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secoombs
August 12th, 2015, 04:59 PM
I use to have a Epson QX10 with valdocs. My wife did a poetry manuscript using valdocs and no longer have the computer. I still have the floppy but do not know if it is even works. I am looking for someone who has a working QX10 That can see if they can open the disk and eithier print it out or have a way to convert the file so that it can be read on a mac or pc. let me know my email is steve@coombs.cc.

dmemphis
August 13th, 2015, 05:28 AM
Utilities to read CPM disks
22Disk
PC-ALIEN
SUPERCOPY
See
http://www.z80.eu/transfercpm.html

krebizfan
August 13th, 2015, 08:17 AM
TPM II disks use a slightly unusual sector format rather unlike the similar CP/M disks. See http://electrickery.xs4all.nl/comp/qx10/detail.html At least one archivist blogger had problems getting data off the disk because the blogger didn't understand the format. http://yesterbits.com/2012/02/12/kryofluxing-qx-10-disks/

A second problem is that Valdocs doesn't store text but embeds control codes within the text - sometimes using high bits on characters to modify the value. Out of valdocs, the files resemble gibberish with occasional recognizable words. I believe there was a dedicated Valdocs to WordStar conversion tool but I haven't tested it.

The QX10 with Valdocs is different enough from typical systems that using a professional disk conversion service might be advisable. My research suggests it would be an intriguing challenge for the casual disk reader but with a good chance that nothing useful would result from weeks of work.

ldkraemer
August 15th, 2015, 07:07 AM
secombs,
I searched and located a .VAL file at http://fjkraan.home.xs4all.nl/comp/px8/cerealport.homeip.net/Epson/

Using "gedit" in Debian 8 I've edited the file with find & replace to get most of the problem HEX codes removed. Then I manually deleted the 10% remaining.

Here is the final ASCII text, and it looks pretty good:
===========

VAL-GIF.DOC

===========

DOCUMENTATION FOR VALGIF.SYS



A Valpaint, GIF, and RLE Graphics Display and Conversion Utility



Version 1.3



10 May 89



A Valdocs Application by Chris Hopkins

Copyright 1987, 1988, 1989 by Chris Hopkins. All rights reserved.
Permission is granted for free, non-commercial distribution of the executable program only and this users documentation file only.
For support, visit The Epson Forum and The Graphics Support Forum on CompuServe.



Version

=======
This documents the update release, version 1.3. Your version of Val-GIF may be checked by using the VERSION.SYS TPM utility, or by checking the banner
that appears upon first entering Val-GIF. The program has been enhanced in several major ways; digital halftoning of 256 color files has been significantly
improved for both monochrome and color monitors, a dispersion method of digital halftoning (Floyd-Steinberg) has been added, the STOP key has been
implemented, online HELP improved, automatic logging of the default data drive implemented, bugs in the STORE routines have been fixed, the RLE
colormode problems on the color monitor have been corrected, and the <E>nlarge options have been improved and expanded. The STYLE key does not
yet provide the functions described in this document.



Purpose

=======
The primary purpose of this program is converting graphics from other computers to Valpaint, and exporting Valpaint files in a format easily read by many
other computers. Val-GIF displays, prints, and converts Valdocs Valpaint, CompuServe Graphics Interface Format (GIF), and CompuServe Run Length
Encoded (RLE) graphics.



Requirements

============
Val-GIF requires an Epson QX-10 or QX-16 with monochrome or color monitorand Valdocs (version 2.00 or higher) or TPM-III. If using raw TPM, the
SYSINIT, GDRIVER and INDX modules must be loaded. The program must be run with a .SYS filetype, and will not work in CP/M. It is designed to
run either from Valdocs MENU or the TPM prompt. It does not use a mouse. A Valdocs compatible dot matrix printer (color or black/white) is optional.
To avoid swapping disks on dual-floppy systems, place INDX.CHN on the disk in the left disk drive.





Accessory Files

===============
In addition to VALGIF.SYS, you need HELP8.HLP placed on any disk in the system.



Data files

==========
Val-GIF requires graphics data files on your data disk drive. The GIF and RLE files may be downloaded from numerous CompuServe forums such
as the Epson Forum (EPSON), the Art Gallery Forum (Gallery), the Quick Pics Forum (QPICS), Graphics Support Forum (PICS), the FBI Ten Most
Wanted List (TEN), and the CB Interest Group (CBIG), to name but a few. Valpaint PIC files may be found on CompuServes's Epson Forum (EPSON)
or from Valdocs oriented bulletin boards such as the Valdocs Support BBS, 818-968-2461.



