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Thread: need help with printing or converting a valdocs manuscript

  1. #1

    Default need help with printing or converting a valdocs manuscript

    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

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2014
    Pottstown, PA


    Utilities to read CPM disks

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Blog Entries


    TPM II disks use a slightly unusual sector format rather unlike the similar CP/M disks. See At least one archivist blogger had problems getting data off the disk because the blogger didn't understand the format.

    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.
    Last edited by krebizfan; August 13th, 2015 at 09:51 AM.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Chaffee, MO


    I searched and located a .VAL file at

    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:




    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.


    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.


    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.


    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


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


    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


    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).


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


    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.


    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.

    Last edited by ldkraemer; August 15th, 2015 at 11:08 AM.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Chaffee, MO


    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.)


    Some of those expressions might/could be:

    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.



    Last edited by ldkraemer; August 15th, 2015 at 02:23 PM.

  6. #6


    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:
    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

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Oct 2014
    Pottstown, PA


    Wow... a lot more to it than I thought!
    It might be a viable option to replace the QX10!

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Pacific Northwest, USA
    Blog Entries


    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).

  9. #9


    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

  10. #10
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Blog Entries


    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 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.
    Last edited by krebizfan; September 8th, 2015 at 11:37 PM.


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