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Atari Disk Editor Advice Wanted


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I want to try using a high-quality Atari disk editor to begin exploring and learning about how to crack disks-- or at least explore their contents. In particular I want to work with some old Apshai disks (that are already cracked); I want to learn to crack them myself. I would be doing this to learn how people did this back in the 80s and 90s as well as just to figure it out and get a deeper understanding of the system and how copy protection worked.

 

I have come across a few disk editor names, like:

  1. Disk Magic
  2. Disk Wizard
  3. Disk Wizard II

I'm looking for a basic setup that basically looks like this screenshot of Blackmagic Software's "Disk Magic:"

 

post-4925-0-27165700-1434771514_thumb.gif

 

Most important to me is that this software be well documented, and that the manaul is available in electronic format.

 

There seem to have been so many of these utilities made back in the 80s! What do people use now? Is there a round-up of reviews for them someplace? Even old reviews from magazines would be useful to me.

 

I'd also like to be pointed to online tutorials, magazine tutorials (if those existed for this sort of program) and other similar links so that I can get started in this area. I'd be starting from the ground floor. Even learning (and manipulating) the disk layout of disks would be step 1 on my agenda. I've always been a user of these disks, now I want to know more about them.

 

Thanks.

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Some discussion about Disk Wizard II:

 

 

 

http://atariage.com/forums/topic/174204-disk-wizard-iidiskwizii/

 

 

I don't think the manual for DWII has been copied.

 

You have to know assembler. Disk Wizard II has a nice disassembler.

 

You should get 'Mapping the Atari'. You can't understand assembly code without knowing the locations.

 

Probably in the 96 Atari books.

 

https://thepiratebay.se/torrent/5576778/96_Atari_8-bit_Books

 

(the link doesn't seem to work, so copy and paste it.)

 

Uhm... You have to use a torrent client, to get 96 books.

 

And it is about 5 gigabytes (the Atari Books torrent). You are downloading an entire Atari 8-bit library.

Edited by russg
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Some discussion about Disk Wizard II: [...] I don't think the manual for DWII has been copied.

 

You have to know assembler. Disk Wizard II has a nice disassembler.

 

You should get 'Mapping the Atari'. You can't understand assembly code without knowing the locations.

I'll take a look at "Disk Wizard II," but I really do want the disk editor that I use to have docs. Is "Disk Wizard II" widely used (meaning, to me, that it's better than most of its peers)? Do people have other suggestions? I'd also be interested to know why some disk editors are used above others; why do some people have favorites that they always come back to using?

 

I'm aware of why a disk/sector editor is used and that I need to know assembly language to get the most use out of one. I know a bit of assembly for various CPUs, including the 6502. I'm far from fluent, but I've partly dissassembled some Astrocade games (which is Z80 assembly) and I've dabbled with hacking 2600 games back in the 90s, plus I've played with quite a few of the 6502 assemblers on the Atari. I guess I've messed around a bit with the F8, 6800 and 2650 CPUs too. I've never written a full program, but I'm comfortable with the basics. I'm sure I'll manage to stumble my through like I always do, knocking over and destroying data along the way. That's the way that I learn, I guess.

 

I already own a battered copy of the second edition of "Mapping the Atari," which I got several years ago on eBay for just about nothing. It is missing the front and back covers, plus it has water damage, but it's still readable and usable. I have paper copies of many of the books on AtariMania (plus I've downloaded many of the others that look interesting). I've also requested some books from libraries using ILLs to read/skim/use books that are not available in digital format and that I've never seen for sale.

 

There are some excellent Atari books out there, but I don't recall any of them ever talking directly about disk editors. Has anyone seen a book that covers disk editing, maybe even a chapter devoted to it?

 

Has there ever been a compilation of notes on cracking that was, maybe, available for download from the secret elite (i.e. pirate) section of a BBS? Or were these considered trade secrets to be guarded from other cracking groups at all costs?

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If you want docs, check out DISKEY. Docs at Atarimania. But somewhat complicated to use.

