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System Administration Guide: Devices and File Systems
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Formatting Diskettes

You can use the rmformat command to format and protect rewritable diskettes. File systems are mounted automatically. So, you might have to unmount media before you can format it, if the media contains an existing file system.

The rmformat command has three formatting options:

  • quick – This option formats diskettes without certification or with limited certification of certain tracks on the media.

  • long – This option completely formats diskettes. For some devices, the use of this option might include the certification of the whole media by the drive.

  • force – This option formats completely without user confirmation. For diskettes with a password-protection mechanism, this option clears the password before formatting. This feature is useful when a password is forgotten. On diskettes without password protection, this option forces a long format.

Removable Media Hardware Considerations

Keep the following restrictions in mind when working with diskettes:

  • SPARC and x86 UFS formats are different. SPARC uses little-endian bit coding, x86 uses big-endian. Media formatted for UFS is restricted to the hardware platform on which they were formatted. So, a diskette formatted for UFS on a SPARC based platform cannot be used for UFS on an x86 platform. Likewise, a diskette formatted for UFS on an x86 platform cannot be used on a SPARC platform.

  • A complete format for SunOSTM file systems consists of the basic “bit” formatting in addition the structure to support a SunOS file system. A complete format for a DOS file system consists of the basic “bit” formatting in addition the structure to support either an MS-DOS or an NEC-DOS file system. The procedures required to prepare a media for each type of file system are different. Therefore, before you format a diskette, consider which procedure to follow. For more information, see Managing Removable Media (Task Map).

Diskette Hardware Considerations

Keep the following in mind when formatting diskettes:

  • For information on diskette names, see Table 3-1.

  • Diskettes that are not named (that is, they have no “label”) are assigned the default name of floppy.

A Solaris system can format the following diskette types:

  • UFS

  • MS-DOS or NEC-DOS (PCFS)

  • UDFS

On a Solaris system (either SPARC or x86), you can format diskettes with the following densities.

Diskette Size

Diskette Density

Capacity

3.5”

High density (HD)

1.44 Mbytes

3.5”

Double density (DD)

720 Kbytes

By default, the diskette drive formats a diskette to a like density. This default means that a 1.44 Mbyte drive attempts to format a diskette for 1.44 Mbytes, regardless of whether the diskette is, in fact, a 1.44 Mbyte diskette, unless you instruct it otherwise. In other words, a diskette can be formatted to its capacity or lower, and a drive can format to its capacity or lower.

How to Load Removable Media

For information about removable media hardware considerations, see Removable Media Hardware Considerations.

  1. Insert the media.
  2. Ensure that the media is formatted.

    If you aren't sure, insert the media and check the status messages in the system console window, as described in Step 3. If you need to format the media, go to How to Format a Diskette (rmformat).

  3. (Optional) Notify volume management if you are using a legacy, non-USB diskette device.
    $ volcheck -v

    Two status messages are possible:

    media was found

    Volume management detected the media and will attempt to mount it in the directory described in Table 3-1.

    If the media is formatted properly, no error messages appear in the console.

    If the media is not formatted, the “media was found” message is still displayed. However, error messages similar to the following appear in the system console window:

    fd0: unformatted diskette or no diskette in the drive

    fd0: read failed (40 1 0)

    fd0: bad format

    You must format the media before volume management can mount it. For more information, see Chapter 2, Managing Removable Media (Tasks).

    no media was found

    Volume management did not detect the media. Ensure that the media is inserted properly, and run volcheck again. If unsuccessful, check the media, which could be damaged. You can also try to mount the media manually.

  4. Verify that the media was mounted by listing its contents.

    For example, do the following for a diskette:

    $ ls /media/floppy
    lost+found myfiles

How to Format a Diskette (rmformat)

You can use the rmformat command to format a diskette. By default, this command creates two partitions on the media: partition 0 and partition 2 (the whole media).

  1. Verify that removable media service is running. If so, you can use the shorter nickname for the device name.
    # svcs hal dbus rmvolmgr
    STATE          STIME    FMRI
    online         Apr_09   svc:/system/dbus:default
    online         Apr_09   svc:/system/hal:default
    online         Apr_09   svc:/system/filesystem/rmvolmgr:default

    For information on restarting removable media services, see How to Disable or Enable Removable Media Services. For information on identifying media device names, see Using Removable Media Names.

  2. Format the diskette.
    $ rmformat -F [ quick | long | force ] device-name

    See Formatting Diskettes for more information on rmformat formatting options.

    If the rmformat output indicates bad blocks, see How to Repair Bad Blocks on Removable Media.

  3. (Optional) Label the diskette with an 8-character label.
    $ rmformat -b label device-name

    For information on creating a DOS label, see mkfs_pcfs(1M).

Example 2-1 Formatting a Diskette

This example shows how to format a diskette.

$ rmformat -F quick /dev/rdiskette
Formatting will erase all the data on disk.
Do you want to continue? (y/n) y
.........................................................................

How to Create a File System on Removable Media

  1. (Optional) Format the diskette.
    $ rmformat -F quick device-name
  2. (Optional) Create an alternate Solaris partition table.
    $ rmformat -s slice-file device-name

    A sample slice file appears similar to the following:

    slices: 0 = 0, 30MB, "wm", "home" : 
                  1 = 30MB, 51MB : 
                  2 = 0, 94MB, "wm", "backup" : 
                  6 = 81MB, 13MB
  3. Become superuser.
  4. Determine the appropriate file system type and select one of the following:
    • Create a UFS file system. For example:

      # newfs /dev/rdiskette0
    • Create a PCFS file system. For example:

      # mkfs -F pcfs /dev/rdsk/c0t4d0s2:c
    • Create a UDFS file system. For example:

      # mkfs -F udfs /dev/rdsk/c0t1d0s1
Example 2-2 Formatting a Diskette for a UFS File System

The following example shows how to format a diskette and create a UFS file system on the diskette.

