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How do I create an "IBM Formatted" disk?

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  • How do I create an "IBM Formatted" disk?

    I risk revealing my age (or lack thereof) with this question. I'm trying to flash the BIOS for a 6 year old laptop. Within the readme file (yes, I actually read readme files) it instructs me to place the BIOS flash files on a "IBM-formatted floppy disk". However, there is an admonishment that states:

    Note: Do not format the floppy disk in Microsoft Window NT(r), Windows 2000, or Windows XP. Do not use a floppy disk that has been formatted in these operating systems.
    I know it's standard procedure to buy floppy disks that say "IBM formatted", but what precisely does that mean and how can one take a Macintosh or Windows formatted floppy disk and transform it into an "IBM formatted" disk?

    There is a surprising dearth of information that I found via Google and Wikipedia (my left and right brain hemispheres respectively).
    Last edited by Nonapeptide; 30th October 2008, 20:03. Reason: wrong punctuation mark
    Wesley David
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  • #2
    Re: How do I create an "IBM Formatted" disk?

    http://forums.techguy.org/hardware/6...-floppies.html maybe?
    cheers
    Andy

    Please read this before you post:


    Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?

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    • #3
      Re: How do I create an "IBM Formatted" disk?

      Interesting thread. Seems that there is mass confusion about the formatting issue. Some people say that "Windows formatted", "PC formatted" and "IBM formatted" are the same and others beg to differ. In the end the fellow still didn't get an answer on how to format a disk in "IBM Format" to flash his BIOS. Ah well. I might take kiwiguy's advice and leave well enough alone. If the computer worked fine for 6 years without a BIOS flash, then there's no need to worry about it now. I tend to think that a BIOS flash is just as trivial as updating drivers evne thought that's not the case. Shame on me.

      I'll search around for some third-party disk formatting tools and see what I can find... so far my 5 minutes of Googling has resulted in another frustrating dearth. I'm losing my touch.

      P.S. What search string did you use to pull that thread out of the interwebs?
      Wesley David
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      • #4
        Re: How do I create an "IBM Formatted" disk?

        I used yours !
        Originally posted by Nonapeptide View Post
        "IBM formatted"
        cheers
        Andy

        Please read this before you post:


        Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?

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        • #5
          Re: How do I create an "IBM Formatted" disk?

          Originally posted by AndyJG247 View Post
          I used yours !
          Brilliant!
          Wesley David
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          • #6
            Re: How do I create an "IBM Formatted" disk?

            I sense there's a mix-up here...
            The term "IBM formatted" was used in early 80's of the previous century to distinguish between the different computer manufacturers that used the floppy disks. The same floppy could hold different amounts of data depending on the computer that formatted it. Macintosh-formatted media could hold more than the same floppy formatted in IBM (or IBM-compatible) computers (the latter developed to be the PCs we know today). This was achieved by changing the technology implemented in the drive (sometimes by changing the writing speed, sometimes by changing the number of sectors on different cylinders). More to read on this can be found in Wikipedia's Floppies article.
            So, it is not clear to me what the author meant here. All floppies formatted on a PC (IBM-compatible) are "IBM formatted" (AFAIK). He (the author) might have meant that the floppy should not be made bootable in Windows.
            From what I remember from BIOS upgrades, you usually get an EXE file (that should be run from within Windows) that asks you for a blank formatted diskette. If it is not blank, you will receive a message stating that the data on the floppy will be lost. After that, the program makes the floppy bootable and copies on it the files needed for the upgrade (usually, an AUTOEXEC.BAT, an EXE file with the upgrade program and a BIN file with the upgrade data).
            Upgrading the BIOS (especially on older hardware) can solve you problems or improve the way your hardware works. I would do it only when needed, because a bad upgrade can make your computer useless (the mobo will be dead). There are manufacturers that backup the existing BIOS so you will be able to recover, but why take the risk?
            Computers' Rule #1: "It's not broken, don't fix it!"

            Sorry about the long monologue.
            Last edited by sorinso; 31st October 2008, 11:11.

            Sorin Solomon


            In order to succeed, your desire for success should be greater than your fear of failure.
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            • #7
              Re: How do I create an "IBM Formatted" disk?

              We'll never find out if the laptop would have been updatable from a disk that was formatted within Windows because, as you stated...

              Originally posted by sorinso View Post
              Computers' Rule #1: "It's not broken, don't fix it!"
              Case closed.
              Wesley David
              LinkedIn | Careers 2.0
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              Microsoft Certifications: MCSE 2003 | MCSA:Messaging 2003 | MCITP:EA, SA, EST | MCTS: a'plenty | MCDST
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              • #8
                Re: How do I create an "IBM Formatted" disk?

                FWIW used to work for one of the big hardware companies in tech support, and BIOS flashing was the catch all sugestion to fix just about any issue. We usually used a floppy/CDROM/USB key formatted as a Windows 98 startup disk to do the job. There's loads of EXEs that you can run from Windows that will take a blank floppy and create the book disk for you. I always carry a USB key that's bootable, as the files are only a few meg anyway just in case I need it for anything, although a 6 year old laptop is pretty unlikely to support USB boot.

                However, unless you have a problem or need to support newer hardware there's no reason to bother as you correctly state.

                As I recall the whole formatting issue started back in the days when PCs weren't as "standard" as they are now and a PC running IBM DOS couldn't necessarily use a disk from one running another "compatible" version. The IBM compatible label came about from those PCs that weren't made by IBM but could do anything an IBM PC could.
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