Blog retrospective: 720K floppies


Screenshot showing disk formatting progress.

I haven’t done a blog retrospective in a while. Today’s post from exactly decade ago discussed formatting 720K floppies in Windows XP:

Helping my dad today with some old disks, we realised that in XP Microsoft removed the 720K option from the GUI format tool, and the /F:720 flag is gone from FORMAT on the command line! Fortunately if you specify the tracks and sectors manually it recognises the 720K disk and formats it.

FORMAT A: /T:80 /N:9

I don’t have any machines with floppy drives running Vista or 7, but I assume this still works in later versions.

I can say now that this was for a legacy SCADA system that didn’t support high density floppy disks. It was old for 2010, and even for 2000 now that I think about it. I wonder if it’s still running at that plant in Singapore today? It’d likely be more reliable than stuff we have now.

I still use 720K today for my DOS machines, not for any particular reason other than I had a bunch, and they more than fit all my MS-DOS 3.x era stuff.

And yes, according to the FreeBSD Handbook you can format your floppies with fdformat(8) too. ufiformat can be used for USB floppy drives.

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