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PostPosted: October 31st, 2012, 4:02 pm 
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Joined: December 24th, 2007, 10:12 pm
Posts: 68
Location: Takasaki City, Gunma
Found this on a old hard drive, I was writing it for this site back in 2007, but never got around to posting it and I lost my collection of PC9801 games in a break in (although what idiot Japanese burglar thinks two boxes of PC98 games were worth money....)

Backing up and recreating discs from the PC-98x1 to Windows and back again.

If you have a PC-98x1 machine and you have some games you may want to back them up or even run game images (from your back ups or for er other sources), you also might want to create a boot disc for your machine if the seller decided helpfully to reformat the hard drive to delete all their details before sending it to you so you just get a "NO SYSTEM FILES" message on booting.

There are two ways to do you can this, one is to use a USB (or Firewire) / 2.5" Hard Drive adaptor (you could use internal adapters but I would not due to the hassles it can bring) and copy the files over using DISK EXPLORER. The other way is to use a floppy drive to copy images over.

We'll look at the floppy method first as it is the easiest way to copy straight images and doesn't require you to remove the hard drive from the machine.

For this you will need three programs.

DISK IMAGE (http://www.vector.co.jp/soft/dl/win95/u ... 76285.html)
VIRTUAL FLOPPY IMAGE CONVERTOR (http://www.vector.co.jp/soft/dl/win95/u ... 51106.html)
and
DISK EXPLORER (http://hp.vector.co.jp/authors/VA013937 ... td169e.rar)

You will be using the command prompt a lot so I suggest you find it. For ease of use create a PC9821 folder on your C drive and put each of these program in it's own folder, they just need to be unzipped no installation required. I also suggest making an Image Folder so you can put each of the disc images into.

The PC-98x1 series uses a weird 1.2MB disc format (some people call it 1.22MB, 1.23MB or 1.25MB, but these are all the same). The reason for this was to keep compatability between 5" (5.25") discs and 3.5" discs. You could use the DISKCOPY command between the two formats and get an exact copy (not something you could do on a western PC). However a number of disc drives in Western computers may not read / write 1.2MB discs correct.

If you have a USB floppy drive (or if you don't have any floppy drive then buy a USB floppy drive) then it is more then likely compatable. All the USB drives I have tested, which include HP, IBM, Fujitsu and a no name model have all worked fine (including drives bought in America).

A quick test would be to open up a command prompt in Windows (click Start, programs, accessories then command prompt or click Start, Run, then type CMD in the box and enter), put a 1.44MB floppy in the drive (you have plugged it in haven't you?) and then type

FORMAT A: /A:1024 /T:77 /N:8 /U

(Note A: might be different but to confirm, click My Computer, it should tell you the drive, if it doesn't then click once on Floppy Disk Drive and then click properties and click Sharing)

It should format the disc in PC-9801 format of 77 Tracks, 8 Sectors per track, 1024 Bytes per track on sector, if it comes up with errors like Track 0 unreadable then try another disc, if that fails then the drive is not compatable. Else it should finish and say something like (this is from Windows Vista).

C:\>format a: /a:1024 /t:77 /n:8 /u
Insert new disk for drive A:
and press ENTER when ready...
The type of the file system is FAT.
Verifying 1.23M
Initializing the File Allocation Table (FAT)...
Volume label (11 characters, ENTER for none)?
Format complete.

1,250,304 bytes total disk space.
1,250,304 bytes available on disk.

1,024 bytes in each allocation unit.
1,221 allocation units available on disk.

12 bits in each FAT entry.

Volume Serial Number is 0487-2775

Format another (Y/N)?

Then your drive is compatable, if you are going to make images then I suggest you format your discs first so type Y and continue. The /U switch is important as it will format the disc unconditionally, without it you might find the discs won't format correctly.

We will recreate the MS-DOS 6.2 installation discs, but any image file will work in exactly the same way.

