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Make ST disks on a PC ?

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I have a 1040STf coming from an ebay auction. (I hope it works!)

 

I'm interested in making game disks on my PC to use with the ST. What software is available for this? Also what are some of the best ST sites for downloading disk images?

 

Are the floppy drives in these machines reliable? What are the odds that the internal floppy drive is working? Can they be replaced with 1.44 drives? :)

 

Thanks!

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Click here.....

 

http://www.atariage.com/forums/topic/179678-new-to-st-any-advice/

 

....and scroll down to POST #9 from our pal mimo. It's software to do this. It's EXCELLENT and EASY. Caveat: No USB drives. You need an old-style floppy drive interfaced to the motherboard of your PC.

 

As far as the reliability of the floppy drives, it's not the greatest. On the other hand, these computers are **WELL** beyond their anticipated service lives, and I have some that still work well! It's just a turkey-shoot, I suppose. There are ways to replace them with 1.44 mechs (which, themselves, are getting a little rare) but there are typically some mods necessary, to turn them into 720K drives, and deal with the ST's disk-change-recognition mechanism. There are some replacement (1.44 PC mechs) on Ebay from England. I ordered 3, but I never got them to work exactly right....and I can't remember what it was now. I haven't the time to dive in (I'm not living with my STs at the moment) but I plan on some more experimentation. I can tell you this: other opinions (than mine) will be of greater value and experience, but I wanted to do my little bit and chime in. First thing is to try your existing drive and see if it works, of course!! Good luck. Not all is lost, if it doesn't, and that's where the expertise of others (than me) will come in!

 

:)

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Click here.....

 

http://www.atariage.com/forums/topic/179678-new-to-st-any-advice/

 

....and scroll down to POST #9 from our pal mimo. It's software to do this. It's EXCELLENT and EASY. Caveat: No USB drives. You need an old-style floppy drive interfaced to the motherboard of your PC.

 

As far as the reliability of the floppy drives, it's not the greatest. On the other hand, these computers are **WELL** beyond their anticipated service lives, and I have some that still work well! It's just a turkey-shoot, I suppose. There are ways to replace them with 1.44 mechs (which, themselves, are getting a little rare) but there are typically some mods necessary, to turn them into 720K drives, and deal with the ST's disk-change-recognition mechanism. There are some replacement (1.44 PC mechs) on Ebay from England. I ordered 3, but I never got them to work exactly right....and I can't remember what it was now. I haven't the time to dive in (I'm not living with my STs at the moment) but I plan on some more experimentation. I can tell you this: other opinions (than mine) will be of greater value and experience, but I wanted to do my little bit and chime in. First thing is to try your existing drive and see if it works, of course!! Good luck. Not all is lost, if it doesn't, and that's where the expertise of others (than me) will come in!

 

:)

 

 

Hi there,

 

The modified drives I modify personally, work perfectly with any Atari ST. I use them on my Atari STE and STFM. Please take a look here:-

 

eBay Auction -- Item Number: 1405392621101?ff3=2&pub=5574883395&toolid=10001&campid=5336500554&customid=&item=140539262110&mpt=[CACHEBUSTER]

 

I do have any in stock at the moment - I will soon.

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Click here.....

 

http://www.atariage.com/forums/topic/179678-new-to-st-any-advice/

 

....and scroll down to POST #9 from our pal mimo. It's software to do this. It's EXCELLENT and EASY. Caveat: No USB drives. You need an old-style floppy drive interfaced to the motherboard of your PC.

 

As far as the reliability of the floppy drives, it's not the greatest. On the other hand, these computers are **WELL** beyond their anticipated service lives, and I have some that still work well! It's just a turkey-shoot, I suppose. There are ways to replace them with 1.44 mechs (which, themselves, are getting a little rare) but there are typically some mods necessary, to turn them into 720K drives, and deal with the ST's disk-change-recognition mechanism. There are some replacement (1.44 PC mechs) on Ebay from England. I ordered 3, but I never got them to work exactly right....and I can't remember what it was now. I haven't the time to dive in (I'm not living with my STs at the moment) but I plan on some more experimentation. I can tell you this: other opinions (than mine) will be of greater value and experience, but I wanted to do my little bit and chime in. First thing is to try your existing drive and see if it works, of course!! Good luck. Not all is lost, if it doesn't, and that's where the expertise of others (than me) will come in!

 

:)

 

 

Hi there,

 

The modified drives I modify personally, work perfectly with any Atari ST. I use them on my Atari STE and STFM. Please take a look here:-

 

eBay Auction -- Item Number: 1405392621101?ff3=2&pub=5574883395&toolid=10001&campid=5336500554&customid=&item=140539262110&mpt=[CACHEBUSTER]

 

I do have any in stock at the moment - I will soon.

