CSA2 Part 4

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From: tdiaz-a(in_a_circle)-apple2-dotsero-org (Tony Diaz)
Newsgroups: comp.sys.apple2,comp.answers,news.answers
Approved: news-answers-request@MIT.EDU
Followup-To: comp.sys.apple2
Subject: comp.sys.apple2 Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) Part 4/4

Archive-name: apple2/faq/part4
Posting-Frequency: monthly
Last-modified: August 21 2007
Version: 5.1.38
URL: http://apple2.info/wiki/index.php?title=CSA2_Part_4

The next section is the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) posting of the comp.sys.apple2 newsgroup. Copyright (c) 2007 by Tony Diaz (email: tdiaz-at-apple2-dot-org), all rights reserved. This document can be freely copied so long as 1) it is not sold, 2) any sections reposted elsewhere from it are credited back to this FAQ with the FAQ's copyright info and official WWW location (http://apple2.info/wiki/index.php?title=CSA2_FAQ) left in place.

This may not be the latest version of this FAQ-- this is an archived copy. For that, drop by http://apple2.info/wiki/index.php?title=CSA2_FAQ

This FAQ may not be sold, bundled on disks or CD-ROMs, reprinted in magazines, books, periodicals, or the like without prior consent from the maintainer, Tony Diaz. Exceptions are explicitly granted for Juiced.GS and _The_Lamp. Email me for permission otherwise.

Big thanks to Nathan Mates, the previous maintainer of this comp.sys.apple2 FAQ, for allowing it to live on after his departure and anyone who took up that mantle before him.

--- Begin part 4 of 4


Section 7: Some Common Questions

Can my Apple II connect to the Internet?

A: Short answer: yes, any 80 (maybe even 40) column Apple II with a serial card (and almost always a modem) can connect to an Internet Service Provider that provides a shell account. (Please note that "connect to the internet" is the better term for it; avoid the media's popularizing of metaphors related to driving or surfing.)

Longer answer: As of 3/8/97, the only available method is to have a serial (modem or null modem) connection to another computer which can translate and run stuff on it. Most of the time, this means that you will need to find an Internet Service Provider (ISP) which supports a plain "shell" connection. (Telling them you have an Apple II will likely confuse them; just tell them that a VT-100 shell is what you want). For a list of ISPs, try checking local newspaper advertisements, or drop by http://www.thelist.com.

This will give you a straight text connection to the internet; no fancy graphics. Yes, it's a lot less eye candy, but the advantage is that files transfer faster. You can still download files, pictures, and the like, and deal with them later. Once you are signed up for a shell account, you will need to connect up, usually via modem and terminal program. 99% of shell accounts are in unix systems; you should talk to the tech support desk of wherever you get your connection from for information on how to do items such as email, usenet, and the like.

If you have a GS have Seven Hills Software's Spectrum (modem communication program), they have just announced a set of addons that allow WWW browsing from an Apple II. According to their WWW press releases at http://www.sevenhills.com/applesoftware/iigs/sis/, you will need a GS with 4MB RAM (HD and accelerator recommended), Spectrum 2.1, a modem, and a GEnie or dialup Unix shell account. It does not appear to support any form of TCP/IP connection such as SLIP or PPP.

If you do not have a GS capable of running Spectrum's browser, the program 'lynx' runs on unix/vms/etc machines and lets people access the World Wide Web and display it on VT-100 terminals. It's not on every system by default; if not, ask your sysadmins to install it. The default ProTerm setup for VT100 is not too friendly to Lynx-- you will need to turn off inverse text for 'bold' and 'underlined' text if on. (Consult your manual for information on how to do so). Alternatively, when starting Lynx, you may want to start it with the "-show_cursor" option. As noted above; you can download graphics to your Apple II and view a number of formats-- see the section on dealing with graphics for more information.

As of 28 Aug 1997, Richard Bennett's freeware implementation of a TCP/IP stack for the GS is in BETA initial release, and available from its home page at http://www.zip.com.au/~kashum/marinetti/. It appears to support SLIP (PPP promised for availability shortly) right now, and is not guaranteed to be fully functional or stable.

One package is in a state of perpetual near completion: GS/TCP for the GNO/ME unix-like environment for the IIGS. As of January 13th 1998, it is NOT released yet. GNO/ME requires 1.5-2MB of RAM and a HD on your GS to use, so you may not be able to run it with your current setup. For more information from the author, Derek Taubert, see http://www.geeks.org/~taubert/gstcp/index.html. Documentation on GNO/ME in general can be found at http://www.gno.org/gno/ .

I don't have an OS/Boot disk for my Apple II or want an update. Where do I get it from?

First, consult the following chart to help determine what you should be looking to run on your Apple II-- there's a lot of possible OSs. Downloads usually require you to have comm programs up and running on your Apple II and/or Mac with a 3.5" disk that fully supports 800K disks (a lot of Powermacs are flakey in that area). Without such an ability, see below for places to purchase/copy it from. See FAQ Section 2.* on the Apple II models or FAQ section 7.7 on determing RAM to determine what your Apple II has if the limitations in the following are confusing.

  • Any Apple II, 5.25" drive, 32K or more RAM: DOS 3.3. This is not legally available online to the best of my knowledge, as Apple still holds the copyright and distribution restrictions on it. However, Diversi-DOS, a Shareware enhanced version (may require 48K or 64K RAM) of it with many speedups is available online: ftp://ground.isca.uiowa.edu/apple2/apple8/OS/divdos41c.bxy
  • Apple IIGS, 3.5" disk or HD, 512K or more RAM: ProDOS 16. Very old and slow. Not available anywhere online legally to my knowledge.

All of the above were always distributed as full versions of the system software; there is no need to 'upgrade' thru system 4 or 5 to get to 6. Consequently, don't look for any patches to save download time; those never existed.

[Note: there are some other versions of the System Disks not listed above; the ones listed are the latest versions, which you should be running to get as many features and as few bugs as possible. Most of the older (and especially the very buggy) versions are not available online for that reason.]

Without an operating system, you can't run a comm program to download the operating system, so you're in a bit of a quandry. One method is to call 1-800-SOS-APPL and try and find an Apple II user group in your area. They should be able copy things for you.