Download the disc images from here

http://www.initialm.net/mkw/pc98catalog ... SDOS62.rar

You will need a program to unrar the file, use 7z or unrar or something.

Then open the file into your Images folder (I created a MS DOS 6.2 folder for it). The files will be in .FDI format and need to be converted.

Load up VFIC and select BKDSK FORMAT from the drop down menu and then just drag and drop each of the .FDI files into the window that says "Drag & Drop File(s) Here to Convert", it will create some new files that have the exention .HDM which is a plain image format.

Next load up Disk Image, click the "+" tab and uncheck skip error track, click "for old pc-dos users" and make sure you set the Windows option for your machine, either 95/98 for Windows 95, 98 or ME or Xp/2k for Windows XP, 2000, NT4 and Vista, also set FD Drive to the drive you will be using and FD Mode to 1.25M, anything else will work but will fail to work on the PC-98x1 machine.

Click HD -> FD (125) and select the first .HDM file, and click okay and it should then write the disc, if you did not format the disc to 1.2MB with the format command then the disc will probably fail to write correctly. Once done, open up a command prompt and type

DIR A:

(Replacing A: if different) and if successful it should list the files. The PC-98x1 should recognise the disc too.

Using the disc you can install an operating system on the drive if you get the dreaded NO SYSTEM FILES (Although check to make sure you do have a Hard Drive in the the Hard drive bay).


Making images is very easy, make sure your drive is compatable by testing it (see above) first. Then you need to check the condition of your discs. I suggest you don't put it into your PC-98x1 drive as if the disc is faulty then you could mess up the drive and it's easier to replace a USB drive then a notebook drive.

First check the discs to make sure they are not damaged in any way, like cracks or chips to the disc or the metal slider is bend or dented. Also check the metal slider by touching the top right hand part of it to make sure it will slide left and springs back when you move your finger right if unsure then don't use the disc as it'll cause you problems.

Slide the metal cover again and under decent light, check to see if the brown surface of the disc is reflective and doesn't have any marks, if the disc looks to have water marks or isn't totally reflective then the disc may be damaged and don't use it, you still of course could try but again do it on a USB drive that you can replace.

*IMPORTANT* make sure you always write protect the disc before inserting it into the drive.

Open up the command prompt and type DIR A: to check that the disc is readable if your drive makes funny noises then I suggest you press the eject button, also PC-9821 discs may be in 1.44MB format and if this is the case then

Create a folder in the images drive to store your images, just so you can find the files easily.

Next load up Disk Image, click the "+" tab and uncheck skip error track, click "for old pc-dos users" and make sure you set the Windows option for your machine, either 95/98 for Windows 95, 98 or ME or Xp/2k for Windows XP, 2000, NT4 and Vista, also set FD Drive to the drive you will be using and FD Mode to 1.25M.

Click FD -> HD (125)

Move to the correct folder and type in a name, it's useful to call the discs as they are called on the disc as well as using a numeric or letter first so you can idenify the discs easily. So for example DISK A, DISK 1 - SYSTEM DISK, DISK 1, DISK 1 - GAME DISC, DISK 2 - DATA DISC etc) then add the extention .HDM (as the program won't). Then click OK and it will read the disc, if it comes across errors retry them a few times, maybe take the disc out and reinsert it, if it continues to fail then give up as the disc is unreadable.

I would open the created image in DISK EXPLORER as it will show if the disc has copied correctly (ie you can see files, click VIEW and DISK VIEW. to see it has copied as a 1.2M disc (it should have 1,250,304 bytes on the disc).

Repeat this for all the discs and then you have a back up, you can use VFIC to convert the discs into other formats like .FDI for use in emulators if you so wish.


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PostPosted: April 19th, 2013, 3:03 pm 
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Joined: June 7th, 2008, 8:51 am
Posts: 928
Location: South Africa
This is incredibly useful info. Thanks.

