Last modified on 17 September 2008, at 20:04

Knowing Knoppix/Using floppy disks

Using a floppy diskEdit

Knoppix supports all standard 1.44 Mb floppy drives. If you have an Imation LS120 SuperDisk drive, see the later section. The SuperDisk drive is not a standard 1.44 Mb floppy drive; it works quite differently. To copy files onto a 3.5” floppy drive:

  1. Check the write-protect tab on the floppy disk. Make sure the tab is in the closed (write enabled) position.
  2. Insert the floppy disk into the drive.
  3. Click once on the “Floppy Disk” icon on the Desktop.
  4. The files on the floppy will be displayed.
  5. Drag and drop files and folders to be copied into the floppy disk window.
  6. Click “Copy Here”.
  7. The files will be copied.
  8. Wait until the floppy drive's “busy” light goes out.
  9. Close the floppy disk window.
  10. It is now safe to remove the floppy disk from the drive.
Note
Unmounting a 3.5" floppy disk is done for you automatically.
There is no need to “Change read-write mode”, because the read-write tab on the
floppy disk itself controls whether it is writable or not.

Quick helpEdit

Question: How do I format a 3.5" floppy?
Right-click the “Floppy disk” icon on the Desktop, then click “Format Floppy disk”.

Question: I have an Imation SuperDisk floppy drive. Why does clicking on the Floppy icon not do anything?
The Imation SuperDisk is not an ordinary floppy drive. It is treated as a hard disk drive. Follow the instructions in the Imation LS-120 SuperDisk section.

Using an Iomega Zip diskEdit

The Iomega Zip disk drive was very popular in the 1990s. It has been somewhat superseded by the CD-RW and the USB flash drive. However, Iomega Zip drives, and their media, are still easy to find and often useful. The usual capacity of Iomega Zip media is 100 or 250 Mb.

There are three varieties of Iomega Zip drive: internal, parallel, and USB. The internal and parallel varieties are older and are no longer made. The USB variety is newer and is still being made today.

Note
Iomega measures its disk capacities in megabytes where 1 megabyte = one million bytes.
This is less than the conventional definition where 1 megabyte = 1,048,576 bytes.
Knoppix uses the conventional definition.
Therefore a “Zip 100” disk has an actual capacity of 98,078 kilobytes according to Knoppix.

Using an external USB Iomega Zip driveEdit

The external USB Iomega Zip drive is available in 100 Mb, 250 Mb and 750 Mb versions. The 750 Mb version also supports USB 2.0 for higher transfer speeds. Knoppix uses its built-in USB Mass Storage driver to support the external USB Iomega Zip drive. To copy files onto an external USB Iomega Zip drive:

  1. With the computer turned off, plug the Zip drive into a USB socket.
  2. Insert a valid PC formatted Zip disk into the drive.
  3. Start Knoppix, but specify text mode at the command prompt. For example, enter:
    knoppix lang=uk dma 2
  4. Knoppix will start up, but then stop before loading KDE.
  5. Press Enter on the keyboard to wake up the command prompt. Type this command, then press Enter:
    rebuildfstab -u knoppix -g knoppix
  6. You should see the activity light on the front of the drive come on, and you should hear the drive work.
  7. Switch to graphics mode with this command:
    init 5
  8. After KDE loads, you will see an icon for the Zip drive on the Desktop. Assuming you have no other SCSI drives, the icon will be labelled “Hard disk partition [sda4]”.
  9. Click the icon for the Zip drive.
  10. Wait while the device is mounted.
  11. Wait while the “Konqueror” file manager starts up.
  12. The files on the Zip disk will be displayed.
  13. Right-click the Zip drive's icon.
  14. Click “Change read/write mode”.
  15. Click “Yes”.
  16. Drag and drop the files and folders to be copied into the Zip disk's window.
  17. Click “Copy Here”.
  18. The files and folders will be copied.
  19. Close all the Zip disk's open windows.
  20. Right-click on the Zip drive's icon.
  21. Click “Unmount”.
  22. The green triangle will go away.
  23. It is now possible to take the Zip disk out of the drive.
Note
Hot-plugging the external USB Iomega Zip drive is not supported.
This means you need to have the drive connected before you start Knoppix.
You can't plug the Zip drive into the computer when it is already running
and expect an icon for it to appear, as you can with USB flash drives and
other USB external hard drives.

Using an internal IDE Iomega Zip driveEdit

The internal IDE Iomega Zip disk drive is like an internal hard drive, but with removable writeable media. Knoppix uses its built-in ATAPI (AT Attachment Packet Interface) driver to support the internal Iomega Zip drive. Typically the maximum disk capacity is 100 Mb. To copy files onto an internal Iomega Zip drive:

  1. With the computer turned off, insert a PC formatted Zip disk into the Zip drive.
  2. Start Knoppix in the usual way.
  3. You will see an icon for the Zip drive on the Desktop. Assuming there are no other SCSI drives in your computer, the icon will be labelled “Hard disk partition [sda4]”.
  4. Click the icon for the Iomega Zip drive.
  5. Wait for a moment while the Zip disk is mounted. A green triangle will appear indicating that the drive is in use.
  6. Wait while the “Konqueror” file manager starts up.
  7. The files on the disk will be displayed.
  8. Right-click on the icon of the Zip drive.
  9. Click “Change read/write mode”.
  10. Click “Yes”.
  11. Drag and drop the files you want to copy into the Zip drive window.
  12. Click “Copy Here”.
  13. The files will be copied.
  14. Close the Zip drive's windows.
  15. Right click on the Zip drive icon.
  16. Click “Unmount”.
  17. The green triangle will go away.
  18. It is now safe to take the Zip disk out of the drive.