 

Hi. The ones I got are from atarifreakz. They are new. They are Sony, but the original Sony identification sticker isn't there, so I wasn't able to tell exactly which it was. I suspect it's MPF-920, but there are even a few variations on that one. I pulled the cover off of one and I was not able to observe ANY modification, at all. I was expecting to see a resistor jumpered, some other jumpers, etc. but I didn't see anything. I really need to check it again (soon) but something was kind of strange about it.

 

When I was buying them, I asked what modifications were done to it - a couple of times - in Ebay email, and that was never answered. I didn't press for the information, figuring it was being regarded as a trade secret or something. Besides, I just wanted the drives. But I'm kind of surprised that I didn't see any mods. Now I kind of suspect they're unmodified 1.44 drives.

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Hi there,

 

They are Sony MPF920 drives and *do* need to be modified for them to work in an Atari ST. I do this process and use a perfectly working modified Sony drive in my Atari instead of the original broken drive.

 

Google is your friend!!

Edited by TronicOfEffect

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Thanks for the replies. I don't have my ST yet, but I was able to use the software to make several ST disks on my PC.

 

Now I will keep my fingers crossed the ST makes it to me in working order.

 

I'm a little worried about the video. I should be getting a NTSC 1040STf with a SCART cable. I'm hoping to use the SCART cable in the XRGB and use a VGA monitor. Just hope it works otherwise Ill have a STf and no way to see what its doing. :)

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Things to keep in mind, TOS 1.4 (Rainbow TOS) was the first version that 'stability' allowed disks to interchange between the ST and a PC. Version 1.2 did to a lesser amount but was very unreliable. And, as discussed, you will need a double sided drive in the ST (720K). If you got a 1040Stf, chances are you will need to update TOS as most came with TOS 1.0.

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Things to keep in mind, TOS 1.4 (Rainbow TOS) was the first version that 'stability' allowed disks to interchange between the ST and a PC. Version 1.2 did to a lesser amount but was very unreliable. And, as discussed, you will need a double sided drive in the ST (720K). If you got a 1040Stf, chances are you will need to update TOS as most came with TOS 1.0.

 

Right, but if I use "Floppy Image" software I'm making ST format disks and should work with any TOS??

Here is the software: http://atari.8bitchip.info/floimgd.php

 

Ayway, to update TOS would be swapping chips?

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Things to keep in mind, TOS 1.4 (Rainbow TOS) was the first version that 'stability' allowed disks to interchange between the ST and a PC. Version 1.2 did to a lesser amount but was very unreliable. And, as discussed, you will need a double sided drive in the ST (720K). If you got a 1040Stf, chances are you will need to update TOS as most came with TOS 1.0.

 

Right, but if I use "Floppy Image" software I'm making ST format disks and should work with any TOS??

Here is the software: http://atari.8bitchip.info/floimgd.php

 

Ayway, to update TOS would be swapping chips?

 

Yes, you would have to put the new TOS chips in.

 

FloImage creates a disk from an ST disk image and a disk image from a St disk. Early ST disks could not be read on a PC because of the way the information was placed on the disk. With TOS 1.0, data was written sequentially to the disk, first filling side one and then side 2. This was for compatibility with a single or double sided drive at the time. Most magazine disks were written this way so someone with a single side drive could still read some of the files (side 1) while someone with a double side drive could read the whole thing. PC's write to a disk in tracks, where it would write track 1 on both sides before moving to track 2, and so on. TOS 1.2 started using this scheme, but wasn't completely on par with a PC format. You would have to format the disk on the ST to make sure the ST could read it and then you could use the PC to put files on it. This worked most of the time. But if you formatted the disk on the PC and wrote files, it more than not, failed on the ST. TOS 1.4 is the first TOS to pretty much fix all the PC<->ST disk issues.

 

If FloImage is able to talk straight to the disk controller on the PC, then you may have some success but it will be a crapshoot. The problem becomes, you need a PC with a mainboard floppy controller and any OS after XP gets shaky with the low level driver that FloImage is made to work with.

 

Here is some info on PC<->ST disk formatting and usage. It get a little more technical on the differences.

 

http://atari.8bitchi...oppyMistery.php

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Things to keep in mind, TOS 1.4 (Rainbow TOS) was the first version that 'stability' allowed disks to interchange between the ST and a PC. Version 1.2 did to a lesser amount but was very unreliable. And, as discussed, you will need a double sided drive in the ST (720K). If you got a 1040Stf, chances are you will need to update TOS as most came with TOS 1.0.

