Free Software for DOS
Disk Utilities – 1

9 Dec 2005

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This page:
FLOPPY DISK UTILS (diskcopy, image, format, recover...)




DEFRAGGERS (FAT16 only, not for Win9x)

Other page:
HARD DISK PARTITION UTILS (sizers, fdisks, save/restore)






Hex editors: See Programming.

CD music players: See Sound Programs & CD Players.


2M — Format floppies to higher capacities.

* * * *

If you want to squeeze a few more files on your 1.44MB floppies – and save a few pennies in the process, 2M will help. 2M can reformat a 1.44MB floppy to either 1.7 or 1.8MB. These disks are readable/writable only when the supplied 2mdos TSR program is running. You normally can't use these disks on a PC lacking the TSR. Yet each 2M disk can function as a 2M boot disk: simply boot a computer from a 2M disk and the TSR is automatically loaded. A pretty nifty feature.

Tip from a reader:
The distribution archive also contains small drivers that add 1.44 and 1.2 MB drive capability to XT's and earlier AT's. For hardware support the author has you mount a 16-bit multi-function card — yes, even in an 8-bit slot (which also provides functional com and lpt ports). Using this technique I successfully added a 1.44 drive to an XT clone — though in this case the driver supported only one floppy, not the two it was supposed to. However, the standard 5 1/4 drive was still bootable (of course).

Author: Ciriaco García de Celis, Spain.

1995-03-06: v3.0. Cardware.

Download (251K).

FDFORMAT — Format floppies to higher capacities.

* * * *

This older utility, similar to 2M, has better 3rd party support and remains very popular. English or German interface.

OS note: FDF disks are readable under Win9x; the TSR is not required. FDF is not compatible w/ WinNT4.0.

Other features, from the docs:
Supporting 3½"-1.44 MB drives with any BIOS-Versions in ATs and Clones. This saves you a lot of money, you would need for a new BIOS-Version.
Formatting and using of 720/820 kByte disks in AT 5¼"-1.2 MByte Drives using cheap double-density (DD) disks.
Supporting 3½"-360 kByte format. This is useful, when you want to make copies of 5¼"-disks to 3½"-Disks using DISKCOPY.
Improved BOOT-Sector, which automatically boots from harddisk, if the diskette in drive A: is not a system disk. This allows you to leave the diskette in drive A:, when you reboot the system.

Author: Christoph H. Hochstätter, Germany (1991).

1991-07-21: v1.8.

Download (100K).

HD-COPY — Fast diskette copier and high capacity formatter.

* * * *

[updated 2005-04-10]

From the docs...

HD-COPY is the fastest copy-program I know (and I know many) --- there's definitely no faster one. You can also use it to format disks at various formats (from 720 Kb to 1.764 Mb in this version of HD-COPY), which is faster than DOS' FORMAT and produce s less errors.
The following DD formats are supported:
* 320 Kb, 360 Kb, 720 Kb; "special" DD formats: 400 Kb, 800 Kb, 820 Kb and similar
The following HD formats are supported:
* 5 1/4 inch drives: 1.2 Mb, 1.44 Mb, 1.48 Mb and similar
* 3 1/2 inch drives: 1.2 Mb, 1.44 Mb, 1.48 Mb, 1.72 Mb and similar

Note: To use non-standard disks (i.e. 5.25" disks with more than 1.2MB, or 3.5" disks with more than 1.44MB) outside HD-COPY, you have to install a TSR program like FDREAD (included), because the DOS/BIOS doesn't like disks with an unusual number of sectors. HD-COPY itself doesn't need FDREAD, since it has its own routines to handle special formats.

Available in English and German. Both packages have the same opening screen, showing a choice of installation language. But each package contains one version only: You must select the language package that you need. The German package is larger, with a complete manual that is not translated into English.

Author: Oliver Fromme, Germany (1995). Cardware.

1995-01-13: v2.0a.

In English
Auf Deutsch

More in these pages from Oliver Fromme.

VGA-COPY/386 — VGA floppy diskette copier, formatter, and image manager.