$ rmformat -F quick /dev/rdiskette
Formatting will erase all the data on disk.
Do you want to continue? (y/n)y
$ su
# /usr/sbin/newfs /dev/rdiskette
newfs: construct a new file system /dev/rdiskette: (y/n)? y
/dev/rdiskette: 2880 sectors in 80 cylinders of 2 tracks, 18 sectors
        1.4MB in 5 cyl groups (16 c/g, 0.28MB/g, 128 i/g)
super-block backups (for fsck -F ufs -o b=#) at:
 32, 640, 1184, 1792, 2336,
Example 2-3 Formatting a Diskette for a PCFS File System

This example shows how to create a PCFS file system with an alternate fdisk partition. In these examples, vold is not running.

$ rmformat -F quick /dev/rdsk/c0t4d0s2:c
Formatting will erase all the data on disk.
Do you want to continue? (y/n) y
$ su
# fdisk /dev/rdsk/c0t4d0s2:c 
# mkfs -F pcfs /dev/rdsk/c0t4d0s2:c
Construct a new FAT file system on /dev/rdsk/c0t4d0s2:c: (y/n)? y
#

This example shows how to create a PCFS file system without an fdisk partition.

$ rmformat -F quick /dev/rdiskette
Formatting will erase all the data on disk.
Do you want to continue? (y/n) y
$ su
# mkfs -F pcfs -o nofdisk,size=2 /dev/rdiskette
Construct a new FAT file system on /dev/rdiskette: (y/n)? y
#

How to Create a File System on a DVD-RAM

Use this procedure to create a file system on a DVD-RAM.

  1. Become superuser.
  2. Create a file system on the DVD-RAM device.
    • Create a UFS file system. For example:

      # newfs /dev/rdsk/c0t0d0s2
    • Create a UDFS file system. For example:

      # mkfs -F udfs /dev/rdsk/c0t0d0s2
  3. Mount the file system.
    • Mount a UFS file system. For example:

      # mount -F ufs /dev/dsk/c0t0d0s2 /mnt
    • Mount a UDFS file system. For example:

      # mount -F udfs /dev/dsk/c0t0d0s2 /mnt
  4. Verify that you can read or write to the file system.
  5. When finished, eject the DVD-RAM.

How to Check a File System on Removable Media

  1. Become superuser.
  2. Identify the file system type and select one of the following:
    • Check a UFS file system.

      # fsck -F ufs device-name
    • Check a UDFS file system.

      # fsck -F udfs device-name
    • Check a PCFS file system.

      # fsck -F pcfs device-name
Example 2-4 Checking a PCFS File System on Removable Media

The following example shows how check the consistency of a PCFS file system on media. In this example, vold is not running.

# fsck -F pcfs /dev/rdsk/c0t4d0s2
** /dev/rdsk/c0t4d0s2
** Scanning file system meta-data
** Correcting any meta-data discrepancies
1457664 bytes.
0 bytes in bad sectors.
0 bytes in 0 directories.
0 bytes in 0 files.
1457664 bytes free.
512 bytes per allocation unit.
2847 total allocation units.
2847 available allocation units.
# 

How to Repair Bad Blocks on Removable Media

You can only use the rmformat command to verify, analyze, and repair bad sectors that are found during verification if the drive supports bad block management. Most diskettes and USB memory sticks do not support bad block management.

If the drive supports bad block management, a best effort is made to rectify the bad block. If the bad block cannot be rectified despite the best effort mechanism, a message indicates the failure to repair the media.

  1. Repair bad blocks on removable media.
    $ rmformat -c block-numbers device-name

    Supply the block number in decimal, octal, or hexadecimal format from a previous rmformat session.

  2. Verify the media.
    $ rmformat -V read device-name

Applying Read or Write Protection and Password Protection to Removable Media

You can apply read protection or write protection, and set a password, on removable media that support this feature.

How to Enable or Disable Write Protection on Removable Media

  1. Determine whether you want to enable or disable write protection and select one of the following:
    • Enable write protection.

      $ rmformat -w enable device-name
    • Disable write protection.

      $ rmformat -w disable device-name
  2. Verify whether the media's write protection is enabled or disabled.
    $ rmformat -p device-name

How to Enable or Disable Read or Write Protection and Set a Password on Removable Media

You can apply a password with a maximum of 32 characters for removable media that support this feature.

You will receive a warning message if you attempt to apply a password on media that does not support this feature.

  1. Determine whether you want to enable or disable read protection or write protection and set a password. Select one of the following:
    • Enable read protection or write protection.

      $ rmformat -W enable device-name
      Please enter password (32 chars maximum): xxx
      Please reenter password:
      $ rmformat -R enable device-name
      Please enter password (32 chars maximum): xxx
      Please reenter password:
    • Disable read protection or write protection and remove the password.

      $ rmformat -W disable device-name
      Please enter password (32 chars maximum): xxx
      $ rmformat -R disable device-name
      Please enter password (32 chars maximum): xxx
  2. Verify whether the media's read protection or write protection is enabled or disabled.
    $ rmformat -p device-name
Example 2-5 Enabling or Disabling Read or Write Protection and Password Protection

This example shows how to enable write protection and set a password on a diskette.

$ rmformat -W enable /dev/rdiskette
Please enter password (32 chars maximum): xxx
Please reenter password: xxx

This example shows to disable read protection and remove the password on a diskette.

$ rmformat -R disable /dev/rdiskette
Please enter password (32 chars maximum): xxx
Please reenter password: xxx
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