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(Noob Question) Can you load disks from Atari BASIC?

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I got a whole bunch of Atari stuff today, including a 400, 810 disk drive (with some disks), and a BASIC cart. Can I load disks from BASIC, like on a Commodore 64 (or 128, ect.) or do I need a DOS? (Obviously, I need a DOS, but does Atari BASIC have one built in?)

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Atari computers don't have a DOS built-in. The machine has a built-in ROM-based OS, that's fairly analogous to a BIOS in a modern PC. It loads the DOS from disk at boot time. Atari BASIC isn't dependent on the DOS, and can function just fine on a diskless system.

 

There's plenty of disk-based DOSes available for the Atari 8-bit platform. The most popular Atari-produced DOS is probably DOS 2.5; two other popular DOSes are MyDOS (which is like Atari DOS on steroids) and SpartaDOS X (which is actively maintained and developed, and feels very much like MS-DOS).

Edited by FifthPlayer
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Yep, BASIC doesn't require a DOS to work. Cassette storage handling is built into the OS. Don't quote me on this, but I think the built in ROM can access disks at at the sector level only. In order to have file type access you need a DOS, or roll your own (not recommended).

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I just looked through the disks that I have, and found Atari DOS 2.5. Will it work with my 810?

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Absolutely. After connecting the drive to the computer with the SIO cable (or "serial cable"), then power on the drive first, insert the Dos disk, and then power up the Atari. Assuming you have the sound connected, you should hear a chirp, chirp, chirp... from the loading process. If/when you write to another disk, you will hear a slightly different sound as the sectors are written to the disk. If you use your Atari to any degree, you will likely grow to like these sounds as audible feedback of the disk operations.

 

How much ram does your 400 have? Type ? FRE(0) with only the Basic cart inserted (no dos). If you only have 16K, you will have a difficult time doing much with a disk drive. If you have 32K or 48K, then you can do a lot more. If you like the Atari, then you might consider finding an 800XL or 130XE. Then lots of things are possible.

 

-Larry

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If you boot the system with the DOS 2.5 disk in the drive, and the Atari BASIC cartridge inserted, you'll arrive at the Basic "READY" prompt after the system finishes boot.

 

Type:

 

DOS

 

to get from Basic into DOS. Atari DOS works by selecting options from a menu. The "B" (Run Cartridge) command takes you back to Basic.

 

From Basic, to load a Basic program from disk:

 

LOAD "D:MYPROG.BAS"

 

To save a Basic program:

 

SAVE "D:MYPROG.BAS"

 

The "D:" prefix says you want to load/save from disk. Atari DOS allows 8 characters for the name, 3 characters for file extension.

Edited by FifthPlayer
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Well, we have a problem. This DOS comes on a Double Density disk. According to my research, it won't work on my 810. (Correct me if I'm wrong.) What DOS can I use?

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Dos 2.5 is OK for the 810 if it's on an 88K single density disk.

 

A long time ago I did a tape loadable Dos, I had a look on the forums but can't find it. But it's no use if you don't have an Atari tape drive.

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You could ask in the main 8-bit forum if someone could copy DOS 2.5 onto a single-density disk for you. I would offer, but I have no actual disk drives!

 

Also, you could purchase a new DOS 2.5 master disk (single density) from Best Electronics:

 

http://www.best-electronics-ca.com/xe_game.htm#soft6

 

Scroll down to the section entitled "Miscellaneous, Atari 8 bit Software / Firmware" (the site has a broken link to this section)

 

You're looking for the following listing:

 

Atari Master 5 1/4 inch DOS Diskette II (2.5). Will run all on Atari 8 bit computers and Atari Disk Drives (No 1 1/2 density mode on 810 disk drives). DX5075 $5.00

 

 

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Well, we have a problem. This DOS comes on a Double Density disk. According to my research, it won't work on my 810. (Correct me if I'm wrong.) What DOS can I use?

 

It may not really be formatted as double density. Go ahead and give it a shot. I have many double density disks formatted as single density. Very few Atari-branded drives supported true double density without add-on boards.

