Author Topic: Transferring files from PC to PCW  (Read 1084 times)

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Offline P5ychoFox

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Transferring files from PC to PCW
« on: 19:27, 25 March 18 »
I have finally got a PCW with a 3.5" second drive. Is there any way to do the following: Download a PCW game (such as the newly converted Pacmania), save the file to 3.5" disk (I have a USB floppy drive), put that 3.5" disk in my PCW and be able to play the game?

I'm guessing that some bespoke PC program might be involved but I'm unsure which one so would be grateful for any advice.

Offline GeoffB17

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Re: Transferring files from PC to PCW
« Reply #1 on: 01:44, 26 March 18 »
Hello,

I suspect that the answer to your question, as worded, will be NO.

However, you might be able to work around this.

Firstly, if the game is the one by 'Habi', I think I saw this - I might even have a disk image?

You don't say what download you may get.   The download may in fact be a full disk image?

I'm pretty sure that the game will need to be on a specially configured A: drive, so that the game software starts and takes over the complete system (just like a normal CP/M boot) except that the prog installs the game software rather than CP/M.

Anyway, you'll prob need to unpack whatever you've downloaded, if it's an image, you'll need to copy the image to a 3" disk.

If you've got the components (incl the new boot sector) then the disk can be created manually.

So, it depends on you getting the right bits in the download you refer to, and being able to then create a suitable A: 3" disk.

Oh, I'll guess that you refer to a 3.5" drive on a PC - note that the formats on the two 3,5" drives (PCW and PC) are different although there are ways of doing something about that.

Whatever - if there's anything I can help with, I'll try.   I did download the PacMania thing of Habi's some time ago.   Not sure if it actually worked for me, but it did load.   I studied the disk in some detail.   I never bothered to persue the matter, as my interest was just technical anyway.   I may have done this when I was using a 5.25" A: boot, and I never retried once I got a 3" A: boot disk working again.

Geoff

Offline JonB

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Re: Transferring files from PC to PCW
« Reply #2 on: 16:26, 28 March 18 »
Some options for you:
  • There is a program on the PCW called "2in1" that allows it to read a PC formatted floppy disk. You can use it for file transfer.
  • Another suite of programs, called CP/M Tools, allows a PC to read files from a PCW formatted CP/M disk. However, you need a normal 3.5" drive, not a USB one, to use it.
  • You can transfer files via serial cable and Kermit if you have a PCW serial adapter. They are quite hard to come by, though, and expensive.
  • You can use a program called CPCDiskXP to read / write the contents of PCW disks - maybe. If you are dowloading a disk image file, this is most likely the way to go, but it probably won't work with your USB drive (these things have built in format aware firmware and often will only support 1.44mb FAT format).
  • You can ask Geoff to send you a disk ;)

If the game you are trying to load has a boot sector, you'll need to put the entire image onto a floppy using one of the imaging utilities; and your USB drive will certainly not do it.
« Last Edit: 16:28, 28 March 18 by JonB »

Offline GeoffB17

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Re: Transferring files from PC to PCW
« Reply #3 on: 20:23, 28 March 18 »
Thanks, Jon, for that kind offer ;)

If it ends up that that is needed, I could readily send a 3.5" CP/M disk with the image, and the util that will copy the image to the 3" disk in A:.   As I have far more 3.5" DD disks than 3" disks, that would be preferable to making a 3" boot disk.

Depending on where to.  OP does not say.

But, YES, I'd not thought of this, but I'm sure you're right.   The various utilities that will allow communication on a PC with CP/M disks require full access to the FDC, so they may NOT work at all with a USB drive.   I confess that the various machines I've used such progs on have always had one or two native floppy drives (i.e. both 5.25 and 3.5"), and hence an active FDC.

If OP's PC has ONLY a USB floppy drive then it will not work.

As for 2in1, I'm not sure about that.   Maybe you're right?   I rather thought that that prog allowed the creation of a special format that could be recognised by BOTH the PCW and the PC.   If this prog, to create such a disk, has to be run on the PC, then this will still fail if it finds a USB drive?

BUT, Moonstone may well have had two varieties of such a system, and I'm thinking of the wrong one.

However, I have another piece of software, called XENO.   This came with the 5.25" drive I got a lifetime ago for my PCW (40T drive).  I think this prog allowed a PC format disk to be READ on the PCW (using the BOX drive).   I never used it, as I was already using 22DISK back then.   I'd guess the XENO prog may work ONLY with 360k 5.25" disks, so it may be no use, but such a thing could be possible.

