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Old 25 January 2008, 09:11   #1
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Question X-Copy module with virus detector???

Saw this strange (for me at least) item on eBay:

X-Copy oder Virus Detector Modul:Amiga 500-Amiga 4000

it has a led and a speaker, that I guess if it finds a virus it warns the user... I think if it's software finds something then it works... anyone has more info for it? seems strange
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Old 25 January 2008, 11:04   #2
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I remember seeing an ad for a similar product years ago, from memory it buzzes whenever the bootblock is written so calling it a "virus detector" would be a bit of a stretch. It may act as some sort of Cyclone/X-Copy dongle as well but I'm quite doubtful without a clearer picture.
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Old 25 January 2008, 11:12   #3
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I see these X-copy dongle things on eBay alot, wtf do they do?
I used to use Xcopy without it, the ads. I come across claim to be able to copy ALL games regardless of protections blah, blah, I would rather ask here and have a reply from some people who know, than some eBayer who would tell me anything to get a sale
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Old 25 January 2008, 11:17   #4
move.w #$4489,$dff07e
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There is another program that comes with XCopy called 'Cyclone' - this NEEDS the dongle. It fits between the Amiga and the external drive and allows the software finer control over motor speeds to get a better copy.

This works better with longtracks (like Copylock protections etc) - but it is still quite hit and miss. And slow Standard XCopy CANNOT copy everything.
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Old 06 March 2008, 15:18   #5
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X-Copy was (is) a software nibble-copy program. In laymans terms, a standard disk copier reads the disk sector-by-sector (ie word by word). A nibble copier reads the disk byte-by-byte. Both are pure software solutions.

Nibble copying relied - iirc - on finding the start of the track or the track gap, and copying the data from there on. In the main, it could cope with non-standard track lengths, non-standard sync marks ($4489?) and extra tracks.

Some copy protection methods can defeat nibble copiers, for example by exploiting the way the 8 bits in a byte are encoded as 10 bits on the disk, or by doing weird and wonderful things to the low-level disk track formatting. When the data is read in, the Amiga converts the 10bits to 8bits, so even a nibble copier can be defeated as it doesnt see the real original raw 10bit data. Some couldnt cope with data in the track gap, either.

To counter such protection, various hardware methods were devised, that read the raw data from the drive and passed directly to the associated specialist copy software, bypassing the Amiga decoding completely.

There were a few different versions, each could only be used with specific software. Here's a few

Cyclone - probably the most well know, and best-selling in the UK. Reasonable for copying 99% (ish of disks).

SuperCardAmi v2 - The internal version was THE best hardware copier full stop. There was nothing it could not copy, although it could take all night and need HD disk(s) and/or drives.

APEx, MAC2 - copies of SCA external version and/or Cyclone

Blitz - a varation of the Cyclone type hardware. Didnt rate it, and BlitzCopy wasn't a particularly good bit of software

PowerCopy - a straight clone (excuse pun) of the Cyclone hardware.

The majority of the disk-drive hardware dongles were all roughly similar internally, and used the same methods for copying. Some software could therefore be used on another's dongle.

There were a couple of exceptions - and bear with me as I'm going back 15+ years now from memory. A guy called "Mac" in BAOR designed and built his own hardware copier for the floppy port, which had better success rate than Cyclone. Cant remember details.

There was an early hardware copier that plugged into the parallel port, istr to take timing signals. (SCA internal had two fly leads which plugged into the CIA chips for ultra-accurate timings). The design and software for this is on aminet in hardhacks?

Do they work? Well, if you were copying disks, the optimal way to proceed was to use X-Copy in nibble mode (5mins a disk?), if that didnt work try Cyclone, and if that didnt work try one of the alternate Cyclone copy methods. (I'd go by gut feel, and jump from Nib2/XCopy to either SCA or Cyclone then SCA).

There were different revisions of Cyclone, with improved coy routines, different copy methods, and istr a change in the hardware at one point. But basically, the X-Copy/Cyclone combination was a good all-rounder.

And there were many copies. X-Copy with a different "GUI" was a popular fraudulent version, or changing the version of X-Copy was "popular" on scene boards (fake copies). Cyclone was somewhat easy to change, or interface to, as well. So dont get hung up on finding different copiers. Cyclone is good enough for most, and if you have a B2000/A1500, then SCA internal is the "Holy Grail". If you can mod a connection to the soldered CIAs, then it would work on an A3000/4000.

And don't ever, ever, refer to the dongles as "cartridges"... you'll annoy C64 owners ;-)
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Old 06 March 2008, 19:18   #6
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What you refer to is GCR encoding.
Amiga games use MFM.
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Old 19 March 2008, 23:02   #7
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Its been over a decade, nearer a decade and a half... and I'm not getting any younger.

DOHHHHHH I'm thinking about "weak sectors", bitcells... I think. Been way too long.
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