01/W Disk Drive Topics

Go to: 01 On-Line Directory Book Info
rev: 03May11
Floppy Disk Background 
Disk Formatting: What is it? 
File Formats 
  SMF compared to 01 format 
  How To Format A Disk 
Types of floppy disks (DD, HD) 
  Where to get DD disks 
  Can I use 1.44MB disks? 
  About the HD hole 
  Risk of using HD disks 
  Can I replace the original 720K drive with a 1.4M drive? 
  Can I add a floppy drive to a non-fd 01? 
  Protect the disk drive while transporting the 01. 

Disk related pages on this site: 
Disk Mode (01 Pages and operations) 
Floppy drive maintenance and repair

Abbreviations on this page
DD = double-density (720K)  
DOS = disk operating system  
FDD = floppy disk drive 
HD = high-density (1.4M)  
KB = K = kilobytes (1K=1,024 bytes) 
MB = M = megabytes 
SMF = Std. MIDI File 
= Standard MIDI File

Floppy Disk Background

All 01/Wfd models come with a 3.5-inch floppy disk drive (the "fd" in 01/Wfd means "floppy disk"). The drive uses double-sided/double-density disks (sometimes called "diskettes").

Disk Formatting - What is it?
Before a blank disk can be used, magnetic "tracks" must be recorded onto it. A "track" is a circle that has been magnetically marked to hold data. The process of recording these tracks of concentric data storage circles is called "formatting".

Formatting a blank disk is similar to printing lines on blank paper to make a sheet for loose-leaf binders. A loose-leaf page "format" could be described as blue horizontal lines spaced a certain distance for standard or college use, vertical red line on the left margin, blank area on top, etc..

All magnetic disks (floppy and hard disk drives) use tracks. However, the exact format of the tracks and the way data is stored varies. For example, IBM PC formatting is different from Apple's. That's why the same raw (unformatted) disk capable of holding 1.0 MB has room for 800 KB after formatting the Apple way, but only 720 KB after formatting the IBM way. Using the loose-leaf page analogy, you might say the Apple floppy is narrow-ruled where the IBM is standard-ruled (wider blue line spacing).

File Formats
"Formatting" a disk should not be confused with the file format of data stored in a track.

"Formatting" is an action that prepares the disk to hold data. In the case of the 01, two types of formatting are available (if you have ROM #62): 01-unique or MS-DOS. This is sometimes called the "disk format".

The "file format" is the way data is stored in the tracks (what the data is, what data comes first, how much a track will hold, etc.). In the case of the 01, there are two types of file formats: 01-unique or Standard MIDI File (SMF).

An updated 01 (with ROM #62) can format a disk in either of two different ways: 01-unique or MS-DOS. You should always use 01-unique unless you are working with Standard MIDI Files.

SMF (Standard MIDI File)
SMFs are used mainly for transporting sequences (not Progs, Combis, etc.) between your 01 and a computer or other MIDI device. SMFs contain only sequence-related data, nothing specific to the 01.

The following table compares the different data contained in each file format::

01-unique format stores: DOS format stores SMF data:
Combinations (200) 
Programs (200) 
Drum Kits (4) 
Global data (1 set) 
Sequence data (10 songs + 100 patterns + effects) 
MIDI data (64 KB) 
number of tracks 
timing resolution 
delta time 
MIDI events 
Meta events (text, tempo, etc.) 
Formatting Instructions
Click below for step-by-step formatting instructions:
01-unique formatting is done on Disk Mode Page 2, line 4.
DOS formatting is done on Disk Mode Page 4, Line 4.
top of page

Floppy Disk Types

There are two common types of 3.5" diskettes still available:

1. Double-Sided, Double-Density, marked DS/DD, 2SDD, 720KB, or something similar. I'll call these "DD" disks, for "double-density". A blank 2DD disk has a capacity of 1.0 MB. After formatting for the 01, the disk will hold 720 KB.

