Disk conversion - with XP

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Steve M
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Disk conversion - with XP

Post by Steve M » Sun Jun 25, 2006 1:56 pm

I've got XP working reasonably but still have problems with some older progs like the Oric emulator.
I've recently been contacted by the author of Revenge of the Beans and I want to convert the prog to PC and email it to him. I have the files on disk. (These don't work on disk - no beans !) The files then need to be CSAVEd and joined to make a good tape file.

DOSbox doesn't work like proper DOS. It doesn't seem to recognise the drives and you have to 'mount' them before you can do anything. I've got it to recognise a folder but can't get it to navigate back through the files to my Oric folder so I copied the READDSK file over to where it could be read.
Next problem is it can't see the A: drive. Ho Hum !

What do I do next? I can mount the drive but I'll need to specify a folder and then it isn't going to recognise the drive properly if it's looking for that folder - is it?

Anyone converted disks on XP ?

Steve M

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Re: Disk conversion - with XP

Post by ibisum » Tue Mar 31, 2015 12:23 pm

I don't get it - is WinXP running natively on your PC? Because then you should be able to just gain raw access to the A: drive (assuming you've got a real floppy drive) and off it goes - read from A:, write to a C:\TMP\ folder, or something?

But .. if you've got WinXP in a virtual machine, say you're on OSX or Linux, then you just need to follow these instructions, I think:

http://www.sierrahelp.com/Utilities/Emu ... unt.html#f

(EDIT: I guess I don't understand why you're using DOSBox under WinXP .. can't you just use the Oric utilities in normal CMD.EXE session? Not a Windows expert, but I think some more context is needed in order to figure out what your situation is..)

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Re: Disk conversion - with XP

Post by Chema » Tue Mar 31, 2015 12:39 pm

I also don't get it Steve... Are you talking about an *ORIC* disk? So maybe you are trying to use readdsk....

*If* that is the case, then bad news: you cannot make readdsk or writedsk work from XP. No matter what you try. The OS is preventing low level access to the disk.

You have to boot DOS (or Windows 9x) and then use the utils, which is a bit complicated if your hard disk is formatted in NTFS. And then you need to have a proper floppy drive (not USB and beware some internal floppy drives on laptops use USB connection).

Certainly it should be possible to port this old utilities to modern systems. They should stop using BIOS access (int13, I think) and start using either a low level access driver (I think there are some out there) or maybe other kind of access (though I think some tried this and it worked only with some formats).

I have a very old laptop (the only one with floppy drive!) and I am considering reformatting and installing windows 98 just to do this kind of things...

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ibisum
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Re: Disk conversion - with XP

Post by ibisum » Tue Mar 31, 2015 1:16 pm

Didn't know that WinXP didn't allow raw block i/o access to the floppy drive ..

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Re: Disk conversion - with XP

Post by Chema » Tue Mar 31, 2015 1:36 pm

I think the problem is that it does not support exotic formats. Certainly not through the int13 and BIOS routines (they are redirected to the OS): http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/INT_13H

You should use the CreateFile/ReadFile/WriteFile commands, but I think I read somewhere that they do not support exotic formats very well...

There are alternatives, which use their own drivers, such as this library...
http://simonowen.com/fdrawcmd/

and OmniFlop:
http://www.shlock.co.uk/Utils/OmniFlop/ ... p_Overview

which is supposed to support Oric Jasmin format (it says so in the doc, but don't ask me for details :) )

EDIT: Which makes me wonder if http://simonowen.com/samdisk/ could do the work with Oric disks...

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iss
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Re: Disk conversion - with XP

Post by iss » Tue Mar 31, 2015 5:00 pm

Recently I tested fdrawcmd together with samdisk.
Only obligatory are real floppy with real floppy controller.
USB floppy don't work as Chema already said (I have technical explanation for this, if someone is interested).

I'm using one very old laptop, It works fine with WinXP and even with Win7 (pure luck!!!).
I succeeded to create image from real floppy under Win7.
I'll try ASAP to create back floppy from the image and boot real Oric with it - will post the results.

EDIT: I can confirm SAMDisk and OmniFlop can read Oric floppies to image and than format and write the image back to floppy.
Now the problem is that both programs don't understand the 'standard' Oric DSK format.
Hm, this would be interesting project ... fdrawcmd has well documented API :twisted: ...

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Steve M
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Re: Disk conversion - with XP

Post by Steve M » Tue Mar 31, 2015 7:03 pm

This was a long time ago.
I was trying to convert a real Oric disk to PC and then copy the files to create a tape image (because the program wouldn't work on disk).

I think I would have upgrade my Win 98 PC to WinXP in those days. Managed to get Euphoric working but could work the floppies. It didn't like DOS so much so I think I tried running in DOSBox in order to get the tool working (?) I also tried VirtualPC.
I can't remember exactly - this was 9 years ago.

The problem seems to be that Win XP does not support 720Kb floppies, so whenever I was inserting DD floppies it was trying to read them as HD 1.44 which was failing.

