How do I create an image of a real floppy disk?
- Open a real floppy disk (see how).
- Click on Image → Dump to show the Dump to destination dialog.
- Click on the Destination button (Alt+D) to show a classical Save file dialog. In it, specify the target image name including its extension (e.g. *.IMA). The extension is important to explicitly determine the type of container that will be used as target.
- Click on OK to close the dialog and return to the Dump to destination dialog.
- Confirm the value set in the Medium combo-box (Alt+M). If it doesn't specify the right floppy type, change it to comply with the floppy inserted in the drive. Such inconsistency may arise, for instance, if the application was unable to recognize the disk operating system (DOS) automatically.
- Specify the range of Cylinders to dump to the image (Alt+F, and Alt+T, respectively). You usually may leave the default values (whole floppy will be dumped), unless you are creating a patch, for instance.
- If the DOS has been recognized by the application, you usually at this moment may click on the Dump button to store the specified cylinders to the target image, as all remaining values in the dialog are set correctly. If the DOS has been not recognized, you very probably will have to adjust them manually as described below.
- The Gap3 value (Alt+G) represents the inter-sector gap, and it's usually not necessary to change it when dumping to an image. Some game producers liked to decrease this value to accommodate an extra sector that normally would not fit in the track (usually as part of their copy-protection scheme). If you stumble upon a track that is apparently longer than common tracks, try to decrease this value. The default for this value follows the IBM recommendation.
- The Filling Byte (Alt+B) determines the value that will be used as the initial content of fresh formatted sectors. You usually may leave the default.
- The Show report when done checkbox (Alt+R) causes the application to show a summary at the end of the dumping process. This option is useful to see what errors arised during dumping, including low-level values obtained directly from the floppy drive controller. If observing delays in accessing the floppy drive (e.g. in a highly concurrent environment), be sure to have the Real-time thread priority check-box (Alt+P) ticked.
- Click on the Dump button. If the target image initialization requires intervention, a corresponding dialog will pop up (e.g. for a *.DSK image). When done, a dialog displaying the actual progress of dumping shows up.
- Occasionally during dumping, the Sector read error dialog may pop up, reporting on errors while reading a particular sector. For copy-protected floppies, you may accept the errors (see the Accept button), otherwise you may want to reattempt reading the sector (the Retry button) or choosing one of recovery strategies (the Recover button).