* * * *

[added 2001-10-29], updated 2005-07-01]

This respected shareware disk copier is now freeware. Beneath the VGA gui interface (and included screen savers and game) is a good disk copier, formatter, and disk image file creator. VGACOPY is best used under plain DOS – in my experience it corrupts floppies when formatting or writing to floppies under Win9x.

Among disk copiers, VGACOPY is a good choice if you need to back up a collection of aging floppies to more reliable media. By default VGA-COPY will generate compressed VCP disk image files. These compressed files are actually ARJ archives and they can be optionally encrypted within VGA-COPY. You can also provide a 40 char. descriptive comment which is also included in the ARJ archive (as a file_id.diz file).

VGA-COPY stores image files in a user-defined directory and conveniently displays all image files with their associated descriptions (but if you have a very large collection of image files, VGA-COPY's list box can only display the first 22 or so files). German and English language versions – user selects at installation. Requires 4MB RAM, VGA, 80386+.

Other features:

Author: Thomas Mönkemeier / VGA-Software GmbH, Germany (2001). Suggested by Lars-Erik Sandberg.

1997-04-20: v6.23. This version has manuals – useful for learning shortcut keys, etc. Default language is English: After installation (unzipping), German-language users should copy / move files from the \german subdir to the main program dir. Note: VGANLEIT.EXE (manual), VGASCAN.EXE (heuristic virus checker) and VGAORDER.EXE (obsolete) are in German only. MANUAL.DOC is in English, and MANUALFR.DOC is in French.

2001-03-28: v6.25. No manuals. Default language is German: After installation (unzipping), English-language users should run english.exe – overwrites German-language message files with English.

With manuals
No manuals

D2D (D2D/98) — Floppy copier uses conv, ems, (ram)disk and/or xms memory.

* * * *

[added 1999-07-12]

D2D/98 is a 35K command-line driven interactive disk copy utility for floppy disks. Use extended memory, expanded memory or your hard/ram disk to store the data that won't fit into conventional memory. Make multiple copies with a single source read. Includes destination formatting capability. For FAT-based floppies, unused tracks at the end of a disk are neither read nor written. Uses device drivers rather than hardware allowing non-standard formats to be read.

GPL license w/ source.

usage: C:\WINDOWS\COMMAND\D2D-2.EXE from: to: [/#] [/a] [/b<str>] [/D]
                [/e#] [/n] [/o] [/q] [/r] [/td:[<path>]] [/u]
                [/v[s]] [/w] [/x#] [/?]
/#      number of copies (/12)
/a      copy all tracks
/b<str> override BPB of disc (/b720kB)
        (<str> is one of: 160k,180k,320k,320S,360k,360S,720k,1.2M,1.4M,2.8M)
/D      disable boot code on destination
/e#     specify EMS usage in kB (/e128)
/n      non IBM-compatible BIOS (seldom helps)
/o      keep old serial number
/q      don't use bell
/r      data recovery -- continue after read errors
/t<str> temporary drive [and path] for swap file (/tC:\tmp)
/u      unconditionally format destination disk
/v[s]   [smart ]verify after write (/vs)
/w      write destination disk without asking
/x#     specify XMS usage in kB (/x1024)
/?      display this explanation

Author: Ulrich Windl, Germany (1998).

1998-12-25: v2.32.

Download (68K).

XDSKCPY (Extended DISKCOPY) — Copies diskettes in one drive.


[updated 2004-08-07]

"Copies entire diskettes in one drive...using Extended Memory (XMS) or hard disk space for buffering to avoid disk swapping. Also make several copies of one diskette with a single read of source diskette."

Author: Sverre H. Huseby, Norway (1993).


Sverre H. Huseby's Old Freeware for MS-DOS and MS Windows.

More in these pages from Sverre H. Huseby.

QUIKCOPY — DISKCOPY replacement: Copies floppies in one pass using extended memory.