I am expecting some auction purchases in a month or two, so have been trying to get myself organised. Not having a PC-98 I have been setting up a plain old PC. I do have a USB floppy that says it will read and write but not format 3-mode floppies so I hope that works out. I have a few 5.25 inch drives, one of which seems better than the others reading old 1.2mb PC floppies on tests of some of my old media. Out of interest, I also tested with WinImage, and the .ima file appears to be a straight sector dump just like the DiskImage dump - a .hdm in PC-98/VFic terms. We will see how I go.


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PostPosted: May 3rd, 2013, 3:37 am 
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Joined: October 19th, 2010, 2:52 am
Posts: 135
Location: Quebec, Canada
I have a Sony Vaio PCGA-UFD5 floppy drive. im supose to be able to format on 1.2mb but i have a problem.

it is not the floppy drive, it seems to be the operating system. I have windows 7 64 bits.

When i open a command prompt, i enter the command :FORMAT A: /A:1024 /T:77 /N:8 /U but it doesn't work.

it give me a error: Parameters not compatible.

it give me this error at the right moment i press enter after i put the command. It don't even work on the floppy drive first. is it my operating system or im i doing something wrong?

thanks


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PostPosted: May 3rd, 2013, 4:24 am 
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Joined: June 7th, 2008, 8:51 am
Posts: 928
Location: South Africa
I might be wrong here.

My drive ( a Y-E Data IIRC ) can read and write but not format 1.2MB, so says the manual, as said above. An attempt to format gives the error you get.

This could be incorrect but I did find this reference:

http://nfggames.com/forum2/index.php?topic=3810.5;imode

Quote:
Just about all floppy drives from Y-E Data (many are re-branded, mine was sold as the Sony Vaio PCGA-UFD5) are capable of 3-mode


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PostPosted: May 10th, 2013, 3:32 am 
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Joined: October 19th, 2010, 2:52 am
Posts: 135
Location: Quebec, Canada
Ok, so i will not be able to format but i test it right now and it seem i can still read and write 1.2mb disk. So my next question, Is it possible in a pc98 emulator to use a physical floppy drive to read disk? or is there a software who can let me delete files from the floppy disk?

thanks


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PostPosted: May 10th, 2013, 4:23 am 
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Joined: June 7th, 2008, 8:51 am
Posts: 928
Location: South Africa
Maybe I misunderstand you.

If you have a formatted floppy in the drive, can you not just use the Windows command interpreter?

DEL A:FILEA.TXT


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PostPosted: August 16th, 2013, 4:58 pm 
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Joined: June 7th, 2008, 8:51 am
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Location: South Africa
THE BIZARRE WORLD OF 3-MODE

I have come to the conclusion that reading 3-mode diskettes is a matter of witchcraft or sorcery.

1. What works.

I have pentium-4 PC running XP which allows for one single floppy drive in the BIOS, and that is attached to a 5.25in TEAC drive which reads 77/1024/8 floppies very well using Omniflop, with Omniflop's drivers installed for controller and drive.

To this I can attach one or other of the USB 3.5in floppy drives I have as the B: drive - a TEAC in an IBM casing, and a YE-Data ( both work ). Using Omniflop ( that claims it WILL NOT WORK with USB drives ), choosing the "Unknown Custom Format" option, I have a LOT of success reading 3.5in 77/1024/8 3-mode diskettes. The only funny is that if you get a bad floppy that it cannot read, you need to power down the whole machine and restart, as once the drive has an error reading, it will NOT read a good floppy without giving an error.

2. What doesn't work.

I have 3 old pentium-3 level machines that let you set 3-mode in the BIOS. I have a collection of 7 or 8 internal drives that are 3-mode compatible - Mitsumi, NEC, TEAC. The PCs I have set up with Windows 2000 Pro, not XP, because Win2000 understands the 77/1024/8 format and you are able to format floppies through the Windows format using those parameters, while XP seems to have trashed those as format options. One needs to use a 3-mode driver for both controller and drive, and I have tried a few, including VIA, ALI, Microsoft default ( no 3-mode ), and Omniflop.