Using a parallel port Iomega Zip driveEdit

The external parallel port Iomega Zip disk drive is the oldest kind of Zip drive. It was marketed for its high capacity, speed and portability. It is fully supported in Knoppix. Everything needed to use it is included in Knoppix, however, a “helping hand” is needed. To copy files onto an external parallel Zip drive:

  1. With the computer turned off, connect the Zip drive to the computer's parallel (printer) port. Connect the Zip drive to the mains and turn the Zip drive on.
  2. Insert a valid PC formatted Zip disk into the drive.
  3. Start Knoppix, but at the boot prompt, specify text mode. For example, enter:
    knoppix lang=uk 2
  4. Knoppix will start up and then stop before loading KDE.
  5. Press Enter on the keyboard to wake up the command prompt.
  6. The next step is to enable the Iomega parallel Zip drive support. Look at the underside of the drive. The date of manufacture should be printed there. If your drive was made before 31 August 1998, enter this command and press Enter.
    modprobe ppa
    If your drive was made after 31 August 1998, type this and press Enter:
    modprobe imm
  7. If successful you will be rewarded with lines like this:
    imm: Version 2.05 (for Linux 2.4.0)
    imm: Found device at ID 6, Attempting to use EPP 16 bit
    imm: Found device at ID 6, Attempting to use PS/2
    imm: Communication established at 0x378 with ID 6 using PS/2
    scsi3 : Iomega VPI2 (imm) interface
    Vendor: IOMEGA Model: ZIP 250 Rev: K.47
    Type: Direct-Access ANSI SCSI revision: 02
    Attached scsi removable disk sda at scsi3, channel 0, id 6, lun 0
    SCSI device sdb: 196608 512-byte hdwr sectors (101 MB)
    sda: Write Protect is off
    sda: sdb4

    This means that the Linux kernel has found the Iomega external drive on the parallel port. In this example, the drive is called “sda”, which means it is the first SCSI drive.
  8. Type the following command and press Enter:
    rebuildfstab -r -u knoppix -g knoppix
  9. Finally type this and press Enter:
    init 5
  10. KDE will start up. You will see an icon for the Iomega Zip drive on the Desktop. Assuming you have no other SCSI drives, it will be labelled “Hard disk partition [sda4]”.
  11. Click the Zip drive icon.
  12. Wait for a moment while the Zip drive is mounted.
  13. Wait while the Konqueror file manager starts up.
  14. The files on the Zip drive will be displayed.
  15. Right-click on the Zip drive's icon.
  16. Click “Change read/write mode”.
  17. Click “Yes”.
  18. Drag and drop the files and folders you wish to copy into the Zip drive's window.
  19. Click “Copy Here”.
  20. The dropped items will be copied.
  21. When you have finished copying, close the Zip drive's windows.
  22. Right-click the Zip drive icon.
  23. Click “Unmount”.
  24. The green triangle on the Zip drive icon will go away.
  25. It is now safe to take the Zip disk out of the drive.

Using an Imation LS-120 SuperDiskEdit

The Imation LS-120 SuperDisk drive crosses laser technology with the floppy disk. “LS” stands for “Laser Servo”. Imation SuperDisk media has a capacity of 120 Mb. The Imation LS-120 SuperDisk was quite popular in the 1990s. For example, many computers made by Gateway came with a SuperDisk drive fitted as standard. Today, the SuperDisk drive is no longer made, but the 120 Mb media is still available.

The SuperDisk drive is an IDE device, like a CD-ROM drive. It does not use the conventional floppy drive interface. However, the SuperDisk drive is backwards compatible with 1.44 Mb floppy disk media.

Knoppix uses its built-in AT Attachment Packet Interface driver to support the SuperDisk drive. Knoppix uses SCSI emulation to treat the SuperDisk drive as a SCSI device. However, because of the way the drive works, it is not automatically detected so a little “helping hand” is needed. To copy files onto an Imation LS-120 SuperDisk drive:

  1. Insert an LS-120 disk or conventional floppy disk into the SuperDisk drive.
  2. Start Knoppix in the usual way.
  3. Right-click anywhere on the Desktop.
  4. Point to “Create New”.
  5. Click “Hard Disk”.
  6. A window for the new device will appear.
  7. On the “General” tab, replace the words “Hard Disk” with a suitable name. For example, enter “LS-120”.
  8. Click the “Device” tab.
  9. In the “Device” drop-down box, choose /dev/sda, assuming there are no other SCSI devices in the system. Knoppix treats the SuperDisk drive as a SCSI device.
  10. Click “OK”.
  11. The new device will appear on the Desktop.
  12. Click the icon for the SuperDisk drive.
  13. Wait while the device is mounted.
  14. Wait while the Konqueror file manager starts up.
  15. The files on the disk will be displayed.
  16. Right-click on the icon of the LS-120 drive.
  17. Click “Change read-write mode”.
  18. Click “Yes”.
  19. Drag and drop the files and folders you want to copy into the SuperDrive's window.
  20. Click “Copy Here”.
  21. The items will be copied.
  22. Close the SuperDisk's windows.
  23. Right-click on the SuperDisk's icon.
  24. Click “Unmount”.
  25. The green triangle on the drive's icon will go away.
  26. It is now safe to take the disk out of the drive.

Quick helpEdit

Question: Why does it say “Do not format” on the LS-120 disk?
All LS-120 disks are factory formatted. Simply deleting all the files on the disk will put it back to factory fresh condition.