 

DWII is soooo simple. All menu driven, so the downside is that you must use a fair number of keystrokes. DWII is a file (as well as a boot disk), so it can launch from your hard drive. DWII does single/double density, but not enhanced. There are better ones, but DWII is a great starting point. I've got a bunch of these things, but 99% of the time, DWII is the "go-to" for me. BTW, DWI is virtually identical, but in BASIC, and listable. But really, really a lot of code.

 

-Larry

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Eddy, the SpartaDOS X 4.4x disk editor is a really good one with built in help. It has disk and file modes. It is missing disassembly features though, so if that is important look elsewhere. Other than that, it handles lots of formats and such.

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the SpartaDOS X 4.4x disk editor is a really good one with built in help.

I've actually never used any of the SpartaDOS versions. I'm a simple Atari DOS 2 user, or, in a pinch I'll use MyDOS 4.53. I never would have thought of using SpartaDOS-- and I didn't know it had such a powerful utility built into it. It's no wonder that power users swear by it. I'm not sure I need to start using a command line DOS like SpartaDOS now, but I did find a great screenshot of the disk editor:

 

post-4925-0-42943800-1434821523_thumb.png

 

I'm really impressed with the SpartDOS disk editor's screen layout! There certainly appear to be more than 40-columns on the screen. Is it 80-columns? Is the display done in software? How does it look on a TV compared to a monitor?

 

Keep these ideas coming!

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If you want docs, check out DISKEY. Docs at Atarimania. But somewhat complicated to use.

 

Thanks for pointing out "DISKEY." The manual for this disk editor is 61 pages long. That's plenty to look through, isn't it? I bet the manual includes background material on the Atari disk structure(s); that will be helpful. This utility was released by Adventure International in 1982. I didn't know this company made any utilities at all; I thought that they were purely fun and games. Here's a direct link to "DISKEY:"

 

http://www.atarimania.com/utility-atari-400-800-xl-xe-diskey_12521.html

 

I'll still look the manual over, even if I don't use the "DISKEY" disk editor. It's bound to have some great tips on getting started. It's pretty neat then in the Antic podcast interview with Scott Adams that Scott said his brother made the Happy upgrade for the Atari disk drive.

 

DWII is soooo simple. All menu driven [...] DWII is a great starting point.

 

I like the idea that "Disk Wizard II" is completely menu driven. Maybe reading the docs for DISKEY will help me out with more than one disk editor.

 

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I'm really impressed with the SpartDOS disk editor's screen layout! There certainly appear to be more than 40-columns on the screen. Is it 80-columns? Is the display done in software? How does it look on a TV compared to a monitor?

It's a software generated 64-column display. You can't go past EDDY, IMO. :)

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I've used DISKEY quite often in the 80's examining floppies. You can find these on ebay now and then with the manual for < $20.

 

I also just bought DiskWiz-II with the manual on ebay, which I'll scan so Allan can post it to Atarimania :)

 

 

There's one on ebay now. It's a little more than $20 though:

 

http://www.ebay.com/itm/DISKEY-AI-Adventure-International-Scott-Adams-Ultra-Utility-Atari-1983-/391137508622?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item5b119cbd0e

 

-Bob

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That's a stupid price, some seller really trying to price gouge on that. This one had a price of $30 eBay Auction -- Item Number: 1617235286281?ff3=2&pub=5574883395&toolid=10001&campid=5336500554&customid=&item=161723528628&mpt=[CACHEBUSTER]

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I'll take a look at "Disk Wizard II," but I really do want the disk editor that I use to have docs. Is "Disk Wizard II" widely used (meaning, to me, that it's better than most of its peers)? Do people have other suggestions? I'd also be interested to know why some disk editors are used above others; why do some people have favorites that they always come back to using?

Disk Wiz II is a powerful and user friendly toolkit, in my active A8 days in the 80's I never used anything else. IIRC you don't really need a manual to use it, operating it is quite self-explanatory.

 

You should be aware, though, that it's limited to reading 720 sectors on disk, either in single, enhanced or double density. You can read enhanced density disks only up to 720 sectors. AFAIK Disk Wiz II was never updated to enable reading beyond 720 sectors, and I don´t recall it being hacked in later years to give it this functionality.

 

re-atari

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I've used DISKEY quite often in the 80's examining floppies. You can find these on ebay now and then with the manual for < $20.

