How to install DOS Plus (PC1512 version) ?

Getting old software/games running on older hardware.

How to install DOS Plus (PC1512 version) ?

Postby Jo22 » 2017-11-01 @ 09:28

Hi folks,

I've got a little question to you Amstrad/Schneider PC1512 owners.
(This thread is mainly about DOS Plus, rather than the old PC1512 hardware.)

I'm trying to install DOS Plus from my old PC1512 disk set, but I do not own the official manual anymore.
Is it right to assume that the installation goes as follows ?

Boot DISC1..
a) run FDISK, creation partition then mark active
b) FORMAT C: /S

Boot DISC4..
c) insert DISC5
d) run CONFIG

Remove disks, reboot.


Also, do you get ever any disk corruption on the real thing ?
I heard DOS Plus 1.2 was intended to be compatible with DOS 2.11, which had a 10MB limit for fixed disks..

On the other hand, it says "Loading from DOS 3 partition", so I believe it must be aware of
DOS 3.0 to 3.2 and partitions with early FAT16 (pre-FAT16B) at least.

Not sure about DOS 3.3 compatibility, though. I recall that PC-DOS 3.30 still had a 32MB limit (-> 512bytes/sector),
but supported extended/logical partitions also.

dos3part.gif
Loading from DOS 3 partition..
dos3part.gif (852 Bytes) Viewed 374 times


Anyway, I'm just asking because I get weird results in PCem and other
emulators when I do perform the installation via MS-DOS 3.2 only.

For some reason, DOS Plus can't find any files on the "C:" drive after a
reboot when the installation was finished. It also can't find COMMAND.COM (or dosplus.com),
even though DOS 3.2 sees them both.

command_com_missing.gif
DOS Plus can't find the command processor that MS-DOS 3.2 and FIXLDR copied to "C:".
command_com_missing.gif (1.09 KiB) Viewed 374 times


What could cause this ?
I wondered if DOS Plus was using the second FAT or relies on any other unique behavior.
Like for example, expecting a special drive geometry, a diagnostics cylinder or requiring features of
ancient MFM/RLL controllers (WD100x).

Currently, I'm using an IBM PC/XT compatible type: IBM Fixed Disk Type 1 - 306cyls., 4heads, 17sectors (10M).
Floppy "drives" were configured to 360K, 5.25", both in the BIOS and machine settings.

double_dir.png
Here's what happens after you were running "CONFIG" with both DOS Plus and MS-DOS.
I was not using the Amstrad PC1512 setting to avoid XT-IDE BIOS.


Links:
The DOS Partitioning Scheme (PDF)
IBM 5170 - Hard Drive Type Number
"Type 1 is the original XT hard disk"


Any suggestions welcome!


Thanks in advance! :)

Best regards,
Jo22

Edit: Title changed and text modified. Typos fixed.
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Re: How to install DOS Plus (PC1512 version) ?

Postby Jo22 » 2017-11-04 @ 03:10

Any PC1512/PC1640 users around ?

Basically, all I need to know is what the user's manual says
about the hard disk installation..
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Re: How to install DOS Plus (PC1512 version) ?

Postby BitWrangler » 2017-11-04 @ 03:15

IDK, all I remember is I had a 40MB "hard card" in mine partitioned 32MB and 8MB and don't remember particular troubles... but that's a 25 year rusty memory.

Edit: Oh here's a thought, I remember one of the original disks setting up a RAM drive, not sure if something is amiss with that using an emulator. i.e. trying to use it for file copying and it's not there.
Basement full of ancient PC stuff, starting to go through it. Most recently toyed with DOS era stuff 15 years ago, so memory might be rusty. So what's this BitWrangler guy's deal ??? >>> http://www.vogons.org/viewtopic.php?f=25&t=56382
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Re: How to install DOS Plus (PC1512 version) ?

Postby Jo22 » 2017-11-04 @ 06:28

Thank you. That's good to know.
So chances are good it will be compatible with my PC clone, too.

