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] [[-e end-track
superformat is used to format disks with a capacity of up to 1992K HD or 3984K ED. See section Extended formats for a detailed description of these formats. See section Media description for a detailed description of the syntax for the media description. If no media description is given, superformat formats a disk in the highest available density for that drive, using standard parameters (i.e. no extra capacity formats).
When the disk is formatted, superformat automatically invokes mformat in order to put an MS-DOS filesystem on it. You may ignore this filesystem, if you don't need it.
Supeformat allows to format 2m formats. Be aware, however, that these 2m formats were specifically designed to hold an MS-DOS filesystem, and that they take advantage of the fact that the MS-DOS filesystem uses redundant sectors on the first track (the FAT, which is represented twice). The second copy of the FAT is not represented on the disk.
Many options have a long and a short form.
Print the help.
Selects DOS drive letter for mformat (for example a: or b:). The colon may be omitted. The default is derived from the minor device number. If the drive letter cannot be guessed, and is not given on the command line, mformat is skipped.
Sets the verbosity level. 1 prints a dot for each formatted track. 2 prints a changing sign for each formatted track (- for formatting the first head, = for formatting the second head, x for verifying the first head, and + for verifying the second head). 3 prints a complete line listing head and track. 6 and 9 print debugging information.
Verifies the disk by first reading the track, than writing a pattern of U's, and then reading it again. This is useful as some errors only show up after the disk has once been written. However, this is also slower.
Verifies the disk using the mbadblocks program. mbadblocks marks the bad sectors as bad in the FAT. The advantage of this is that disks which are only partially bad can still be used for MS-DOS filesystems.
Verifies the whole disk at the end of the formatting process instead of at each track. Verifying the disk at each track has the advantage of detecting errors early on.
Usually, superformat uses sensible default values for these options, which you normally don't need to override. They are intended for expert users. Most of them should only be needed in cases where the hardware or superformat itself has bugs.
Describes the track where to begin formatting. This is useful if the previous formatting failed halfway through. The default is 0.
Describes where to stop formatting. end_track is the last track to be formatted plus one. This is mainly useful for testing purposes. By default, this is the same as the total number of tracks. When the formatting stops, the final skew is displayed (to be used as absolute skew when you'll continue).
Set the sector size to be used. The sector size is 128 * (2 ^ sizecode). Sector sizes below 512 bytes are not supported, thus sizecode must be at least 2. By default 512 is assumed, unless you ask for more sectors than would fit with 512 bytes.
Set the stretch factor. The stretch factor describes how many physical tracks to skip to get to the next logical track (2 ^ stretch). On double density 5 1/4 disks, the tracks are further apart from each other.
Set the formatting gap. The formatting gap tells how far the sectors are away from each other. By default, this is chosen so as to evenly distribute the sectors along the track.
Set the formatting gap to be used after the last sector.
Set the sector interleave factor.
Set the size of the chunks. The chunks are small auxiliary sectors used during formatting. They are used to handle heterogeneous sector sizes (i.e. not all sectors have the same size) and negative formatting gaps.
In order to maximize the user data transfer rate, the sectors are arranged in such a way that sector 1 of the new track/head comes under the head at the very moment when the drive is ready to read from that track, after having read the previous track. Thus the first sector of the second track is not necessarily near the first sector of the first track. The skew value describes for each track how far sector number 1 is away from the index mark. This skew value changes for each head and track. The amount of this change depends on how fast the disk spins, and on how much time is needed to change the head or the track.
Set the absolute skew. (The skew value used for the first formatted track)
Set the head skew. (The skew added for passing from head 0 to head 1)
Set the track skew. (The skew added for seeking to the next track)
Example: (absolute skew=3, head skew=1, track skew=2)
In all the examples of this section, we assume that drive 0 is a 3 1/2 and drive 1 a 5 1/4.
The following example shows how to format a 1440K disk in drive 0:
superformat /dev/fd0 hd
The following example shows how to format a 1200K disk in drive 1:
superformat /dev/fd1 hd
The following example shows how to format a 1440K disk in drive 1:
superformat /dev/fd1 hd sect=18
The following example shows how to format a 720K disk in drive 0:
superformat /dev/fd0 dd
The following example shows how to format a 1743K disk in drive 0 (83 cylinders times 21 sectors):
superformat /dev/fd0 sect=21 cyl=83
The following example shows how to format a 1992K disk in drive 0 (83 cylinders times 2 heads times 12 KB per track)
superformat /dev/fd0 tracksize=12KB cyl=83 mss
The following example shows how to format a 1840K disk in drive 0. It will have 5 2048-byte sectors, one 1024-byte sector, and one 512-byte sector per track:
superformat /dev/fd0 tracksize=23b mss 2m ssize=2KB
FDC busy, sleeping for a second
When another program accesses a disk drive on the same controller as the one being formatted, superformat has to wait until the other access is finished. If this happens, check whether any other program accesses a drive (or whether a drive is mounted), kill that program (or unmount the drive), and the format should proceed normally.
I/O errors during verification