Managing Disks and Drives

    Floppy Disks

    Formatting Floppy Disks in a Disklavier

    Formatting Floppy Disks On A Computer

    Making Back-Up Copies of PianoSoft Floppy Disks

    Memory Disks

    Replacing Floppy Disk Drives

    Modifying a PC Drive To Work on a Disklavier

    Bypassing The Floppy Disk Drive on a Disklavier

    Backing-Up Flash Memory on the E3 and DKC-850

    Backing-Up the Hard Drive on a Mark IV

    Creating a Boot Floppy for Updating the Mark IV

    Yamaha USB Floppy Disk Drive

    MIDI Players and CDs


 Floppy Disks

Some control boxes continue to be equipped with floppy disk drives, but not all. Older models use only  2DD (720 Kb) diskettes which have one square hole in the lower left corner of the diskette.  These disks are very hard to find now as the most common disks now are 2HD (1.44 MG).  Both disks look the same , but 2HD diskettes  have 2 square holes - one in each lower corner of the diskette.  Refer to the Chart: Disk and File Formats to determine which diskettes your particular model of Midi Player uses.  All models of Disklaviers from the MarkIIXG series and later can use either disk. 

Sometimes you can use black tape to cover the hole on the lower right corner of a 1.44 MB 2HD disk to “fake out” the computer into thinking it is a 2DD 720k disk.  I have not always been successful with this and recommend that you buy a supply of 2DD disks while you still can.  The magnetic particles on a 720 kb disk are further apart than those on a 1.44 M disk, and the heads on the floppy drive that reads them are bigger.

You can buy floppy disks at:


The maximum number of songs (files or folders as well), that a Yamaha Disklavier can read on any single drive, floppy disk, memory disk or CD, is 99.  MIDI is only data, therefore a piano solo will have less data than an Ensemble song.  Each disk will hold approximately 90 minutes of music.


Never mix music file formats on a diskette. A single floppy disk should contain all E-Seq files,  or SMF  format 0 files, or SMF format 1 files!  See section on Music File Formats for more information.


Formatting Floppy Disks in a Disklavier


Floppy disks can be formatted in your Disklavier's Control Box. For other player systems, IBM pre-formatted disks should work.  Your Owner's Manual describes how to do this.  The following PDF files explain how to format a floppy disk, preferably a 720 DD diskette for the following Disklaviers:

    MX100A/B and Wagon Grand,


    Mark II

Use 1.44HD floppy disks for the following Disklaviers:

    Mark IIXG

    Mark III


Formatting Floppy Disks on a Computer


PianoSoft floppy disks from Yamaha using their ESEQ proprietary format cannot be seen by your computer because nothing is written on boot sector of the disk.  However, you can format disks on your computer that can be read by the Disklavier.  Starting with the MarkIIXG models, any IBM formatted 1.44 MB diskette will do.  However, for those models (MX100A/B, MX80, Wagon Grand, and MarkII) that can only read a 720k double density disk, formatting can be an adventure with newer computer operating systems.  I suggest that you obtain or keep an older laptop or desktop computer with a Windows 98 or older operating system that support DOS if you own a pre MarkIIXG Disklavier.

If using Windows 95, 98 or ME: Put a blank floppy in Drive A.  Right click on the drive A icon and choose Format.  When the format window appears, click the down arrow where it says 1.44 MB and choose 720k format.

If using Windows XP, try the following.  Go to the DOS prompt and type:  format a:  /t:80  /n:9

or click on "Start", select "Run", type in cmd  /k  format a:  /t:80  /n:9  The advantage of using this method is that the long command will be remembered as a pull-down selection when you select the "Run" command as long as you are logged in on the same computer as the same user.


Making Back-up Copies of PianoSoft floppy disks


You can make back-up copies of your PianoSoft floppy disks.  Use the copies in your Disklavier and put the originals away for safe-keeping.  You may also want to copy some songs on the PianoSoft floppies to a hard drive on a computer.  Because your computer will not detect the presence of a PianoSoft floppy disk (because nothing is written on the boot sector) you will need to use special software.  The free program, dkcopy (part of the dkvutil software) and the shareware programs,  AnaDisk and RipARoot, run in DOS.  The RootARipper program will work in Windows NT, 2000 and XP.  These programs are included on this website in the Software Downloads page and are explained further in the Music Software section.  If your MidiPlayer only uses 720k DD disks, you will need a supply of them for your copies, or try taping over the hole in the 1.44 MB floppies with a black, opaque tape.

Both the Disk Copy utility that comes with your operating system, and AnaDisk, make exact copies of the floppy disk you make a back-up copy.  The dkcopy and RootARipper programs make a copy of your original PianoSoft disk that can be read by your computer.  You can see the individual songs; meaning that you are able to copy these song files to play lists or convert them to a standard MIDI format. 


Memory Disks

Starting with the MarkIIXG Disklaviers  you can record songs without using a floppy disk.  If you start the Record function without a floppy disk in the disk drive, the songs will automatically be recorded to the memory disk.  The 1 MB memory disk is equal to that of one floppy disk (60 songs in E-Seq format or 99 songs in SMF format).

Yamaha Mark III’s  have 16 different 1 MB memory disks for a total of 16 MB of memory.  You can copy songs from the memory disk onto floppy disks and vice versa.  You can even copy the copy-protected songs from your Yamaha disks onto the Memory disk(s) for continuous play, but cannot copy these copy-protected songs back out onto other floppies.

The Yamaha Disklavier E3 and the upgrade DKC-850 Control Box have 128 MB of flash memory for storing MIDI files.  An optional USB floppy disk drive is available to load your PianoSoft floppies into the internal memory where playlists can be created.  It has an ethernet port to connect to the Disklavier Internet radio, and to a personal computer.  Also has a USB port for a thumb drive.  There is a 99 (song) file limit on each input:  CD, internal memory, USB flash memory, and any folder on the computer connected to the DKC-850.