 

I also just bought DiskWiz-II with the manual on ebay, which I'll scan so Allan can post it to Atarimania :)

Well.... I scanned DWII manual, 58 pages. I used HP scan software. It was unforgiving and limited (the HP software).

I tried to remove the last page I scanned and all pages were removed. I saved my work, hoping I could continue

to work on it, no go. And I can't load the PDF back in and edit it (wanted to rotate 90degrees to left).

So, here's my scan, all 20 megs. I'm typing this before I try to attach, it may be too big to attach.

 

 

Opps, 10 megabyte limit on how big. Anyway, I scanned it and you could print it out, maybe.

 

Probably Atarigeezer will do a better job.

 

 

News! I put it up on my site. You can d/l it there:

 

http://www.russgilb.net

Edited by russg
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If you want info on Atari disk structures, here are a couple of sources:

 

1. The Atarimax web site has a nice doc on disks/images that is well-written:

 

http://www.atarimax.com/ape/docs/DiskImageFAQ/index.html

 

2. I don't know where this one (attached) came from, but it has similar info.

 

3. For SDX, look at Atarimania for the SpartaDos Construction Set & Toolkit.

 

4. For more info about Dos 2 types, also look at Atarimania for "Inside Atari Dos."

 

That should keep you busy for a few hours!

 

-Larry

Atari Disk Formats.pdf

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Disk Wiz II is a powerful and user friendly toolkit, in my active A8 days in the 80's I never used anything else. IIRC you don't really need a manual to use it, operating it is quite self-explanatory.

 

You should be aware, though, that it's limited to reading 720 sectors on disk, either in single, enhanced or double density. You can read enhanced density disks only up to 720 sectors. AFAIK Disk Wiz II was never updated to enable reading beyond 720 sectors, and I don´t recall it being hacked in later years to give it this functionality.

 

re-atari

Yes, would be really nice if Disk Wizard II could be fixed for enhanced density and to use the 130XE's extra RAM. One not mentioned so far is my favourite "Disky II" (pokeysoft Disk U010a) which also needs enhanced density patching, no manual but great for easily skipping through sectors as you could double press the left/right cursor keys which was neat. Easy to use editor. Has hex masking etc. I had fun changing text and adding extra lives etc with this.

 

Now I'm a fledgling assembler programmer I will be interesed in looking at Disk Wizard II's dissasembly functions again :)

Edited by therealbountybob
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I use supermon. I read in the sectors required according to the 1st 6 bytes of the 1st sector and start working from there.

Some boot disks are encrypted so you will need to load them into memory and decrypt to go further.

I have found one the decrypts part of itself,runs the code then encrypts it self again,but it does a sum of the encrypted part and uses that number to decrypt said part. Man that took some head scratching.

 

James

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Yes, would be really nice if Disk Wizard II could be fixed for enhanced density and to use the 130XE's extra RAM. One not mentioned so far is my favourite "Disky II" (pokeysoft Disk U010a) which also needs density patching, no manual but great for easily skipping through sectors as you could double press the left/right cursor keys which was neat. Has hex masking etc. I had fun changing text and adding extra lives etc with this.

 

Now I'm a fledgling assembler programmer I will be interesed in looking at Disk Wizard II's dissasembly functions again :)

I exclusively used Disk Wiz II, once I got the hang of how to operate it never felt the need to switch to another program. After migrating to a PC in early '88 the same story with PC Tools 4.3 (anyone still remember it?), a simple to use program that did everything you'd ever need (well, except for making coffee and cleaning the cat's litterbox).

 

I don't know how easy/hard it would be to patch Disk Wiz II. The fact that it can read enhanced density without a problem, albeit only up to 720 sectors, would suggest that the max. number of sectors is hardcoded in the program. But, as floppydisks hardly play any role of significance these days, such a patch does seem nothing more than just a proof of concept.

 

Back in the ´80´s I used Disk Wiz II to patch the then newly released Happy Software 7.0 (or was it 7.1?) to work on my euro diskspeeder (Copy Card 7). Before patching it every function of the Happy Software worked OK with my speeder, with the notable exception of Happy Backup. All it took was changing 2 bytes (IIRC a JSR to 2x NOP) to correct this.

