VOGONS


First post, by Keatah

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Anyone ever use DoubleSpace or DriveSpace back in the day?

Back then they were near godsends. Realtime disk compression seemed to work well and provided tangible benefits. Both then and now I was impressed with how transparent it all was despite the amount of convoluted shenanigans that went on "behind the scenes". Renaming and redirecting of drives. Hiding certain files. All that.

I found it particularly valuable in the 486 era. The DX2 processors were fast enough to decompress on-the-fly with power left over. These systems were often left waiting on disk transfers to finish. So the less data transferred the faster your system ran. And you got about 40% extra storage space, the main advertised benefit!

So what where your experiences with DoubleSpace & DriveSpace?
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/DriveSpace

Last edited by Keatah on 2020-06-05, 08:04. Edited 1 time in total.

Reply 1 of 34, by will1384

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Keatah wrote on 2020-06-03, 01:04:
Anyone ever use DoubleSpace or DriveSpace back in the day? […]
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Anyone ever use DoubleSpace or DriveSpace back in the day?

Back then they were near godsends. Realtime disk compression seemed to work well and provided tangible benefits. Both then and now I was impressed with how transparent it all was despite the amount of convoluted shenanigans that went on "behind the scenes". Renaming and redirecting of drives. Hiding certain files. All that.

I found it particularly valuable in the 486 era. The DX2 processors were fast enough to decompress on-the-fly with power left over. These systems was often left waiting on disk transfers to finish. So the less data transferred the faster your system ran. And you got about 40% extra storage space, the main advertised benefit!

So what where your experiences with DoubleSpace & DriveSpace?
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/DriveSpace

I hate DoubleSpace / DriveSpace with a burning passion of a thousand suns, I lost so much data using that crap, were I live we have lots of power outages, and back in the 1990s you never thought to use a UPS, I am not even sure they had UPS backup systems for regular computers users back when DoubleSpace / DriveSpace came out, I lost so much art work I had made with Vista Pro and drawing and animations that I had made also software I had downloaded, I will never forgive them!!!

Reply 2 of 34, by Caluser2000

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Waste of time. When I got my 286/16 new it had a 40meg hdd. It didn't take long to come to the conclusion that it wasn't big enough so bought a 240 meg drive to supplement it 6 months later.

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Apparently 32-bit is dead and nobody likes P4s.
Of course, as always, I'm open to correction...😉

Reply 3 of 34, by darry

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Tried doublespace with DOS 6.0 on a 386 DX 25 . Not great . Filesystem compression was not great, IMHO . You never knew how much space was actually left . It felt like turning a hard drive into a tape drive .

Reply 4 of 34, by derSammler

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Used it for a while with a 250 MB hard disk. But it caused issues quite often and when I had a damaged FAT after a crash on the actual partition with the container on it, I stopped using it, as it caused a large amount of files inside the container getting damaged.

Reply 5 of 34, by appiah4

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I used it a lot with DOS 6.0, and for a while on 6.2 HDD prices were very expensive back then IIRC. At around the release of 6.22 I didn't bother anymore.

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Reply 6 of 34, by Jo22

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I'm using DoubleSpace on a PC/XT running MS-DOS 6.22.. 😉
So far, I can't complain. Performance is okay.
By using it, most programs I need now fit on that ancient 20MB fixed disk.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5XxOtHodSBU
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=irtDxYman88

That being said, my father told me to be careful with compression tools (he used them back in the day).
I think he used DoubleDisk at some point, too.

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Reply 8 of 34, by Shagittarius

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Garbage for many game assets which are already compressed so it just ends up taking 2X as much space. Uninstalled after trying it for a few days in 91-92 sometime. gross.

Reply 9 of 34, by yawetaG

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will1384 wrote on 2020-06-03, 01:33:

and back in the 1990s you never thought to use a UPS, I am not even sure they had UPS backup systems for regular computers users back when DoubleSpace / DriveSpace came out,

They had, but for the price you could buy a new computer... 😉

Reply 10 of 34, by Zup

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Didn't use doublespace nor drivespace, because I had some friends that had computers running stackers (one was using DRDOS and the other MS-DOS 5.0)... and both computers ended with corrupted data.

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Reply 11 of 34, by cyclone3d

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I tried it back then, found it was total crap and stopped using it.

Btw, have fun uncompressing a compressed drive unless you just copy everything over to a different drive and then format the compressed drive.

It is worth about as much as those "speed doubler" and "ram doubler" snake oil programs from back then. Might as well go download some more RAM.

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Reply 12 of 34, by derSammler

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cyclone3d wrote on 2020-06-04, 07:33:

It is worth about as much as those "speed doubler" and "ram doubler" snake oil programs from back then. Might as well go download some more RAM.