Starting the program

====================
Once a picture file is available on your QX-10/16 data drive, there are several ways to initiate the program. Use the Valdocs MENU options (<M>enu of
Applications or <R>un specific program), or <E>xit Valdocs to TPM-III and run the program from the TPM prompt. If using TPM, enter the command

VALGIF FILENAME.TYP <RETURN>

at the system prompt. You may specify any TPM disk drive and user area in the filename. For example,

VALGIF A2:PAGODA.RLE <RETURN>

will look for the VALGIF.SYS program on the current drive (and drive A0 if it isn't found), and look for PAGODA.RLE on drive A2. Alternatively, you
can type only

VALGIF <RETURN>

at the prompt, and the program will request you to enter a filename. If you enter only the command "VALGIF", the default data disk drive is logged in
as the Val-GIF data drive and you will be prompted for a filename by the program.


The program always returns to a "main menu" which requests you to enter a TPM filename. If you wish to see possible selections, press INDEX to
bring up indexed and non-indexed directories.


Once you enter the filename, the program studies the selected file to see if it is a supported graphics data file. Val-GIF automatically recognizes
CompuServe RLE or GIF graphics formats and compressed Valdocs Valpaint files even if they have been misnamed. If the file is not one of the
supported graphics types, a menu box will pop up which states that the file is an unknown (unsupported) file type. Press UNDO to make another
selection. If the file you request is not found, you will be returned to the main menu without announcement. If the file is a supported graphics format,
a menu will pop up with options to select type of digital halftoning if needed to display the file. You will then get a menu with information about the
file and the display options; this menu is tailored to the type of picture file detected.


Val-GIF supports indexed files. At the main menu, press the RETRIEVE key to select pictures for display from an index. The INDEX key will permit
viewing of the indexes. Indexes may be created for both non-indexed Valpaint files and non-Valdocs files such as GIF and RLE by using the IUTIL.SYS
program provided with Valdocs. (Storing to an index from Val-GIF is not yet supported).



Quirks

======
On start-up, Val-GIF will automatically log onto the default data drive established by the Valdocs SETUP program. A quirks menu provides the facility
for logging a different data disk drive or changing a floppy disk safely. From the main menu, type CTRL-Q to see the quirks menu.



RLE Graphics

============
For RLE files, you will be offered three types of display: original, enlarged and wide. The RLE format supports "medium" and "high" resolution graphics.
The <O>riginal size selection of the RLE menu will indicate whether the selected file is 256 x 192 pixel high resolution RLE or 128 x 96 pixel medium
resolution RLE. The 256 x 192 pixel picture is a full screen on many less capable computers; on the QX-10/16, this creates a small "wallet-size" picture.


<E>nlarged RLE display on the QX-10/16 is 512 x 384 pixels, double the size of the original 256 x 192 picture. The <W>ide display fills the entire 640 pixel
screen width and is 384 pixels high, but is distorted width-wise, since it is 2.5 times the width but only 2.0 times as high as the basic RLE format. However,
you will find that many RLE graphics look as good or better in the wide display. One problem with the wide display is that some files will have "streaks" as
they display. This is due to the 2.5 multiplier for the width which often results in an odd number calculated for an even number requirement; a more complex
algorithm to compensate for this is planned for a future release.


If you change your mind as to which picture file you wish to display after having entered it, use the "<S>elect another filename" option from the menu.
While a file is being written to the screen, you can press STOP to halt the display and return to the main menu to select another filename.



GIF Graphics

============
For GIF files, you will be offered two types of display. The first is <O>riginal size. If the original picture is 320 pixels in width, or 200 pixels in height, then
an <E>nlarged size (full screen) option is also available. GIFs are created on many different types of machines, and may be of any size up to 64K X 64K
pixels. Many GIFs are created on IBM-type computers in 320 X 200, 640 X 200, 640 X 350 and 640 x 480 pixel sizes. Val-GIF compensates for the
320 X 200 and 640 X 200 sizes, expanding them to fill the QX-10/16 screen if you select <E>nlarged size. This option may induce distortion for some
graphics; if display is unsatisfactory, try using the <O>riginal size option.

The information line for a GIF graphics file will indicate the GIF signature and version ("GIF87a" is the initial standard established by CompuServe in
June of 1987) of the file you selected. The width, height, and number of colors in the image are also shown; if the file is interlaced, that fact will also
appear on the info line.


