should work.
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by:dbrunton
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How much of the 1.44 disk is used?
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by:Mark88
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about 471kb
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by:Mark88
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Why in the world does it force the same size, as well?
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by:dbrunton
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>>  Why in the world does it force the same size, as well?

What is doing the forcing?

Can you list the contents of the floppy disk?  I'm specially looking for MSDOS.SYS, IO.SYS and COMMAND.COM
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Expert Comment

by:rindi
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That is the nature of boot disks. If it were just plain data it would be simple and you could just copy over the data. But when you boot from something, the structure needs to stay exactly the same.
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by:John Hurst
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Do you know the drive to be good? You did not answer that so far as I could see.

I have a Windows 10 Pro 64-bit machine here.

I plugged in my IBM 3.25 USB Floppy drive, I inserted a disk and said FORMAT A: (no parameters). It said Formatting FAT 1.44MB and did. I gave it a label and DIR says ALL good.

I ran CMD with Run as Administrator.
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by:dbrunton
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His disks are 720 Kb and not 1.44 Mb.

They may also need to be bootable which I am trying to find out.
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by:John Hurst
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Any time I ran Format it automatically selects the correct size. That is why I suggest trying with no parameters
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by:John Hurst
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Just for giggles I stuck in a 720KB floppy and that formatted easily.

To format with a system needs a DOS 6 Virtual Machine and a bus connected floppy drive. I will try with USB, but I don't think that will work.
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by:John Hurst
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I just tried it. No. DOS 6 does not know USB so it does not recognize the floppy drive.

You do need DOS and you will need a bus connected floppy drive.
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Author Comment

by:Mark88
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Im waiting for the 1.44 floppies like you guys said, now.
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by:John Hurst
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Please let us know. Also, the only bootable floppy disks are very old systems.
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Author Comment

by:Mark88
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I will
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by:John Hurst
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The question is coming up as abandoned.

You can easily format a 720 KB 3.5 inch floppy and a 1.44 MB 3.5 inch floppy with a good USB 3.5 in drive on anything up to Windows 10 Pro. I have done this and it works.

You have other solutions above.

You cannot make a DOS system disk from anything higher than DOS itself.

That is what you can do and you should now close the question.
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by:Mark88
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My understanding that I need some 1.44's so Im waiting for those still, from my mgr
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by:John Hurst
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I have both sizes and formatted both with no issues. They still work
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by:Mark88
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Well for whatever reason, we cannot format 720's here unfortunately.
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by:John Hurst
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See if you can get a working USB 3.5 inch Floppy drive. I have one and it works all sizes

Here is one very much like mine.

http://www.ebay.ca/itm/IBM-Lenovo-39T2519-06P5223-USB-Portable-Diskette-Drive-Floppy-Drive-19308803-/141870185847?hash=item21081f3d77:g:3GYAAOSwBLlVc13T
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by:Mark88
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I have 20 ext usb drives we use.  Just trying to copy the dod wipe files to floppies for them.
All the drives work fine
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by:John Hurst
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The drives you have may not be compatible with 720 KB floppies. I cannot image another reason because I can format such floppies fine.
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by:Gerald Connolly
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I sure it would be easier and a lot less time consuming to use a bootable USB stick with the appropriate wipe-disk software on!
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Author Comment

by:Mark88
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yup, but we're a leader in technology and innovation here!
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by:Gerald Connolly
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In fact it would have been quicker and cheaper to remove the disks and smash them!
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by:Mark88
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AHAHAHAHAHA!  No kidding!  :)
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