If you are unable to find a local user group, one of the next best options is to contact Steve Cavanaugh (section 10.2), who is licensed to copy ProDOS 8 [runs on pretty much all Apple IIs with at least 64K of RAM], along with a 5.25" disk full of comm programs, etc. The comm program disk costs only $3, which is a great deal. Ask him for more details if interested.

Alltech Electronics (see FAQ section 10.2) is licensed to sell many of the above, such as GS System Software 5.0.4 and 6.0.1, Apple // System Disk 4.02, and ProDOS 1.1.1. Contact them for details on pricing, etc.

How I connect my Apple II to an Appletalk (and/or Ethertalk) network?

A: Appletalk support is pretty much available for the //e and GS only; the functionality never made it into the ][, ][+, //c or IIc+ models.

Appletalk software on the Apple II will allow you to connect to 'Appleshared' volumes on server machines (Macs, WinNT4.x, and many unix platforms), and also certain printers shared on the network; there is no current way for Apple IIs to share their local drives to any other Appletalked boxen. Also, note that you'll need some sort of Appletalk to Ethernet gateway if you want to use Appletalk with any non-Apple hardware; see next section below on Ethernet.

Filesharing over Appletalk is possible if the non-Apple II machines share their drives. Macs can do that with System 7.x and 8.x's personal filesharing; see the documentation and online help, as this is outside the scope of this FAQ. Windows NT 4.0 is reported to support Appleshare also (see its docs and help again); Unix machines can use the 'Columbia Appletalk Protocol or for for Linux, see http://thehamptons.com/anders/netatalk/. [Netatalk supports sharing volumes and printers]. To access shared volumes, turn the sharing on the host machine, and from the GS, use the 'Appleshare' graphical control panel to connect up.

Booting an Apple II over Appletalk is not a trivial task, even though the System 6.0/6.0.1 include "disks" to support it. To boot an Apple II over Appletalk, you must also own Apple's Appleshare 2.x or 3.x software for Macs; 1.x or 4.x (and anything newer than that) won't work. This software reportedly cost near $1,000 new; while you may be able to find it for less nowadays, the cost and slowness of Appletalk may not make this worth it. You may either want to boot the GS off a 3.5" and run applications from an Appleshared volume, or invest in a HD for the Apple II (Alltech Electronics has 20MB HDs for $59 as of 8/19/97, which will prove far faster and overall more useful).

Some printers can be connected to an Appletalk network; Imagewriter IIs with an addon board (either Apple's board or Sequential System's 'MegaBUFF'/'Q:Talk lto' boards) can be networked, as can all Apple Laser printers supporting PostScript and the Appletalk serial port. Although several inkjet printers support Appletalk (various Stylewriters and HP Deskwriters), there is no GS support for them over a network, even if they'll work when directly connected.

To get Appletalk running on a //e, you will need a //e Workstation card, which provides an Appletalk port, and the associated software, which is bundled with it. That way, you can connect to an Appletalk network and use shared drives and/or printers. Once that is ready, install the Appletalk software.

From a GS, Appletalk is slightly more complex in terms of deciding which slots you want to dedicate to it. In a ROM 01, Appletalk requires turning slot 7 to 'Appletalk' (use the control panel, accessible by pressing Control-Open Apple-Escape), and either one of slots 1 or 2 set to 'Your Card'. If you have something in slot 7 that you care about (usually a hard drive controller), what you can do is move that card to slot 1 or 2, and set the boot slot to 1 or 2. A ROM 3 is simpler-- set one of slots 1 or 2 to Appletalk. The Appletalk cable plugs into the back of your GS in the printer port (ROM 1 if slot 1 is 'Your Card', ROM 3 if slot 1 is Appletalk) or the modem port (slot 2 is Your card/Appletalk). Once the GS is set up, from the System 6.0 or 6.0.1 (recommended) installer, select "Custom Install" and then select the Appletalk, Appleshare, Appletalk'd Imagewriter and/or Laserwriter packages to install.

Once you have Appletalk set up on the various machines, you'll need to decide how to connect them. If there are only 2 machines and both are connecting via the serial port, a printer (i.e. null modem) cable between the two will suffice. If you want to connect more than two devices, you can use either Apple's Localtalk wiring scheme (expensive and pretty much phased out) or the 'Phonenet' style connectors that let you run ordinary phone wire between the different machines. Look for phonenet hardware at computer stores or mailorder catalogs.

Unfortunately, the serial ports in Apple's Super Serial Cards, //c and IIc+, and PC clones' serial ports are not capable of putting out Appletalk signals. From a PC, you'd probably have to find one of the rare (and therefore pricey) PC Appletalk boards that exist. As ethernet (and TCP/IP to a lesser degree) has taken over the Unix, PC and Mac networking setups, see the next section (7.4) below for some possible workarounds.

Is there any Ethernet capabilities for Apple IIs?

A: There is no publically available Ethernet setup for any Apple II model. There are also rumors of an independently designed Ethernet board, but it's not released.

There were several models of Appletalk <-> Ethernet gateways that can be used to connect up Apple IIs to Ethernet networks for use in a mixed network of Apple IIs, Macs, PCs and unix boxes. Shiva's FastPath 4 or 5 have been recommended as working well in this capacity.

(Apple designed and made an ethernet card to be released at about the same time as GS/OS 6.0.1, but canned the project when they decided to try and write off Apple IIs as a bad memory, and shoved the cards produced in a warehouse or worse. Fewer than five of these cards are known to be owned by people outside of Apple. That's very stupid, considering Apple could have made a nice profit on those things. Don't ask me where to get one of those; I don't know, and if I did, I'd get one for myself before telling any of you-- Nathan :) Tony Diaz has a web page up with more details on this card; check out http://www.hypermall.com/~tdiaz/AIIEthernet.html. [While this card had OS-level support (until they axed that code along with the card) for Ethertalk, since Ethertalk is merely Appletalk packets over Ethernet, this card is therefore an Ethernet card])

There are a number of SCSI - Ethernet transcievers available for Macs and the like, but they are EXTEMELY unlikely to work at all on the GS. Essentially, the RamFAST SCSI card does not support interrupts or devices feeding it data. In addition, all of these transcievers use proprietary (and info is not publically available) protocols.

What is 8 bit and 16 bit?