If you change your mind as to which picture file you wish to display after having entered it, use the "<S>elect another filename" option from the menu.
While the file is being written to the screen, you can press STOP to halt the display and return to the main menu to select another filename.



Valpaint Graphics

=================
For Valpaint files, you will only receive the option to display the file in

<O>riginal size.


The information line for a Valpaint file will indicate the width, height, Valpaint colormode, and whether the data file is compressed or uncompressed.
Uncompressed files are rarely used and Val-GIF cannot display them; if you need to use an uncompressed Valpaint file, first load it into Valpaint
then store it. It creates a compressed file.


If you change your mind as to which picture file you wish to display after having entered it, use the "<S>elect another filename" option from the menu.
While the file is being written to the screen, you can press STOP to halt the display and return to the main menu to select another filename.



Once a file has been displayed

==============================
When the file finishes displaying on your monitor, the bell will ring. You may select the following keys: STORE, PRINT, CTRL-PRINT, STYLE, UNDO,
HELP, PLUS, MINUS, arrow keys or RETURN. UNDO or RETURN obtains the next menu, which will offer options to <L>eave the program, <S>elect
another file to display, or <C>onvert displayed picture to another format and store it on disk. PRINT allows the displayed picture to be printed; for a
negative image, simultaneously press the CTRL and PRINT keys. The STYLE key reverses the image on the monitor; reversing black and white
results in a more pleasing video display in some cases. STORE takes you immediately to the conversion menu. When storing the file to the GIF
format, be very patient; the process can take up to 20 minutes for a 640 x 400 image.


Frequently, a GIF or Valpaint picture will be larger than the screen permits viewing. The unseen portion may be brought into view using the arrow and
SHIFT-arrow keys. The PLUS and MINUS keys on the keypad allow zooming the picture to 16 levels of magnification.



Notes on color

==============
Val-GIF will display up to 8-color images on the color monitor, the maximum number of hardware colors available on the QX-10/16. Valpaint and GIF
color files are automatically displayed in monochrome on the monochrome monitor.


For GIF files that use other than the basic eight colors, Val-GIF simulates up to 256 colors through the use of digital halftoning. Though the picture
appears to have more than eight colors, only the basic eight colors of the QX-10/16 are used; the apparent colors are an optical effect created by
the placement of pixels to simulate enhanced color. Val-GIF uses two methods of digital halftoning, ordered matrix dither and Floyd-Steinberg
dispersion technique. The ordered matrix dither produces an apparent 125 colors; the Floyd-Steinberg method produces an undefined number of
colors, and is usually a better approximation of the original. When the graphic file contains more than eight colors, Val-GIF gives you the choice
of halftoning methods wherever practical. GIF interlaced graphics cannot be presented using the Floyd-Steinberg technique due to memory limitations.


If a color Valpaint file is converted to a GIF file using a monochrome monitor, the GIF will be monochrome. Conversion of color GIF files to Valpaint
on a monochrome monitor likewise will result in a monochrome Valpaint file. Conversion of a color Valpaint file to GIF (or vice versa) on a color
monitor will result in a color picture.


All RLE files are monochrome; you can, of course, convert them to Valpaint files and use Valpaint to color them if you have the color monitor. On the
color monitor, RLE files are shown using black and white.



Help

====
Help is available at every menu by pushing the HELP key if the HELP8.HLP file is on a disk drive of your system.



Printing

========
PRINT may be pressed if the image is displayed without any covering menus. It allows the displayed picture to be printed on an Epson dot matrix
printer (or compatible as designated in Valdocs Setup) with a positive image. For a negative image, simultaneously press the CTRL and PRINT keys.
You can terminate printing before it is finished by pressing the STOP key.

Visit the Epson Forum on CompuServe if you need a Valdocs printer driver for the Epson LQ-2550 or the Seikosha GP-700A color dot matrix printers or
the KISS laser printer.



Quitting

========
Use the STOP key at the main menu to end the program and return you to your entry mode, either Valdocs or the TPM prompt. On other menus, press the
UNDO key to return to the prior menu.


Please don't hesitate to give your comments, complaints or suggestions for improvement to Chris Hopkins by CompuServe EasyPlex mail,
PPN 71026,1407, or leave a message in the Epson Forum on CompuServe. A future release is in work which will include speed enhancements
and can include your suggestions if you'll let me know what you desire to be changed.



GIF and "Graphics Interchange Format" are trademarks (tm) of CompuServe Incorporated, an H&R Block Company.