* * *

From the docs: "QUIKCOPY is a replacement for DOS's DISKCOPY command. Like DISKCOPY, which is found in DOS 6.2, QUIKCOPY can copy an entire disk in one pass, but it uses extended or expanded memory rather than a RAM disk. It can also speed the process by copying only used clusters." If you plan on running QUIKCOPY under Windows, you'll need an adequate chunk of contiguous XMS memory. Doesn't compare read clusters with written clusters.

Authors: Bob Flanders and Michael Holmes, for PC Magazine (1994).

1994-09-04: v1.1.

Download (50K).

IMG — Create / restore floppy image, add-extract files to / from image.


[added 1999-01-23]

Writes a floppy disk to an image file on your hard disk allowing you to restore it to a floppy at a later time. IMG is unique because individual files within an image can be extracted (you don't have to restore to floppy first). IMG also has the ability to add files to an existing image file, or create a brand new image file using a list of individual files. "Supports disk images created by HD-Copy and VGA-Copy (uncompressed) or other programs which create raw disk image files in any way." Included is FDRW which images floppy disks to a file and also writes the image back to floppies.

Author: Falk Huth, Germany (1996).

In English
Auf Deutsch

FIRM — Floppy disk imager; can write to floppies having larger capacities than original.


[added 2000-02-26]

From the docs:
FIRM.COM [14.5K] is a simple to use DOS Floppy image reader/maker. It is compatible with files used by many other disk image reader/writers. It is capable of reading/writing disks of other systems, Unix, Linux, later Mac and some other disks. Image files can be written back to disks of a larger capacity than the original for at least FAT systems. [e.g., a 1.2MB floppy image can be written to a 1.44 floppy].

Firm cannot create a floppy image without a floppy (cf. IMG). Performs limited bios-level error checks. Includes graphical progress bar.

Author: Dave Burley (1999). Suggested by Bjørn Simonsen.

Download (11K).

DiskImager — 1.44MB floppy disk imager can also create self-extracting (EXE) images.


[added 2000-03-08]

This simple tool can create/restore imagefiles or self-extracting (EXE) imagefiles from 1.44MB floppy disks. Major limitations: only supports 1.44MB floppy format.

Author: Fredrik Johansson (1999). Suggested by Michael Wann.

Download (6.8K).

Floppy Tool Kit — Floppy drive analyzer, tuner, cleaner utilities.


From the documentation:

... a collection of 8 small utilities which will help you use your floppy disks more effectively. Since you probably worry more about how to get better speed and storage out of your hard disk, this may not be a matter of pressing concern to you. However , floppies are going to be used for quite a while and by spending a few minutes with these utilities you can make things go a little bit faster each time you use a floppy. Programs are provided to:

Author: William Luitje (1995)

1995-03-13: v1.1.

Download (69K).

RESQFLPY — Generate clone(s) of damaged or unreadable floppy disks for recovery purposes.


[added 2000-09-10, updated 2004-04-26]


From the docs:
Probably the worst mistake people make when attempting to recover data from inaccessible disks, either floppy or hard, is that they perform operations on it directly...
Floppies usually develop defects in those areas where data is written. Sometimes, however, the physical sectors where the boot sector or root directory are placed become defective. If the sector is critical for accessing the floppy...then DOS will be un able to read the floppy... Yet if you can read or write to it, then the floppy only has defects in areas where the data is written. Portions of your data...are then inaccessible. The latter problem can often be recovered using either CHKDSK, RECOVER, SCAN DISK or another disk repair tool. When these tools are used, however, the changes are generally irreversible. If the result is worse than the original condition, then there is no easy method to reverse the changes you have made.
Unfortunately disk copy programs typically abort when trying to read, copy, or duplicate a floppy with media defects. Even though there may be completely intact files on it, DOS copy tools generally abort preventing users from copying or accessing even intact files.
RESQFLPY solves this problem by producing an image file of a SOURCE floppy even when it has defective sectors in data area, root directory, or boot sector. Defective sectors are ignored, or read by force where possible, during generation of the image file... Once you have successfully created an image file, run RESQFLPY again to copy the image to a CLONE disk...When the boot sector of the source floppy is bad then you can install a fresh one to the clone with FIXBOOT [included]...You are now ready to perform any recovery procedure you might wish on the CLONE floppy without fear of causing any further damage to the original.