A: That indicates how big the chunks of data are that the CPU can manipulate at once. The Apple IIGS is a 16 bit machine and all other Apple ]['s are 8 bit machines. (It is possible to put a 65802 (extremely rare nowadays) as a replacement for a 6502 or 65C02, and get limited 16 bit functionality, but as the GS has a lot of extra chips to support what it does, you still would not be able to run 99.9% of GS software on such a machine)

How can I tell what version my computer is?

A: Look at the case of the computer to determine which Apple II you have, then in the section on Apple II model information (sections 2.x) for that model. The methods of determining the versions of each model are integrated into the other information for that model.

How much RAM is in my Apple II?

A:This is easiest to determine with an Apple IIGS. Go to the text control panel by pressing the control, open apple, and escape keys at once, then select the RAM Disk option under the Control Panel option. Note the 'Largest Selectable' entry, and add 256K to that-- that's how much RAM is available to GS programs. (The GS reserves a minumum of 256K for programs, though pretty much only older Apple II software will run in that space). Note that this does not count ram on cards in slots 1-7, though you're pretty much limited to only using RAM Disks or Appleworks addons in there.

With earlier models of the Apple II, this is a much more difficult problem, because any software that wants to take advantage of extra RAM has to be written to recognize any RAM past the first 64K of memory. [Applesoft BASIC, for example, only cares about the lower 48K of RAM unless you use addon packages.] As noted in the sections on Apple II models above, the system has a default of anywhere from 4K-128K built in. The extremely common 'Extended 80-column card' for the //e added 64K to the //e's default 64K.

Most Apple II RAM cards did come with a diagnostic disk and possibly patcher programs to allow them to determine how much RAM is in the system, as well as allowing programs like Appleworks access to the extra RAM. If you suspect you have more than the defaults, but can't be sure, asking on comp.sys.apple2 is probably the best bet.

Can I use High Density disks on my double density Apple II drives?

A: Only if you don't care about what's written to them. Basically, the magnetic properties of High Density disk media is different, and though you may be able to write to them and immediately read it back, after a few months, odds are pretty good that the disk is unreadable. In short, I strongly recommend not using anything other than Double Sided, Double Density (DSDD) disks in Apple II 140K 5.25" drives.

Some people report that they have successfully used HD 3.5" disks in their 800K drives without problems, while others have had some problems. Use them with some caution; as with everything else, making sure that there are adequate backups of all files you care about is a good insurance plan in case of any problems.

Of course, should you have a high density drive (1.2MB 5.25" or 1.44MB 3.5"), then use high density disks in it. Although the local computer store may not carry DSDD disks, many national mailorder places do carry them. Check them out.

Why do partitions have a maximum size of 32MB?

A: ProDOS, the usual choice for Apple II disks (Hard Drives, CD-ROMs, etc), is limited to 32MB per partition. It would require rewriting large chunks to get it to work with larger partitions. Just use the partitioning tools (included with the SCSI card or the like) to make several 32MB partitions.

If you have a GS with System 6.0, you can install the HFS FST (you must do a customized install, not the Easy Update), which lets you have partitions larger than 32MB. The System 6.0.1 HFS FST should have the patch applied to it before it is used with volumes larger than 64MB, but I (Nathan Mates) have had volumes corrupted and don't really trust the HFS FST. (See the System 6.0 Minifaq in this FAQ for details on where to download the patch.

The differences between HFS and ProDOS are as follows:

ProDOS partitions: Limited to 32MB, your boot (first) partition MUST be a ProDOS volume. Disk integrity checkers exist (ProSEL by Charlie's Appleseeds, Salvation by Vitesse) to make sure your disk remains uncorrupted as possible.

HFS partitions: Requires GS/OS System 6.0 or higher, and therefore 1.5MB RAM. You can not boot a HFS disk on an Apple II. Maximum volume size is either 2 or 4 gigabytes (pretty darn big either way). System 6.0.1's default HFS FST has bugs that are know to corrupt disks >64MB; even with the Apple-approved patches it may not be stable. The only way to verify that a partition is uncorrupted is to take the HD to a Mac and run Apple's Disk First Aid or Norton Utilities on it-- no GS HFS disk verification programs exist.

Keeping good backups of your files is a real lifesaver when problems happen, no matter what filesystem they're saved to.

As a side note, DOS 3.3 volumes are limited to 400K each; my having multiple 400K volumes per disk (same theory as multiple 32MB partitions on a HD), patched DOS 3.3s can access up to approx 100MB (254 volumes * 400K each) at once. Such patches are not really available to the general public to my knowledge, however. There were a few DOS 3.3 patches that let them use 2 400K volumes on a 800K drive, though I've never used them.

How do I convert from an Appleworks file to a text file without formatting codes?

Appleworks lets you 'Print' to a file on disk-- hit Open-Apple-P, and select "A file on disk." That should do a reasonable job of translating the Appleworks file into text without formatting such as boldface and italic, but leaves in the centering.

Others have reported that setting up a special printer entry can yield slightly better results. (The exact procedure for that depends on the version (1-5) of Appleworks. Consult your manual for more information.) Make a new printer, which is identified as a 'Silentype' printer, but prints to disk. Make sure the printer interface code is empty.

What programming languages are available for the Apple ][?

A: Larry W. Virden (lvirden@cas.org) maintains The Apple II Programmer's Catalog of Languages and Toolkits. The official version is at http://www.teraform.com/~lvirden/Misc/apple2-languages.txt.

Can I install DOS 3.3 stuff on my hard drive?

A: This mostly depends on what you're trying to do. As noted in the section on HD partitions above, DOS 3.3 volumes are limited to 400K each. Thus, they can be highly inconviencing trying to put those on a regular HD. (And no publically available software really exists to do that)

A far better solution is to use DOS 3.3 Launcher. It lets you copy unprotected DOS 3.3 140K disks to your hard drive, and run DOS 3.3 under ProDOS. Such functionality does have some requirements, though: programs must only use 48K of RAM (the upper 16K is reserved for ProDOS, which is running at the same time), not do any copy protection or disk hackery, and generally behave themselves. DOS 3.3 Launcher is available from the normal Apple II ftp sites: ftp://apple2.caltech.edu/pub/apple2/utils/dos3.3.shk

Is there any form of Unix that I can use on my Apple II?

A: Yes, a pretty good commercial variant exists, but only for the GS: Procyon's GNO/ME. Since the GS (nor any other A2 model) doesn't have any form of memory protection or virtual memory, and the 65816 is limited to a maximum of 64K of stack space, programs that assume they can use whatever amounts of ram they want (gcc, X Windows, etc) can't be run at all.

