Is there a magic word to format a 8" Altos hard disk?

william degnan billdegnan at
Tue Dec 6 08:40:22 CST 2016

On Tue, Dec 6, 2016 at 9:28 AM, Al Kossow <aek at> wrote:

> Picked up an Altos 8600 that I bought on eBay yesterday, amazingly the
> Xenix actually
> came up, but the drive failed as I was tarring off the file system. I had
> another Quantum
> 2040, put it in, tried to run the formatter, but it says to call Altos,
> asks for a confirmation
> but just returns to the menu if you type 'y' 'Y' or 'Yes' so I'm assuming
> there is a magic
> word you have to enter.
> This is the same controller that the Z80 system uses (8000-14) so I'm
> guessing someone must
> have run into this before. I'm going to paw through the diagnostic binary
> to see if there is
> something that looks magical.
> Sound familiar?
When you run the hard drive format command and you're asked "Do you want to
continue?" rather than say "Y" enter "sotla" This is the secret response
you need to bypass the format block.


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