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APT Hard Disk Preparation and Utilities

APT Hard Disk Ultimate 1MB SIDE Incognito

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#1 flashjazzcat ONLINE  

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Posted Tue Apr 2, 2013 3:01 PM

This doesn't really fit anywhere else, since several hard disk interfaces are using APT these days, so I'm giving it its own topic.

Following some helpful suggestions regarding the APT Partition Editor (FDISK: thanks Marius and others), I've been doing some significant revisions on that program, aimed both improving usability, and paving the way for some cool future enhancements to the way we move data around.

While looking for inspiration for the new FDISK's UI improvements, I found myself (re)reading DrCoolZic's excellent UltraSatan manual, and noticed something I hadn't seen before: namely where he talks (in Chapter 4) about a driver which allows the use of partitioned removable media in Windows. Now, Linux has always been able to do this (AFAIK), and GPARTED will partition CF and SD cards without issue. But while one may use third-party partitioning applications in Windows to partition removable media, Windows won't mount those partitions when you put the card in the reader.

However, DrCoolZic's method appears to circumvent that problem, and I'm now able to use the Windows 7 Computer management console to partition CF cards.

What's this got to do with APT? Well - maybe you want three FAT partitions on your SIDE CF card, as well as APT partitions that the Atari file system can see. FDISK doesn't provide an MBR partition editor: it just asks some simple questions about how you want to chop up the media between FAT and APT. And - while the new version of FDISK will be more flexible in this respect - it still won't provide a full-blown MBR partition editor. What it will do is allow you to tag an APT onto the end of a pre-partitioned card, or even assign an existing MBR partition entry as an APT area.

Anyway - I've just started playing with these removable media drivers, but I thought I'd share. Here's the info:

http://www.atari8.co...gRemovableMedia

#2 Marius OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Apr 3, 2013 1:38 AM

Just an idea:

Would it be possible to mount .ATR files within FDISK? Now IDE+ supports ATR mounting in SDX, and it can boot an ATR on D1: using the built in loader.

Both features are very cool, but not exact what I need.

I would like to pick a certain ATR and mount it to a certain Dx: (just like in SDX) and pick another certain ATR and mount it to another certain Dy: etc. (just like it is working in Ape/Aspeqt etc.) and then reboot my Atari. And... just like FDISK does with partitions, that these settings are remembered. So ... next time I switch on my Atari, the same ATR's are still mounted to the Same Dx/Dy etc.

Ofcourse it would be cool if the ATR's could be on FAT partitions, but even when it only would work on SpartaDos partitions (like it is now in the IDE+ loader) it would be awesome.

SDX is great, and the ATR mounting features in SDX are terrific, but for what I want (the way I use my Atari 8bit) this is not ideal.

I hope it is possible, AND I hope other people are interested in such a thing too, so that this feature has a real chance to be created once (I mean: creating it just for me... hehe I don't see that happen soon ;) )

Thanks anyway!
Interesting stuff you are working on FJC!

#3 flashjazzcat ONLINE  

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Posted Wed Apr 3, 2013 5:22 AM

Interesting point. It's already possible to set the "persistent" bit in a disk image mount operation on U1MB/SIDE and Incognito - it's just that no software currently does this. There's a good reason for that, too (quite apart from the fact Candle told me it wouldn't be necessary): namely, that if you delete the disk image while the card's in the PC's reader, the partition table entry becomes invalid without the Atari knowing about it. That's about the only limitation, mind, so I don't see it as an absolute deal breaker.

I'm not sure, though, that the code to do this belongs in FDISK, since it would be rather copious and ATRs - since they're always put in place using the PC's card reader - are ephemeral things, if you like (i.e. they lack permanence as part of the partition table structure). However, I don't see a problem with finishing MATR.COM and adding the option to permanently reference disk images in the partition table. Of course this means FDISK will at least need to be able to recognize these entries if they're sitting in the partition table on disk, if not actually create them.

So it might as well be implemented for those who wish to use the facility - the caveat being that links will go bad if the ATRs are removed. Ideally, disk images in the FAT would have been referenced by name, but there's simply no space for this approach, and I think it's overkill anyway.

Regarding IDE Plus: I'm not privvy to the exact disk image mounting mechanism used there. Of course there's a set of agreed SIO calls for this purpose, but the implementation of disk image mounting is rather different to the one Candle and I designed for U1MB / Incognito.

