floppy disk controller is an add-in card for the PC or Amiga, now
no longer manufactured. It uses specialized hardware, not a standard
floppy disk controller chip, and it can be programmed to read and
write just about any disk format. Several versions have been
made. The Catweasel MK4 is a PCI device (not PCIe), the older
Catweasel MK3 has two connectors and plugs into either the PCI bus of
a PC or the Zorro bus of an Amiga, the MK2 plugs only into an Amiga,
and the original MK1 or Catweasel ISA plugs into the ISA bus of a PC.
Although no longer made, the cards can sometimes be found used.
I wrote a set of programs for use with the Catweasel. My
programs run on Linux, Windows 95, or MS-DOS and work with the
Catweasel MK1, MK3, and MK4. They don't run on the Amiga -- sorry.
Note: My Catweasel programs also
do not run on Windows NT, 2000, XP, or 2003. I'm not sure if
they run on Windows 98 or ME. The problem is that they talk
directly to the hardware; they do not go through a device driver
loaded into the operating system.
- cw2dmk can use a Catweasel to read
several kinds of floppy disk, some of which ordinary PC controllers
have trouble with, and write them out in the DMK disk image format used by xtrs and by
David Keil's TRS-80
emulator. cw2dmk does not just read TRS-80 disks. It can make an
exact image of any disk written using a Western Digital 177x/179x
floppy disk controller, a PC-style NEC765-compatible controller, or a
Digital Equipment Corporation RX02 controller. It does not support
Amiga, Apple II, Atari or Commodore disks.
- dmk2cw uses a Catweasel to write any DMK image back to
a real floppy disk. It can handle the same kinds of disks as cw2dmk.
- dmk2jv3 converts images from DMK format to
the older JV3 format, for use with
emulators and tools that do not support DMK. This program can be used
to convert any DMK image that is representable in JV3 format, not just
images written by cw2dmk. It does not require Catweasel hardware.
- jv2dmk converts images from JV1 or JV3 format to DMK. This program
also does not require Catweasel hardware, but it is useful mainly
to convert JV1 or JV3 images for subsequent writing to disk by dmk2cw.
(The DMK images that jv2dmk produces will of course work with
emulators that support DMK, but those emulators generally also support
JV1 and JV3 directly.)
You can download the source code and executables for both Linux and
MS-DOS below. The MS-DOS version also runs on Windows 95.
- I have not worked on the Catweasel
Floppy Read/Write Tools for several years. Continuing development
by several other folks to add new features and other improvements is
now hosted at
- My last release was version 4.4 in 2010
The package includes binaries for Linux and MS-DOS/Windows95.
- Also available are Win32 executables of jv2dmk and dmk2jv3 only,
version 4.4 (zip format).
These should run on modern 32- and 64-bit editions of Windows.
- Preview the documentation (version 4.4):
- The Catweasel was a product of Individual Computers, but is no longer available there.
- cw2dmk is partly based on the Catweasel drivers for
Linux, which support Amiga and MS-DOS disks.
- The dmklib
library reads and writes the DMK image format.
Currently, DMK and JV3 disk images are useful mostly with TRS-80
emulators, but the ability to read disks with cw2dmk and write out
copies with dmk2cw also provides a nice way of archiving disks from
old machines and making physical copies when needed. The dmklib
project noted above may lead to still more applications.
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