 

I would check how much RAM you have available in the 400 first. Most only came with 16K which may make floppy use pretty tough. I ended up upgrading mine to 48K, was well worth it.

 

PDF books on Atari BASIC are easy to find. You'll find it's a bit different in ways from BASIC on the C64.

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Probably the best, and in a way easiest, is to use something like APE.

 

The only reason I didn't suggest this is that the OP is a newbie and may not want to pour more money into the system if they don't know yet that they like it. $5 (plus shipping) for a DOS boot disk isn't too big a risk, and is simpler to setup.

Edited by FifthPlayer

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The only reason I didn't suggest this is that the OP is a newbie and may not want to pour more money into the system if they don't know yet that they like it. $5 (plus shipping) for a DOS boot disk isn't too big a risk, and is simpler to setup.

 

True, yet APE compatible software is free and the cable low cost. YMMV.

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Well, we have a problem. This DOS comes on a Double Density disk. According to my research, it won't work on my 810. (Correct me if I'm wrong.) What DOS can I use?

 

How do you know it is DD? Is there a user-written label that says "DD?" Or is it simply a manufacturer's label that says DD? BTW, Dos 2.5 cannot be written in a bootable format in DD, so if the disk says "Dos 2.5" it cannot be DD (assuming that Dos 2.5 is really on that disk).

 

Again, how much ram do you have PRINT FRE(0) with the Basic cartridge inserted? If you turn on the Atari 400 with the cartridge inserted, you do get a "READY" on the display screen, don't you?

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DOS 2.5 could be on "enhanced density" though. That is also unusable by an 810.

 

Only way to figure it out is to try it. Assuming the 810 actually works. I'd say wait until the kid tries a couple things outlined here and see what he figures out.

 

If it's a 48K 400, an 810 that still works and a good copy of DOS 2.5 on an SD-formatted DD disk (if he got this with the 810, I'd assume that to be the case) that hasn't suffered from bit rot in 25 years..... then he's in good shape.

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Can you boot from D2 like D1,without a file,like when you press and hold option at startup,I have multidisk games and they don't show files on the directory,I am asking this cos D1 is my SIO2PC and D2 is the 1050 disk drive..? I don't want to keep having to swap drivers.

Edited by Spanner

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Can you boot from D2 like D1,without a file,like when you press and hold option at startup,I have multidisk games and they don't show files on the directory,I am asking this cos D1 is my SIO2PC and D2 is the 1050 disk drive..? I don't want to keep having to swap drivers.

 

Pretty sure that the Atari can autoboot only from the first disk drive.

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Can you boot from D2 like D1,without a file,like when you press and hold option at startup,I have multidisk games and they don't show files on the directory,I am asking this cos D1 is my SIO2PC and D2 is the 1050 disk drive..? I don't want to keep having to swap drivers.

OPTION disables built-in BASIC on 600/800XL and 65/130XE machines but should have no effect on a 400.

 

Most multidisc games will not allow you to use multiple floppy drives but require you to swap. If you have a SIO2PC you can swap the images on the PC.

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Sorry for not posting here for a while. I should get back to this soon, I've been very busy with school and stuff.

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Alright, I've got my computers set up again. So, the DOS disk just gives me a boot error and there's a legit label on it that says it's one sided and single density. ?FRE(0) gives me 29710, which I think means I have around 29K.

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Alright, I've got my computers set up again. So, the DOS disk just gives me a boot error and there's a legit label on it that says it's one sided and single density. ?FRE(0) gives me 29710, which I think means I have around 29K.

 

That could mean that the disk has gone bad. Depending on how the floppies were stored and what the brand was, that is not unusual after a couple of decades ;)

 

You have 32K RAM. The missing bytes are used by the system.

 

Does any of the other discs labels show a single program name? That could be a bootable program (game) which you could try to boot without BASIC inserted.

 

Next option for testing would probably be to get a known good DOS disc and continue trying with that.

 

If that is completely impossible, there is a way to access the disc without DOS but only on a very low level (sector by sector) and using PEEKs and POKEs. That could be used to find out whether the 810 is able to perform basic reading and writing.

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