Formatting basic disks

General discussions related to the Altair 8800 Clone

Formatting basic disks

Postby Buddyg583 » January 19th, 2014, 8:24 pm

Does anyone know the format (or similar) command in Altair disk basic.
I have not found any command in the basic 77 manual. Any suggestions would be helpful.
Buddyg583
 
Posts: 1
Joined: January 15th, 2014, 9:59 am

Re: Formatting basic disks

Postby AltairClone » January 20th, 2014, 10:59 am

Search the BASIC 1977 manual for "pip utility". It is in Appendix I on page 124. This program was shipped with Disk BASIC to provide a few simple disk utilities. However, the program is really poor and can't begin to live up to the power of it's DEC and CP/M namesake!

The INI command in PIP is probably what you're looking for. Notice, however, it does not copy the boot tracks (0-6) to the new disk (i.e., it doesn't copy BASIC to the new disk). The INI procedure takes 6-7 minutes to init a disk. The copy disk command (COP) can be used to copy an entire disk, but it takes almost 1/2 an hour!

PIP is written in BASIC, so you can easily modify the program to meet your needs.

Third party programs to copy a BASIC disk were available that could copy the entire disk in just a couple of minutes. I can post a BASIC disk with the "TCS Fast Copy" utility on it if you're interested.

These options for disk initialization and copying all assume you want to stay within the constraints of the original environment. If you want to "cheat," you can always copy, load and save disk images between your PC and the Clone.

Mike
AltairClone
Site Admin
 
Posts: 421
Joined: April 5th, 2013, 10:55 am

Re: Formatting basic disks

Postby AltairClone » January 23rd, 2014, 9:10 pm

Since the disk image, "BASIC Games 300-5-F," is the most popular BASIC disk used on the Clone, I posted a new version of the disk that includes the PIP utility from MITS. See http://altairclone.com/downloads/basic/Floppy%20Disk/

Mike
AltairClone
Site Admin
 
Posts: 421
Joined: April 5th, 2013, 10:55 am

Re: Formatting basic disks

Postby AltairClone » January 30th, 2014, 5:32 pm

As mentioned, the copy command in the PIP program provided with Altair Disk BASIC took about 27 minutes to copy a disk using two disk drives. Since this was so painfully slow, a talented programmer wrote an assembly language disk copy program that could be initiated from within Altair BASIC. The program "TCSCOPY" could copy an entire disk in about one minute -- quite an improvement!

I have added TCSCOPY to the BASIC disk image, "Games on 300-5-F" available at http://altairclone.com/downloads/basic/Floppy%20Disk/

You'll find three files associated with TCSCOPY:
  • "TCSCOPY" is the BASIC program you should load and run to copy a disk.
  • "#TCSCOPY" is the assembly language file that TCSCOPY loads and runs on its own.
  • "COPYTCS" is a BASIC program to copy the file "#TCSCOPY" from one disk to another (if you ever want to put TCSCOPY on another disk). The BASIC file "TCSCOPY" can be moved by loading the program and then saving it to the new location. However, the only way to copy the #TCSCOPY file is to use the COPYTCS program.
AltairClone
Site Admin
 
Posts: 421
Joined: April 5th, 2013, 10:55 am

Re: Formatting basic disks

Postby virtualaltair » March 1st, 2014, 11:19 pm

My toolkit at Pertec included TCSCOPY and a blank formatted and write protected diskette. The fastest way to format a diskette was to copy the blank formatted diskette. My Utility Diskette had a modified PIP that only copied the System tracks. BASIC could be replaced or versions changed changed using the modified PIP without changing data files. This can fix a diskette when Track 0 gets zapped by gremlins.
virtualaltair
 
Posts: 27
Joined: June 20th, 2013, 11:47 pm
Location: New Mexico, USA


Return to General Discussions

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 2 guests

cron