Geoff

Offline JonB

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Re: Transferring files from PC to PCW
« Reply #4 on: 16:13, 29 March 18 »
You're welcome, Geoff!  ;D


2in1 interprets a properly formatted DOS disk on a PCW. You put your PC disk in there, then use 2in1 to select and copy files to an Amstrad CP/M formatted disk. I used it to transfer uIDE driver files to the PCW for testing - with a 3.5" disk in the PCW. It's easy to use, though a bit slow to load (much much faster with uIDE of course).


I demonstrated loading it on the uIDE demo video:



https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fNb4eoOV6Ik


You can see the 4 screen sections of the UI. It is pretty easy to use and I would recommend the OP tries it.
« Last Edit: 16:17, 29 March 18 by JonB »

Offline GeoffB17

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Re: Transferring files from PC to PCW
« Reply #5 on: 03:12, 30 March 18 »
Jon,

I've checked up on 2in1, and I see where the confusion comes from.

We're BOTH right!

2in1 is, as it's name suggests, 2 programs in one.   There are two options within the package.   One, referred to as File Transfer, works as per your comment, and the prog running on the PCW can read a DOS format disk in B: and copy the files to A: or M: on the PCW (and vice versa.   The other option is as I was saying, you create a dual format disk which can be used in either machine with a 'convert' utility each time the disk is moved (which I think does something with the directory data).   I assume that in some cases, one version is more convenient than the other.

Geoff

Offline P5ychoFox

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Re: Transferring files from PC to PCW
« Reply #6 on: 10:44, 30 March 18 »
Many thanks for the replies.

I have the Moonstone 2in1 program on some PCW 9512 disks and remember booting it up and seeing the four screens but not investigating any further.

When I get a chance I'll get an internal floppy drive installed in my old PC and put a PCW game onto a 3.5" 720k floppy and then see if I can use 2in1 to copy it to a 3" disk.

Offline P5ychoFox

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Re: Transferring files from PC to PCW
« Reply #7 on: 16:14, 12 April 18 »
I've had some time to spend on this and have made some progress.

I have a PCW 8512 with a 3.5" B drive installed and Moonstone's 2in1 on 3.5" floppy. So I formatted a 1.44Mb floppy to 720k in windows XP (my XP PC has an internal floppy drive now) and dropped a .DSK image of a PCW game onto it. Once the 3.5" disk was in my PCW, 2in1 could read it and I copied it to the M drive and then onto a blank PCW formatted 3.5" floppy.

Only trouble is, as the game is in .DSK format the PCW won't load it. I imagine all PCW games found online are in this format for use on CPM Box emulator but I wonder if there is any way of converting them so a real PCW can read them? I thought that the SAMdisk tool might be the answer?
« Last Edit: 18:27, 12 April 18 by P5ychoFox »

Offline GeoffB17

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Re: Transferring files from PC to PCW
« Reply #8 on: 19:19, 12 April 18 »
Sorry,

There is nothing that can be done DIRECTLY with a .DSK file - with a PCW machine anyway.   There are unilities, runing I think on Linux, that do allow indiv files to be extracted from a .DSK, but that's not much help for you either?

The main purpose of the .DSK is for writing the raw track/sector data onto a destination floppy.

There is a prog by John Elliott, DSKWRSEA, that will write such a file.   His DU54 will do this as well, but I think the latter will NOT handle 'extended' format files.

The .DSK will be a particular size, and should be written to the correct sized floppy.   So, if the image is of a SS 3" disk, then it should be written to such a disk.   Most images for Amstrad disks will be such.  At the end of the writing process, you will have a normal, complete 3" disk with all the data in the correct places, including the boot sector, and any system data, and any hidden or deleted files.   Everything.   

What is the size of the .DSK file you have?   If it's intended for a 720k disk, then it will be more that 720k (due to the formatting data overhead).   If the image is intended for a CF2 disk, then it will be more like 170+ k.

By the way, you CAN use a HD 3.5" floppy formatted to 720k, and it MAY work, but this may NOT be reliable as the magnetic characteristice of the HD disk are NOT the same as the DD disk.  This matter has been much discussed on this forum, and on the web generally.

