Neil Turner's Blog

Blogging about technology and randomness since 2002


I don’t know if any of you actually use floppies anymore, but in case you do, you may be interested in SmartFormat, a DOS tool (which also works in Windows) which lets you format 1.44MB floppy disks to have a capacity of 1.72MB. It also lets you format disks that have bad sectors right at the start of the disk, which would normally turn them into drinks coasters.

It does actually work – I formatted a rather old floppy with 42k of bad sectors (which were admittedly at the end of the disk) and managed to get 1.70MB of usable space (technically 1.62MB if you count it properly).

Still, I can’t think of the last time I copied files onto a floppy for someone, but if I ever have to then at least I can give them 20% more stuff. Found in today’s Langalist.


  1. I use em, but I can’t see the point in this.
    Quickest cheapest way to move homework around for the kids.

  2. i’ve tried this program on every floppy in the house, and twenty new floppies (ten verbatim, ten sony) and none of them get formatted properly.
    every one of them ends up at 1.7megs, with tracks 80, 81 and 82 reporting as being full of bad sectors.
    i’d prefer that it didn’t go to the bother of making 82 tracks and had error-free 1.6meg formatting, rather than error-full 1.7meg formatting.
    still, i do use it from time to time (i don’t think it’s been updated in 5 years), it’s a handy program to give your floppies a boost. i’d also like to hear of people getting an error-free smartformat.. and what brand of floppy they used.

  3. well, how about that, just after posting I found another tool which lets you choose a format between 380K and 1.72M – I’m finding that the second 1.68M format option is working fine. (nb. windows takes a minute to recognize the newly formatted floppy, thinking there’s no disk in the drive, but then it’s fine).
    It’s called FMT, and I found it right on the bottom of the webpage: