Happy Xfer Utility
Happy PC File XFer Utility (C) 1987 Happy Computers, Inc
- Modified by Lee Barnes, 2000
- EXEcutable DOS file
Modified Happy PC File Transfer Program
The original transfer program worked fine as it was, except it did not convert Tabs nor could one exit the program when done without re-booting which left us power ramdisk users up the creek, to wit these mods to fix those two problems.
The program runs on your Atari using any DOS including SpartaDOS.
It requires one Happy drive, an IBM formatted 180K disk, and some files to transfer. When the program first loads in you are prompted with “How many drives?” and given a choice of 1 or 2. Obviously, at least one of those drives MUST be a Happy drive. Then you select which drive is the IBM drive (it MUST be the Happy) and which is to be the ‘Atari’ drive, if you selected 2 drives. The program checks for the Happy drive and if not there, you just repeat forever. The Happy drive can serve as both the IBM drive and the Atari drive if so desired.
If your Happy is there and the program can see it, you are presented with an options screen with 6 listed options by number. The seventh option is a return to DOS, BUT, it is not listed on the screen. You just return to DOS when you press ‘7’.
(1) Read IBM disk directory
(2) Convert IBM file to Atari
(3) Read Atari disk directory
(4) Convert Atari file to IBM
(5) Select Drives
(6) Toggle Translation Mode
(7) Return to DOS (you won’t see this one on the screen)
Options 1 thru 4 are simple enough. You press the number key 1 and you get a directory listing of the IBM disk. Its best to use your IBM to print out the directory if it contains a lot of files, because this listing will disappear as soon as you hit RETURN to select another option. When converting files you are given the opportunity to change the name of the destination file so as to comply with that particular file format. For example, you would not want a filename to begin with a number if you are using MyDOS as that is a no-no with that particular DOS. You also can’t use MS-DOS long filenames, as the Happy Transfer program will not accept them.
Option 5 allows you to change the drives originally specified when the program first loaded in, again one of the drives MUST be a Happy and it MUST be the ‘IBM’ drive.
Option 6 allows for IBM End of Line and Carriage Return as well as Tab characters to be converted to the Atascii equivalents and Visa Versa. Toggle option 6 when converting text files ONLY, as ‘text translation’ done on a program file will corrupt it. This includes .ARC and .DCM files so watch out!
Option 7 is not listed but works just the same. It returns you to the DOS you used to load the Happy PC File Transfer program in the first place. From there you can copy the converted files out of your ramdisk to a real drive or archive it to a hard drive, if you have one.
Using a ramdisk for the ‘Atari’ drive is strongly suggested as it always has a disk in it, it never times out, never has a bad disk in it, and never produces a bad read or write. The same can not be said of any other drive, even a good hard drive can and will fail to produce a good write. Especially while a program like this one is dealing with 512 byte sectors and sending strange SIO commands as it must.
You can not format an IBM disk in your Happy drive for good reason, even though there is a third party utility to do just that. Your IBM won’t be able to read it because the Atari 1050 drive does not use the index hole to start laying down tracks or sectors. The IBM does, and will not read a disk unless each track starts according to the index hole. You must format IBM disks in an IBM first and then the Happy 1050 will ‘find’ the right sectors and read/write from/to them. A standard 1050 does this ‘find sector number’ as a normal way of doing business, the IBM don’t. The 1050 also spins at a different speed than the IBM drive which insures that the IBM will not ‘line up’ on a 1050 formatted disk.
To format an IBM disk on your PC you must be in ‘true’ DOS mode. This means you must boot to DOS, although restarting in DOS mode might work. You can not use a DOS ‘window’ to do this formatting as you will get 2 FATs and this is not compatible with the single sided 180K format that you must do. Only one FAT per side please.
You must also have your BIOS set correctly and be using a ‘low density’ 5 1/4″ drive on the PC along with ‘low density’ disks. If you set your BIOS to ‘360K 5 1/4″‘ and you get the error ‘Floppy Fail (40)’ while booting the PC, you have a High Density (1.2 Meg) drive and you can not use it for this format. Although most 1.2 Meg drives will do a 360K format, few will do a 180K format correctly. And even when they do, the track width of these drives is only half as wide as the 1050 track. It is also recorded at a lower bias level such that the data recorded is inherently weaker on these drives. If the disk has old Atari data on it or 360K IBM data on it, the new data can be corrupted by the old data that lies just outside the head width of the 1.2 meg drive. Only a bulk magnetic tape eraser (or strong magnet) can remove this background data, a format with a skinny head just won’t remove the data that it doesn’t go over. Formatting in 1.2 Meg mode won’t help either because then you have confusing sector numbers and other inter gap data that will be read by the wide Happy 1050 head.
Avoid using any disk that has ‘HD’ on it!! These are high density (1.2 Meg) disks and have a different type of magnetic material on it. They record at a lower bias level but yield a very much weaker signal to the head, no matter how wide it is. The 1.2 Meg drives deal with this by amplifying the signal more than the 360K/1050 drives do. Your data might fail in the short time it takes to go from your IBM to your Atari!!
The correct format command to format a 180K single sided disk with a 360K drive is:
format b: /1/4
Where b: is your low density 5 1/4″ drive. The switch /1 makes it single sided (180K) and the /4 switch ensures 9 sectors per track in the event you didn’t listen to the virtues of the high/low density spiel above. There are drives that will try to do the format with 8 sectors per track if the /4 switch is not there.
The Happy will not read a standard 360K disk no matter how many times you try it. The Happy File Transfer program searches for two FATs, and if found will error out. It will only be able to converse with a 180K single sided disk. This format has 40 tracks, with 9 sectors per track, 512 bytes per sector, and one FAT. You can not use the ‘flip’ side of a IBM disk unless you use a hole punch on both sides of the jacket only, AND the holes punched must be in an exact mirror image placement with the existing jacket holes for the index hole. Only one index hole in the disk itself, please.
You can not use Windows to write to the 180K formatted disk as windows expects to see two FATs and if not there, it wants to format the disk. You must therefore use true DOS mode to copy files to the IBM disk. No such restriction applies when reading a 180K IBM formatted disk with converted Atari files on it in Windows, however. Copy but do not Cut such files from the Floppy to your PC’s hard drive for what ever purpose desired. Once on the hard drive, you can Cut the files, as in Cut and Paste to a different folder.
Bootable disk (ATR / 7-Zip): Happy PC File Transfer Program