FORMAT
This page was last modified 12:45, 1 June 2020 by Gdx. Based on work by Mars2000you.

Contents

Effect

Formats a disk and deletes all existing files.

It deletes also the optional volume name, set with VOLUME under MSX-DOS 1 or VOL under MSX-DOS 2 / Nextor.

Syntax

FORMAT <Device>:

Parameter

<Device> is optional and can only be used under MSX-DOS 2 / Nextor. It specifies the name of the used device. It can only be a disk drive.

If you don't specify the drive under MSX-DOS 2 / Nextor, the computer will format the disk in the currently active drive (by default, it's drive A:)

Device type Device name Remark
Disk drive A, B, C, D, E, F, G, H A floppy disk interface can control until 2 drives.

Usage

This command will ask the needed information in interactive mode. When the instruction is asking questions the procedure can still be cancelled with CTRL+C without changing the disk content.

If the system has more than one active physical or logical drive that can be formatted, the first question (only under MSX-DOS 1) will be "Drive name?" followed by list of valid options. There can be up to 8 drives (A-H). In case there is only one active drive, this question will be skipped.

The next question is for MSX-DOS 1, MSX-DOS 2 and Nextor, it depends of what controller the selected drive was associated with. Each disk controller has its own options to select from. Typically you will get a list of different formats that the controller can support. The number of options depends of the disk controller firmware. You can choose them by selecting the appropriate number from the keyboard. If there are no options available this question will be skipped. MSX system can have up to 4 physical disk controllers attached at the same time.

Examples

Under MSX-DOS 1

A>FORMAT
Drive name? (A,B) A	

1 - 1 side, double track
2 - 2 sides,double track

? 2
Strike a key when ready
Format complete
A>

Under MSX-DOS 2 / Nextor

A>FORMAT B:

1 - 1 side, double track
2 - 2 sides,double track

? 2
All data on drive B: will be destroyed
Press any key to continue...

A>

Format

The format used for 3.5" and 5.25" disks is FAT12, as also used by MS-DOS and derivatives. The MSX however does not support sub-directories, unless you use a Turbo R computer, the original MSX-DOS2 cartridge or one of its European versions. This cartridge requires at least a MSX2 computer with internal or external disk drive. Besides, it must be a MSX2 with at least 128kB RAM if you use a MSX-DOS 2 cartridge without built-in memory mapper.

If you use a Turbo R computer or a MSX-DOS 2 cartridge, the formatting will be different if you boot with DOS2 enabled or disabled. DOS2 is not enabled if you boot with a DOS1-formatted disk in drive A (on MSX2 or higher) or if you press the '1' key during the boot sequence (only on MSX Turbo R).

See Design of the FAT file system for more information, including MSX specifics.

Storage capacity

The most used formattings on the MSX disks are as follows:

  • 3.5" Single Sided, Double Density (1DD)
    • 1 side * 80 tracks * 9 sectors per track * 512 bytes per sector = 368640 Bytes (360kB)
  • 3.5" Double Sided, Double Density (2DD)
    • 2 sides * 80 tracks * 9 sectors per track * 512 bytes per sector = 737280 Bytes (720kB)
  • 5.25" Single Sided, Double Density (SS,DD)
    • 1 side * 40 tracks * 9 sectors per track * 512 bytes per sector = 184320 Bytes (180kB)
  • 5.25" Double Sided, Double Density (DS,DD)
    • 2 sides * 40 tracks * 9 sectors per track * 512 bytes per sector = 368640 Bytes (360kB)

Related to

CONCAT, COPY, DEL, ERASE, MOVE, RENAME, VOL

Compatibility

MSX-DOS 1 with COMMAND.COM, MSX-DOS 2 / Nextor with COMMAND2.COM v2.20 and higher