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Master_Scythe

Formatting SuperFloppy

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So fellas, any idea how to format into SuperFloppy mode?

For those who don't know about this,  it's basically the format that all USB drives ship with, that we break when we clean format them.

1. Super floppy - No partition table, but usable.
2. Single Partition - Removable USB HDD mode, with only 1 partition.
3. GPT disk -  Full 'I wanna be a hard drive' partition table and drive wear our the ass.

SuperFloppy usually requires a bit-flip telling the controller it's always removable (the plus side, is that it's normally set that way from the factory, and is hard [not impossible] to flip back yourself), so lets assume my disk is A-OK in terms of controller.

Do we know any tools that allow "SuperFloppy" as a format option?

 

For the behind the scenes:

I'm trying to troubleshoot why some car head units read some disks differently (in relation to speed). Some take 5 seconds to skip a track, some are instant; despite them both showing Fat32 and same cluster size in windows.
I also know I've formatted most of my drives in windows myself in the past, meaning they'll all be in mode 2. which greatly (can...) hinders write and read speed because it has a partition table overhead.

 

Any tips?

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15 hours ago, Nich... said:

Superfloppy as in.. something to do with actual FDs? 

 

No, but I'm not surprised we both missed the boat here; it's rarely spoken of.

It's the technical term for the format used on removable media, where there is a set storage size but there is no partition table.

https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/previous-versions/windows/hardware/design/dn640535(v=vs.85)

Quote

What is a superfloppy?

Removable media without either GPT or MBR formatting is considered a "superfloppy". The entire media is treated as a single partition.
The media manufacturer performs any MBR partitioning of removable media. If the media does have an MBR, only one partition is supported. There is little user-discernible difference between MBR-partitioned media and superfloppies.
Examples of removable media include floppy disk drives, JAZ disk cartridges, magneto-optical media, DVD-ROM, and CD-ROM.
Hard disk drives on external buses such as SCSI or IEEE 1394 are not considered removable.

 

I only just recently learned from the Sandisk forums that this is their default formatting, and when you windows format it, you 'break that'.
So I'm looking for a way to reformat it 'correctly'.

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I've never heard of this but from reading some Internets briefly there doesn't seem to be much information.  What if for some reason, only manufacturers can format their own devices into super floppies?  If there's no partition maybe they need to know the precise size specs, read/write areas/registers or something like that.

If I was pursuing this, my next step would be to call a USB manufacturer's tech support and ask them.

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I reckon it's not a format option - format usually implies that the disk type and partition layout is already established and you've said it's a bitsetting at low level.

So, maybe there's something in DISKPART or a similar utility that can deal with it.

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USB drives and SSD drives both flash so in theory you can treat the storage on a USB like a SSD (with the usual caveats as the write limits on flash drives are the kicker).

I guess if you have a PC running Linux, you could do this.

I guess other devices pretty much expect a USB drive to be FAT32 (or FAT64) which is the industry standard.

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4 hours ago, Jeruselem said:

I guess other devices pretty much expect a USB drive to be FAT32 (or FAT64) which is the industry standard.

And from factory they, just without an MBR, GPT or any other form of partition table.

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24 minutes ago, Master_Scythe said:

And from factory they, just without an MBR, GPT or any other form of partition table.

There's enough devices out there which don't even read exFAT/FAT64

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Reading this made me wonder if I'm interpreting it correctly and exFAT has no partition table like a FAT32 or NTFS or etc drive would.  Was it an option for you to try on removable media in the car?

Also I assume you've tried both FAT32 and NTFS (or other common) formats, and both MBR and GPT, to see if it changes the seek/access speeds?

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The partition table shouldn't be relevant to the filing system.  I've got an external drive which has an NTFS and exFAT partition (used so I can access Mac files easily on PCs as well).  So I'd guess exFAT always expects a partition table (and it's a relatively new filing system standard).

A shot in the dark - there's raw R/W copiers out there - it's a right kludge-o-matic way but might be useful for save/restore to superfloppy format.  In theory you'd probably only need the first several/dozen blocks.

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new to me.

one thought, maybe you could root around writing in HEX with something like this: BootIce

or, maybe you can image a "super floppy" with something like ImDisk and format another using that image ???

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