The purpose of this article is to give beginners using the Apple II platform a small amount of knowledge to format & view the contents of a 5.25 inch disk using DOS 3.3 It is written from the point of view that the user has little or no knowledge regarding the operations of the Apple II platform.

While longtime users of the Apple II platform now primarily use the ProDOS operating system, there are many new Apple II users who may have picked up a mchine without any documentation & subsequently will know nothing of the basics of the Apple II platform.

While the original Apple II used cassettes for data storage, after the advent of disk drives for the platform, the original version of DOS (Disk Operating System) made accessing & using data for the Apple II much quicker & easier for those using the Apple II.

The final release of DOS for the Apple II was DOS 3.3, which gave the Apple II a number of benefits over the older versions. Apple II 5.25" disks can hold a maximum of 143K (kilobytes) of information per side.

The main thrust of this article is to show people how to format a disk to use DOS 3.3 as the startup volume. It's really quite simple, just follow the steps outlined in the next paragraph.

Firstly, you need to find a disk that's formatted with DOS 3.3 Disks formatted with DOS 3.3 are fairly easy to identify. Simply put the disk in question into the drive & turn the machine on. If a BASIC prompt (]) with a flashing cursor appears or a menu of programs appears, then you have a disk formatted with DOS 3.3 If the disk in question loads with a screen which says (ProDOS 1.1.1) or similar, then you have a disk formatted with a later DOS, which is outside the scope of this article.

Once your disk is loaded, hold down CONTROL then press RESET after which you should have a BASIC prompt. To verify that you still have DOS loaded, type CATALOG & press RETURN. If you get a listing of files contained on the disk, then DOS 3.3 is loaded.

To format a blank disk, remove your startup disk (you must do this or your files on the startup disk will be lost). Insert a blank disk & tyoe INIT HELLO & press RETURN. The disk drive will make a strange noise, after which you will hear the drive run for around 30 seconds to a minute.

Once the disk is formatted, the drive will stop turning & a BASIC prompt will return to your screen. Congratulations, you have formatted a blank disk.

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