Geoff
« Last Edit: 20:25, 12 April 18 by GeoffB17 »

Offline P5ychoFox

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Re: Transferring files from PC to PCW
« Reply #9 on: 20:47, 13 April 18 »
Thanks Geoff. The game I used to test was Angel Nieto Pole and the .DSK file was 206kb so it must be intended for a CF2 disk. So using DSKWRSEA does that mean this .DSK or any similar could only be copied to a 3" disk? I don't have a way to connect a 3" drive to a PC so I could only put any image that I convert using DSKWRSEA onto a 720k 3.5" disk.

Offline GeoffB17

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Re: Transferring files from PC to PCW
« Reply #10 on: 00:25, 14 April 18 »
Hello,

206k seems large for a CF2 image.   Where did you get the image from - I'll have to have a look at it?

I've been assuming your PCW has a 3" A: drive.   Does it not?   The expected process would be that you have a blank CF2 in A:, and the .DSK and the DSKWRSEA in B: or M:, and you run the prog to install the image onto A:.   Is that not possible with your setup?   If not, we'll have to look for an alternative.

Where are you?

Geoff

Offline GeoffB17

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Re: Transferring files from PC to PCW
« Reply #11 on: 00:40, 14 April 18 »
Found some info on a Spanish version?

The game seems to come on two CF2 disks.   May well be available as a zip file containing the two .DSK files, so you'd need to unzip first?  May be other files in the zip as well.

BUT - a 206k .DSK file still sounds too big for a CF2 disk.   Even if it uses a special format - the .DSK file will have the relevant info inside to create the special format, so that is POSSIBLE.

If I had the .DSK, I could soon work out what's happening.

Either way, you'd need TWO .DSK files, one for each disk (or side of the CF2) and I'd assume you'll need both sides (or is one side for PCW, and the other for CPC?

Geoff

Offline GeoffB17

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Re: Transferring files from PC to PCW
« Reply #12 on: 01:38, 14 April 18 »
Hmm??

Well, I've found a .DSK, that may be the one you've got.   It seems to be a Spanish version of the game?

Seems to be the right size, as per your descr, i.e. 211,712 bytes.

It's an 'Extended' format of .DSK, which COULD increase the size?   The file seems to show the usual number of sectors per track, there could be an extra track added?   I'll have to check further.

Very interesting disk, mind you.

Looking at the data in the image, I see what looks like a normal dir.   All the files are shown as deleted, apart from the first one, which is POLE500.EMS.   On the disk being booted, this file will load and run, as per the usual boot process.

However, according to the directory, this file is TWO blocks in size ONLY.   i.e. about 4k.   There is no other valid file.

Looking through the raw data in the .DSK file, there is a LOT of data that is certainly NOT normal.   Lots of stuff that looks like graphics/image data.

So my guess is that POLE500.EMS is merely a loader, and the rest of the game software is written to the disk as raw data, i.e. is NOT a normal CP/M file, and POLE500 knows what is where and reads the disk directly and loads the data directly (track/sector by track/sector) into memory, and then runs the loaded software.

If the Spanish version is what you want, I can test if it will load under the Joyce emulator.

I can also try to create a CF2 boot disk from the image.   If it will work for me, then we should be able to get it to work for you...

ASSUMING - that you do in fact have a CF2 drive to load the image onto - which NB is a boot disk so it will need to boot from A: (CF2) disk.

Geoff

Offline GeoffB17

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Re: Transferring files from PC to PCW
« Reply #13 on: 02:05, 14 April 18 »
So, the image loads happily into the Joyce emulator, although my limited Spanish doesn't get me very far.

The game DOES however appear to be working.

If the image will load in Joyce, it should work OK on the PCW!

Geoff

Offline P5ychoFox

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Re: Transferring files from PC to PCW
« Reply #14 on: 13:50, 14 April 18 »
Thanks Geoff for investigating that game, I chose it as I had never played it so it seemed as good as any to try. I think I'll try Classic Collection 2 (191kb) next as I accidentally re-formatted my copy the other day.

My setup is: PCW 8512 with standard 3" A Drive and 3.5" B Drive.

Packard Bell PC running Windows XP with internal floppy drive (can format 3.5" discs to 720k in command prompt).

For some reason I assumed that DSKWRSEA was a PC program and not anything that could be run on the PCW. I have downloaded it and will get it onto a 3.5" disk and onto my PCW. Then I'll try the process with Classic Collection 2.

Offline GeoffB17

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Re: Transferring files from PC to PCW
« Reply #15 on: 15:07, 14 April 18 »
Was it the Spanish version you were trying, or do you have an English version?

If you've got the 3" A:, then there should be no problem.

