SUMMARY: reading diskettes...

From: Gwendolyn M. Pine (
Date: Fri Apr 18 1997 - 07:17:03 CDT

*Successfully used the following - worked perfectly...*

first part of question follows: (included parts of several replies
as each added something to the explanation of the solution...)

> am running solaris 2.4 on a sparc2...while running sunos,
> i could read most floppies...but since installing
> solaris, it seems the system only recognizes a few
> formats...

SunOS 4.1.X doesn't have Volume Management daemon running. That's
why you can access the floppy drive directly. Solaris has vold daemon
running by default. It requires that you run 'volcheck' before accessing
the floppy drive. The reason for this is to prevent the system from
seeking the floppy drive all the time and might cause wear and tear.
remainder of question:

> what prompts the following question - we
> have a print server that came with software on a floppy -
> cant read the floppy, so cant install the software...
> do you know of a way around that? the software is in
> tar format...i will be most appreciative if you can
> help me or point me to a site that has the answers to
> these questions...

Here's what you'll need to do:
1. If you have volume management daemon running, activate floppy
    disk drive search first:
2. To untar data from floppy to your home directory:
        'cd ~'
        'tar xvf /vol/dev/diskette0/unlabeled'
If you are not running vold daemon, you can just simple do this:
        'cd ~'
        'tar xvf /dev/diskette'
skip the 'v' if you don't want to see what's going on.

Solaris uses the volume management daemon (vold) to help users mount
floppys and cdroms. However, when you get a floppy that has no
file system on it, vold can get in the way. Your floppy has a tar file
on it with no file system. So, when you try to untar it, the vlume manager
complains because it sees no file system.

Kill the vold process. Then do a tar -xvf /dev/fd0 (or whatever your raw
device name is). This should work for you. You should then be sure to
start vold back up (/etc/init.d/volmgt start). It is useful in most

# /etc/rc2.d/S92volmgt stop
Then run your tar command on the floppy.
The reason why tar'd floppies dont work is because of vold. Stopping it
will give you access to the floppy. When finished,
# /etc/rc2.d/S92volmgt start
will restart vold.

The floppy is now under control of vold, the volume manager
that mounts floppies and CD's without the need of root
If the floppy has a file system (dos or unix) you can have it
mounted under /floppy/<name> with the command 'volcheck'.
For raw tar or cpio floppies, you have to go through the
devices in /vol/dev/diskette0/... or /vol/dev/rdiskette0/...
These are functionally identical to /dev/diskette, etc, but the
original devices are blocked as they are opened by the volume manager.
Appreciation to:
--John Nguyen
Matthew J. Hill
Mark A. Baldwin -----
David Staggs
Frode Stromsvag email:

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