Most exciting prospect to me is a FAT32 driver for SDX... assuming it ever arrives. Then data transfer between the A8 and the PC will be trivial. We have a glimpse of this right now with the read-only FAT16 driver for SDX.

#4 flashjazzcat ONLINE  

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Posted Wed Apr 3, 2013 7:26 AM

Thinking a bit more about this: if the PBI BIOS is made to validate that disk image entries in the disk-based partition table point to recognized ATRs at every boot-up instead of only when a mount request is actually made, then I don't see a major problem with permanent assignments. If the links go bad, then the automount simply wouldn't happen.

#5 bob1200xl OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Apr 3, 2013 9:09 AM

If you don't mind me jumping in here...

When you ask about mounting an .ATR on Dx:, just what do you mean? An .ATR is a file that can be mounted in APE on a PC. It then acts as a 'diskette' in Dx: to an Atari.

Where is the .ATR located? On the PC? On an HDD/CF card on the Atari?

Do you want to configure a disk image(s) as Dx: and have that configuration survive power cycles?

Can't you do that now?

Isn't an FDISK partition just a disk image?

Bob


Just an idea:

Would it be possible to mount .ATR files within FDISK? Now IDE+ supports ATR mounting in SDX, and it can boot an ATR on D1: using the built in loader.

Both features are very cool, but not exact what I need.

I would like to pick a certain ATR and mount it to a certain Dx: (just like in SDX) and pick another certain ATR and mount it to another certain Dy: etc. (just like it is working in Ape/Aspeqt etc.) and then reboot my Atari. And... just like FDISK does with partitions, that these settings are remembered. So ... next time I switch on my Atari, the same ATR's are still mounted to the Same Dx/Dy etc.

Ofcourse it would be cool if the ATR's could be on FAT partitions, but even when it only would work on SpartaDos partitions (like it is now in the IDE+ loader) it would be awesome.

SDX is great, and the ATR mounting features in SDX are terrific, but for what I want (the way I use my Atari 8bit) this is not ideal.

I hope it is possible, AND I hope other people are interested in such a thing too, so that this feature has a real chance to be created once (I mean: creating it just for me... hehe I don't see that happen soon ;) )

Thanks anyway!
Interesting stuff you are working on FJC!



#6 Marius OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Apr 3, 2013 9:30 AM

@bob1200XL

In SDX you can have an ATR on your ATARI harddrive, and mount an ATR like it is D2: ... So no PC or Mac or whatever SIO solution is needed.

I want that just the way I described. So no PC or SIO solution. Simply having a collection of .ATR files on my atari harddisk and access them.

It is a fabulous feature in IDE+ and I find it much handier than creating a zillion small partitions.

#7 bob1200xl OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Apr 3, 2013 9:58 AM

How does the .ATR get on your Atari HDD? Doesn't it have to come over SIO from a diskette or APE?

Won't you just have a 'zillion' .ATRs on your HDD?

I'm missing something here... how does IDE+ work? If I get an IDE+, what steps do I take to set it up?

Bob

#8 flashjazzcat ONLINE  

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Posted Wed Apr 3, 2013 10:55 AM

When you ask about mounting an .ATR on Dx:, just what do you mean? An .ATR is a file that can be mounted in APE on a PC. It then acts as a 'diskette' in Dx: to an Atari.


An ATR in the sense of a disk image - just the same as those mounted by APE, SIO2SD, SDrive, etc.

Where is the .ATR located? On the PC? On an HDD/CF card on the Atari?


On the PC initially, and then in a FAT32 partition on the CF card - simply by copying it there.

Do you want to configure a disk image(s) as Dx: and have that configuration survive power cycles?

Can't you do that now?


Marius wants the configuration to survive power cycles, and I'm telling him that yes - that can be done quite easily.

Isn't an FDISK partition just a disk image?


A "proper" partition is effectively a disk image, of course, but the issue has always tended to be how to get said data onto the A8 media. The point of keeping ATRs in the FAT area (just as SIO2SD, for example, does) is to avoid the following pre-requisites:

1) Having to use some proprietary utility on the PC to embed disk images in a "raw slot" on the CF card.
2) Having to copy the disk image into the A8's file system.

How does the .ATR get on your Atari HDD? Doesn't it have to come over SIO from a diskette or APE?