I did make notes of the specifics afterwards, but sadly can't find these anymore. I still have the diskspeeder, it´s installed in one of my 1050´s in storage. Even after all these years, both work fine.

 

But, do excuse me for letting nostalgia get me slightly off-topic ;-)

 

re-atari

Edited by re-atari
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News! I put [up the Disk Wizard II" manual] on my site. You can d/l it there:

 

Thanks for scanning and adding the "Disk Wizard II" manual to your site, "russg." It is good enough to read on my computer (once I flip it 90 degree counterclockwise), so don't be so hard on its quality. It's a mighty big job just getting it out and scanning it! Chapter 7 called "Disk Edit" looks like the chapter that will be most helpful, but several other chapters look very useful too. They are: Chapter 9, "The Dissassembler," Chapter 10, "Technical Information" and Chapter 12 "Disk Protection Methods." I may play around with this pdf, clean up the file and see if I can get the manual added to AtariMania. It depends on if I have the time.

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Thanks for scanning and adding the "Disk Wizard II" manual to your site, "russg." It is good enough to read on my computer (once I flip it 90 degree counterclockwise), so don't be so hard on its quality. It's a mighty big job just getting it out and scanning it! Chapter 7 called "Disk Edit" looks like the chapter that will be most helpful, but several other chapters look very useful too. They are: Chapter 9, "The Dissassembler," Chapter 10, "Technical Information" and Chapter 12 "Disk Protection Methods." I may play around with this pdf, clean up the file and see if I can get the manual added to AtariMania. It depends on if I have the time.

Glad it worked for you.

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Disk Wiz II is a powerful and user friendly toolkit, in my active A8 days in the 80's I never used anything else. IIRC you don't really need a manual to use it, operating it is quite self-explanatory.

 

You should be aware, though, that it's limited to reading 720 sectors on disk, either in single, enhanced or double density. You can read enhanced density disks only up to 720 sectors. AFAIK Disk Wiz II was never updated to enable reading beyond 720 sectors, and I don´t recall it being hacked in later years to give it this functionality.

 

re-Atari

 

??

 

My Diskwiz II disk will read way out past sector 1040. Thousands of sectors, actually.

 

Bob

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Well.... I scanned DWII manual, 58 pages. I used HP scan software. It was unforgiving and limited (the HP software).

I tried to remove the last page I scanned and all pages were removed. I saved my work, hoping I could continue

to work on it, no go. And I can't load the PDF back in and edit it (wanted to rotate 90degrees to left).

So, here's my scan, all 20 megs. I'm typing this before I try to attach, it may be too big to attach.

 

 

Opps, 10 megabyte limit on how big. Anyway, I scanned it and you could print it out, maybe.

 

Probably Atarigeezer will do a better job.

 

 

News! I put it up on my site. You can d/l it there:

 

http://www.russgilb.net

Thanks for posting Disk Wizard II Manual Russ, I'll be posting the DiskWiz-II Manual just as soon as I can...

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Hello all,

 

Normal in the late 80's early 90's i used black disk look like happy master see link only single en medium density.

I can post it if you won't.

But on MrBacardi site you can download happy master qaud+ it can double density en there is a sort of dissassembler.

I hope you can use it.

 

http://mrbacardi.000space.com/tools/Hmaster.zip

 

Greetings Marco.

 

Check the attach file atari utilities side a there is black disk sector editor.

verry easy to use and allso ssi color editor for start speed initializer allso funny.

atari utilities A.ATR

Edited by marcokitt2000
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??

 

My Diskwiz II disk will read way out past sector 1040. Thousands of sectors, actually.

 

Bob

So you'll be posting this eh? or perhaps tell which bytes to patch ;)

I still prefer Disky II's editing and ease of use (not sure if there is a manual but I have some notes somewhere that I will post), but Disk Wizard's disassembler is nice.

 

Well done ballyalley for starting this thread as it has inspired me to start messing around with editors and dissassembling again :thumbsup: I needed a new Atari project (somehow I have my abbuc 2015 entry completed already!) Once I've figured a few more things out I'm going to try and fix a small game that doesn't seem to run properly :-o

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