Valdocs and Valpaint are trademarks (tm) of Rising Star Industries.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

It shouldn't be too much of a problem to recover your file(s) using the same process. The embedded commands will be gone but the
ASCII text will remain.


Larry

ldkraemer
August 15th, 2015, 01:15 PM
For working on Valuable Documents (Valdocs) there are three ways to access/retrieve the ASCII text from their documents.

The first way is to pay a recovery GURU to restore your file using their recovery process.

The second way is by editing the document with gedit using Regular Expressions to purge an assortment of expressions that gedit doesn't like.
(Just don't save the file, or you will lose the RED HIGHLIGHTED areas.)

25875


Some of those expressions might/could be:
\\8C\\00\\.................\\00\\8C\\84
\\8D\\00\\00\\00\\00\\00\\00\\00\\00\\8D
\\9B....................\\9C
\\9Bp...................\\9C
\\9Bp.................\\9C
\\9Bp...............\\9C
\\8D................\\8C

After the majority of the problem expressions are purged with Search & Replace, Save the file. There will be about 10% that need to be manually purged
to clean up the file. Not a bad way to recover the file as it's easy to see what needs purged.


The third way is to use wsx21a to do a Wordstar High Bit conversion on the original file to strip all high bits. Then, the file can be loaded into
xtractr9.exe (DOS Program) and selective lines of the text can be marked for inclusion onto an output file, which contains ASCII text plus a bit
of garbage, that can be easily cleaned up.

25876


25877


Larry

retrogear
August 16th, 2015, 08:33 AM
The first step would be to have the hardware to read the physical disk with 22disk, extract the valdocs file and convert with some kind of editing as mentioned.
An alternative would be to read the disk into a .IMD image with Dave Dunfields imagedisk and use the eQC-10 emulator to run valdocs and view the file:
http://homepage3.nifty.com/takeda-toshiya/
I have done this and it works very well and screenshots could be taken but it doesn't print to file. If the mentioned valdocs to wordstar utility could be run then the file
could be converted to ascii and extracted either writing the image back to disk and using 22disk or it can be done with the zemu emulator which has
utilites to read TPM disks or probably cpmtools. Where there's a will there's a way ...

Larry G

dmemphis
August 16th, 2015, 10:17 PM
Wow... a lot more to it than I thought!
It might be a viable option to replace the QX10!

Chuck(G)
August 16th, 2015, 10:30 PM
I vaguely remember from the QX-10 that there was a way to save a Valdocs file to straight ASCII text. Then, either move it over a serial port connection or a diskette conversion such as 22Disk. I seem to recall that the QX-10, at least in some versions, stored the files in user area 96 (which isn't something that CP/M could do, but 22Disk will read them over).

retrogear
September 8th, 2015, 07:27 PM
Ok I received the disks from Steve and there is a big plot twist here. These disks are 1.2M HD msdos formatted disks. The disks are a backup sequence from PCTools Deluxe V4.11.
The first disk appears to have the PCTools setup and a backup log for the recovery process. I verified with Steve these are the disks and might have been run on the Epson QX-10 running DOS.
I find that hard to believe but I remember this would require a QX-PC card and an early version of DOS like 2.11 or something? The high density format throws me for a loop, though. I tried to run this on MSDOS 6.22 with a 4.3G
hard drive and it locks up. I see notes on Vetusware that this version only works on 32MB FAT partitions. What version of DOS should I use? Should I just try to create a bootable 32MB FAT primary partition
and go from there? I would like to use my Pentium II system with IDE drive if possible. I do have an older board with CHS bios but nothing for smaller drives. I do have an IBM PC with the original 10MB hard drive.
I'm game to try any hardware. I also have all versions of DOS. I just don't know where to start first. I might start a new thread on early pc's since we seem to be headed there? The fun begins ...

Larry G

krebizfan
September 8th, 2015, 10:15 PM
DOS 6.22 allows partitions up to 2 GB; DOS 3 allows for 32 MB partitions; DOS 2,11 was something like 16 MB (not really sure). DOS 3.3 would likely match PC Tools 4.11. DOS 3.3 and later allow for multiple partitions so a 4.3 GB hard drive would need at least 3 (1 primary, and an extended split in two logical partitions under DOS 6.22)

PC tools backup used an unusual format and does not like fast CPUs. See http://www.os2museum.com/wp/the-central-point-backup-floppy-format/ for a short explanation. This makes the usual process of imaging the diskettes and then running restore within an emulator challenging.