In the case of Ultimate 1MB/SIDE and Incognito, the ATR gets onto the media by copying it into the card's FAT partition using the PC. This makes it unnecessary to sit and watch a series of disk images copying over a serial connection.

Won't you just have a 'zillion' .ATRs on your HDD?


One may wish to do so, although you can simply place them in folders in the FAT partition. Atari partitions (APT partitions), meanwhile, are full of Atari files and file systems and nothing else. However, one may copy files from "true" partitions to mounted disk images and back again at PBI transfer speeds on the A8, then extract them from the FAT partition using the PC - again rather quickly.

I'm missing something here... how does IDE+ work? If I get an IDE+, what steps do I take to set it up?


IDE Plus uses a quite different approach to ATR mounting right now: namely, one must copy the disk image into the Atari filesystem (currently only the SpartaDOS filesystem). This makes the third-party tool or copying via a serial interface unavoidable at the present time, although the beta FAT16 driver can be put to use with a little fiddling around.

Basically - think of the U1MB/SIDE / Incognito way of doing things as virtually identical to the SIO2xxx devices: copy a bunch of ATRs onto your media on the PC, put the card in the A8, then mount the ATRs - and you're done.

Edited by flashjazzcat, Wed Apr 3, 2013 10:57 AM.


#9 bob1200xl OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Apr 3, 2013 12:02 PM

So, if I'm getting this: you copy the .ATR from the PC (FATx) partition on the media to the APT partition that is elsewhere on the media? The .ATR is then mounted on Dx: from the APT partition using FDISK?

Not to be dense, but why can't ProWizard do what he wants? Is it required that FDISK be run at poweron? Why would it matter if the .ATR was deleted on the FATx partition as long as it was still on the APT domain?

(are there two FDISK programs - one on the PC and one on the Atari?? You seem to reference each)

Bob

#10 bob1200xl OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Apr 3, 2013 12:22 PM

I was reading the programming manual for APT... the BIOS can mount a FATx image on the Atari if you give it the starting cluster? wow...

What is the purpose of APT images, then? The Partition ID just points to an absolute starting sector value? Does it even use a cluster map?

Bob

#11 flashjazzcat ONLINE  

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Posted Wed Apr 3, 2013 1:17 PM

So, if I'm getting this: you copy the .ATR from the PC (FATx) partition on the media to the APT partition that is elsewhere on the media? The .ATR is then mounted on Dx: from the APT partition using FDISK?


The ATR never finds its way into an APT partition (unless you're using an IDE Plus). The ATR stays in the FAT. Moreover, it's mounted by MATR.COM, or - more usually - Candle's XEX (SIDE) loader.

Not to be dense, but why can't ProWizard do what he wants? Is it required that FDISK be run at poweron? Why would it matter if the .ATR was deleted on the FATx partition as long as it was still on the APT domain?


I think you realized that the ATRs aren't in the APT now... but my only worry, as I said, was that an ATR entry in the partition table is just a 28-bit cluster # into FAT partition 'n' (the FAT number is encoded into bits 28-31, although it's currently unused). So if the file gets deleted, the cluster # becomes invalid.

(are there two FDISK programs - one on the PC and one on the Atari?? You seem to reference each)


No - I only reference one, and it's on the Atari.

I was reading the programming manual for APT... the BIOS can mount a FATx image on the Atari if you give it the starting cluster? wow...

What is the purpose of APT images, then? The Partition ID just points to an absolute starting sector value? Does it even use a cluster map?


Now we're on the same page. :) Congratulations on being one of the few to have read the APT tech docs. ;)

The APT 'images', then, are simply conventional partitions, working exactly as you'd expect partitions to work: i.e. they contain Atari file systems and are mapped 1:1 onto the physical sectors of the disk (although - in the case of 128 or 256bps partitions - each logical sector does not completely fill a physical sector, so they will be padded, as opposed to packed or interleaved). That last distinction is the single most important reason to still use conventional partitions as well as disk images: the sectors of ATRs are NOT aligned to physical disk sectors. Not only do we have 128 and 256bps images packed into physical sectors with ATRs, but the ATR header records (16 bytes) throw everything off even further. So, with buffered transfers and compensation for logical ATR sectors sometimes straddling two physical disk sectors, we achieve roughly a third of the typical PBI transfer speeds we enjoy with APT partitions.