New info as of 8/16/97: GNO/ME v2.0.4 has been reclassified by Procyon to be freely copyable; it is now available for download from ftp://ftp.hypermall.com/pub/gno or http://www.gno.org/pub/apple2/gs.specific/gno/base204/ . Online documentation can be found at http://www.gno.org/gno/ .

GNO/ME runs on top of GS/OS, so you can multitask text-based programs with at most one GS desktop GUI program.

Can I generate Postscript from my Apple II?

A: The GS most certainly can with the right software; certain packages like Publish-It (at least versions 3 and 4; maybe also earlier versions as well) for the //e or //c also have such functionality. The GEOS family of programs for the Apple II can also generate postscript, but those programs are not available anymore to my knowledge [I believe that maybe the Springboard Publisher can do that also; more info would be appreciated]

To print to a postscript file on the GS with any program that follows the GS's methods for printing (Print Shop GS and pretty much all non-GS programs won't work), install the Laserwriter driver to System 6.0 or 6.0.1. You do not need to have a Laserwriter; just install the driver. [This will install Appletalk as well; to avoid the annoying message about Appletalk not being available at boot, disable the 'SCC.Manager' file in the drivers folder inside the system folder on your boot disk.]

Once this is done, select the Laserwriter as your printer driver. Select 'Print' from within a GS application, and at the standard dialog which appears, do not press return to print. Instead, hold down the Open Apple and 'f' keys while you click on the 'OK' button with the mouse. That will force a print to disk. The resulting postscript file is saved to the Drivers folder inside the system folder on your boot disk with the name 'Postscript.GSxx', with 'xx' being a 2-digit number that starts at 00. You can then take the postscript file to another system and view or print it.

The Laserwriter driver from System 6.0.1 may not be compatible with all Postscript printers (especially the non-Apple ones); if you're having problems, you may wish to try using the driver from System 6.0.

Note that the GS's Laserwriter driver does not properly handle Truetype fonts in documents (which requires 'Pointless' from Westcode Software), so you may want to use only the fonts your postscript printer knows. [Those lists vary; everything knows Times, Courier and a few more, but check your printer's manual for info on what it supports.]

How do you copy from a 5.25" disk to 3.5" disk?

A: ProDOS has no problems with this, as long as you copy by files. Note that ProDOS can only have 51 files in the main directory. If you try to exceed that, it will give you a cryptic 'Disk Full' error. If there really is space left on the disk, you can copy all the files into a subdirectory to get around the 51-file limit. Subdirectories can support more files in them than any ProDOS volume has to store them as different files, but in practice, you should limit them to a few hundred files per directory.

Copy protected 5.25" disks and DOS 3.3 programs tend not to want to copy to other disks. You may have to put up with them as is.

My Apple II is running too fast. How do I slow it down?

A: If you have a GS without an accelerator card, use the builtin control panel (accessible by hitting control-open apple-escape at once or holding down the 'option' key on poweron) to change the system system between 'Normal' (1Mhz, same as a stock ][, ][+, //e, or //c) and 'Fast' (2.5Mhz). With accelerators installed in the GS, the 'Normal' speed still means 1Mhz, but 'Fast' is whatever the card is set to run at. The Transwarp GS has in its ROM a CDA (accessible from the text control panel as above) for configuring the speed; the Zip GS has both official and 3rd party (better) utilities to configure its speed in 16 levels.

Pre-GS accelerators (AE Transwarp models, Zip Chip and Rocket Chip, among others) tended to be disableable if you held down the 'Esc' key when the system [re]booted. That would drop the system back to 1Mhz until the next [re]boot and/or poweron.

Section 8: Strange problems:

How do I get out of Basic (that little "]" prompt and cursor?

A: Type the word "BYE" and press return. For more information on Applesoft, see Nathan Mates's Applesoft FAQ at http://apple2.info/wiki/index.php?title=CSA2_FAQ#AppleSoft You can also get more information on DOS 3.3/ProDOS commands at http://apple2.info/wiki/index.php?title=DOS

What are the problems with GSCII?

A: GSCII is a great program, but has two subtle problems: First, it won't work correctly if you extract to a HFS disk (so extract to a ProDOS disk). Also, it won't set the size correctly on S16 files. This should only be a problem when downloading Shrinkit GS. In that case, use BINSCII. The rest of the time you will be extracting .SHK files, which don't care about extra bytes at the end.

AppleWorks won't print to my printer. What gives?

A: AppleWorks will refuse to print to a slot that has a disk device. In the past, this worked well because if you try to print to a slot that has a disk controller in it, you will re-boot. But now, this can cause problems when a disk device is 'mapped' into your printer slot (due to a limitation in ProDOS, you can only have 2 drives per slot. Extra partitions on your hard drive will be re-mapped to other slots). If you have a RamFast, you can re-map the drives to different slots. Otherwise, (for AW 3.0) use this patch:


If you didn't understand that, e-mail me, or look into John Link's SuperPatch program, which includes many more patches.

My GS control panel keeps resetting to the defaults and/or forgetting the date-- the battery is dead.

A: It's probably your battery. If you have a ROM 03 GS, can you just pop it out an get another. On the ROM 01, you will need a Slide-On Battery Replacement Kit from Night Owl Productions. See address in hardware & software vendors section (10.2).

I'm getting Error XXXX or YY. What's it mean?

A: Some common errors and their cause:

A larger list of all error messages, but not always the best description of the cause is at h**p://www.visi.com/~nathan/a2/faq/gserrors.html. WE NEED A COPY OF THIS

ProDOS Errors:

UNABLE TO LOAD PRODOS - You can't boot a disk unless it has ProDOS and a something.SYSTEM file on it (Pre-1.9 ProDOS)

Error No.
$27 I/O Error. Possibly a bad disk? Verify it with Prosel or Copy II Plus
$44 Path not found (You gave an invalid directory name)
$45 Volume not found (you didn't type in the right disk name)
$46 File not found (you didn't type a valid filename)

GS/OS errors:

Error No.
0201 Out of memory
0911 Either your GS is overheating, or the ADB port is having problems
0301 Bad TransWarp
0308 (Also see 8021) Something has trashed critical parts of memory
11xx GS/OS could not successfully load an application or program
8020 Either random TransWarp, or SCSI (try using different SCSI connector)
8021 If you get this at random times and you have a HS Apple SCSI, it's
probably a version conflict. Install the SCSI drivers from your GS/OS
disk, not your HS Apple SCSI disk.

Why does my Apple II lose characters when I'm using the modem?

A: Check the following: 1) Your software may need interrupts enabled. Examine DIP Switch 2-6 on your Super Serial Card. 2) If you have an unenhanced //e, you need to enhance your //e. 3) If you have a //c, it may be one of the ones that had a serial port problem. Talk to your dealer about upgrading it for 2400 baud support. Also, to use a modem faster than 9600 pretty much requires a 'Hardware Handshaking' cable, not a cheap one.

Where do I get support for AE boards now that they are closed?

A: Bruce BABB, ex-AE bench tech, is offering support out of his home for customer support of AE's boards. He also hints that another company is opening that will sell many of the Apple II products the AE made. You can reach Bruce via Email at 76004.1575@compuserve.com

Is there a QWK reader for the Apple //e?

A: Yes, it's called 2qwk!. To use 2qwk! you must patch ProDOS to allow filenames sent by MS-DOS machines. The Apple II version is now available via ftp from ground and caltech.

I've got a problem. How do I troubleshoot it?

  • Asking others for help is fine, but if you do, please provide the following information. (And the act of finding out this information may help you find the cause on your own)

1. Is it reproducible? One system crash that happened out of the blue and never reoccurred is almost impossible to track down and fix.

2. When did the fault appear? During boot? After a fixed amount of time? Whenever you do X in program Y?

3. Any and ALL error messages reported by the system. Copy them down and repeat them exactly; saying "it gave an error" is not useful.

4. How dead the system is. Does the mouse still work, but clicks do nothing? Does it do anything at all?

5. System configuration. What cards in what slots, how much RAM, which SCSI controller and rom version (if applicable), what size HD, etc.

  • If you have just purchased a bunch of new hardware and/or software, resist the temptation to install all your new toys at once. Take it one step at a time and test everything after adding each item. (i.e. Run the diagnostics and try your old programs.)
  • If you have an enhanced //e, //c, IIc+, or GS, try the system self-test: hold down the Control key, the Open Apple key, and the Option (or Solid Apple) key. Then press and release Reset. Lastly, let up on the other keys. Sit back and 'Watchen Der Blinken Lighten.' If you run into a problem, please see the next section on self test errors and what they mean.
  • Leave the computer plugged in, but turned off when installing cards. Touch the top of power supply before and often during your work. Better yet, use a wrist strap tied to ground through a 1 Megaohm resistor.
  • Make sure you have the required components for the program. Does it require an Enhanced //e? More RAM? A separate boot disk?
  • Never use your original disks. Make a backup and store the write-protected original in a safe place.
  • Be sure to keep your disks away from stray magnetic fields, such as those emanating from phones, monitors and speakers.
  • If you have an accelerator, try to disable it or take it out entirely. It may not be compatible with the new item. (This is actually rare; the one consistent thing accelerators have problems is the GS's self test)
  • Check all your cable connections. Do not disconnect or connect any cables with the computer on-- this includes disk/hard drives, keyboards, mice, etc.
  • Try pulling out other cards and disconnect your joystick. If you have a lot of cards, you might consider a Heavy-Duty Power Supply from A.E. It supplies 6 Amps instead of a measly 2.5 Amps. Test the power supply with a voltmeter while the computer is on.
  • Call the manufacturer to see if there is an upgrade or a fix with the program.
  • Most RAM cards come with a memory tester. Try running it in continuous mode for several hours, even if your RAM seems to be working.
  • Verify your disk(s) with Copy ][+ or the Finder to see if you have any bad blocks. A better choice is ProSEL, which provides a comprensive set of disk verification and fixing errors.
  • On a GS, check your control panel (control-open-apple-escape) settings: What is the startup slot set to? Is the slot set to "Your Card"? Check your RAM disk setting. Is it taking up all your memory? Try setting the speed to normal if it's a non-GS program.
  • On a GS, try take out or disable your INITS, CDAs, NDAs, and CDEVS. (With System 6, just hold down the shift key while booting). If the system is fine when shiftbooted, then there is probably a conflict between some of them. Try manually disabling a few at a time, and seeing if the problem disappears. You can narrow down a problem to an init or few that way.
  • If you have a hard disk, try booting from a System Disk and/or reinstalling the latest system software. Using the installer that came with the system software the the best and safest way to install system software; hand installing parts can cause problems.
  • AppleWorks GS 1.1 comes with a memory tester (try it).
  • The TransWarp GS has a continuous test on the CDA (try it too).

My GS reported a problem with the Self Test. What do the numbers mean?

The full list with explanations of these codes are available in Apple's technotes, archived here at http://web.pdx.edu/~heiss/technotes/iigs/tn.iigs.095.html or ftp://ftp.apple.com/dts/aii/tn/iigs/tn-iigs-095. In short, the error code should be an 8-digit number in the form AABBCCDD. Look at the AA number, and check the following table:

Test No.
Test Name/Section
01: Failed checksum in motherboard RAM/ROM.
02: Failed ram on motherboard.
03: Failed softswitch and register test.
04: Failed RAM address test
05: Failed Speed test
06: Failed serial port test
07: Failed clock test
08: Failed Battery RAM test
09: Failed Apple Desktop Bus (ADB- usually keyboards & mice) test
0A: Failed shadow register test
0B: Failed interrupts test
0C: Failed Sound test

Please note that with a Zip GS in the system, the system will always report an error, even if none exists. You will get an 05xxxxxx if DIP switch 1-4 is ON, but if that's off, you're likely to get 0Bxxxxxx (not on all Zips) or 0Cxxxxxx errors. If you suspect a real problem, then you can either switch off the Zip (1-6 off), or remove the Zip from the system and try with the normal processor. Do all modifications to DIP switches or cards in general with the computer off, as usual.

My Apple II goes into a self test or reboots when I turn it on.

Try unplugging any joysticks, paddles, or anything else plugged into the back joystick port or the internal game port. Since the primary and secondary joystick buttons appear the same to the system as the open and closed (option on the GS) apple buttons, if your joystick's buttons are misreported as down, the system can assume you're trying to continually do a self test. If your system works without the joystick plugged in, your joystick is defective.