Try using FDISK to partition a 2 GB primary for DOS 6.22 and make the rest into extended partitions. Include one partition that is less than 32MB and try to direct the restore there. This reduces the chance of problems with tricky hard drive access that won't work correctly with the bigger partitions.

Ideal system would be a 286/386 running DOS 3.3 but if you don't have one, it will just take more work.

Edit: The restore may even work under Win 9x but I suggest booting into a pure DOS session (no GUI). DOS based backup software tended to push the floppy controller to its limits so any extraneous software might cause the restore to fail.

retrogear
September 9th, 2015, 03:04 AM
I figured a pure DOS would be best. I have an AT type case with a 486 VESA type motherboard. I think it even has a turbo switch I could slow it down. I know I have a couple 1 gig hard drives. I just don't know where. Time to dig.
My Quantum Q540 hard drive would be perfect but it's in my CompuPro now and I ain't touchin' that :p
Older MFM drives are so rare. Mine all failed except the Quantum and the 10MB in my IBM PC. I treat them like gold.
The high density 5.25 format puzzles me because the QX-10 drives were 320k unless there's later mods I haven't heard of. There was a QX-16 that had a 16 bit architecture but not much info on it.
Hmmm it did have a hard drive and I remember even the QX-10 had a hard drive option.
Since Steve remembers it was a QX-10 they must have had a QX-PC card that I think had an 8088 on it. Pretty sure it was DOS 2.x
Mr Frank Kraan, are you reading this? His website has all the archives.
I have a preboot disk image for the QX-PC card just nothing to "boot" :p
I'll put DOS 3.3 on my 486 with a 32MB partition and go from there.
Dang, if these ARE ValDocs files I would have no clue what version either.
As far as I know, ValDocs was cp/m based.

Larry G

krebizfan
September 9th, 2015, 07:57 AM
The QX-16 shipped with an option for 720kB floppy disks. I guess that means quad-density 5.25" disks. You will have fun figuring out exactly what is on the disks. There was a QX-10 network add on so the backup disks may have been created on a non-QX system.

ValDocs wasn't CP/M based but used its own unique operating system that was inspired by CP/M. Rising Star had announced a port of ValDocs to the Atari ST shortly before they closed their doors.

Sounds like you have a good plan. I am very curious to find out what you end up with. Please provide updates.

retrogear
September 10th, 2015, 10:08 AM
Ok no success yet. I now have an AT type case with a motherboard with AMI bios from 1994 and an Am486DX4-Plus processor. I have a VESA bus type vga card.
I have a 1.7G IDE on a ISA HD/FD card with a 5.25 HD drive.
I have the CHS set to the drive parameters in bios. I was able to fdisk / format the hard drive to 32MB max partition. The pctools floppy came with everything in a /PCTOOLS subdirectory
which leads me to believe it was already installed. The installer is looking for files on A: and asking to put them in a default /PCTOOLS subdirectory so I just copied the directory to the hard
drive. Executing pctools.exe seems to be working ok but there is no backup/restore in the menu. I tried executing PCRESTOR.EXE directly and I get a welcome screen with a copyright and
prompt to press a key. Pressing a key, the screen goes black and I'm screwed. Not sure if there's something on screen that I'm not seeing? My only VGA CRT currently running is a very nice
monochrome one. The menus in pctools.exe display very well in shades of grey. I tried hooking a modern 24" LCD but the characters show up hit/miss kind of weird. I'm not sure if my present
problem is not the correct video for that vintage a program or what? I have an OTI-VGA 8 bit ISA video card somewhere but can't find it yet. That card works well in my 8088 IBM PC.

Using pctools and showing system specifications it reports a 386 processor (actual 486DX4), 640k memory (I actually have 48MB) and EGA video (actual VESA-VGA) so that shows how modern the program is.
Again, it is PCTools Deluxe 4.11. Is reporting EGA a problem?

Another oddity is when I try to read the directory of any of the 24 backup disks, I get sector not found error. Again, my drive is a 1.2M HD 5.25. It was mentioned that Epson QX might have used 720k format.
I'll take any feedback help/ideas from you guys but I think my next step is to try and get an image off one of the backup floppies to analyze. Would this software have any copyguard protection? Puzzling ...

Larry G

retrogear
September 10th, 2015, 10:18 AM
PS - I forgot to mention I'm running DOS 3.3

Larry G

retrogear
September 10th, 2015, 10:30 AM
Again, my brain won't stop. I'll check whether the backup disks are cp/m format? That would be just unreal ...