As for DSKWRSEA being a PC prog - maybe it is?   I think that's the prog of John Elliott's that will, in fact, run on either PC or under CP/M.  Not quite sure why he did it that way, maybe just 'because he could'.   I've only used it on my PCW, I'd use the 22DISK system on the PC.

When I was looking for this game yesterday, I found the Spanish .DSK on a Spanish website that seemed to have quite a lot of PCW games - quite a few I'd never heard of before.

Best of luck with your PCW

Geoff

Offline GeoffB17

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Re: Transferring files from PC to PCW
« Reply #16 on: 15:46, 14 April 18 »
Just been checking some things on my PCW.

DSKWRSEA is the name of the package/archive - the main prog within is DSKWRITE.COM, and yes, this will run on both PCW and PC.

However, the notes say that this prog does NOT support the 'Extended' style of .DSK file.

Now, I've never been to clear exactly what that means.  When I look into the binary data of a .DSK, I often see reference to 'Extended' when in fact the disk format is NOT 'Extended' and the normal CPCEMU style would be perfectly OK, so why whoever created the .DSK used Extended style I don't know.   Maybe there's a valid reason?

As far as I can tell, the POLE500 game is just a normal format, so although the .DSK is 'Extended', maybe it isn't really Extended.   So DSKWRITE may work?   But, if DSKWRITE takes notice of the header in the .DSK, then it may NOT work.

The Extended style is intended to cope with some (I guess not ALL) copy protection schemes that mess with the detail of the disk format (i.e. some tracks have non-standard sector numbering).

John Elliott's Joyce PCW emulator will read an extended .DSK.   I think his DU54 prog will write an extended image, BUT it must be a known format and the destination disk must be formatted correctly, so if it's in fact a standard format that just happens to be in an 'Extended' image file then you'd be OK.  I'll check that with the POLE500 image?

Geoff

Offline GeoffB17

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Re: Transferring files from PC to PCW
« Reply #17 on: 21:08, 14 April 18 »
Well, I've tried it, and DU54 will not correctly write an 'extended' image to a floppy.

To be accurate, I've got the process to go through the motions, in that it did NOT come up with any error, it clicked through tracks 0 to 39 as if it WAS doing it, but on completion the image was messed up, and does not work.

As already noted, the Joyce emulator has explicit option to load an extended .DSK, which would appear to work, but there is no option to save anything, or convert.

So, anyone...

Is there another prog that will write an EXTENDED .DSK to a floppy, that will work under normal CP/M (I assume there IS a CPC prog).  Or, is there a prog that can convert an extended .DSK image into either a RAW image (which I can use) or into a CPCEMU image - else I'll have to try to write my own converter (to RAW, anyway)   This latter may not be TOO big a task - I'd guess the sector blocks are the same between the two formats, just that the associated 'formatting' data is different?

Geoff

Offline P5ychoFox

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Re: Transferring files from PC to PCW
« Reply #18 on: 15:25, 16 April 18 »
Interesting about DSKWRITE not being compatible with extended DSK format and perhaps that's why I'm now stuck again:

I have saved the DSKWRSEA onto a CP/M formatted 3.5" floppy using 2in1 and it runs ok. I did the same with the CLASSIC2.DSK image and saved that to 3.5" disk.

I ran DSKWRITE and it showed:

To turn a .DSK into a working disk, insert a blank floppy disc and type:

DSKWRITE filename A:
or DSKWRITE filename B:


So I removed the DSKWRSEA disk from B drive and replaced it with my disk containing my .DSK image and typed DSKWRITE CLASSIC2 B: but it gave an error of couldn't read DSK.

I also put a 3" floppy in A drive as I assume this is what it meant by insert blank floppy.

I'm very likely doing something wrong or in the wrong order as I've never used this program before but I also wonder if it's the DSK image it's having trouble with.

« Last Edit: 15:28, 16 April 18 by P5ychoFox »

Offline GeoffB17

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Re: Transferring files from PC to PCW
« Reply #19 on: 18:07, 16 April 18 »
Right.

You need your blank disk, the 3" destination disk, in A.

You need the disk in B: to have BOTH the image AND the DSKWRITE prog.

Assuming that B: is the current drive

DSKWRITE CLASSIC2.DSK A:


should do the job.


The swapping disks that you mentioned may well have messed things up, so the image is no longer accessible.