This is a general rule of thumb for troubleshooting, as noted above. Pull out EVERYTHING not needed for the problem (go down to computer, monitor, and optionally the keyboard for the base problems), and slowly add components until the problem reappears. When it does, you've isolated the problem. [As usual, only plug or unplug devices with the power off.]

My Hard Drive (or other disk) crashed! What do I do?

If you have adequate backups, reformat it, and copy the data back. If you don't have backups, this would be a good time to start praying. Dead disk recovery is a delicate art at best; be forewarned that there is a good chance that some to all data will be lost.

Reminder: Keep good backups of any files you care about!

There are two commercial programs that can do a decent job at recovering as much as possible from a ProDOS disk: ProSEL (8 and 16 bit versions published by Charlie's Appleseeds) and Salvation: Deliverance (published by Vitesse). ProSEL-8 is the only package that runs on non-GS Apple IIs, so it may be your only choice. ProSEL-16 and Salvation both require GSs.

Refer to their manuals for the specifics on how to attempt volume restoration with them, though from what I've heard, they have a much better chance of restoring files in subdirectories, not the top-level directory. Thus, it may be prudent to store important files in subdirectories so that they can restored later. [With a limit of 51 files in the top directory, you'll be forced into using subdirectories sooner or later on hard drives.]

If you managed to repartition or erase your drive, at least with ProSEL (and possibly also Salvation, though I have not used that or heard from any owners), you have a decent chance of restoring most files if you repartitioned it EXACTLY as it used to be partitioned: same partition sizes in the same order. Do NOT reformat the drive or partitions-- that'll write to all disk blocks, which will make recovery essentially impossible. Then, run ProSEL on it and tell it not to assume a valid volume bitmap for each partition. You'll probably lose files in the root directory, but it's a better than nothing.

My Apple II is reporting the wrong year. How do I fix that?

First, if you have a GS, and the internal clock is reporting the wrong year each time you boot up, you probably have a dead battery. See section 8.4 for where to get a replacement.

ProDOS 8 does have a problem in its year calculating code-- the designers assumed that a table holding only 6 years would be sufficient. They were wrong. You'll have to patch ProDOS every few years to keep it up to date; a text file including a Basic program is on Apple's FTP site: ftp://ftp.apple.com/dts/aii/sys.soft/slotclock-patch.txt

The above is a Applesoft Basic source code inside a text file; you may want to instead download the program included on the latest ProDOS 8 system disk: ftp://ftp.apple.com/dts/aii/sys.soft/8bit.system.4.0.2/sysdisk402.bsc

My RamFAST board is reporting an error. What's the number mean?

Here's a list of the RamFAST Fatal Memory Fault codes:

$00 Unknown, probably means that the RamFAST is very confused
$01-08 DRAM memory test failure
$09 EPROM checksum failure
$0C Z180 processor crashed, indicates some hardware fault
$0D Error writing cache data to disk
$0E Termination power error

What does "UNABLE TO LOAD PRODOS" mean when I boot a disk?

ProDOS is not automatically installed on every disk formatted under ProDOS. All that is writted to disk is a very short boot stub that looks for a system (type 'SYS') file in the root directory called 'PRODOS'. If that file is present, it is loaded, and ProDOS installs itself. If there is no PRODOS file found, the error message of "UNABLE TO LOAD PRODOS" is displayed on the screen.

To make such a disk bootable, all you need to do is copy the file 'PRODOS' from a working ProDOS boot disk to the root directory of the disk you want to be able to boot from, assuming there is enough free space to copy that file.

You will also want to copy at least one other system (type='SYS') to the root directory of any disk you want to boot, as ProDOS scans the root directory for the first SYS file with name ending in ".SYSTEM" to execute, or it'll be unhappy. A good candidate for such a file is Apple's "BASIC.SYSTEM", providing the Basic interpreter and command line interface to ProDOS.

If you choose to use Macs and Disk Copy to download System 6.x, make sure to use Double Sided/Double Density (DSDD - 720K or 800K) disks-- 1.44MB (HD) disks will be written to as 1.44MB disks, which most GS drives cannot deal with. Also, if your GS is refusing to boot off the install disk (with an 'UNABLE TO LOAD PRODOS' message), and you have a Quadra or Powermac, you may be a victim of Apple's costcutting in 3.5" drives-- those drives may report disks as successfully written, but GSs will be unable to read them. Switch to an older Mac with a usable drive, or use a null modem program to transfer the files.

Section 9: GS System 6.0 mini-FAQ

Where can I get System 6, and what fixes are there for the known bugs in it?

First off, if you don't have it on your GS, you may want to consider upgrading to System 6.0.1. Like all GS/OS releases, you will need to make sure you've got a ROM 01 or ROM 3 before you even think about running it. Although you may be able to get it to boot in less RAM, 1.25MB of RAM is pretty much a minimum; 1.5-2MB RAM is recommended if you want to run a lot of the fun addons. Secondly, an 800K floppy is rather cramped for space as a boot disk; a Hard Drive helps immensely. (If you're looking to strip a boot disk down to get as much space as possible, please see my reference of files in the GS/OS installation at http://apple2.info/wiki/index.php?title=IIgs_6.0.1.html.)

System 6.0.1 has a number of bugfixes and small addons from System 6.0; they both have similar RAM requirements, so you should consider moving to System 6.0.1 if at all possible. Also, many problems that existed in System 6.0 and 6.0.1 have only been fixed in patches to System 6.0.1, such as the HFS FST and programs that GUPP fixes. (See below)

Next, you'll want to download them. On the internet, they're available in Apple II (.BSQ) form from Apple's FTP site at ftp://ftp.apple.com/dts/aii/sys.soft/gs.system.6.0.1/. There are 6 disks to either System 6.0 or System 6.0.1; you should download and unpack them (with Binscii and Shrinkit. Then, boot the Install disk.

