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Bootable Disk Menu Programs

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Is there a list of bootable disk menu programs with screenshots? I used a number of these in the 80's and into the early 90's and I'm interested in what is out there... I recall having a small program to write the bootable sectors to the disk for a couple of these.

 

Im pretty sure we all used some of these... I think some were published in magazines like Antic and ANALOG.

 

It would be very useful to have the best of these programs somewhere (I know it probably has already been done).

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RobC, Multiboot and then AlphaLoad or IanK warpload (for true DD) were the common ones in the UK.

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There was plenty of them.

 

Some I just didn't want to know about because they didn't use a filing system, just grouped the programs into raw sectors. More space efficient but makes copying individual games a real problem.

 

The best of the remainder used Dos 2.x filing system and did a menu that was a total boot of 3-5 sectors followed by a directory read.

The problem with these is that in the modern day, the 2.x filing system is limited to 1024 sectors and these loaders mostly were hardcoded for 128 byte sectors which limits you to 128K on a disk, minus file system overhead.

 

In the modern day what you want is something that can handle >128 byte sectors and filing systems that can do 65536 sectors or beyond. Of course this means more bloat beyond a simple compact loader but with the faster storage options we have something that's a couple of K in size isn't a problem.

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Guest

i'll try and list what i have/know of (in alphabetical order)

 

Alphaload - Fuji

Alphaload - Scrolling

Aura Menu

Elton C

Games Disk [unknown]

Games Disk [maybe early Ian K]

Gamesmaster [Mikran]

Howfen Dos ver 3.07

Howfen Dos ver 3.08

Ian D Menu Maker

Ian K Menu Creator

Ian K Menu Creator [1.9]

Ian M Menu Creator

Jon C

Jon C Utilities Menu

John E Multi Menu

John W Menu

LK Avalon

Max's Megamix [Rob C]

Menuloader

Microdos

Mockingbird

Multi-Boot

Multi-Boot Gold

Multi-Boot Super XL Plus ver 1.0

Rob C

Rob C Musical Menu-Maker 1

Rob C Musical Menu-Maker 2

Rob C Musical Menu-Maker 3

Rob C Musical Menu-Maker 4

Rob C Musical Menu-Maker 5

Rob C Musical Menu-Maker 6

Rob C Musical Menu-Maker 7

Rob C Musical Menu-Maker 8

Speedmenu v 3US [bibodos]

Stevesoft Menu

Supaboot Menu

Super Boot

Ultraspeed Alphaload

Ultraspeed Multiboot

Warpspeed Multiboot

Yogi Menu

Edited by Guest

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@Brenski, could you please post a Stevesoft Menu disk, there's a menu a friend and I created WAY BACK THEN, it was written from scratch and the only thing we could not get at that point was initialising certain carts, I lost track of him and he may have released it along the way.

 

Most of the work was his but I'd still love to get hold of it again IF its out there..

 

If anyone actually recognises the disk from my description following then please let me know..

 

We nicked loads of sprites like the EA loader, the obligatory Preppie font and other sprites and had them down the sides if memory serves, I doubt it found its way out as only me and him had our copies but you live in hope, was one of the most ambitious things I had helped do as my coding was so so but with Steves help and his superior coding it became a reality.

 

Paul...

Edited by Mclaneinc

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Does anyone recognize this one? This is the loader I was most familiar with around 1985. Most "disks of ill repute" that made their way to me (that weren't flat out Happy copies of protected bootable disks) had this loader. This was in the greater Boston Massachusetts area, if there is any regionality correlation.

 

This loader uses DOS2.x compatible file structures.

 

post-52761-0-29117700-1491837182_thumb.png post-52761-0-42711100-1491837426_thumb.png

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I recognise it for the same reasons you did, it was initially the menu that was pretty much first, probably written by bored Atari techs. Initially a lot of stuff came as DOS files, chances are that it was this way as easy to pass around especially on a network.

 

Could be way out there but that's how I remember stuff like that turning up at the start, its one those very disks that got a certain person in to court as it had Ms Pac man on it amongst other stuff.

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Here's a cleaned up copy of that loader, if anyone is curious to do forensics work. I believe this is actually the very first disk I received as a 'gift' from a relative when I first got my 1050 drive. He had a friend who had a Happy modded 1050 and he used to make pocket money selling disk copies for $5 each. Beats mowing lawns, I guess? Somewhere I have a printed list of all of the games he had available - I need to try to find that.

 

The 'clean up' entailed deleting a few files that were not on the disk originally - I must have used it in a pinch to save some stuff later on, when I was out of floppies.

 

Destroy_Mastlamp_Rally_CESdemo - Fixed.atr

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I remember one I had that had a rainbow like screen and a list of games on it.

 

I found I could format a disc and copy the first 3 sectors of the rainbow disc to it using Smart Dos.

 

Very quick menu system! Could never figure out how to make it work with double density discs.

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In the modern day what you want is something that can handle >128 byte sectors and filing systems that can do 65536 sectors or beyond. Of course this means more bloat beyond a simple compact loader but with the faster storage options we have something that's a couple of K in size isn't a problem.

 

Why would someone want a menu/loader for larger disks? In the modern day, every disk drive emulator (*) can handle XEX files alone and simulate a diskette with it for the Atari.

 

If you need one, it's because you want to pack some files in a disk related to a event or commemorative issue, but as most of Atari users have some drive emulator, It could be the same a big ATR or a ZIPped folder with many individual files. Well, you would group a lot of stuff in one disk with a special intro/demo and its menu, but that is not related to generic menu/loaders.

 

(*) SIO2PC/RespeQT, SIO2SD, SDrive, SIO2BT, ...

