I just got my CF7+ out after a few years' disuse, and fired it up. It works! All the files that were on it are still there. But I'm a little confused by how it interacts with TIDir and I'm hoping one of you can verify that I'm doing this right, and/or explain its proper use to me like I'm six years old and not too bright.
So when I access the CF7 with TIDir, should I "mount" the drives, which then dumps those files into DSK1, DSK2, DSK3, etc? And then would I initialize the CF7 volumes and create a new DSK image to move things back over to the CF card?
Presuming you are reading the CF7’s CF card mounted in a card reader plugged into your PC with TI99Dir, mounting the volumes does not “dump those files into DSK1, DSK2, DSK3, etc.” Rather, it pops up a dialog box showing which volumes are associated with, i.e., mounted as, DSK1, DSK2, DSK3 and allowing you to change which volumes you would prefer to appear as DSK1, DSK2 and DSK3 when that CF is plugged into your CF7, which, in turn, is plugged into your TI-99/4A. You can only mount 3 volumes at a time because there are only 3 virtual disk drives (DSK1,DSK2,DSK3).
And then would I initialize the CF7 volumes and create a new DSK image to move things back over to the CF card?
You may but do not need to initialize a CF7 volume on the CF card before copying an image file from your PC to a volume slot on the CF card. The only way on your PC to copy files to a CF-card volume is to create a CF7 DSK image on your PC, copy TI files into it and copy the image to a volume slot on the CF card. If you have an existing volume to which you wish to add files from your PC, you should first copy the relevant volume from the CF card to your PC, add TI files to the copied image and copy said image back to the volume slot from whence it came.
I tried loading a BASIC program from cassette, saving it to DSK1 on the CF, and mounting the drives in TIDir. The file was there, in its own separate disk image, and I had to "view file" and copy/paste the listing to get a working version into memory.
I am really not sure what you are doing here. If you loaded the Basic program from cassette on the TI-99/4A and saved the program to CF7 DSK1, again on the TI-99/4A, that same file should be loadable from DSK1 on the TI-99/4A. No separate mounting in TI99Dir is necessary.
Also, I am not aware that you can view any files from a CF7’s CF card volume in TI99Dir. I have the latest version of TI99Dir (v6.4a) and all you get to see is a listing of the volumes with their names and some other relevant information, but you cannot drill down to a file list for any one volume. You can initialize, mount and copy volumes, but, if you want to see the contents of a volume, you must first copy it to your PC and open up that copied image to see its file listing or an individual file’s contents.