When unpacking the .BSQ files from Apple's FTP site without a hard drive, you'll notice that some of the disks can be larger than 800K, even when partially unpacked. Creating a Ramdisk from the control panel greater than 800K will let you unpack these big disks without any problems. (Remember to kill off that ramdisk before trying to run GS/OS if you have less than 1.5MB of RAM)

If you have access to a Mac with "Disk Copy", you may want to instead try downloading the disks in that format from ftp://ftp.apple.com/Apple.Support.Area/Apple.Software.Updates/US/Apple _II/Apple_IIGS_System_6.0.1/

If you choose to use Macs and Disk Copy to download System 6.x, make sure to use Double Sided/Double Density (DSDD - 720K or 800K) disks-- 1.44MB (HD) disks will be written to as 1.44MB disks, which most GS drives cannot deal with. Also, if your GS is refusing to boot off the install disk (with an 'UNABLE TO LOAD PRODOS' message), and you have a Quadra or Powermac, you may be a victim of Apple's costcutting in 3.5" drives-- those drives may report disks as successfully written, but GSs will be unable to read them. Switch to an older Mac with a usable drive, or use a null modem program to transfer the files.

While a little too big for this FAQ, Nathan Mates has written a reference detailing the various files installed by System 6.0.1 with comments on their use, as well as which files are required for minimal disk usage. Please see http://apple2.info/wiki/index.php?title=IIgs_6.0.1.html.

Common Problems

If you are still using System 6.0, it is recommended that you upgrade to the latest and greatest version, 6.0.1. It is available at Apple's FTP site (see section for the address).

The HFS (Macintosh) FST (File system translator) included with System 6.0.1 does contain at least one bug, which can corrupt a HFS volume of 64MB or larger. It is strongly encouraged that you download and install the patch. (You'll need to copy all the files off to non-HFS volumes, install, and copy back for safety). The patch is available from ftp://apple2.caltech.edu/pub/apple2/addons/patches/patchhfs.shk

I (Nathan Mates) have had HFS volumes corrupted, so I'm pretty confident that there are more bugs in the FST. There are no native GS HFS volume checkers; you'll have to take the drive to a Mac anytime you need to run a checker such as Apple's Disk First Aid or Norton Utilities. (Also, Macs want a special driver, which may require you to [re]format the drive on a mac, or use a special program to insert it. This boils down to the general computer rule of thumb: If you care about your files, make sure you have backups!

Despite the hard work of the Apple Computer programmers, some bugs slipped through in System 6.0.1. Both as a recommendation for system stability, and as a plug for a program of his, Nathan Mates (maintainer of this FAQ) has found and fixed a number of them. These include memory trashing bugs in the 6.0.1 Finder, the Pascal FST not recognizing legal punctuation in disk names, and many more. Get the free program 'GUPP' (Grand Unified Patch Program) from a major Apple II FTP site

Copy ][+ may be a great program for making the one personal backup copy of a piece of software that you are legally entitled to, but its file copy, delete, and directory sorting functions will corrupt a disk when used on a directory with GS/OS 'forked' files. (Pretty much all of the system software is forked, as are most GS applications). Do NOT use it on disks or HD partitions with such files. ProSEL 8 or 16 can repair some of the damage done, and provide safe disk and file utilities.

If the mouse cursor wipes out everything it moves over, you may have a software conflict with Closeview. To deactivate it, from within the Finder, open the 'System' folder on your boot disk, then the 'System.Setup' folder. Find the icon named 'Closeview', and click once on it. Then, from the 'Special' menu, choose 'Icon Info...'. A window will open up, with a check box for 'Inactive' in the top right. After setting it to inactive, reboot. You can do the same thing for any other Desk Accessory, Control Panel (CDev), or Init (in the System.Setup folder, should you decide not to want to run it.

Easy Access also can and does cause lockups with programs, especially on the ROM 01. Deactivate it just like you did with the Closeview program-- it's in the same folder.

If you are getting an annoying message about Appletalk not being available at boot, but you're not using Appletalk in general, disable the 'SCC.Manager' file in the drivers folder inside the system folder on your boot disk.

Missing features of system 6? Perhaps you just used easy install, which doesn't install all the bells and whistles. Try clicking on the 'Custom' install (versus the easy install) in the Sys 6.0 installer and add the nifty things like Calculator, Find File, HFS FST, etc. You can also read the Shortcuts file on the 'SystemTools2' disk for some great keyboard shortcuts.

Finder 6.0 icons that match by name and have a leading wildcard require uppercase letters. For example, a name like "*.txt" never matches, but "*.TXT" works fine (it matches regardless of a file's actual capitalization). (This was accidental; the 5.0.4 Finder did not care about capitalization in icon files.)

Two misconceptions about System 6: The A2.RAMCARD is not for the GS's /RAM5. It only works with "slinky" (i.e. standard slot) cards. Also, the DOS 3.3 FST has nothing to do with MS-DOS.

Tips & Hints

The AppleShare logon programs have always looked for a folder named "Mail" inside your user folder whenever you log onto a user volume. If there's any items in there, they present a dialog that says "You have mail." With the Sounds control panel, you can make it play a sound of your choice then.

If you don't want to see your icons on boot, set bit 1 (i.e. the 2nd LSB) of BRAM Location $5F. Be sure not to mess with the other bits. Use the toolbox calls!

The FinderExtras folder goes in the same folder as the Finder (generally the System folder).

If you don't like yellow folders in the Finder you can change the byte at offset +65 in the Finder resource with type $C001 and ID 1. Change the $E0 to whatever you want (the first digit is the default folder foreground color, and the low nibble is for the outline color). Only folders that do not already have a color recorded in a Finder.Data file get the default color.

If you have a RamFAST

The RamFast and ProDOS 2.0.1 both try to do re-mapping of drives to unused slots. This can cause problems, mostly when launching and returning from ProDOS 8 applications (crashes or wants you to insert disk). Solution: Configure the RamFast not to re-map. If you have a RamFAST with a ROM revision less than 2.01a, you need to get a newer ROM from Sequential Systems. Otherwise, V2.01c allows setting Slot Priority Allocations to 0 which will let ProDOS deal with them. V3.0 allows you to choose between RamFast mapping (works now) and ProDOS 8 mapping. If you can't wait, you can Patch ProDOS 2.0 not to re-map slots. Look for "10 BF C9 A5 D0 07" and change the $A5 to $00 (should be byte $1A3 in the 5th block of the file). Hack at your own risk.

If you have a Vulcan or AE High Density disk

Due to problems with the Vulcan, when booting, it asks for your System Disk. Just put the Vulcan driver on your boot disk, boot it, and then launch the installer. Alternately, put the driver on the installer disk and boot it. (but you have to delete some of the installer scripts first) For the AE High Density Drive, be sure to remove Apple's 3.5" driver when putting on AE's.