Well, it actually worked and did what it was supposed to do. On my 250 MB drive, I had about 400 MB stored in the end. It just wasn't reliable, but mainly because the underlying FAT16 file system wasn't reliable. From a technical standpoint, it was quite remarkable.

Reply 13 of 34, by elianda

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I use stacker 4 on one of my 386DX-40. Nowadays it is more of a technical interest.

I think the argument with games and pre-compressed assets is correct but not a good choice. The most gains of the compression are gained with files from Windows 3.x which typically compress really good. A good approach at the time was to split the space intro an uncompresse drive and a compressed one. Then the games with pre-compressed assets go to the normal drive and windows + programs to the compressed drive and everything else that compresses well.

So if you focus on old games on your retro computer then adding a hdd compression is not a good choice.

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Reply 14 of 34, by Jo22

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derSammler wrote on 2020-06-04, 07:51:

From a technical standpoint, it was quite remarkable.

I second that. Back when these programs were developed (ca. mid-late 80s), HDDs often were the most expensive part of a computer, besides the x87 co-pro.
Back then, you had to make the decision between, say, a $5o to $120 program and a new $600 HDD..

Originally, there also were HDD compression CARDs that could be plugged into an ISA slot.
A small on-board computer then was doing the whole compression/decompression stuff.

This gives an idea how much thought was spent into not being required to upgrade an existing HDD.
And depending on a machine's bottlenecks, performance was sometimes better with compression, even.

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Reply 15 of 34, by Caluser2000

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Generally tech mags steered you away from software disk compression which was introduced in Dos variants in the early '90s

Last edited by Stiletto on 2020-06-05, 01:46. Edited 1 time in total.

There's a glitch in the matrix.
A founding member of the 286 appreciation society.
Apparently 32-bit is dead and nobody likes P4s.
Of course, as always, I'm open to correction...😉

Reply 16 of 34, by darry

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Caluser2000 wrote on 2020-06-04, 18:04:

Generally tech mags steered you away from software disk compression which was introduced in Dos variants in the early '90s

If I remember correctly, Stac Electronics hardware solution was rather well received by reviewers, except maybe for its cost .

Last edited by Stiletto on 2020-06-05, 01:46. Edited 1 time in total.

Reply 17 of 34, by Caluser2000

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darry wrote on 2020-06-04, 18:13:
Caluser2000 wrote on 2020-06-04, 18:04:

Generally tech mags steered you away from software disk compression which was introduced in Dos variants in the early '90s

If I remember correctly, Stac Electronics hardware solution was rather well received by reviewers, except maybe for its cost .

Not in our neck of the woods. Once DRDos 6 had it the rest followed suite.

It was a temporary fad that died fairly smartly.

Last edited by Stiletto on 2020-06-05, 01:46. Edited 1 time in total.

There's a glitch in the matrix.
A founding member of the 286 appreciation society.
Apparently 32-bit is dead and nobody likes P4s.
Of course, as always, I'm open to correction...😉

Reply 18 of 34, by cyclone3d

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derSammler wrote on 2020-06-04, 07:51:
cyclone3d wrote on 2020-06-04, 07:33:

It is worth about as much as those "speed doubler" and "ram doubler" snake oil programs from back then. Might as well go download some more RAM.

Well, it actually worked and did what it was supposed to do. On my 250 MB drive, I had about 400 MB stored in the end. It just wasn't reliable, but mainly because the underlying FAT16 file system wasn't reliable. From a technical standpoint, it was quite remarkable.

It worked, sure... but you never had any real idea of how much space you had left because the way it reported it was completely unreliable. In the end, it was more trouble than it was worth.

Oh yeah... and DRVSPACE.SYS takes around 80KB RAM. That right there kills it's usefulness in systems where you have games that need a lot of free conventional RAM to run.
Good luck getting everything to fit in UMBs that you need to if you have DRVSPACE.SYS loaded.

Yamaha YMF modified setupds and drivers
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Yamaha YMF7x4 Guide
AW744L II - YMF744 - AOpen Cobra Sound Card - Install SB-Link Header

Reply 19 of 34, by elianda

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Good memory managers had native support for the most common disk compression drivers and can load them nearly fully to XMS.

So the memory argument is only an issue if you have a game that requires real mode and that game was stored by yourself on the compressed disk.
And the solution to that is rather easy, just put the game on the uncompressed disk and don't load (or unload) the disk compression.

Retronn.de - Vintage Hardware Gallery, Drivers, Guides, Videos. Now with file search
Youtube Channel
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