Author: Zvi Netiv / NetZ Computing, Israel (1996).

Download resqfloppy.exe, WinZip SFX (67KB).

Alsos on this page: The totally free (GPL) D2D, which has a data recovery option /r – continue after read errors).


Also see: FCAT, from Bob Ferguson's Freeware – a multi-tool disk and archive cataloger package; more complex but fairly versatile.

CD Navigator — Floppy, HD, CD cataloger.

* * * *

[added 1997-11-, updated 1998-03-06]

Although this cataloging program was designed with the audio CD user in mind, it also functions very well as a floppy or hard disk cataloger. The Norton Commander-like text mode interface is mouse compatible and easy to navigate. Unlike the more basic freeware Disk Manager, CD Navigator can 1) store user file notes (or 4DOS descriptions) and 2) read and store a disk's formatted label. Multiple disks can be cataloged together into larger groups. A quick disk scan feature ( MSCAN) is especially nice if you are cataloging a large collection of floppies at one time. CD Navigator includes a robust search engine for finding disk or file names, notes, and CD audio tracks. Also plays audio CD tracks and includes a screen saver. This package also includes a basic (but neat looking) stand-alone audio CD player (PCDN) which can read CD Navigator generated data files. Available in English, Hungarian and Polish versions.


Author: János Tomoga, Hungary (1998).

1998-02-21: v4.20.

Download (111K).

Get more info, Hungarian and Polish language versions, and the file editor CDN Edit, at the CD Navigator page.


IDE-ATA — Displays detailed IDE-ATA drive identity information.


From the docs:
displays...useful information about ATA drive(s) attached to your PC. ATA-1, ATA-2, ATA-3 specifications are supported...Useful features: Support of four EIDE standard controll ers, user-defined hardware addresses to find ATA drive, polling / interrupt methods to detect ATA drive, read / write identification sector from / to file.

Notes: Older, doesn't ID some newer drives.

Author: Dmitry V. Stefankov, Russia (1997).

Download (26K).

ATAHD — IDE-ATA drive identitifier and analyzer.


[added 1999-10-30]

Features, from the docs:
Shows which ATA/IDE ports are active and to which ports drives are connected; Will detect and display data for a drive when the drive has not yet been recognized by the BIOS; Will detect and display data for drives on an active ATA/IDE port, even if the primary port is disabled or non-functional; Reports on the "command queuing" capability of the newest drives; Reports the spindle rotation speed of almost all drives; Recognizes up to 8 ATA/IDE hard drives using the standard port addresses of 1F0h, 170h, 1E8h & 168h; Small, fast program will fit on just about anyone's emergency boot floppy; Supports drives larger than 8 gigabytes.

Runs from DOS only, not under Windows.

Author: Michael B. Mallory (1999).

Download (27K).

ATAPICD — Displays detailed ATAPI CD-ROM drive identity information.


From the docs:
...displays...useful information about ATAPI CD-ROM drive(s)... ATAPI v1.2, ATAPI 2.5 and ATAPI 2.6 specifications are supported...Useful features: Support of four standard EIDE controllers, user-defined hardware addresses to find ATAPI drive, polling / interrupt methods to detect ATAPI drive, writing raw dump of identify information to files.

Author: Dmitry V. Stefankov, Russia (1997).

Download (40K).

ADQ (ATA Drive Query) — Determines which options are supported on a hard drive.


[added 2000-09-11, updated 2005-07-01]

ADQ detects drive type, supported PIO modes, supported DMA modes, drive vendor, serial number and other hardware data. Run it from a DOS boot disk. ADQ does not: Test OS-dependent information; test drive speed; run reliably under multitasking OSes; support drives higher than ATA-2.

Requires: DOS 3.3+, 80286+, ATA/IDE drive + controller, 200K memory. Released under GNU General Public License.

Author: WTY Soft, Netherlands (2005).

