WORKING WITH A 5¼" DISK DRIVE by Richard Karsmakers
Since of couple of weeks, I am proud to have a 5¼" disk drive in
my posession (included in one of those Cumana 3½"+5¼" drives).
Originally having hated those very floppy floppies, monetary
matters made me switch to one of those good old drives again -
after all, the 3½" disks cost about 5 times as much as those very
Many people, having bought one of those 5¼" drives, will come up
with some questions. I also came up with these questions, and I
have found an answer to most of them.
1) What is that strange click that I hear every time when the
drive starts working when a 5¼" disk is actually inserted?
Answer: That is the so-called "head load". It may sound
irritating, but it's perfectly harmless. It can be disabled by
opening the drive, inserting a disk and using a small screw to
keep the head permanantly where it is with that disk inserted.
2) How can I boot from drive B?
Loading accessories CAN be done, using a program called
"Freeboot" that I got from our French distributor. I busted this
program, however, so that I will have to wait another while to be
able to do it again. Bootsector loading is quite impossible.
Those are the answers with regard to software solutions, but
there's a hardware solution, of course. You can make a switch on
the drive select A and B leads in the plug that fits in the back
of your computer. Switching these causes drive B to become drive
A and drive A to become drive B. Booting from 5¼" is then
possible. If you intend to make a switch there, make sure you
turn off your system if you switch (I don't know what happens if
3) Can I use white label disks?
Of course you can, but you'd better copy everything to 5¼" with
verify ON in that case (I really like FCopy 2.0). And disks that
use 10 sectors per track can only be copied to better quality 5¼"
That's all there is to tell. Especially the 'head load' makes
many people think that something is wrong with their drives,
which apparently isn't the case. I can advise everybody to get
his hands on one of those 5¼" drives - it really makes a whole
difference in the wallet!
The text of the articles is identical to the originals like they appeared in old ST NEWS issues. Please take into consideration that the author(s) was (were) a lot younger and less responsible back then. So bad jokes, bad English, youthful arrogance, insults, bravura, over-crediting and tastelessness should be taken with at least a grain of salt. Any contact and/or payment information, as well as deadlines/release dates of any kind should be regarded as outdated. Due to the fact that these pages are not actually contained in an Atari executable here, references to scroll texts, featured demo screens and hidden articles may also be irrelevant.