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Old 2008-08-20, 13:22   #1
M0CZY
 
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Question Problem with Windows Command Prompt

I am having a problem when I try to format a floppy disk from the Command Prompt:

Microsoft Windows XP [Version 5.1.2600]
(C) Copyright 1985-2001 Microsoft Corp.

C:\Documents and Settings\User>format a:
'format' is not recognized as an internal or external command,
operable program or batch file.

C:\Documents and Settings\User>

It worked when I last tried it, so what could have changed, and how can I fix it?
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Old 2008-08-20, 13:52   #2
retina
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It would seem that either the path has been changed and no longer has "C:\WINDOWS\System32" in there, or "format.com" has been moved or deleted.
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Old 2008-08-20, 15:14   #3
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This probably will fail for the same reason as the command line, but try going to

Windows Explorer (not Internet Explorer)
Folders Mode
highlight the floppy
format.
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Old 2008-08-20, 17:49   #4
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What's a floppy?

Seriously, I'm somewhat surprised that people still have a need for floppies. They don't hold much data. I probably haven't used one in more than 5 years, although it is rather funny that I found a stack in my desk at the back of a drawer yesterday. I tossed them without even bothering to look at what was on them. I can only guess that you need to move a file to a PC that doesn't have a USB port. A thumb driver is easier to use, faster, and holds far more data.
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Old 2008-08-20, 19:46   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rogue View Post
What's a floppy?
Seriously, I'm somewhat surprised that people still have a need for floppies. They don't hold much data. I probably haven't used one in more than 5 years, although it is rather funny that I found a stack in my desk at the back of a drawer yesterday. I tossed them without even bothering to look at what was on them. I can only guess that you need to move a file to a PC that doesn't have a USB port. A thumb driver is easier to use, faster, and holds far more data.
One still needs floppies for F6 installation of drivers during Windows installation, very often USB keys will not help.
Another point is, why replace a working technology if it satisfies your needs.

The problem MOCZY has is more fundamental : some basic functiun does not work. There is no more access to a system program, this means the path environment variable or some permissions changed or a system file has been deleted or moved. No trivial problem : especially the causes of the problem are not to be neglected.

Jaob
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Old 2008-08-20, 22:39   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by S485122 View Post
One still needs floppies for F6 installation of drivers during Windows installation, very often USB keys will not help.
Another point is, why replace a working technology if it satisfies your needs.
I suppose you are right. It probably explains why most PCs built today still have other obsolete technology such as COM, printer, and PS2 ports...

BTW, since a horse and buggy could satisfy my need, why would I want a car? I would argue that your analogy is not a good one. A vast majority of PC users today have no use for a floppy drive because they don't need to install drivers when the OS is installed, but only after it is installed and they can do that with a thumb driver, a CD, or an installer d/l'd from the net.
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Old 2008-08-21, 02:02   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by retina View Post
It would seem that either the path has been changed and no longer has "C:\WINDOWS\System32" in there, or "format.com" has been moved or deleted.
To expand on that thought, you can check your 'path' from a couple spots. Not necessarily the easiest, but where you should likely find it is below.

Right click your 'my computer' and select properties
Click the advanced tab
Click the environment variables button
Scroll down and Click on the PATH variable in the system variables box
Click the edit button and check out all of the listed paths
Likely the first path should be %SystemRoot%\system32
If that path isn't listed, that's likely you problem and you just need to add it

If that path is listed, then you should navigate to that folder using explorer, dos, or whatever, and verify that the "format.com" file is actually in that folder.

If the file is there, I don't have too many suggestions other than possibly deleting everything in your windows/prefetch folder and rebooting, and/or verifying you have the correct/uncorrupted file by comparing it's size/etc with the format.com from some other computer running the same OS version.
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Old 2008-08-21, 11:40   #8
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If your XP installation has the default directories
then format.com is in C:\Windows\System32.
If you change to that directory and format works, it is a path issue.

(open a command prompt)

(change to the directory that should hold format)
cd \Windows\System32

(check if format is there)
dir format.*

(if it's there, try it)
format a:
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Old 2008-08-21, 14:03   #9
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The format.com file is present in \Windows\System32, and in case it was corrupted, I imported an identical copy from another computer.

One thing I noticed is when I tried to format a floppy using the Windows interface, there was no dropdown option to select a 720k size, and Windows was unable to format my 720k floppy.

It was working fine until yesterday, so I don't know what has changed.
I never interfere with the contents of the Windows folder.

Please don't laugh, I've got a whole box of 720k floppies!

I've not had too much luck with USB flash drives; I have had 3 fail in use on 3 different computers.
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Old 2008-08-21, 14:37   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by M0CZY View Post
The format.com file is present in \Windows\System32, and in case it was corrupted, I imported an identical copy from another computer.

One thing I noticed is when I tried to format a floppy using the Windows interface, there was no dropdown option to select a 720k size, and Windows was unable to format my 720k floppy.

It was working fine until yesterday, so I don't know what has changed.
I never interfere with the contents of the Windows folder.

Please don't laugh, I've got a whole box of 720k floppies!

I've not had too much luck with USB flash drives; I have had 3 fail in use on 3 different computers.
If the 720k floppy is double sided, then you might be able to get away with formatting it as 1440k. If not, then you can cut a hole in the corner of the diskette casing (the outside corner opposite the lock tab) and then format at 1440k. I had done that to many floppies and rarely had problems.

Regarding USB drives, it is good practice to use the "Remove hardware" function before pulling it out of the USB port. It is also possible that the USB drives were poorly constructed to begin with and thus more prone to failure.

BTW, you never mentioned why you need the floppies.
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Old 2008-08-21, 15:27   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rogue View Post

BTW, you never mentioned why you need the floppies.
"Just because they are there"?

Luigi
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