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Old 14 July 2011, 05:02   #1
Supamax
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Protected PC floppies: how to dump them?

This is not related to Amiga, but perhaps someone found a solution ...

I normally archive PC floppies with programs like Floppy Image or WinImage.
This works for all DOS floppies, without error protections on them.
By the way, as far as I found all 3.5" 1.44MB floppies have no protections at all.
Some/many 3.5" 720KB floppies are protected. I remember for example Castle Master (it had a very good protection, but... well, I sold it some years ago).

I have some 3.5" and 5.25" protected floppies from the IBM Assistant series: IBM Filing Assistant, IBM Writing Assistant, etc.
I can perfectly copy them with my Amiga & Project D.
I can even DUMP them with my Amiga 600 & PowerCopy Professional (thanks to StingRay), so that I will be able in the future to recreate them at will... but this procedure needs an Amiga.
I suppose that KryoFlux can dump PC floppies, but I cannot buy one for this task only ...

I know that some PC copiers can duplicate some protected floppies (TELEDISK, ANADISK, FDA etc.) but the dump can only be used in some PC emulators (i.e. PCE). Furthermore, they need a true DOS environment (no Windows).

Is there some software solution which can dump such floppies AND is able to write back the images to floppies, including the protected tracks/sectors?

Last edited by Supamax; 14 July 2011 at 05:09.
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Old 14 July 2011, 05:38   #2
desiv
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My first suggestion would be Kryoflux, but you said no, so...
My next thought was the Copy II PC Option board, if you can find one.
Those were I guess like the Cyclone for the Amiga, maybe better????

This page has lots of info:
http://retro.icequake.net/dob/

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p.s. For a true DOS environment, you can boot from a floppy.. Windows will most likely get in the way for this...
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Old 14 July 2011, 05:47   #3
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I have no idea what sort of protection these disks use I think you'll probably find that the PC floppy controller isn't capable of doing what you want. The Amiga controller is far more advanced, why not just continue using that to copy them?
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Old 14 July 2011, 16:18   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by desiv View Post
My next thought was the Copy II PC Option board, if you can find one.
Those were I guess like the Cyclone for the Amiga, maybe better????
Hmmm, I thought at them, but they are obsolete now, very rare to find and they require a very old PC to run... furthermore, they cannot manage many protections. I read/know there are/were more powerful cards for the PC... but if I had the intention to buy a copy/dump card I'd surely choose the KryoFlux .

Quote:
This page has lots of info:
http://retro.icequake.net/dob/
Thanks

Quote:
Originally Posted by Hewitson View Post
The Amiga controller is far more advanced, why not just continue using that to copy them?
1) Because it will require an Amiga to write those images back to floppies, and Amigas will not live forever

2) Because PowerCopy Professional's "images" (there are two separate files for each track: one for side 0 and one for side 1. A total of 160 files per disk) are not a standard. You cannot mount them in an emulator and run the programs
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Old 14 July 2011, 18:29   #5
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Quote:
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1) Because it will require an Amiga to write those images back to floppies, and Amigas will not live forever
Hmmm..

Sounds like the situation you are describing is EXACTLY what Kryoflux is designed for....

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Old 14 July 2011, 18:47   #6
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...and Amigas will not live forever
Neither will you nor I. But if you take care of your Amiga it will last for a looong time, much as with yourself.
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Old 14 July 2011, 19:04   #7
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I've seen a few PC protections and there is no chance of writing some of them on a standard controller either PC or Amiga - they were designed for commercial duplication and cannot be (reliably) written by any other means.
Unsuprisingly, some of the protection methods are being shared between PC and ST - and other generic MFM controller types.
I think they stopped using more advanced methods when PC controllers got really diverse and compatibility couldn't be guaranteed anymore, or return rate had become too high due to compatibility issues.
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Old 14 July 2011, 19:44   #8
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You're right IFW.
Most of them (I'm thinking to the various laser hole protections) can't be written back to real floppies.

However some protections are not so tough... and I was able to copy them even years ago with Project D (Omnicopy). I was also able to copy many Atari ST originals owned by a friend of mine . (Amiga rules!)
The IBM Assistant series (Writing/Filing/Reporting) is among these.
I wasn't able to copy them with my PC, but I was able to copy them with my Amiga.
Now that PowerCopy Professional has been 100% cracked by StingRay I can archive those IBM floppies... but I would prefer if there was a standard format for protected PC floppy images... something which could be used in emulators and/or, if needed, written back to real floppies by using a hardware interface like KryoFlux.

Will PC emulators support the .ipf format someday?
(DOSBox is absolutely beautiful, but AFAIK it's limited to normal/regular floppy images.)
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Old 14 July 2011, 20:30   #9
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Whether any emulator would use IPF or not is not something that I could or want to influence.

However, there already are IPF images for PC; although all of them are for dual or tri-format disks at the moment, where a single disk contains data readable say on Amiga, PC and ST.
These fully work from the very same IPF file on all platforms.

Similarly, if we had heavily protected PC games added as IPF, they would work as well.
At least, you could rewrite them and use on an old PC rig for sure, or just get an emulator that could use them eventually.
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