That one has got a 20MB fixed disk installed (5.25" model).
While small in capacity, it's huge in size and very loud! ;)

PS: I believe you're right. MS-DOS 3.2 tries to set up a RAM drive
(config.sys says device=\msdos\ramdrive.sys nvr).
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Re: How to install DOS Plus (PC1512 version) ?

Postby sirlemonhead » 2017-11-04 @ 20:55

My manual is up in the attic I think...

But the procedure you're doing sounds right.

I got an XT-IDE board recently for use with a CF card and couldn't use the Amstrad disks to work at all. Would always fail on the format part. Eventually tried DOS 6.22 and this worked without issue.
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Re: How to install DOS Plus (PC1512 version) ?

Postby Jo22 » 2017-11-04 @ 22:49

Thanks for feedback! :)
I really hope that I'm doing it the right way.

Technical data about the PC1512 is available at seasip,
and there's even a techical manual at the web archive..
Unfortunatelly, the normal user's manual is nowhere in sight.

On eBay, on the other hand, there are indeed one or more PC1512 manuals for sale.
But they are currently listed for about 20€ each. *ouch*. I mean, that price really is okay
for a collectors' item, I guess, but a bit too much for that single page I want to read.. :(


Speaking of DOS 6.22, that's the one I'm currently running on my XT.
It works like a charm and is very stable (no data corruption of any kind)! :)

If it wasn't for a little bit of period-correctness, more DOS 2.x/3.x compatibility,
and diversity, I wouldn't even bother to downgrade to an 80s version of DOS.

When I got that XT, I formatted the drive and my first choice was PC-DOS 3.30.
But then I decided to install DOS 6.2 for testing purposes, easier file transfer,
and last but not least because of convenience (or lazyness).

And now that the PC is working fine, and any upgrade is unlikely to happen soon,
I decided to simply keep using that PC for software of the era it was made for (80s, the PC is from ~'84).

That was about the moment when I got the idea about using DOS Plus:

It's from '85/'86, can run CP/M-86 programs, matches the limits of my PC/XT clone (360K drive, HDD smaller than 32MB) almost
perfectly, and it can dual-boot with MS-DOS. Especially the CP/M-86 thing was something that interested me.

I know of CP/M-80, but never really had a reason to learn about the insides of the other CP/M. With DOS Plus,
I have to learn both about DOS and CP/M at the same time. Oh, and it comes with a copy of GEM.

Oddly enough, the PC1512 version *seems* to work with CGA out-of-box, too.
Maybe because the emulated CGA is ignoring some extra bits meant for the PC1512 graphics circiutry
(so the result is mono graphics instead of a four colour mode).
Attachments
gem1512.gif
Running GEM from the PC1512 disks on a 286/CGA configuration.
Mouse not working yet, but mouse cursor can be moved via keyboard.
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Re: How to install DOS Plus (PC1512 version) ?

Postby BitWrangler » 2017-11-04 @ 23:19

Oh wait, you're coming from a Dos 6.xx install?? I'm wondering if the disk is partitioned with the right FAT type, it won't recognise FAT16 correctly and needs to be partitioned with the FAT12 partition type.
Basement full of ancient PC stuff, starting to go through it. Most recently toyed with DOS era stuff 15 years ago, so memory might be rusty. So what's this BitWrangler guy's deal ??? >>> http://www.vogons.org/viewtopic.php?f=25&t=56382
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Re: How to install DOS Plus (PC1512 version) ?

Postby Jo22 » 2017-11-04 @ 23:34

Sorry, not yet. Currently, I'm using only DOS Plus and MS-DOS 3.2 in emulation so far.
But the FAT/partition thing is a good point! That's why I'm trying to test DOS Plus in an emulator first.

Once I figured out how DOS Plus has to be properly installed,
I would begin to try a fresh installation on the real thing (and wipe DOS 6.x).

Because testing it straight away on the PC/XT, without testing, is too much of a risk at the moment.
I'm afraid to damage the ancient fixed disk and mess up my existing data..

Edit: I apologize for my poor English tonight.
I hope it can be deciphered, though. Typos fixed.