Edited by flashjazzcat, Wed Apr 3, 2013 1:50 PM.


#12 flashjazzcat ONLINE  

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Posted Fri Apr 5, 2013 6:05 AM

After someone asked me for a special MyIDE driver the other night (and it will appear very soon), I ended up re-writing all the SDX soft-drivers. They're all now built from a common code-base, and this includes:

MYIDE (Internal and External)
MYIDE2
SIDE / SIDE2
Colleen (800 mode APT soft-driver for Incognito)

This will save me a lot of time going forward, since there are rather a lot of drivers. :) Actually there are three flavours of each driver:

Basic
With dynamic partition mounting
With dynamic mounting and ATR disk image mounting

The "Basic" flavour gives the lowest MEMLO and is suitable for everyday use. On a machine using BANKED RAM, it consumes just over 1KB of main memory. The ATR driver, meanwhile, is quite large and raises MEMLO by well over 2KB even when DOS is running in banked memory, partly because I have to keep an internal 512 byte sector buffer in low RAM. The other "Basic" driver, on the other hand, keeps the sector buffer (which is only 256 bytes long in that instance, since sectors are inspected by either their upper or lower half only) in extended RAM.

Until I get this stuff uploaded onto the website, here's something ProWizard prepared for me, and kindly gave me permission to share here. It's a build of SpartaDOS X 4.46 which boots direct from the ROM on a MYIDE2 cartridge.

Attached File  SDX446_MYIDE2_050413.zip   165.79KB   211 downloads

The only alterations I have made are adding the MYIDE2.SYS driver and editing CONFIG.SYS. If anyone requires customisations to this ROM, please ask, since it seems to have issues with the SDX Imager for some reason. I haven't put any of the other APT software on CAR: since I'm moving away from doing that until the 8KB single file size limit is lifted. Use the APT toolkit disk on my website.

Note that while this is the "Basic" driver, it supports the hot-swapping of cards.

Note also that this driver is the first to roll out the correct 128bps sector interleave for single density partitions. This is to fall in line with IDE Plus. Your old single density partitions will need reformatting when using the new drivers. I'll be migrating this change across everything going forward, including the PBI ROMs.

The rest of the drivers will be uploaded soon, followed by updates to the partitioning and toolkit software. I will then have a small party at my house. :)

Edited by flashjazzcat, Fri Apr 5, 2013 6:09 AM.


#13 flashjazzcat ONLINE  

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Posted Mon Apr 8, 2013 6:53 PM

Got new device selector working in FDISK, subject to some tweaks:

fdisk.png

Trying to make it more clear to the user "what to do next". :)

#14 Kyle22 OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Jun 10, 2013 10:12 PM

Hi All.

I have been out of the loop for a while. I am trying to use SDX 4.46 w/ MyIDE cart. It works, but I must load the mount command from SIO before I can use the cart. I like the APT scheme and 512 byte sectors better than my clunky old driver. Is there a way to automount a partition at boot time, so the cart may be a truly portable device. In other words, pop it into any Atari with no need for any SIO devices?

-Kyle

#15 Frankie OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Jun 11, 2013 6:01 AM

Hi All.

I have been out of the loop for a while. I am trying to use SDX 4.46 w/ MyIDE cart. It works, but I must load the mount command from SIO before I can use the cart. I like the APT scheme and 512 byte sectors better than my clunky old driver. Is there a way to automount a partition at boot time, so the cart may be a truly portable device. In other words, pop it into any Atari with no need for any SIO devices?

-Kyle


I don't exactly follow what you are doing, but I have both MyIDE carts with 4.46 installed and it works all by itself.. No need for SIO to load anything. Everything is on the cart.

Frank

#16 rdea6 OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Jun 11, 2013 7:27 AM

Hi All.

I have been out of the loop for a while. I am trying to use SDX 4.46 w/ MyIDE cart. It works, but I must load the mount command from SIO before I can use the cart. I like the APT scheme and 512 byte sectors better than my clunky old driver. Is there a way to automount a partition at boot time, so the cart may be a truly portable device. In other words, pop it into any Atari with no need for any SIO devices?

-Kyle

Put the MyIDE.sys file on CAR: and call it via the config.sys file..... or put MyIDE.sys on SIO D1: and add MyIDE.sys to the autoexec.bat.