 

Right, but if I use "Floppy Image" software I'm making ST format disks and should work with any TOS??

Here is the software: http://atari.8bitchip.info/floimgd.php

 

Ayway, to update TOS would be swapping chips?

 

Yes, you would have to put the new TOS chips in.

 

FloImage creates a disk from an ST disk image and a disk image from a St disk. Early ST disks could not be read on a PC because of the way the information was placed on the disk. With TOS 1.0, data was written sequentially to the disk, first filling side one and then side 2. This was for compatibility with a single or double sided drive at the time. Most magazine disks were written this way so someone with a single side drive could still read some of the files (side 1) while someone with a double side drive could read the whole thing. PC's write to a disk in tracks, where it would write track 1 on both sides before moving to track 2, and so on. TOS 1.2 started using this scheme, but wasn't completely on par with a PC format. You would have to format the disk on the ST to make sure the ST could read it and then you could use the PC to put files on it. This worked most of the time. But if you formatted the disk on the PC and wrote files, it more than not, failed on the ST. TOS 1.4 is the first TOS to pretty much fix all the PC<->ST disk issues.

 

If FloImage is able to talk straight to the disk controller on the PC, then you may have some success but it will be a crapshoot. The problem becomes, you need a PC with a mainboard floppy controller and any OS after XP gets shaky with the low level driver that FloImage is made to work with.

 

Here is some info on PC<->ST disk formatting and usage. It get a little more technical on the differences.

 

http://atari.8bitchi...oppyMistery.php

 

Thanks for the reply. I used a P4 Compaq laptop with a built in 1.44 drive and FloImage with the low level driver installed. I downloaded a ST image of Double Dragon II and was able to write it out to a 720K floppy.

 

Then I looked around my house and with all computers in my home the only other one that had a floppy drive was an old Win98 machine with a very old Adaptec floppy controller and I use this PC to make disks for TRS-80 and TI-99, also Atari a8. FloImage doesnt work with the floppy drive in Win98.

 

So I looked through all my old parts and threw together a Windows XP machine, installed the driver and FloImage and had success reading the disk I had written out for the ST on my laptop. Then I made the same image to another disk on the computer and was able to read it on the laptop.

 

So, yeah lots of work just to check the disk, but I think I'm good with making disks.

 

I still have my fingers crossed my ST is working when I get it :)

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Thanks for the reply. I used a P4 Compaq laptop with a built in 1.44 drive and FloImage with the low level driver installed. I downloaded a ST image of Double Dragon II and was able to write it out to a 720K floppy.

 

Then I looked around my house and with all computers in my home the only other one that had a floppy drive was an old Win98 machine with a very old Adaptec floppy controller and I use this PC to make disks for TRS-80 and TI-99, also Atari a8. FloImage doesnt work with the floppy drive in Win98.

 

So I looked through all my old parts and threw together a Windows XP machine, installed the driver and FloImage and had success reading the disk I had written out for the ST on my laptop. Then I made the same image to another disk on the computer and was able to read it on the laptop.

 

So, yeah lots of work just to check the disk, but I think I'm good with making disks.

 

I still have my fingers crossed my ST is working when I get it :)

 

You are correct. The PC will have no problem creating a disk image and reading it on different PC's. The problem will come from the ST reading it. Hopefully with the floppy driver, the PC was able to create something the ST will like. Again, the only fairly sure fire way is to have TOS 1.4 in the ST.

 

Also, the TOS chips are very easy to change. You just have to get a matching set because the ST came with either a 2 chip or a 6 chip set. You just pull the old ones out and replace them. There many here at AtariAge that could burn a set for you, I'm sure. And, changing out to TOS 1.4 is pretty much a standard 'given' for most ST users.

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I sense quite some misinformation here ...

 

For starters, the floppy compatibility between the PC and the ST is limited no matter what. The limitations on writing ST images on the PC depend on a combination of software and hardware, but let me tell you that many images simply can't be written on the PC (unless you use custom hardware like the Catweasel).

 

The TOS version is not important at all. The TOS version is only significant if you are transferring disks the other way around (formatting PC disks on the ST), and even then, it is not critical. So there is no need to update TOS for this specific purpose.

 

Transferring just files is easy, and always possible, even when using an external USB drive. Problems start when you want to transfer whole images.

 

Windows 98 works great. True, floimg doesn't work on W98, but it is not needed either. If using Win 98, or an earlier MS OS, then use a different software, use MAKEDISK.

 

Under Windows 2K or later Windows (XP,Vista,etc), you do need a custom low driver like the one provided with floimg. The driver is required, mainly for writing 800K disk images (which is probably, the most popular disk iamge size). You really don't need it for 720K images.

