I read somewhere that floppy disks cannot be partitioned with most modern computer software tools. However, can't a floppy disk simply be viewed as an array of bytes like other magnetic storage devices? What prevents you from creating a boot sector and implementing some kind of partition map (e.g. MBR) like you can with a hard disk?


You certainly can partition a floppy. Nothing prevents you from doing it, and it should work just fine on Linux when you mount it.

But given the small amount of data you can store on a floppy, having several partitions doesn't make sense, so it's just a waste of space. That's why nobody is doing it.

Also, most tools (and old OS like DOS) will be confused by a partition table, and won't work correctly any more.

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    Thanks for the answer! Any idea why the Wikipedia page for volumes in computing says that "A volume is not the same thing as a partition. For example, a floppy disk might be accessible as a volume, even though it does not contain a partition, as floppy disks cannot be partitioned with most modern computer software" Mar 22 '20 at 8:57
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    I'd suggest you make a new question for that. Yes, the concept of a "volume" is different from a partition. For example, a volume may span multiple partitions; or you may have a volume on a device that's not partitioned, like a floppy. "Floppy disks cannot be partitioned with most modern computer software" may be actually true, depending on your definition of "most" (which is probably Windows-related, and they may have a check in there to prevent it. Just because it's Microsoft, and they want to prevent the stupid users from doing things). Try with fdisk on Linux...
    – dirkt
    Mar 22 '20 at 9:36
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    @MatthewInbox Think of a "Volume" as anything that can have a filesystem on it. Usually that is a partition, but you can put a filesystem directly on the raw disk. (That is the normal situation for floppies.)
    – Tonny
    Mar 22 '20 at 16:11
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    This won't work on Linux. Well, actually partitioning will work, but the kernel won't accept this as a partition table. I've just tried fdisk'ing it, and "Calling ioctl() to re-read partition table" gave me "WARNING: Re-reading the partition table failed with error 22: Invalid argument", and /dev/fd?* only lists /dev/fd0. You may be more successful with losetup and then mounting the loop devices you map the partitions to, but that's just simulation, not "working just fine".
    – Ruslan
    Mar 22 '20 at 19:30
  • @Rusian: I said "fdisk is working just fine" and "if you can mount it". I didn't say "partitioning will work out of the box" (though it should be possible to make that work with a bit of fiddling). And yes, giving offset and lenght for mounting is the simplest way.
    – dirkt
    Mar 23 '20 at 5:24

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