Capture.PNG

#17 Kyle22 OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Jun 12, 2013 9:34 PM

Interesting...

This is original MyIDE + Flash Cart BTW. Transcend 256 SSD on it. 512 BPS Supported.

I have MYIDE.SYS ( the 3566 byte one) on CAR: I put it in 4.46 myself, using the tool. At boot, it says:

MyIDE Driver v1.0 ©2011, FJC
TRANSCEND
No mounted volumes

SpartaDOS X 4.46 10-06-2013
Copyright © 2013 by FTE & DLT

D1:


It is only after I type:
mount /n a: 1
mount /n b: 2
etc.

Then I can use the MyIDE cart. I must load the mount command from an SIO device. There is no space in the cart for the mount command and associated DLLs.

Maybe I have wrong version of MyIDE.SYS driver?

Thanks for your help.

-K

Edited by Kyle22, Wed Jun 12, 2013 9:38 PM.


#18 rdea6 OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Jun 12, 2013 10:42 PM

http://www.atari8.co... (SDX Only).zip

http://www.atari8.co...ls/default.html

Use Fdisk.com to create partitions
I recommend C: as the starting partition A active B bootable
This leaves D1: and D2 open for SIO uses either for 1050 floppy's, SIO2PC ....etc..
continue to create partitions if you want at D: E: F: ...........
read the documentation from fjc's website.
There is also the possibility to leave room on the CF card for a FAT32 volume...... and populated with game.xex files.

PM flashjazzcat for all the latest news if you are the originator of the first embedded MyIDE.sys on sdx39c.rom for MyIDE carts.

Edited by rdea6, Wed Jun 12, 2013 10:54 PM.


#19 Kyle22 OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Jun 13, 2013 9:11 AM

OK, I am an idiot.....

I comletely overlooked the MOUNT /W command.... I guess I assumed that FDISK automatically took care of that...

Thanks for your help, though.


-K

#20 flashjazzcat ONLINE  

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Posted Thu Jun 13, 2013 10:57 AM

If you give the partitions drive numbers in FDISK, they should automount. Should be no need to manually mount anything. Shoot me a PM if having problems. ;)

Edit: you already did. Will respond later...

Edited by flashjazzcat, Thu Jun 13, 2013 10:58 AM.


#21 Kyle22 OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Jun 13, 2013 12:59 PM

my bad again... oops. I tend to 'speed read' directions sometimes. :) FDISK works fine.

Thanks.

BTW, this version seems fast, with NO stability problems on my 1200XL.

-K

#22 flashjazzcat ONLINE  

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Posted Sun Jul 14, 2013 12:34 PM

Work on new version of FDISK has started again:

FDISK.png

Just playing with some new UI designs...

#23 Marius OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun Jul 14, 2013 1:46 PM

Hey FJC,

Ask drac030 to implent that in the IDE+ bios, so that it will show up as soon as the interrupt-button is pressed on the new interface!

Looks good man!
Nice to see you are still active.

#24 a8isa1 OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun Jul 14, 2013 2:10 PM

After someone asked me for a special MyIDE driver the other night (and it will appear very soon), I ended up re-writing all the SDX soft-drivers. They're all now built from a common code-base

...

I will then have a ... [*CENSORED*] party at my house. :)

Who could that be?

Somehow I missed this thread :o

Nice work.

Too bad my 800XL needs repair :(

When's the party?

#25 flashjazzcat ONLINE  

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Posted Wed Jul 24, 2013 12:44 PM

Had to scale back on the ambitiousness of some of the FDISK features... don't really want to end up writing a full-blown MBR partition editor. However, probably the most needed feature for the near future is on the way to being completed:

externalfatpartitions.png

This will allow the creation of "External" partitions which point outside of the APT space and refer to FAT16/32 partitions in the MBR partition space. KMK's developmental FAT drivers for SDX will work with these partitions (and they've already been tested).

Ask drac030 to implent that in the IDE+ bios, so that it will show up as soon as the interrupt-button is pressed on the new interface!

Looks good man!
Nice to see you are still active.


Thanks! Not sure how easily FDISK could be made to run in 8 x 2KB ROM banks (!), but it would surely be an interesting challenge.

Who could that be?


Ahem... yeah. Sometimes the easiest things seem to take the longest time... ;)





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