2. Double-Sided, High-Density, usually marked DS/HD, 2SHD, "HD", 1.44MB, or something similar.

Use Only Double-Density Floppies
Korg specifies: "Only 3.5 inch disks marked 'Double-sided double-density, double-track' can be used. These disks are usually labeled 'MF2DD', MFD-2DD', etc."

The 01's internal software assumes all disks are 720MB. You will not get more storage space by using HD disks. Even if you replace the DD drive with an HD drive, 01 software treats all floppies as DD.

Where to Get DD Disks
Here are some sources that have been suggested by other users (I have not verified these):

Global Computer Supplies (800) 845-6225. Item number C1961TM. These are Imation.
www.cdw.com  (800) 839-4239
Diskette Connection (800) 654-4058

One user said he got a boxfull of DD floppies from the tech department of local library and/or college. Since 720K/DD floppies are pretty much obsolete, they may be laying around waiting for the staff to decide what to do with them. {02Dec30}

top of page

Can I use HD (1.44MB) diskettes?

The short answer is "yes", but there is a definite risk. Although most users will experience no problems, several HAVE had problems, and at the most inconvenient time (during live performances). See details below. I recommend against using HD floppies. But if you must, here's what you need to know:

About the HD Hole
The certain way to tell a DD from an HD is by the extra hole at the end of the floppy opposite the metal slider. One hole is the "write protect" hole, which usually has a sliding plastic tab to cover the hole when you want to write on the disk. If there is a second hole in the other corner, it's an HD floppy.

This second hole is how the drive knows it's an HD floppy. The drive uses a switch or a light to see if the hole is there. It doesn't matter if you formatted the HD floppy to be 720K - if the drive sees a hole, it says "1.4M floppy!" and treats it like one.

Covering the Hole
This section only matters if:
1. You put 01 floppies in your computer (for use with SMFs or DiskImage, for example), or
2. The original 01 DD drive was replaced. (Replacement drives often check for the hole.)

If you use HD floppies formatted as 720K in an HD drive, you MUST cover the HD hole. You may be able to use transparent or cloudy tape, but if the drive uses a light to check for the hole, it may just shine through, signaling a HD disk. It's best to use opaque tape.

To summarize: To use an HD floppy in your 01:
1. Cover the HD hole
2. Format the HD disk to be DD.
Most HD disks come pre-formatted. They must be formatted to be DD before they can be used in the 01. You can format disks to be DD using either the 01 or a PC. HOWEVER - if you think you will be using these disks with DiskImage, you will want to use your PC for formatting. See DiskImage for details.

With this tape place, and the HD floppy formatted to be DD, the disk is ready to go... at least for now. You may have problems later. See HD Disk Risk below.

HD Diskette Risk - Lost Data!
You may say "I have been able to use an HD disk and everything works fine." The real question is - "How long will the data stay on the disk?"

In order to squeeze twice as much data on the same 3.5" disk, changes were made in both the disk drive and media (diskette). HD media is harder to magnetize and demagnetize (erase). HD drives are designed to handle this, but the DD drive in your 01 isn't. A DD drive uses a weaker magnetic field to record the data, and an HD disk may not store that data as long as a DD disk would.

HD Disk Precautions
As time goes on, DD disks may become too expensive or too hard to find. I see a couple of options.

1. Make Back-ups
If you use a computer and MIDI for most of your work, keep everything on your hard drive and BACK IT UP! If you only have the 01 floppy, use HD disks, but make one or more back-up copies on one or more different disks. If the data on one floppy goes bad, it's unlikely that the same data would go bad on different disks. You could then recover the bad data and make fresh copies. It would be a good idea to make new copies of old disks every few years in case the data is starting to go.

2. Store Floppies Carefully
Nothing lasts forever. Even CD have a specified minimum life of 20 years, after which there are no guarantees. (That's one advantage of vinyl - it lasts decades and can be played back with a sewing needle and a paper cone if necessary.)