Larry G

krebizfan
September 10th, 2015, 10:56 AM
EGA sounds correct if the software was written before VGA came round. For a character mode program like PC Tools, the differences between EGA and VGA should not matter.

Reading the directory may not work because the format PC Tools Backup used is very strange. It also changed between versions. That also makes imaging hard because most disk imagers don't understand the disk format. The tool most likely to read the diskette successfully tends to be the same version of PC Tools.

If the disk was made by PC Tools, it will implement the PC Tools format which is modified MS-DOS not CP/M.

My suggestion would be to get a copy of Anadisk and see what format it shows the disk as having. If the disk was quad density and using PC Tools Backup, you have an interesting quandary. I know of tools that can pull data off a normal quad density disk using a high density drive. Those tools can not rebuild the PC Tools special format into something intelligible.

http://www.pcxt-micro.com/download.html has a copy of Anadisk 2.07.

Make sure you are not running disk caching software.

retrogear
September 10th, 2015, 12:02 PM
>EGA sounds correct if the software was written before VGA came round. For a character mode program like PC Tools, the differences between EGA and VGA should not matter.

Good to know.

>Reading the directory may not work because the format PC Tools Backup used is very strange. It also changed between versions. That also makes imaging hard because most disk imagers don't understand the >disk format.

That describes what I'm seeing.

>The tool most likely to read the diskette successfully tends to be the same version of PC Tools.

I'm using the pctools disk that came in the same stack of disks with same hand writing and disk brand so must be the version that was used.

>If the disk was made by PC Tools, it will implement the PC Tools format which is modified MS-DOS not CP/M.

Narrows things down.

>My suggestion would be to get a copy of Anadisk and see what format it shows the disk as having.

Will do next. Who knows if this backup would have been initially recoverable anyway ...

>Make sure you are not running disk caching software.

Yep. Been burned by that in the past ...

retrogear
September 11th, 2015, 04:55 PM
>My suggestion would be to get a copy of Anadisk and see what format it shows the disk as having

I ran Anadisk 2.07 on the 1st of the backup disks
with SCAN it reports:

double sided high density
interleave is 1:1
sector size is 512 bytes
side 0 sector ID's 1-16
Track 0 Side 0 Head ID 240 differs from physical
side 1 sector ID's 1-16
Track 0 Side 1 Head ID 241 differs from physical

then it scanned all 80 tracks on both sides then reported:
Diskette has 80 tracks
All Done

So I tried FILE and analysis reports:
Not a DOS diskette

Looks like it's a good 1.2M HD floppy as far as reading all the sectors ok.
I have never used Anadisk before. Not sure what they did with track 0.
Any ideas what to try next? This doesn't look promising ...

Larry G

krebizfan
September 11th, 2015, 05:39 PM
If I understand this correctly, what was reported by Anadisk is consistent with PC Tools Backup on High Density media. The extra sector per track gives it away.

The only ideas I have left are to either:
1) Try using Anadisk to dump the contents of the disks into files. If the backup wasn't compressed, the actual text will be available to strip out.

Alternatively, walk through the disk with the Edit function and see if anything readable exists. I think it is faster to dump the whole and then run it through a text display than waiting for Anadisk to load up each sector. Anadisk has a search function but I have no idea what you should search for.

2) Turn off clock doubling in the CPU and otherwise get the CPU as slow as possible and try the restore again.

I hope one of the more knowledgeable users here see this continuation and takes over from me.

Chuck(G)
September 11th, 2015, 06:45 PM
Without reading the rest of the thread, this floppy looks like a QX-16 96 tpi floppy. The only twist from regular QX formats that I see is the non-standard head ID. At any rate, try using IMD to image the disk (be sure to disable double-stepping and set the number of cylinders to 80). Then take the image and use IMDU /B to get your raw sector-by-sector dump file.

The QX16/QX10 used a CP/M format (there were several peculiar to the system). The big difference is that Validocs files were often stored in user area 96.

retrogear
September 12th, 2015, 05:48 AM
I'm asking Steve more questions and if I continue I will start a new thread because of the pctools backup log.
The log is dated 5/10/90
It has DOS installed in the C:\ root with file dates 02/02/88
It has a \WINDOWS directory with file dates 10/31/87
There are 3 hard drive partitions C,D and E
It looks like most of the work is done in a folder E:\EASY there is a program EASY.EXE
This is obviously running Windows on top of DOS.
I realize the clock could have been off but there are dates all over the place in the range 1986-1990.
If the dates are true, this predates Windows 3.11 ? What version could it be ?
If Steve wishes to proceed I'll post the log.

