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Can I convert a PCW disc to a CPC format?

Started by Mark_wllms, 18:25, 20 October 21

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I have an old version of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, which runs under CPM. The disc can't be used normally on a CPC because it is in PCW format, but can be read and run via a PD program, so I can use it. However, I can't copy off the files. Is there any way I can change the disc format (e.g. the sector numbers) so that the CPC will read it?


Unfortunately, while the PCW can read/access the CPC format (with the different sector numbering etc) I understand that the CPC cannot go the other way.

If you can read the files off, I suggest that you copy the files off, and then write them back to a CPC format disk.

I've got the HHGTTG system for my PCW, I understand that the game was supplied for CP/M, Amstrad, without regard to PCW or CPC, and the intention was that the files be copied from the master disk to a working copy and run from there.   There is no copy protection as such.   Infocom protect that sort of thing with the various physical extras supplied with the package, the 'feelies' etc!

Can you try this?

What's the PD program you refer to?  Can it NOT copy the files off?

Another edit - I've just dug out my original disk for the prog, and I note that it is NOT a PCW disk, it seems to be a generic CP/M disk, and may be akin to one of the CPC formats (as that can be accessed OK on the PCW).   What disk do you have?   Maybe you've got a specifically PCW copy?   If that's the case, we'll need to see how to get back?



Quote from: Mark_wllms on 18:25, 20 October 21
I have an old version of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, which runs under CPM. The disc can't be used normally on a CPC because it is in PCW format, but can be read and run via a PD program, so I can use it. However, I can't copy off the files. Is there any way I can change the disc format (e.g. the sector numbers) so that the CPC will read it?
SymbOS can read and write SD 3" discs from a PCW in a native way. If you have a CPC with two disc drives or better with an additional mass storage device, you could run SymbOS and copy the files from a PCW disc to an AMSDOS disc by using SymCommander or the SymShell copy command.



Symbos sounds useful. Can it write to USB storage on a USIFAC card?


This should be of help to you:


I think that is the PD program I used. The trouble is it patches CPM so you can't then write to a non PCW disk, so I couldn't copy the files between disks.


I see - so no drive B?

OK, if you get no resolution to this problem - send the disc to me (registered post) and I should be able copy the files then reformat the disc and send it back to you as a CPC data format disc.


That's kind; there are disk images of HHGTTG, so I could easily write a disk image from CPC Power to the drive. The only reason I was curious about the disk is that this is the 'old' CP/M import of HHG (by SoftSel), not the 'new' Activision CPC release. I can't find a disk image of this old release - it is the standard Infocom CP/M interpreter, patched with the control codes for the Amstrad, plus the DAT file. The new releases have multiple interpreters for different Amstrad machines. I suspect the HITCH.COM interpreter on my disk is identical to the HITCH64.COM on the new release, and the DAT files are easy to find.

As pointed out earlier, the disk would originally have come in CPC CPM format - it looks like it has been reformatted to PCW SD format by a previous owner. I'll try using SymbOS to copy files to an Amstrad format disk, or onto a USB stick, and then reformat the disk. I just wondered if I could skip a stage.


In case it's any interest, the version of HHG that I have is the old Softsel one.

The original disk has 4 files on it, three .COM files which are mostly identical, and the HITCHHIK data file.

The 3 .COM files have some tiny differences re installed screen codes, so they are already done.   HIKER3 has the PCW codes showing, so this is OK for the PCW.   HIKER2 may be the one for CP/M 2, but I tried running this on my PCW and it seemed to work OK, but I didn't go far, and a CLS may not work.   The third file HITCHHIK.COM may just be a copy of HIKER3.

Somewhere (re the ZORK gime I think) I have some files that define what all the codes required in the first sector of the .COM file, and there are example progs to set these codes.   Most games actually need little more that CLS and maybe REV video, cursor positioning may be needed if the games uses a status bar.



Interesting. According to the original Amstrad Action review in issue 5, "The game comes in two files. and Hitchhik.dat, and all you have to do is load up the disc under CP/M, type HITCHHIK and away you go."
My disc also has only two files. The box says 'Amstrad' on the side, and has no sticker on the front or back. The disk is labelled Infocom Classics by Softsel,  but with no system name. There is an Interlogic reference card for CPM, but no Amstrad specific reference card.


Prob YES.

The files on my disk would work that way.   HITCHHIK.COM would run as you say.   But if you needed the CP/M 2 version, or the CPC version, then copy HIKER2.COM to HITCHHIK.COM, or just run HIKER2 instead of HITCHHIK, and you're in the right place.

I could confirm the screen codes in HIKER2 if that would help - I'm guessing that they may be right for the CPC?



Thank you, I have used my USIFAC II to copy the necessary files from the PCW disk to my USB drive, so I could now reformat my disk in CPC format.


So we have a CPC (DATA) format disc with HHGttG? ANy chance of uploading a copy of that?

IRC:  #Retro4All on Freenode


Just on this topic, I've been writing some software lately to copy files between various Amstrad format disk images ( and even non-Amstrad CP/M images ).

I'm still only in early Alpha development, but I wrote this because I keep finding that the disks I want for my ZX +3 and my PCW aren't always in those formats, so I wrote some software that mounts up the disk images like disks, and uses DOS like commands to move files, as well as display disk information, let me check formats, etc. At the moment, it can recognize all Amstrad formats automatically and mount them and lets me move files around.

I couldn't find anything else like this around when I started writing it, then noticed this thread while looking for something else. Is there any interest for this kind of application in the CPC community? It currently recognizes;

* All CPC formats

* PCW8000 formats

* PCW9000 formats

* ZX Spectrum +3 formats

Being on a PC, it doesn't write Amstrad disks directly, but since it creates Gotek compatible images, it's not that difficult to copy the image back to a real disk on the Amstrad if a physical disk is desired. I used it this morning to create an Amstrad Wordstar disk from an Osborne CP/M disk, and the files all worked, but I discovered that the PCW-9000 doesn't support the text formatting of Wordstar :(

It's pretty basic - I haven't included passwords or encryption or flags or groups in it yet, or special sector capabilities, but it seems to work with all the disk images I've tried so far. It's written in Freebasic so it's either a .EXE file that runs from the Windows CMD window, or it can be compiled by downloading freebasic and just compiling from the freebasic root directory with FBC CPM.BAS which produces the .EXE file.
If there's any interest in it, I'd be happy to share the Alpha code with anyone who wants to test/use it.


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