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Does anyone recognize this one? This is the loader I was most familiar with around 1985. Most "disks of ill repute" that made their way to me (that weren't flat out Happy copies of protected bootable disks) had this loader. This was in the greater Boston Massachusetts area, if there is any regionality correlation.

 

This loader uses DOS2.x compatible file structures.

 

attachicon.gifloader.png attachicon.gifloader-dos.png

 

 

I have disks that have a similar menu. There large text like that, but don't say "ATARI GAMES", and the menu starts at 0.

 

Also, does anyone have any kind of docs for AUTORUN.SYS files? I started looking at disassembling them but disassemblers seem to get very confused by the FF and other pieces of the header. Also, disassemblers are trying to disassemble text. It's making deconstructing these difficult.

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I have disks that have a similar menu. There large text like that, but don't say "ATARI GAMES", and the menu starts at 0.

 

I believe the menu title was configurable, because I had other disks with different titles. Also whichever item you select shrinks to smaller text when you select the item.

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i'll try and list what i have/know of (in alphabetical order)

 

Alphaload - Fuji

Alphaload - Scrolling

Aura Menu

Elton C

Games Disk [unknown]

Games Disk [maybe early Ian K]

Gamesmaster [Mikran]

Howfen Dos ver 3.07

Howfen Dos ver 3.08

Ian D Menu Maker

Ian K Menu Creator

Ian K Menu Creator [1.9]

Ian M Menu Creator

Jon C

Jon C Utilities Menu

John E Multi Menu

John W Menu

LK Avalon

Max's Megamix [Rob C]

Menuloader

Microdos

Mockingbird

Multi-Boot

Multi-Boot Gold

Multi-Boot Super XL Plus ver 1.0

Rob C

Rob C Musical Menu-Maker 1

Rob C Musical Menu-Maker 2

Rob C Musical Menu-Maker 3

Rob C Musical Menu-Maker 4

Rob C Musical Menu-Maker 5

Rob C Musical Menu-Maker 6

Rob C Musical Menu-Maker 7

Rob C Musical Menu-Maker 8

Speedmenu v 3US [bibodos]

Stevesoft Menu

Supaboot Menu

Super Boot

Ultraspeed Alphaload

Ultraspeed Multiboot

Warpspeed Multiboot

Yogi Menu

Can you compress the ones you have and post it?

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I found a generic EXE header document. This looks like enough for me to get started, but disassemblers really need to work with these files better. "Disassembling" text is a sign that the disassembler isn't working right.

 

https://www.atarimax.com/jindroush.atari.org/afmtexe.html

 

Peter Dell (JAC!) has a great series on using DIS6502, if you haven't seen it.

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I just found this literally a second ago lol. I'll be taking a look at it, thanks!

 

It's a great intro to the art of disassembly. It's not a fully automatic process - you have to do a lot of work to help guide it (e.g. identifying text segments, etc.)

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Ah, just looked at your pics Brenski (and nice work there) and my one is not in there :(

 

Oh well, it was a hope...

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As for the initial one I'm pretty sure as I said before that it came from inside Atari, I doubt you will find confirmation of that in the code as an Atari guy releasing one of those with games on and his name in the code would be suicide. I do know that disks with that menu DID come out of Atari and I am sure I know who from but as I am not 100% sure if he's dead I'll leave it at that. I can't confirm the menu was done by an Atari person but if you join the dots its almost certain it was and that was the said menu that ended up in court.

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Ah, just looked at your pics Brenski (and nice work there) and my one is not in there :(

 

Oh well, it was a hope...

Paul, don't worry...i have seen it in my pile.

there's one particular section helpfully titled "games disks" that I'm sure i saw it in.

will go through them later today - there's about 1000 disks!

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I always remembered the gamemaster mostly... I see on that link a screenshot of the actual gamemaster disk maker. Gamemaster would put the files in the standard 2.1 layout (where the last byte of a sector told where the next sector is). But it would modify the TOC so you could not see the games. Or something like that. It's been years.

 

I've seen the bootmaster from time to time as well.

 

PicoDos is good for the larger formats around these days plus it has a longfilename system that can be used.

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Does anyone recognize this one? This is the loader I was most familiar with around 1985. Most "disks of ill repute" that made their way to me (that weren't flat out Happy copies of protected bootable disks) had this loader. This was in the greater Boston Massachusetts area, if there is any regionality correlation.

 

This loader uses DOS2.x compatible file structures.

 

attachicon.gifloader.png attachicon.gifloader-dos.png

 

This loader originated from Gardiner Computing's Pirates Treasure Chest, and can be found on that disk (just do a google for atari pirate's treasure chest atr), and is quite nice because it was a complete loader in only a couple of sectors. The downside is that it didn't work very well on anything but an Atari 800 running OS B.

 

-Thom

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Paul, don't worry...i have seen it in my pile.

there's one particular section helpfully titled "games disks" that I'm sure i saw it in.

will go through them later today - there's about 1000 disks!

 

Wow...You don't need to go to that trouble especially on a real out side chance...But if you are at some point databasing the disks and you come across what might be my one then do let me know, there's no rush at all, as said the chances of it being mine and Steves is small and I've not seen it since the 80's so a bit more time won't matter :)

 

But thank you all the same..

 

Paul.

Edited by Mclaneinc

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This loader originated from Gardiner Computing's Pirates Treasure Chest, and can be found on that disk (just do a google for atari pirate's treasure chest atr), and is quite nice because it was a complete loader in only a couple of sectors. The downside is that it didn't work very well on anything but an Atari 800 running OS B.

 

-Thom

 

I wonder if there was a version adapted for the XL OS, because I had an 800XL at the time and it worked fine.

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