Scor­pio News


April–June 1988 – Volume 2. Issue 2.

Page 21 of 35

IBM-COPY – A Review

by Kevin R. Smith

IBM-COPY is a program by TC Software which allows a Gemini computer to read and write files to IBM PC–DOS format disks. It costs £65 + VAT, and comes with a brief (11 A4 sheets) but adequate photocopied manual. This review is based on several months use of version 3.0 of the program.

To run the program it is necessary to configure at least one floppy disk drive on your system as having an IBM format. How to do this is described in your Bios manual (version 3.2 or greater). It is unimportant which IBM format you decide upon, as IBM-COPY automatically determines the format of the disk being used, be it 8- or 9-sector, single- or double-sided. Only the high-density 15-sector disks used by the IBM AT cannot be used with this program.

On running the program, the screen displays a list of the available commands, and a reminder of the formats associated with each of your logical drives, followed by the program’s prompt, IBMCOPY>>. The commands available are COPY, DIR and INIT. In addition, entering a “?” redisplays the initial screen display, and entering a “RETURN?” by itself quits the program.

The most important command is COPY. This is used to copy files between CP/M and PC-DOS disks; it cannot copy files between two CP/M disks or between two PC-DOS disks, and can only access the current CP/M user area and the root directory of PC-DOS disks. In practice, these are rarely problems. The syntax used is similar to PIP, except that files cannot be renamed as they are copied. Ambiguous filenames are allowed for multiple file copying.

The DIR command is identical in function and syntax the the CP/M DIR command when used with CP/M disks. However, with PC-DOS disks, you are also told the size of each file, the amount of free disk space and the percentage of the disk which has been filled. Sub-directories and the volume label (if any) are also shown but cannot be copied (although no error message is generated by trying !).

The final command, INIT, allows you to clear the directory of PC-DOS disks, effectively deleting all the files on the disk. It can also change the PC-DOS disk ID byte, which determines whether the disk is treated as single- or double-sided and having 8 or 9 sectors per track. Attempting to use INIT on a CP/M disk produces an error message.

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