2005-01-16: Part of the drive util suite, WATADIAG v1.01.

Download (218K).

Go to the WATADIAG page for more info.

DRVEXCH — Exchange drive letters.


[added 2005-07-17, updated 2005-12-08]

DRVEXCH rearranges hard drive partition letters according to physical hard drive number. So if the first physical drive has partitions C:, D:, E:, the second physical drive will have partitions F:, G:, etc. But why would this be necessary?

How DOS works: In a two-drive system, if the second drive has a primary DOS partition, MS-DOS will call it D:, even if there are extended DOS partitions on the first drive. If you start out with one drive, and set up software to look for data on partition D:, adding a second physical drive will, in effect, lose your data. Or, if you set up a two-drive system with D: on the second drive, and then remove that drive, letters after C: on the first drive will change, and data will again seem to disappear.

Switching DOSes will not likely help: DR-DOS, e.g., does its own, different rearranging of letters when physical drives are added or removed.

DRVEXCH fixes all of that, by assigning letters in strict sequence across drives. Floppy drives and RAM drives are also kept in line (but not CD or network drives). DRVEXCH can also be used narrowly to swap any pair of drive letters, possibly to make MS-DOS assignments look like DR-DOS's, or DR-DOS's look like MS-DOS's. Thorough, detailed manual. Requires 8086+ or compatible, DOS3.0+ or compatible.

Usage: Insert this line in CONFIG.SYS -

Cautions: "With three disks it may work or not, depending on IDE channel and master/slave settings of the added/removed drive". Program also has an experimental command line option, which might be hazardous to your data.

Author: BTTR Software, Germany (2001).

2001-11-10: v0.4.2. Free under GNU General Public License.

Download (14K).

Get more info & source at the DRVEXCH page.

More in these pages from BTTR Software.


JAM — Disk compression package.


[added 1998-08-16]


The commercial viability of this shareware package likely evaporated when DOS 6.x appeared with disk compression software. JAM appears to represent a compact, memory-efficient package that is apparently still living on some older computers and palmtops. Includes a full suite of diagnostic and optimization utilities.

Can I recommend it? Not until I try it, or receive feedback from experienced users. The risk of data corruption is significant when using disk compression software. In short, I wouldn't "play" with a program like this unless you have the luxury of owning a second PC that you can use for program testing.

Authors: JAM Development Team, Ukraine (1995).

Shareware status: Registration not required for individual, private use.

Download (210K).

DISK DEFRAGGERS — Defragment FAT-16 disks (not for Win9x/Me/NT).


* *

[updated 2004-05-15]

I can only recommend this to faithful users of DOS 5.0 (DOS 6.x and OpenDOS come bundled with good defrag utilities). I don't know if it works with earlier DOS versions. You'll want to run a disk scanning / repair program first (DEFRAGR will not run if it detects any errors in the drive's structure.). Defragr is small (39K) and has worked flawlessly on the uncompressed portion of my laptop hard drive.

Authors: Michael Holmes and Bob Flanders, for PC Magazine (1993).

1993-01-06: v1.0.

Download (60k).

Disk OrGanizer


[updated 2005-12-08]

I haven't tried this one – but it offers more options and safety features than DEFRAGR. Thanks to Yves Bellefeuille's freeware list for pointing me to this one. "No license is required to run Disk OrGanizer on a computer that is not used for business."

From the docs:
Disk OrGanizer will test the disk (like CHKDSK), give you a report, analyze the disk to determine the best place to have the directories and files on the disk. Tell you how many directories need to have deleted files removed (packed), tell you how many directories can be made shorter (truncated), and tell you the number of clusters that it will have to move to defragment the files and directories on the disk.
You will then be asked if it is OK to write to the disk. If you answer no to this question, Disk OrGanizer will quit without ever having written to the disk. If you answer yes, Disk OrGanizer will pack the directories, truncate the directories, and then start moving clusters.

Author: G. Allen Morris III / Soft GAM's Software.

1992-03-30: v3.16.

Download (54K).

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