If you have ProSel as your program launcher

Rename start to something else before running the installer, or else the Finder won't be installed. Also, ProSEL as a launcher will cause a bogus $0040 error on some programs such as the first DOTW release.

If you have an AMR 3.5" drive

If the computer hangs (mostly at the Standard File Save/Open dialog box) with no disk in the drive, try putting one in. What's happening is that GS is reading the status from the drive, and the drive won't return anything unless there is a disk in the drive. Just stick a disk in and all will be fine. If it really annoys you, either deactivate the 3.5" driver (get IR so you can double-click to re-activate it) or simply keep a disk in the drive at all times. This is not a problem under ProDOS 8.


There is a problem with the HFS FST, but only GSCII seems to be affected. When de-binscii-ing files, put the output onto a ProDOS volume, not an HFS one.

[ Mega-thanks to Dave Lyons & friends for these. ]

Finder 6.0.1 is displaying garbage in the windows!

System 6.0.1's Finder occasionally gets some of its files corrupted, and then fills a window (or the screen) with multicolor garbage when a window is opened. This is extremely annoying, but there are ways to fix it. First, try installing Grand Unified Patcher Program (see the section above (9.1) on system 6.x patches).

If that doesn't work, go to the 'Preferences...' menu item under the Finder's 'Special' menu, and turn off the hiding of invisible files. Inside the 'Icons' folder on each disk/partition, there's a file called 'Desktop'. Trash it, and reboot. [This file contains window sizes and custom icon placements, as well as duplicate copies of icons from System 6-savvy applications with 'rBundles' attached. No real harm other than losing the window placements is done by trashing it.]

Lastly, you can look for bad icon files-- make a new folder (such as 'Icons2') on each hard drive, and move all files except 'Ftype.Apple' out of the Icons folder on each disk/partition to the new folder. Reboot and see if the problem still occurs. If not, move a few files back at a time, reboot, and see if you have the problem. When you've isolated the problem file, don't use it anymore.

Icons no longer point to apps. How do I rebuild the desktop database?

Easiest way: from Finder, go to prefs, turn off hide invisible files. In each disk partition's 'Icons' folder, there should be a file named 'desktop'. Delete it. That'll just force a new desktop database file to be created next time you start the Finder; you'll still have to click on each file that put its rBundles into there to rebuild it.

Better way: Softdisk G-S #47 or 48, program I (Nathan Mates) wrote called 'Rebuilder'. Deletes the desktop file, then scans the drive for all rBundles and adds them.

How do I make a 3.5" disk that boots and runs an Application?

Assuming that this (or any other program) is a ProDOS 16 or GS/OS app, the way to put it on a self-booting disk is:

1) Format disk, install GS/OS on it, with any desired extensions, etc

2a) Copy the app you want to run to the system folder of that disk, and rename it 'Start'


2b) Copy the app you want to run to the root directory (lowest level) of the disk, and make sure its filename ends in ".SYS16", renaming it if necessary. If you do this, delete any 'Start' program in the system folder.

This assumes that the program is small enough to fit on that disk; if space it tight, you may want to consult http://apple2.info/wiki/index.php?title=IIgs_6.0.1.html for lists of what files you might be able to remove.

What's the difference between 2:1 and 4:1 3.5" formatting?

These two ratios are possible interleave factors for 3.5" disks. Unidisks 3.5"s maximum speed is at the 4:1 interleave factor; if 2:1 disks are inserted in them, a lot of time will be wasted while the disk blows revolutions reading sequential sectors. Apple 3.5" drives best speed is at 2:1; 4:1 disks in them can be accessed slightly slower than 2:1, but not anywhere near as bad as 2:1 disks in Unidisk drives. Thus, if you don't have Unidisk drives, 2:1 should be selected, but if you're using a mix of drives or Unidisks, 4:1 is the optimal speed.

What do I do with icon files for the Finder, and how can I customize how they appear?

Under System 6.0, each volume you have online can (and the Finder will occasionally auto-add this) have a folder named 'Icons' in the root directory. Applications with separate icons files (as identified by a Finder 'Get Info') can have that icons file copied to the Icons folder of that partition. For example, the application /Games1/OneArmBattle/OneArmBattle should have its icon file copied to /Games1/Icons/ . Most icons files are simply cute fluff, and are not needed to run things correctly. A lot of files may also slow down loading of the Finder, as it must reload all icons files each time.

The 'FType.Apple' file installed to the Icons folder of the boot disk along with the rest of the System Software is a required file for the Finder, GS Shrinkit, and possibly other applications. Do not mess with it; it does not contain any icons, but the text descriptions of file types you can see from the Finder.

If you want to make your own icons, or point them at various applications, the best way to do this is to make up a custom icon for the filetype, and set the icon application path to the application you want to run. IconED 2.0 is a good icon editor, and is available from ftp://apple2.caltech.edu/pub/apple2/utils/. Once your icon file is created, it should be saved in an Icons folder on one of your disks, preferably the boot volume. As the first match of an icon is used, you may want to do a directory sort to move your custom file to the top of the Icons folder or elsewhere if things are matching oddly.

Section 10: Resources for the Apple II

Apple II Groups

http://www.a2central.com http://www.apple2.org

Hardware and Software Vendors

http://gse-reactive.com - Apple II Hardware

http://apple2.info - Focus Hard Drive Controller - Apple IIgs 8 MB Cards - Apple II Slot expansion chassis

The Byte Works products are available at http://www.syndicomm.com. Apple IIGS assemblers, compilers, and utility programs such as a spreadsheet and a morphing program. They are also one of the few sources for Apple II books full of technical and programming information.

10.3 Fun hardware add-ons

///SSH Systeme, http://users.ids.net/~kerwood/shh.html (Write to: SHH SYSTEME, Dipl. Ing. Joachim Lange, Bergstrasse 95, 82131 Stockdorf, Germany) is selling several cards for the Apple II, allowing you to connect IDE drive(s), PC Floppy drives, or expand a Transwarp GS's cache. Contact jlange@tasha.muc.de.

Periodicals & Books

Juiced.GS = http://www.juiced.gs - Published by Ken Gagne

Misc Resources

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