Edit2: In essence, the long posting above was just a
background story as to why I want to run my copy of DOS Plus.
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Re: How to install DOS Plus (PC1512 version) ?

Postby sirlemonhead » 2017-11-05 @ 00:43

I got my manual down for you.

It's the green one "user manual" (this one: https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Amstrad-Pers ... Sw2xRYjLfg)

Even though my original machine did have a hard drive, the manual makes no mention of hard drives and only lists the contents of 4 of the floppy disks.

My original 1512 is long gone unfortunately, so I couldn't even tell you what the directory layout of the disk was. I'm stuck with a French single floppy drive machine now that I got on ebay for cheap last year.

Edit:

Seems there's a separate book devoted to hard drive installation. See - http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Set-Of-3-Manu ... Sw9LZZpLzM

I unfortunately never had this, that I can recall, or book 2.
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Re: How to install DOS Plus (PC1512 version) ?

Postby yawetaG » 2017-11-06 @ 12:11

If the manuals were set up like those of the Amstrad PCW, you would have had one manual for the regular user that explains all of the basic programs and the text processor etc., and a second manual dedicated to programming and upgrading the computer.
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Re: How to install DOS Plus (PC1512 version) ?

Postby dr.zeissler » 2017-11-06 @ 15:36

DOS Plus seems to be interesting. I think it's not compatible with EuroPC ?
CPU: PII 133-333 MOBO: SNI-D981 RAM: 512- FDD: Dualfloppy 3,5"HD/5,25"HD - 3,5"HD - 5,25"DD ISA-Catweasel HDD: 2x40GB - DVD
ISA(3): Audician32-S2Dreamblaster - GusACE PCI(3): Monster3D- Intel NW AGP(1): Matrox G200 8MB
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Re: How to install DOS Plus (PC1512 version) ?

Postby Jo22 » 2017-11-08 @ 03:02

sirlemonhead wrote:I got my manual down for you.

It's the green one "user manual" (this one: https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Amstrad-Pers ... Sw2xRYjLfg)

Even though my original machine did have a hard drive, the manual makes no mention of hard drives and only lists the contents of 4 of the floppy disks.

My original 1512 is long gone unfortunately, so I couldn't even tell you what the directory layout of the disk was. I'm stuck with a French single floppy drive machine now that I got on ebay for cheap last year.

Edit:

Seems there's a separate book devoted to hard drive installation. See - http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Set-Of-3-Manu ... Sw9LZZpLzM

I unfortunately never had this, that I can recall, or book 2.

Thanks my friend, you saved me from a lot of trouble! :)
I had no idea there were more than two books (and beeing #3 the HDD manual)..
Now I guess it's best to just try a DOS Plus installation on real hardware and see what happens.

Maybe by using an old 286 mainboard an early CF card (4 to 32MiB), dunno.

Again, thank you very much.

yawetaG wrote:If the manuals were set up like those of the Amstrad PCW, you would have had one manual for the regular user that explains all of the basic programs and the text processor etc., and a second manual dedicated to programming and upgrading the computer.

Thanks, I keep that in mind. :) I speculated that the HDD was an optional part already, because Disc5 was not always included
with the Amstrad disk sets I saw online.. But I had no idea that the HDD installation had to have its own book/manual.
Instead, I thought that such simple instructions were mnentioned on a few pages in its own little chapter near the end of manual no.1.

The PCW is nice machine, by the way. It also runs a flavor of CP/M, right ?

dr.zeissler wrote:DOS Plus seems to be interesting. I think it's not compatible with EuroPC ?

The Schneider (Amstrad) PC1512 essentially was an PC/XT compatible PC "with extras".
Among other things it had a CGA-ish graphics controller with more colours, an 8086 CPU and a special mouse/joystick port.
So I see no reason why it shouldn't boot on your EuroPC.