Geoff

Offline P5ychoFox

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Re: Transferring files from PC to PCW
« Reply #20 on: 12:13, 17 April 18 »
Many thanks Geoff for all your advice, I have now successfully taken a .DSK image from the web and got it running on my PCW!

Here's the full how to guide: (For reference I used a PCW 8512 with standard A Drive and a 3.5" B Drive and a Packard Bell PC running XP with an internal 1.44Mb 3.5" floppy drive).

Obtain a .DSK image of a PCW program or game (I chose Classic Collection 2).
Obtain the DSKWRSEA program from John Elliott's website.
Using the PC drop the DSKWRSEA program and your .DSK image (CLASSIC2 in this case) onto the same 720Kb 3.5" disk - I previously formatted my disk under the command prompt using format A: /FS:FAT /T:80 /N:9
Load CP/M on the PCW.
Insert 3.5" 2in1 program by Moonstone into B Drive and load it (2in1 lets the PCW read DOS formatted disks).
Insert the 3.5" floppy containing the DSKWRSEA program and .DSK image into B Drive and Log the disk to display the contents.
Copy the DSKWRSEA and .DSK image to M Drive.
Once complete EXIT to CP/M.
Type DSKWRSEA and Y to extract.
Select N to modify.
Run DSKWRITE.
Put blank 3" disk in A Drive (the program will format this disk as it saves to it).
Type DSKWRITE CLASSIC2.DSK A: (You can save to a 3.5" disk in B Drive by typing a B: at the end of the command).
Press Enter and Y to convert the .DSK file to .COM and write it to the 3" disk in A Drive.


That's it. You can then enjoy the game or program from your 3" disk.

I have found many games so far that DSKWRITE has a problem with: Bounder, Pacmania, Starglider, Southern Belle, Angel Nieto Pole...., it either states incorrect DSK format as not in MV CPC format or the DSK image is accompanied by one or two VHRS files that can't be copied with the DSK file so perhaps these are the extended DSK format that the program can't convert.
« Last Edit: 12:14, 18 April 18 by P5ychoFox »

Offline FloppySoftware

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Re: Transferring files from PC to PCW
« Reply #21 on: 09:31, 20 April 18 »
I use cpm.exe in DOS or W98 DOS mode from Ansible Information to load & save files in PCW formatted 3 1/2" disks:


http:// https://ai.ansible.uk/freebies.html
floppysoftware.es < NEW URL!!!
cpm-connections.blogspot.com.es

Offline P5ychoFox

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Re: Transferring files from PC to PCW
« Reply #22 on: 15:28, 20 April 18 »
Many thanks, I've downloaded CPC.EXEfrom https://ansible.uk/ai/freebies.html and I'll give it a try. Hopefully it'll have more luck with images with extended .DSK format.

Offline GeoffB17

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Re: Transferring files from PC to PCW
« Reply #23 on: 20:46, 20 April 18 »
Please note that the prog referred to, CPM.EXE, is a PC program which allows a CPM 3.5" disk to be read and written to directly on a PC.  It would be of no help at all getting a .DSK image file onto a 3" disk.   Extended or otherwise.

There is a way that might help you.   But needs some experimentation.

DSKWRITE will, I think, process a RAW image file onto the disk   That is a file that contains ONLY the sector data, with no 'formatting' information.

It would be possible to write a prog (or maybe find an existing one ?) that will convert a .DSK file into a raw file.   The .DSK does, after all, contain ALL the sector data required.   This process MUST presuppose that the 3" disk image is not REALLY 'extended', but the 'extended' version has been used anyway.   In other words, there are no 'tricks' in the file.   However, even the CPCEMU style of image does reflect the sector interleave, and I'd guess that this MUST be allowed for.

Geoff

Offline GeoffB17

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Re: Transferring files from PC to PCW
« Reply #24 on: 02:48, 21 April 18 »
Well, I OUGHT to check up on these things BEFORE I go posting messages.   My memory isn't what it once was?

DSKWRITE will NOT handle RAW images.

However, John Elliott's DU54 WILL do this.   I've just tested it.   The options within the full prog seem reluctant, for some reason, but if I use the CLI (Command Line Interface) then this seems to do the job.

The docs suggest that you can WRITE a disk image from a disk as RAW, but imply that the reverse is not available.   But when I wrote an image from A: to a RAW image, and then wrote the same raw image back to a different disk, the process worked fine.

So, I need to study the layout of the raw image, and compare that to the .DSK image.   If things seem OK, then I can try to create a prog to convert a .DSK into a raw image.

Geoff