Larry G

retrogear
September 12th, 2015, 06:51 AM
>If the dates are true, this predates Windows 3.11 ? What version could it be ?

Guess I can answer my own question. I've got an exact date match. Whatever computer this was, it was running Windows 2.11.

Larry G

retrogear
September 12th, 2015, 08:58 AM
Found my ISA video card and installed. It is pictured here:

http://computer-retro.de/Bilder/Grafikkarten/LSI-Logic-Canada-L4A0447-VC-004-Gemini-FCC-ID-A3LGTI-VGA1-GTI-VGA-Bios-ISA-Grafikkarte-1990.jpg

Now when I start pctools, I get the welcome screen then the message I couldn't see before: 'Divide overflow'
I am using a 486DX4 running DOS 3.3. What is wrong here? Sounds like wrong processor for the program ?
Can this be remedied in the bios settings?

Larry G

retrogear
September 12th, 2015, 09:06 AM
Sorry, my brain is processing. Would 'divide overflow' mean this pctools is supposed to be executed from Windows? That sounds familiar somehow. Based on the system file dates, the hard drive backup image appears to be Windows 2.11 run on top
of MSDOS 3.3.

Larry G

Chuck(G)
September 12th, 2015, 09:42 AM
Most likely, your hard disk partition (or the hard disk itself) is too big.

krebizfan
September 12th, 2015, 09:48 AM
Sorry, my brain is processing. Would 'divide overflow' mean this pctools is supposed to be executed from Windows? That sounds familiar somehow. Based on the system file dates, the hard drive backup image appears to be Windows 2.11 run on top
of MSDOS 3.3.

Larry G

No, PC Tools didn't get a Windows version until the mid-90s. Also, any Windows 2.x program launched from a MS-DOS prompt executed a little stub program that provided a message that the program requires Windows.

It is a programming bug in PC Tools. Some common causes when running software considerably older than the hardware are

1) the CPU being too fast and timing routines getting confused

2) the software does not like the cache which can be resolved by turning off the cache

3) Some viruses cause the message as a side effect. Try a scan just in case.

There are other possible causes. Chuck(G) points to the hard disk.

Something I just remembered about PC Tools was a Y2K bug that resulted in divide by zero message so you could try setting the system date to something a lot earlier. Okay, that was in version 6 but I suspect earlier PC Tools releases didn't handle Y2K better.

retrogear
September 12th, 2015, 10:23 AM
Thanks for the tips. Making some progress:
I went into the bios and turned cpu speed low and disabled any cpu cache settings and now it runs !!!
I partitioned my hard drive into 32M C: D: E: which the log file indicates.
PCTools processed the log and placed on root of C:
It prompts for floppy parameters then asks for backup disk #1
I insert #1, it reads then prompts for #1 again.
I'm just in verify mode first. If I change drive parameters, it says it doesn't match the log file and exits.
If it knows the parameters, WHY does it ask me? Sorry, I'm just venting.
I'm thinking at this point somethng is wrong with the backup media or my drive alignment doesn't match it.
I have another drive to try BUT need to dig again, dang my house is getting messy with all my closets emptied out :)

Larry G

retrogear
September 13th, 2015, 06:49 AM
More progress.

To summarize:

So far I have been able to run PCTools 4.11 to where it has prepped the backup log on the receiving hard drive then asks for backup disk #1.
It senses when I have inserted the drive and reads, then just asks for #1 again. I tried 2 different 1.2M 5.25 floppy drives and two different ISA 16bit floppy controllers.

Then I hooked up my imaging PC which has an Intel SE440BX motherboard and an Adaptec AHA-1542CP SCSI hard/floppy controller booting into Windows 98 Dos mode.
The on-board floppy controller is disabled, the hard drive is running on the IDE on-board and I use the SCSI floppy. (This is the system I wired a cross-connect cable to successfully image 8" floppies)
With a 1.2M HD 5.25 floppy drive, I ran Dunfield's ImageDisk on Steve's PcTools disk and it reports 500K DD 15x512 2400 sectors 821 data successfully. Now I knew my floppy setup was good.
So I ran it on backup disk #1 which reports 500K DD 16x512 2560 sectors 2485 data. It reads the entire disk successfully !! What's up with 16 sectors vs 15 sectors ? This disk is 'packed to the gills' as they say.

