View Full Version : Help needed for kaypro Public domain software archiving

April 13th, 2010, 03:25 PM
Greetings. First post here.

Back in the early 80's my father was the president of a Kaypro Computer's User's Group in PA. He served in that capacity for a couple years until a job change took him out of the country. He was a power Kaypro user and even had an article published in Profiles magazine (published by Kaypro). He used his Kaypro 2X until about 1994, when he moved up to a Windows based machine.

In any case, I now own his Kaypro 2X. It's a little worse for wear and the A drive (an epson drive) is failing. I also do have a copy of Uniform.

As part of his work as the club president, he archived a whole bunch of public domain software. I have probably about 50 or more disks worth (DSDD) all from the 1984-86 era. I have no idea if it's archived anywhere else, though I wouldn't be surprised if some of it was.

In either case, I'm a video game enthusiast, so I know a bit about how data just gets lost because no-one ever saves it. Since I do know the importance of archiving this stuff, I'm here to ask for some help. I'm really afraid bitrot might set in. They are all stored on floppies, all of which are probably around 25 years old or more and are currently sitting in my basement getting older.

I don't know how to proceed on trying to archive them. I'm willing to put in some time, but truthfully, the easier the method the better as my time is limited. I would of course share the data to whatever community asked for it.

Does anyone have any suggestions and/or advice? I have no idea even on where to start. I could really use the help because without it, I probably won't end up doing anything with them as time for original research on how to proceed just isn't there.

I will try to check this thread, though I'm available through email at lndorien(placeatsymbolhere)hotmail.com.

Thanks for responding!

April 13th, 2010, 03:35 PM
Greetings. First post here.
Does anyone have any suggestions and/or advice? I have no idea even on where to start. I could really use the help because without it, I probably won't end up doing anything with them as time for original research on how to proceed just isn't there.

I will try to check this thread, though I'm available through email at lndorien(placeatsymbolhere)hotmail.com.

Thanks for responding!You mention that you have Uniform; is this the MS-DOS or the CP/M version, and do you have a PC-compatible machine capable of reading the Kaypro disks?

I'd say that the preferred way is to use something like Dunfield's IMD to make exact images from which exact copies of the original disk can be created. Not much user intervention needed, easily done in the background while watching TV or whatever.

April 13th, 2010, 03:45 PM
The version of Uniform I have is the CP/M version. I do not have a PC with a 5.25" floppy drive at the moment, and my current PC mainboard does not have a floppy controller port. I'm not sure what options are available.

I really am a dullard when it comes to transferring data from one OS to another (especially in this case, since the kaypro is so far behind current hardware). I have used uniform before, and I'm fairly familiar with CP/M. A good bit of the files on those disks are probably compressed, though I'd have to check.

Does that help?

April 13th, 2010, 04:33 PM
Well, there are alternatives but it would certainly make it a lot easier if you had a PC with a 5.25" drive. Can't find one at the local thrift shop or borrow one from a local fellow gamer?

Where are you BTW? Maybe someone here is local to you.

April 13th, 2010, 04:44 PM
First, I'm all for people trying to save software for posterity so I commend your effort.

There are some places where PD CP/M software is archived. The Walnut Creek CP/M archive (http://www.retroarchive.org/cpm/cdrom/) is one. Chances are that some material on your disks are also in this archive.

I think if I was you and I was serious about tackling this, I'd approach it this way.

I'd see if I could beg, steal or borrow (or even buy for just a few bucks) an old 386 or 486 machine with a 360k drive. Using MS-DOS only, I'd do what Mike suggests and load on Imagedisk 1.17 from Dave Dunfield's website (http://www.classiccmp.org/dunfield/img/index.htm). I'd then image all the disks using the software.

At least then the disk contents are safe from the ravages of time.

If you wanted to then go further, you might want to consider cross checking the programs you have on the Kaypro with those in the CP/M archive above, and making an internet archive of the Kaypro files that don't seem to be there. For this, use the same MS-DOS machine and a program called 22DSK (found halfway down the page at http://www.cpm80.com/). This allows you to extract CP/M files off a Kaypro disk into an MS-DOS environment where you can zip them or otherwise get them onto the Internet. Of course you'll need to figure out how to get the files from the MS-DOS machine to your modern machine but there are a number ways this can be accomplished.

Machines with 360k 5.25 inch floppies are not as common as they used to be. If all you can find is a machine with a 1.2MB drive then maybe this is also OK. I'm not sure if ImageDisk can READ off these drives though. Certainly, with some tweaking, it can write images out to a disk which can be used in a Kaypro (http://www.classic-computers.org.nz/blog/2010-02-18-writing-cpm-from-1.2mb-disks.htm). I'm not sure about the other way around? You'd need to look at the docs.

If you really can't find the suitable hardware consider hooking up with someone local who collects vintage hardware and might have such a machine. I'm sure most enthusiasts wouldn't mind helping with this kind of project.

Hope this helps


April 13th, 2010, 05:44 PM
Thanks for the reply.

I will have to ask around to see if anyone has a really old computer around here. I know most 1.2mb drives can read the older disks... or at least they did when I was still using them in High School back around 94 or 5.

But I can try to find an old 386/486 box. I would prefer not to spend a lot of money on the project though, so we'll see. I have a couple people off the top of my head who might have such hardware, but we'll see.

I'm located in Milwaukee, WI. I would prefer not to part with the stuff of course, but I also don't know how much of it is already archived and saved and don't want it to go the way of the dodo. I assume much of it is already saved, but you never know.

Thank you for the advice. I will see what I can come up with and keep this thread updated.

April 13th, 2010, 05:58 PM
It doesn't necessarily have to be a *really* old computer but some system/controller/drive combos work better than others and there's a better chance with something <25MHz or so; some imaging and transferring software doesn't like anything faster.

A 1.2MB HD drive should work just fine, especially since you're only reading with it; I've archived and restored many CP/M and other non-MS-DOS disk using an HD drive with very few problems.

You could of course avoid the disk issue and transfer individual files over the serial port, but that gets old fast and you can't duplicate bootable disks that way AFAIK, at least not easily.

Micom 2000
April 15th, 2010, 09:02 AM
IMHO the best CP/M site is Gabys http://www.gaby.de/ehome.htm.

You could check there to see if he has copies of the files you have.


April 16th, 2010, 02:39 PM
Hi !

Your email address apparently does not work, so I sent you a private personal message care of this web site - check at top of window when you log in.

I did not want to clog this web site with a long response that is mostly for your particular situation.

Hope it helps and is of some interest.

Also, just reconfirmed www.marina.mfarris.com as a source of such disk drives, floppies, info, etc.


I had mentioned them on this site a few years ago, but no reaction. Any issues with them?

All the best.