Writedsk

Comments, problems, suggestions about Oric emulators (Euphoric, Mess, Amoric, etc...) it's the right place to ask. And don't hesitate to give your tips and tricks that help using these emulations in the best possible way on your favorite operating system.
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Steve M
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Writedsk

Post by Steve M » Tue Jul 02, 2013 6:31 pm

I've been trying to convert a disk image to floppy recently and not having any success. I've bought a new floippy drive just to check that wasn't the problem but no difference.
There seems to be two versions of Writedsk with one called Writedsk2 though the other one is v2. (??)

DBug has some instructions online which suggest formatting the floppy in DOS. So the first question is should the floppy be Oric formatted or DOS formatted? (And does it matter which version of Writedsk is to be used?)

I remember using INIT11 to format floppies though I used to use the real Oric because it was quicker.

There's mention of CWSDPMI. What's that? I don't remember ever using that and I couldn't seem to get it to run without errors.

When running Writedsk I think I used to use writedsk "floppy.dsk" a: but now I see Writedsk floppy.dsk a:
Neither will work for me.

I'm using DD 720K disk or a 1.44 with the HD hole tapes up which should make it 720K.

Should I be doing something else? Why isn't it working???

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Re: Writedsk

Post by Dbug » Tue Jul 02, 2013 7:11 pm

The instructions I wrote were from manyyyyy years ago when the most advanced available Windows was Windows 2000, and when most PCs still had floppy drives that could write in 720k format.

These days a lot of controllers or drive are simply unusable.

CWSDPMI is a 'dos extender', it's what is(was) used by Fabrice's old tools to be able to use more than 64k of memory under DOS or Windows 9x. It has to be there for the program to just run at all.

The suggestion about formating the floppy in DOS was just to force the disk to be reformated in 720k, because most modern floppies are HD, and for some reason writedsk was having issues with that. So an initial low-level 720k formating was solving the problem for me.

Have you checked if your PC is able to format a 720k floppy at all?

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Re: Writedsk

Post by Steve M » Tue Jul 02, 2013 7:45 pm

I can format the floppy on the Oric. It seems to format OK on the PC.
(I'm using WInXP on my old system. As far as I remember it's what I used to use for converting Oric files to and from PC)

With the new drive if I look in Windows the options to format the A: just gives me 1.44mB option - no 720K. That looks like it isn't recognizing 720k in Windows. So is that a hardware issue or software??? I could fit one of Jean B's 720 drives.

I'm not using DOSBox, just the Command line. Would Dosbox be any better?

I remember reading something the Atari ST users said that HD disks weren't suitable for 720 use as the layer was thinner and the HD drives write thinner tracks so using them as DD tended to 'bleed through' and cause corrupted files etc.

In the past I've managed to use the disks with the Oric but at the moment I'm having troubles. Some of the HD disks work in HD drives but not so reliable in the old 720 one and 720 disks don't seem so reliable in the HD drive.

At the moment I'm trying to convert Salamander's Oric Trek. I did it previously so have a tape image on PC. I can't convert it on the real Oric with tapes not loading when the disk drive is attached, and I can't convert it back from the PC to an Oric disk.

Stuck!

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Re: Writedsk

Post by Steve M » Tue Jul 02, 2013 8:21 pm

Part of the answer. XP doesn't support formatting 720 floppies but should read and write to them.
http://support.microsoft.com/kb/309623

So if I format on an Oric is should be able to write the disk using Writedsk (?)

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Re: Writedsk

Post by Symoon » Tue Jul 02, 2013 9:04 pm

I've recently had so much trouble trying to make a real floppy from a disk image that I hope we soon have another solution for ou real Orics ;-)
Anyway.
I tried to transfer a 18 sectors per track disk, and this won't work with Writedsk only (the libraries used by Writedsk won't format more than 17 sectors per track). I had 1st to format the disk on a real Oric, and the using Writedsk worked fine.

So yes, you can format on a real Oric first.
If I recall correctly, Writedsk tries 1st to write, then reads what it just wrote, compares to the source file; if there's any difference, then it tries to format, write, read again, and compare again. So if you format 1st on Oric, you can write more "exotic" formats, and Writedsk will work faster.

EDIT: beware though, Fabrice recommands using a real DOS, i.e. boot your PC from a DOS floppy for instance. I had some results with MS-DOS from Win98, but I'm afraid the XP Dos might be a reason for your problems.