Now what?
Do I need a slower cpu / bus speed to get PCTools to read? I know the disks / drive are good.
I could try PcTools on this system but it's a Pentium II 350Mhz but maybe the Adaptec controller could do the job?
I could go ahead and image all the disks but for what purpose?
I'm going to examine the image, too with Dunfield's viewer.
Can I share just a binary file on VCF somehow? I just see options for pictures or video.
I don't have any place public to place them for you guys to view. I'm still a noob with this.

Larry G

retrogear
September 13th, 2015, 05:08 PM
Figured out the problem and it's probably fatal. The backup log shows a backup was done on 5/10/90 and took 16 disks. I have 24 disks ... so ... I imaged backup #1 and in the image is embedded: PC Tools - Hard Disk Backup 04/01/91 !!!
April fools to me ... the log is outdated by a year :(:(:(

Larry G

krebizfan
September 13th, 2015, 06:47 PM
Where did you locate the backup log from?

The disk set length difference might be because PC Tools Backup by default appends new Backups to existing sets if a log exists. So take a look at disk 17 and disk 24 in case there is any other log added or other signs of a second part of the backup. Also, try renaming the log to see if PC Tools would read a log off the disks.

For the large set of disk images, emailing them is a possibility to let someone else examine the contents.

retrogear
September 13th, 2015, 07:29 PM
>Where did you locate the backup log from?

It was on the PCTOOLS floppy that came with the backups.

>The disk set length difference might be because PC Tools Backup by default appends new Backups to existing sets if a log exists. So take a look at disk 17 and disk 24 in case there is any other log added or other signs of a second part of the backup.

Interesting, will check on that.

>Also, try renaming the log to see if PC Tools would read a log off the disks.

Will try that too. There is some kind of option to build a log. I didn't know what that meant ...

>For the large set of disk images, emailing them is a possibility to let someone else examine the contents.

It won't take much effort to do that. I've looked at a couple images. I might need permission from Steve. I've seen a lot of personal information on them.
But of course, it's like 25 years old.

Larry G

retrogear
September 15th, 2015, 07:05 AM
Much more progress. This really needs to move to another forum but this category needs the activity :p

I created a copy if the initial pctools floppy so I could work on it. I moved all files from the \pctools subdirectory to floppy root A:\
When looking at disk images, I saw references to pcbackup.old so I renamed pcbackup.log to that. I booted dos 3.3 then ran pcrestor.exe
I have a bad habit of pushing forward w/o taking notes, especially when things start working !! I think what happened is it prompted me
about an outdated log and asking some options among which was rebuilding the log. I went for it and it proceeded to prompt me for each
disk and busily read each one !! 24 disks later, it announced it was finished and would I like to save a copy of the new backup log so I did on A:
It had placed all the files on C: partition, not using D: or E: I thought it would run out of hard drive space but it didn't. Some of the disks it skimmed
pretty fast so I'm not sure what happened with those. It reported no errors. Among other directories, I now had C:\DOS and C:\WINDOWS, C:\UTL386SX, etc.
The dos directory is v3.3 and I'm assuming it has a 386SX processor but mine is a 486DX4 in a BioStar motherboard discussed in another thread currently.
I saw a CONFIG.SYS file which I placed on the boot floppy and left all the references pointing to C:\ whatever. It sets up the expanded memory manager, etc.
I saw a .BAT file with the command C:\WINDOWS then WIN /R. So, what the heck, I went for it. I booted the floppy to process config.sys then executed the BAT
and up came Windows 3.0 !!! I'll get some photos maybe tonight. I had serial mouse, keyboard, Word for Windows 1.0 and other stuff I don't even know what it is.
The graphics of course is wonky but readable. I used Windows 3.11 but it was like 20 years ago so it takes some time to remember the ins and outs.
I looked around for documents but the Word documents I opened were all business related from around 1990. So far I don't see any files that look like the poems
we're searching for. I need to study the backup logs to see if anything got missed. If it did maybe it means it got deleted between backups ?
This has been a fun forensic adventure. Steve, if you're reading this I'm not hopeful we're going to find them but I'll dig a little more.
My current IT job sometimes involves some data forensics, just not decades old ...

Larry G

retrogear
September 16th, 2015, 05:27 PM
Here's some screenshots of the resurrected hard drive.

Larry G

266692667026671

tingo
September 20th, 2015, 02:25 PM
Well done!
And thanks for the pictures and the story.