The Yamaha Disklavier Mark IV uses a 80 GB hard drive and the Linux operating system.  This hard drive not only holds a library of MIDI files, but audio files as well. It can be connected to the internet to subscribe to Yamaha's Disklavier Radio that has multiple channels and plays 24/7.  It also reads folders on a CD drive and has a USB port for a thumb drive.  The operating system sees a limit of 99 files on any disk or memory disk.


Replacing Floppy Disk Drives

Floppy disk drives wear out, or get ruined when the metal cover comes off a floppy disk and gets stuck in the drive.  Usually the broken drive will read "Unformatted Disk" when you know a perfectly good disk is in the drive.  You then need to replace the drive by calling Yamaha technical support and buy one from them, or have your Disklavier technician do this for you.  I personally recommend genuine Yamaha parts because they already come with the proprietary cables, connectors and pin assignments.


Modifying a PC Drive to Work on a Disklavier

For those who wish to modify a PC drive for use in a Yamaha Disklavier, the following information might be helpful, but no guarantee it will work!

Modifying a standard PC drive to use as an MDR drive


Bypassing the floppy drive on a Disklavier

A working floppy disk drive (FDD) is required to connect an upgraded Control Box via MIDI cables to you M100A/B and MarkII  Disklavier.  This is not true when the DKC-850 replaces the control boxes on the MarkIIXG and MarkIII models. This includes the DSR1 (discontinued) and the DKC-850.  Even if your new box has a new floppy drive, the old drive in the old controller must be working and powered ON. It may be possible to try the following to bypass a non-working floppy drive on a MX100A/B, press the MIDI button, Record button and Power button at the same time to power on the DKV. 

You can also connect a computer to a Midi Player to record and play songs.  All Disklaviers, PianoDisc and QRS Midi Players have MIDI ports.  You need a MIDI Interface to connect to a computer.  One end has two MIDI plugs, MIDI In and MIDI Out, that connect to your MIDI Player (Disklavier, PianoDisc and QRS) and the other end will have a USB connector that goes into a computer.  MIDI In always connects to MIDI Out, and MIDI Out always connects to MIDI In.  The exception is if these interface cables are labeled "to MIDI In" and/or "to MIDI out".  If you are dead in the water, switch the cable connections to see if this helps.  You also need a software program running on your computer that sees the MIDI interface and the files you want to play.  These are MIDI sequencer or playlist software.  More on this in the Connecting a Computer to a Midi Player and the Music Software sections.


Backing-Up Flash Memory on the E3 and DKC-850

There are two USB ports on these models.  USB1 is on the back of the control box and is usually where the USB Floppy Disk drive is connected.  USB2 is on the front of the box and easy to reach with  a removable USB Flash memory device.  (If no device is connected to the USB port on the back of the box, then the USB port on the front is named USB1).  You can make a backup copy of the songs and playlists stored in Memory.  Place the thumb drive in the USB port, then System on the Remote Control.  Select "Backup" with the cursor buttons, then press Enter. Press Enter when OK? prompt appears, then YES.  The system can be restored to the condition from which you backed it up by going through the same process and choosing Restore.

NOTE:  Forget the idea of taking the backed-up thumb drive and putting it into another Disklavier or computer.  That "Backup" can only be "Restored" to the box from which it came!


Backing-Up the Hard Drive on a Mark IV

You can make a backup copy of the song libraries and play lists, and restore the songs in the Disklavier.  Be sure to use a USB HDD formatted in a FAT32 file system.  The NTFS file system in NOT supported!  The hard drive on a MarkIV is 80 GB.  Each backup performed will have it's own date and file, so you can put many backups on one external USB hard drive.  Here is a page from the manual explaining in detail how to to this.

Making Backups and Restoring the Song Library on a Mark IV


Creating a Boot Floppy to Update the Mark IV Disklavier

In order to update the software on a MarkIV Disklavier, you MUST create a boot floppy on the Mark IV itself.  Use a 1.44 mb floppy disk and make sure the write protect tab is unlocked.  Follow these instructions:

How to Make a Boot Floppy                   Mark IV v.4.0 Update Procedure


Yamaha USB Floppy Disk Drive

Rather than build-in a floppy disk drive into the new Disklavier Control Boxes, Yamaha now sells separately a stand alone USB drive called the UD-FD01.  It can only be purchased from a Yamaha dealer.  Not all brands of portable USB drives work with these Disklaviers so just save yourself the grief and buy the Yamaha drive.


MIDI Players and CDs

It is important to distinguish between the two different types of CDs used in MIDI Players - those that play the keys on your piano, and those that do not.  Floppy disks and drives are being phased out, so the MIDI files that play the piano keys and the tone generated sounds, are being put on CDs, sometimes with audio tracks.  These are the kinds of CDs one can make using the MID2PIANOCD software program written by Mark Fontana.  See the details in the Music Software section.  These are NOT audio CDs that play in your car stereo; they are CDs of MIDI files that will play the keys on your MIDI Player.

Audio CDs play in your stereo system, or through the sound system on your MIDI Player, but CANNOT play the keys on your piano.  Some MIDI Players, like the MarkIII, IV, and E3 Disklaviers can play an audio CD with an accompanying floppy disk of MIDI files, known as Piano Smart.  You can make audio CDs from your collection of MIDI files so you can hear them in your car stereo, but you cannot make MIDI files from audio CDs that will play your piano. To make an audio CD from MIDI files, place the MIDIs into your iTunes library; then create a playlist, and drag and drop these MIDIs into the new list, then "burn" them to an audio CD.  You can make an audio CD of either wave or MP3 files. 



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