Edit: I recall that 360K was the highest floppy format DOS Plus 1.x could handle out-of-box.
No surprise, since most XTs of their time had 5.25" drives with 360K.
(1.2MB wasn't so common until the advent of the PC/AT and high-speed floppy controllers.)
Still, a 3.5" floppy formatted to 360K should work as well. In theory, at least.
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Re: How to install DOS Plus (PC1512 version) ?

Postby yawetaG » 2017-11-08 @ 08:38

Jo22 wrote:
yawetaG wrote:If the manuals were set up like those of the Amstrad PCW, you would have had one manual for the regular user that explains all of the basic programs and the text processor etc., and a second manual dedicated to programming and upgrading the computer.

Thanks, I keep that in mind. :) I speculated that the HDD was an optional part already, because Disc5 was not always included
with the Amstrad disk sets I saw online.. But I had no idea that the HDD installation had to have its own book/manual.
Instead, I thought that such simple instructions were mnentioned on a few pages in its own little chapter near the end of manual no.1.


The second book was mostly a very good programming reference book.

The PCW is nice machine, by the way. It also runs a flavor of CP/M, right ?


CP/M-80, yes. It had a Z-80 processor. Unfortunately my (working!) machine ended up in the trash back in 2007, due to a move where "there wouldn't be enough space to store the thing" - guess what? There was enough space. :depressed: (worst decision ever).
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Re: How to install DOS Plus (PC1512 version) ?

Postby JidaiGeki » 2017-11-14 @ 13:18

I've got at least two of the three 1512 manuals around, one of which is the hard disk manual. From memory it's not as technical as other 1512/1640 documents I've seen but will let you know when I locate it.
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Re: How to install DOS Plus (PC1512 version) ?

Postby Jo22 » 2017-11-15 @ 11:36

Thanks! But please take your time. :)

yawetaG wrote: Unfortunately my (working!) machine ended up in the trash back in 2007, due to a move where "there wouldn't be enough space to store the thing" - guess what? There was enough space. :depressed: (worst decision ever).

Don't worry, we all went through this at some point. I also gave away some stuff I do miss now. :(
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Re: How to install DOS Plus (PC1512 version) ?

Postby dr.zeissler » 2017-11-15 @ 12:07

It's a later version of GEM (2.x). I love 1.2x because you can install it everywhere and it has no limitations in usability because the apple-lawsuite was later.
what I really like about Amstrad-Gem is that it comes with locomotive-basic. I did not have tested installing locomotive-basic on top of gem 1.2x.
CPU: PII 133-333 MOBO: SNI-D981 RAM: 512- FDD: Dualfloppy 3,5"HD/5,25"HD - 3,5"HD - 5,25"DD ISA-Catweasel HDD: 2x40GB - DVD
ISA(3): Audician32-S2Dreamblaster - GusACE PCI(3): Monster3D- Intel NW AGP(1): Matrox G200 8MB
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Re: How to install DOS Plus (PC1512 version) ?

Postby Jo22 » 2017-11-17 @ 07:52

You're lucky, Locomotive BASIC 2 runs just fine on GEM 1.x. ^_^

Edit: I've recorded a video for you!
It's available here: https://youtu.be/EH0BGEVYNYk

Have fun! :)

gem1.png
GEM v1.1
gem1.png (4.53 KiB) Viewed 45 times

basic2.png
Locomotive BASIC 2
basic2.png (3.45 KiB) Viewed 45 times
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Re: How to install DOS Plus (PC1512 version) ?

Postby dr.zeissler » 2017-11-17 @ 08:18

Ah very nice! thx!
There a EGA Hires-Drivers available for Gem1x and also a VGA-Patch, but I have not tested this VGA-Patch jet.
Win104 (english-version) runs with the VGA-patch in 640x480.
CPU: PII 133-333 MOBO: SNI-D981 RAM: 512- FDD: Dualfloppy 3,5"HD/5,25"HD - 3,5"HD - 5,25"DD ISA-Catweasel HDD: 2x40GB - DVD
ISA(3): Audician32-S2Dreamblaster - GusACE PCI(3): Monster3D- Intel NW AGP(1): Matrox G200 8MB
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