Atari ST - PC: floppy compability issues, history

 When Atari ST computer serie is launched it was told that their floppies are MS DOS compatible. This is not 100% correct, and lot of troubles is caused because of couple small details.

In 1985, when ST arrived 3.5 inch floppy drives were not used on PCs, it came 2 years later.  Actually, data transfer on relation ST-PC  was not interesting much until late 80-es. People noticed that PC works not with floppies formatted on Atari. Then some solutions appeared.
Atari itself modified format in TOS 1.04 (put 0xE9 on boot sector start), and said that it is now MS DOS compatible. Again, they done it false - FAT size remained 5 sectors instead required 3. But it worked in DOS, Win 95.

Then came time of emulators - on regular PC you could run Atari ST software faster than on real ST! This started problem of transferring SW to PC, and running from Atari floppies, which were in many cases non-DOS format. Archiving (on CDs) was second thing where secure data transfer was needed. Floppy imaging programs appeared, and all it worked relatively good and reliable.

Then came Win 95 and it still worked good. Actually, better than DOS - it opened even floppies formatted with TOS 1.0 !
But with Win 98 things started to beeing worse - MS TM changed floppy driver, and work with ST floppies resulted in many cases with bad datas, slowness.

Then came 3-rd millenium and Win 2K, Win XP. Running DOS mode is not so simple now, and lot of SW runs not, or runs incorrect in Win XP. Floppy driver is changed  further and strange things happened. Correct  reading of 800KB or 1600KB floppies became impossible. Couple years later special floppy drivers appeared to solve this problem. Unfortunatelly, by 'Atari ST floppies on PC' we have lot of incomplete, obsolete, false and misleading information around WEB sites. Actually, most of sites is dead - nothing is changed for years. There is many dead link, probably no need to sorry for them.

All it meant need for some new, XP compatible floppy imaging/reading SW.