Jan 012018
Speed up your floppy drive.
File STEPRATE.ZIP from The Programmer’s Corner in
Category Utilities for DOS and Windows Machines
Speed up your floppy drive.
File Name File Size Zip Size Zip Type
STEPRATE.ASM 6656 1897 deflated
STEPRATE.DOC 3579 1544 deflated
STEPRATE.EXE 1264 342 deflated

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Contents of the STEPRATE.DOC file

Noisy Drives

or Don't You Growl at me

One of the many annoying features of the IBM PC and certain compatibles is

the noise generated by the floppy disk drives. I have found almost

invariably that the fault is not in the drive but in some brain damage

associated with the original design of the system. Apparently when Big Blue

first designed the PC, they were anticipating using the "worst case" floppy

disk drives. These drives were to be so poorly designed (i.e. cheap) that

they had to use a 9 millisecond track to track step rate. Thus, and from

then on, all disk drives, no matter how good, were to be driven at this slow

rate. But then, who ever accused the Big Blue Mother of using good disk


Unfortunately, (or fortunately as you view it) most decent drives are

designed to run at a stepping rate of at least 6 millisceonds (track to

track). When these drives are run at lower than their rated stepping rate,

they often sound like thrashing machines. Resonance sets up and the system

will almost walk off the table.

Unfortunately, the cloners in their thirst for 100% compatibility stuck with

the 9 ms. step rate. Thus, a lot of the "clones" also sound like thrashing


Most (if not all) of the floppy drives manufactured today are designed to

operate at a 6 ms. step rate. Some of the full height drives, such as the

MPI 52A, while rated at 5 ms will operate dependably (and very quietly) at 3

ms. All of the half height drives that I am aware of will operate at 6 ms.

Having a low threshold of pain as far as noise is concerned, I decided to do

something about it. The program STEPRATE is the result.




where r is 3, 6, 9 or 12

If STEPRATE is run without any parameters it will display the present step



Determining the Proper Step Rate:

How can you determine which step rate is proper for your drive? Simple!

First boot up your system. Set the step rate at 12 ms by the following:


Then insert a clean diskette into drive B or drive A in the case of a hard

disk system, and fill it up with files via a COPY *.* command. You should

be able to hear the drive grinding away.

.cp 5

Now, erase all the files from the "clean" diskette (Drive B) and set the

step rate to 9 ms via:


Repeat the COPY procedure to the "empty" diskette. The drive noise should

be different (but perhaps not less).

Next, set the step rate to 6 milliseconds via:


and perform the noise test using the the copy command again.

Finally, set the step rate to 3 milliseconds by:


and test again.

If the specified step rate is too fast for the particular drive, you will

probably get SEEK errors or BAD SECTOR error messages during the COPYing

process. In this case, use the next higher step rate (i.e. larger number).

Once the correct step rate is found, include the command in your


May peace and tranquility be yours!

Don L. Finley

310 Willow St.

Mt. Carmel, TN 37642

(615) 357-3355 (after 7 pm)

 January 1, 2018  Add comments

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