EDIT2: can't recall but there's a solution to format 720K disks with XP. Some switch trick I think. Google for it ;-)

EDIT 3: Googled for you: "Use the DOS command "FORMAT A: /T:80 /N:9"

Windows XP doesn't even support the /F:720 switch anymore, but explicitly
defining the number of sectors and tracks works just fine."
Last edited by Symoon on Tue Jul 02, 2013 9:14 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Writedsk

Post by Symoon » Tue Jul 02, 2013 9:12 pm

Dbug wrote:CWSDPMI is a 'dos extender', it's what is(was) used by Fabrice's old tools to be able to use more than 64k of memory under DOS or Windows 9x. It has to be there for the program to just run at all.
If I understood the code correctly, that's also there that are stored the (rather low-level) write and read disk functions Fabrice is using in Writedsk. That's where the limitation of 17 sectors per track is, that's why there is no other option than Oric formatting if you want to transfer a 18 or 19 sectors per track disk!

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Re: Writedsk

Post by Steve M » Tue Jul 02, 2013 10:01 pm

Thanks for the replies. Maybe it was back on Win98 that I had success(?) I thought I had used XP but maybe not.

I guess I'll have to get another PC out and load up Win98.

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Re: Writedsk

Post by Steve M » Wed Jul 03, 2013 8:09 pm

OK clear away the stuff sitting on the old Win98 PC and connect it up. Turn it on and the mouse pointer won't move. Ah, optical mouse - need one with a ball. I remember saying you needed drivers for these thigns and being told you diodn't need them they were 'plug in and play'. Not on Win 98.
Found an old 'marble mouse'. Plug it in and reboot. That works!
Right, boot up Win XP and copy Oric folders to flash drive. Stick flash drive in Win98 PC.
What's this? Windows needs to load drivers for your device but hasn't a clue how to do it.
Dammitdammitdammit. Try and load something that might work - no joy. Try and load something else from the Win98 disk and Win98 can't find it on the disk. Argh!
Right. Boot up the WinXP machine again and copy to a CD. I'll use a CD-RW that I have. Copy that and put it in the Win98 machine. Click whirr ... click whirrr. ... . . It opens and then try and copy across using a ball mouse thing with no wheel. Nothing's happening ...
Dammitdammitdammit. Maybe the CD is dodgy. I'll get a fresh CD and copy the files on the WinXP machine - again.
Right put that in the drive and .... click whirr .. click whirr .... ... .. .... ...

Copied the file and it's reading 0 bytes. That can't be right ...

Oh **** !!!!
<Turn of ****ing PCs and go for a lie down>

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Re: Writedsk

Post by Symoon » Thu Jul 04, 2013 12:01 am

You have to either find an old USB drive / key / SD card reader that has Win98 driver, or... Use floppy disks - seriously ;-)

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Re: Writedsk

Post by Dbug » Thu Jul 04, 2013 7:35 am

The easiest for me at the time was to build a CD with all the tools, all my DSK files, etc... plus a floppy disk with MSCDEX to get the cdrom working.
From there I was able to boot on 100% DOS and get all the stuff fine.

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Re: Writedsk

Post by ibisum » Thu Jul 04, 2013 11:21 am

Dbug, is there any chance I can convince you to share an image of a working CD .iso that would give us the ability to do this? I've not been a Microsoft user for some decades, and don't have a Windows production system in my environment, easily accessible, so its always a bit of a nuisance for me to have to do system-level stuff like this without tearing up hours on end. If you don't mind sharing, I will definitely use it to burn disks and help maintain it as much as possible ..

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Re: Writedsk

Post by Dbug » Thu Jul 04, 2013 12:38 pm

ibisum wrote:Dbug, is there any chance I can convince you to share an image of a working CD .iso that would give us the ability to do this? I've not been a Microsoft user for some decades, and don't have a Windows production system in my environment, easily accessible, so its always a bit of a nuisance for me to have to do system-level stuff like this without tearing up hours on end. If you don't mind sharing, I will definitely use it to burn disks and help maintain it as much as possible ..
I wish I had.
That was before I moved to Norway, so about 9 years ago.

That being said, there's nothing Windows related at all in it.
All the CD had was DSK and WriteDSK files saved with 8.3 names to avoid issues under DOS, and the floppy was just a standard DOS 6.22 auto bootable with MSCDEX to access the cdrom. That's all :)

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Re: Writedsk

Post by ibisum » Thu Jul 04, 2013 1:41 pm

Drats. You see, I'd already done exactly this at some point a few years ago, but I've lost it and don't have the druthers to go through it all again. Well, maybe in a few weeks .. ;)

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Re: Writedsk

Post by Dbug » Thu Jul 04, 2013 2:12 pm

ibisum wrote:Drats. You see, I'd already done exactly this at some point a few years ago, but I've lost it and don't have the druthers to go through it all again. Well, maybe in a few weeks .. ;)
If you manage to do it, we will make a ISO image of the CD and try to make an image of the floppy as well so people can use that.

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Re: Writedsk

Post by Steve M » Thu Jul 04, 2013 7:30 pm

If you had a list of what the files needed are I think I could put them on CD and then make an iso.

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