So for me to convert any disks I need to get a PC running Win98 and go back to Euphoric so that I can use the tools.

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Re: Disk conversion - with XP

Post by Symoon » Tue Mar 31, 2015 8:23 pm

I use to have a Windows 3.1 PC for this but the hard drive died.
No problem, I can still use it booting on a DOS floppy ! No very handy but works - of course you have to have another PC with floppy drive to write the DSK files on the DOS floppies.

XP still works 720K floppies but there was a trick for that - can't recall exactly.

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Re: Disk conversion - with XP

Post by Godzil » Wed Apr 01, 2015 10:23 am

That's always the same problem, you will need a PC with a real FDC, which is no existant on modern laptop (and even older, you can't plug a 3" drive)..

We will need at some point a real hardware that use USB or any modern way to plug a real drive on a modern pc where there is no FDC inside as it become more common.
The problem is most of the current solutions works, but cost a lot just for making backups..

At some point, I should try to make a cheap FDC USB based controller like to what we have for IDE or SATA drive, and all the write/read logic is done by the software on the computer side, so not by using the drive like a USB Flash stick as all USB floppy does currently (that's why they only support PC based formated floppy, because they try to mimic a USB Flash Stick, and lots of the function of a real FDC are setted to PC standard format..)

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Re: Disk conversion - with XP

Post by Chema » Wed Apr 01, 2015 10:36 am

Yep. I know that SD based solutions are the way to go (cumulus or controller+HxC or similar) but it is nice to see the Oric working with real drives and disks.

Alas, I guess that it is something we should start forgetting about. It would be harder and harder to use real disks as the old hardware with real FDC becomes obsolete and stops working.

Cumulus is a nice device, but it is not available to everyone (I hope the next batch can be built somehow). Microdisc clone controllers are available and quite affordable (I have Silicebit's and it works perfectly), which was a dream just a couple of years ago, but HxC drives are quite expensive.

In any case, anyone having real Oric disks with software that has not been preserved should consider making an image themselves or sending it to someone who can so it can be added to oric.org or any other repository.
iss wrote: EDIT: I can confirm SAMDisk and OmniFlop can read Oric floppies to image and than format and write the image back to floppy.
Now the problem is that both programs don't understand the 'standard' Oric DSK format.
Hm, this would be interesting project ... fdrawcmd has well documented API :twisted: ...
This is nice news... It would be nice if you could provide the options you used to make SAMDisk or OmniFlop work with Oric disks. And, do you mean they use their own format for disk images? If it is documented creating a conversion tool should not be very difficult and it could be a nice (though maybe temporary) solution.

fdrawcmd could be used to create a new writedsk/readdsk tool that works in modern Windows OSes, but the problem with the hardware availability still persists....

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Re: Disk conversion - with XP

Post by ibisum » Wed Apr 01, 2015 10:39 am

What I think would be useful is if we could get FUSE drivers written that can handle the Oric disk format, and then be able to use FUSE with any media that are available - SD, CF, etc.

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Re: Disk conversion - with XP

Post by Godzil » Wed Apr 01, 2015 10:53 am

Chema, no I was speaking about using real floppy, not about the cumulus, there are still a lot of floppy and drives that need to be read of written, not necessarily for the Oric, and we lack good and cheap tool for this.. Only expensive and crapish one..

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Re: Disk conversion - with XP

Post by Chema » Wed Apr 01, 2015 10:58 am

You mean use a driver for the DSK format so you can "mount" it and it is "seen" by the OS as if it were just another kind of storage device (with files in it you can browse)?

Yeah, that would be nice, but does not solve the problem of reading/writing physical oric floppy disks, does it? Besides we could also have a tool (e.g. OricExplorer) which pretty much could do the same thing.

And I am not sure if FUSE relies on "standard" disk geometries. Definitely it won't be able to work with a SEDORIC disk if the floppy drive is not a "real" one (USB).

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Chema
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Re: Disk conversion - with XP

Post by Chema » Wed Apr 01, 2015 11:05 am

Godzil wrote:Chema, no I was speaking about using real floppy, not about the cumulus, there are still a lot of floppy and drives that need to be read of written, not necessarily for the Oric, and we lack good and cheap tool for this.. Only expensive and crapish one..
I understood you were talking about real floppies. I was not talking about your comment in my previous post. But what you propose is new hardware (if I understood correctly). Indeed interesting, and another possible way to go, but need new hardware anyway.

I still have concerns about using real floppies. Sooner or later your disks or floppy controllers will stop working reliably and SD solutions will be the only option.

But I am getting a bit off-topic, I think. This thread was about reading and writing Oric disks and the software that could do it. And the hardware+OS that is needed for that software to work. In that area your idea is very relevant.

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Re: Disk conversion - with XP

Post by christian » Wed Apr 01, 2015 7:39 pm

Hi,

About FUSE driver, you can do all what you want even mount a web site or a database.

I posted a message last year in this topic about such a tool for Oric dsk images.
More information can be found here (in french)

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