 

You might get further problems and limitations for writing the bigger (than 800K) images, but they are less common.

Edited by ijor

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From Atari.org:

 

 

Exchanging TOS and MS-DOS disks

Disk exchange between MS-DOS and TOS is absolutely possible, if you follow these rules:

  • TOS versions from 1.04 onwards are 100% compatible with MS-DOS.
  • If using TOS 1.02 or earlier, you must either format the disk on a PC, use preformatted PC disks, or use a DOS compatible formatter on the ST.
  • Choose a PC format compatible with the Atari drive, ie: 720K for double sided drives and 1.44M for HD drives.
  • The internal drives of some older 520STF and SF354 units were limited to single-sided 360K disks that modern PCs can no longer read or write. In this case, a drive mechanism swap (see section 3.3) is highly suggested.
  • Windows 95 uses long filenames that can sometimes corrupt TOS disks, so be sure to use the good old 8+3 filename format. The same goes for directories, avoid them at all costs.
  • Do not use HD disks formatted in DD mode (ie: with sticky tape over the HD hole). This sometimes works momentarily, but is very unreliable, as the magnetic coating of HD disks is not the same as with DD disks.

As a summary, it is usually best to format a DD 720K floppy on the PC before using it to transfer files.

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Really too much incorrect and shallow writing here.

TOS version is not important in fact. You just don't format with Desktop formatter if want to use that floppy on PC. There is a lot of floppy formatting SW for Atari ST, so you may produce 100% POC compatible floppy.

FloImg works well on Vista and WIndows 7 - better said fdrawcmd is compatrible with them. Just get recent version.

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Really too much incorrect and shallow writing here.

TOS version is not important in fact. You just don't format with Desktop formatter if want to use that floppy on PC. There is a lot of floppy formatting SW for Atari ST, so you may produce 100% POC compatible floppy.

FloImg works well on Vista and WIndows 7 - better said fdrawcmd is compatrible with them. Just get recent version.

 

Dude, the TOS version is important if one wants to format a DOS compatible floppy disk through the GEM desktop without any additional software. The previous writer is correct to point TOS 1.04 out as minimum requirement.

 

Cheers,

T.

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Dude, the TOS version is important if one wants to format a DOS compatible floppy disk through the GEM desktop without any additional software.

 

I think we all agree with that, don't we?

 

But what we are saying, is that you don't have to format the disk with the desktop. You can format it with third party utilities, or you can also format it at the PC. There is even software that will "fix" disk formatted with previous TOS versions. Regardless, the original question raised here was how to "make ST game disks on the PC", and not how to write files on the ST so that you could read them with a PC.

 

The previous writer is correct to point TOS 1.04 out as minimum requirement.

 

Again, it is correct for the purpose of formatting DOS compatible disks with the desktop, not for the purpose of writing ST images on the PC. As long as this is clear for the OP, then we are all happy :)

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Dude, the TOS version is important if one wants to format a DOS compatible floppy disk through the GEM desktop without any additional software. The previous writer is correct to point TOS 1.04 out as minimum requirement.

 

Cheers,

T.

 

It is always 'pleasure' to see how people discussing primitive things without carefully reading what other saying.

 

Anyway, what I can recommend is (and will say nothing new) :

If want to transfer files from PC onto Atari ST: format floppy to regular 720K, DOS format. Best is to do it on PC. Under Win XP, Vista need to open console and type: format a: /n:9 /t:80 . Such disk will be usable under any TOS version. Formatting on ST with Desktop formatter is not good idea, even if TOS os 1.04 and higher. If nothing else, you loose 2KB of disk space because of stoopid set FAT size. Use some SW what has option to make DOS compatible format (FastCopy Pro for instance).

 

If want to write floppy image files onto floppies with PC then formatting on ST is just waste of time. Just take care that set format on in imaging SW.

 

 

Considering told that there is SW what can fix floppy formatted with some older TOS to be readable on PC - it stays, and such SW just writes proper start bytes.

But I think that it just increases overall confusion - some people may think that it can fix any Atari formatted floppy, what is not correct.

 

Most of problems is because bad floppies - poor qaulity. And of course because people does not read instructions, rather tries according to some own ideas how it would work - and usually it is wrong :-)

Not to forget really hardly understable way how XP floppy driver works: it will open 800KB Atari floppy without any notice. But will read/write nn so, that skip every 10-th sector on track - so soing a mess.

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Again, it is correct for the purpose of formatting DOS compatible disks with the desktop, not for the purpose of writing ST images on the PC. As long as this is clear for the OP, then we are all happy :)

 

Absolutely.

 

Cheers,

T.

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