I can happily format 77/1024/8 floppies, write to them, copy files back and forth. Life seems good.

BUT, the moment I try to read a genuine Japanese floppy ( that I can read quite fine in setup 1 above ), I get errors. I cannot see the directory under Win2000 ( says disk is not formatted ), I cannot read with Omniflop, nothing. I have tried every conceivable combination of drives and drivers. Nothing.

I cannot believe that ALL these internal drives are badly out of alignment, when the USB drives I have, have no major problem.

I also get virtually no joy with the Disk Image program on any setup, though it has worked once or twice and then not, on another setup.

I thought I would share my fun and games in case anyone else tries these things. If anyone has any experience or ideas, I'd love to hear about them. Thankfully I do have one setup that does work pretty well.


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PostPosted: December 6th, 2015, 1:18 am 
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Joined: November 12th, 2015, 12:56 am
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A couple of years late but I thought I'd just post a bit of advice for anyone buying a USB drive in order to read PC-98 discs: you might be better buying an older drive rather than a new one. The reason I say this is because rather a lot of newer drives on the market claim to be using Teac FD-05s, but are in fact using a Mitsumi mechanism that is not 3 mode compatible. Honestly I don't know if this only affects newer drives, but it seems to be a reasonable hypothesis that the mechanism could have been changed if there was a shortage of the original Teac part.

FWIW, the part number on my drive is 19308801-19. I believe some IBM branded drives have that number too, but only some. I'd be curious to know if that code specifically identifies the Mitsumi equipped drives or not, because that could be a useful way for someone to avoid them. Alas, I really don't feel like amassing a bigger USB floppy drive collection to find out. :)

I've had good luck with Y-E Data and NEC drives. Oddly, it seems that Windows 10 will format 1.2MB disks, but only if they're already formatted (note, I haven't tested such disks in an actual PC-98). So Microsoft appear to have once again crippled functionality of something in modern versions of Windows for no apparent reason (where's my MIDI mapper, Microsoft?).


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PostPosted: March 9th, 2016, 7:26 pm 
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Joined: May 5th, 2012, 5:59 pm
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Location: CHINA,PRC.
for 3mode floppy format , just need a USB Floppy drive with USB floppy controller integrated

e.g. SONY , Y-E DATA , IO-DATA etc.

using on-board FDC for 3mode floppies , it usually need combined of FDC , motherboard I/O support software (OS and Driver) and floppy drive,

_________________
QAQ Flyingharuka's retro:

distance Japan closely PC-98 / retro software libary.


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PostPosted: July 30th, 2022, 3:33 pm 
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Joined: July 12th, 2007, 4:26 pm
Posts: 34
Location: france, navarre
Thanks Jamtex !

i tried creating on pc win10, for real 3,5" floppy for pc9801 following the steps

1/ format 1.2mb mode3 usb floppy
2/ vfic virtual : FDI to hdm
3/ diskimage 1.3b (with backwards compatibility to win2k) with 1,25mb

it seems ok (i'm waiting the computer to arrive)....

so hard to find other real examples ! (only seen a mention on linux there https://blog.soykaf.com/post/writing-pc ... der-linux/) and another pc98 recent user on youtube, Uroko Sakanabito

https://kzbin.info/www/pc9801cv-hardran ... qKcd82MqJY
answered me about Xfloppy success (but cant start it because it's only windows98, and even a pc with win10 back compatibility mode and 386enh added)


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PostPosted: August 6th, 2022, 3:58 pm 
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Joined: July 12th, 2007, 4:26 pm
Posts: 34
Location: france, navarre
8) it works ! on a rare setup (only 2 known so far outside japan) pc9801cv21,

i dont know yet if FDD files can be converted too.. (apparently with gui tool : FIVEC)

Image


Last edited by pro7 on August 7th, 2022, 5:37 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: August 6th, 2022, 4:12 pm 
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Joined: June 23rd, 2007, 10:34 pm
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Location: You know
Lovely computer!

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