1. Store your floppies in a cool place. Heat hastens demagnetizing.
2. Store your floppies away from magnets (speakers) and magnetic fields (speakers, motors, fans, TV sets and computer displays, telephones [especially those with mechanical bells], and God knows what.

Personally, I use DD disks for long-term storage - with backups. If I don't have a DD, I'll use an HD disk temporarily, then copy the data to a DD later. My music is too valuable to risk losing.

top of page 


(DiskImage is covered in detail on the Files Page of this site. Overview information follows:)

There is a user-written program on the internet called DiskImage. In the words of a user:

"DiskImage was created so that people that didn't have a computer near their Korg could share data with others as well as archive their disks on a computer. Back when it was created, many people had internet access at their work and not in their home, so this became an easy way for those people to share their data."

DiskImage reads an 01-formatted disk, then converts it to a binary file. This binary file can be stored on your PC (as a back-up copy) or e-mailed. Whoever receives the e-mailed binary file runs DiskImage to convert the file back to 01-format and copies it to a floppy that runs in your 01.

DiskImage is mainly for:

1. 01s that do not have ROM #62 (with ROM #62 you can use SMFs on a DOS disk), or
2. Users who have a floppy but do not have MIDI connections between their 01 and a computer (With MIDI you can do a SysEx MIDI dump of the sequence).

Problems using HD disks with DiskImage
A disk that has been formatted for HD may have problems if you use the 01 to format it for DD (720K). The 01 doesn't remove all the HD formatting, and what remains is enough to confuse DiskImage when it tries to write data, and errors will result.

The solution is to use your computer to format the disk for DD (720K), which should remove any existing HD formatting. You can then use the 01 to format the disk any way you want.

top of page

Can I replace the original 720K drive with a 1.4Meg drive?

Maybe - it depends on the drive. But it will only work in 720K mode. For details, go to the FDD Repairs Page.

Can I add a floppy drive to a non-fd 01/W?

The simple answer is "No, you can't add a floppy where there wasn't one originally."

First off, if you have the original ROMs installed, the processor wouldn't know what to do with a drive if you installed one. The non-floppy 01 came out first, probably because there were still working on the code (programming) for running the drive. However, you can get new ROMs, sometimes for free (see ROM pages). These would include all the code to enable a drive to work.

But I think the real "gotcha" is in the hardware. There is at least one extra, large IC (plus various supporting parts) devoted to the drive. I highly doubt these are already on the non-fd PC board. You would have to identify and install all these part ASSUMING the non-fd PC board has holes to mount them in. In addition, the drive requires additional power that the original power supply may not have available.

If you're into electronics, it might make an interesting project. But I think you'd be better off looking for a used 01/Wfd.

top of page 

Protect the Disk Drive While Transporting

My recommendation is to transport the 01 with an expendable floppy fully inserted.


Because Korg shipped the 01 from the factory with a cardboard or plastic "floppy" inserted (a practice copied by many companies who ship products with a floppy drive inside).

Again, why?

Because there are two ceramic heads in a double-sided drive, facing each other. When a floppy is
inserted, the heads press against different sides of the media, making a sort of "floppy sandwich".

Each head is mounted on a length of metal that is slightly spring-like. If you don't have a floppy inserted and the 01 takes a hit, the heads will bounce (as a weight at the end of a flexible beam will). If the blow is severe enough, the heads can bounce off each other, scratching and/or chipping the (previously) smooth surface of the head. Not good.

I recommend you mark a floppy "For Shipping Only" and insert that disk whenever the 01 is at risk of sustaining a blow (like during transportation).

top of page 
Copyright ©1998-2003 by Ken Westover at Cliff Canyon Publishing Co. All rights reserved.
This material may not be distributed without the written permission of the author.
E-mail questions or comments to cliffcan@indra.com.
Go to: 01 On-Line Directory Book Info Top of this page.