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CP/M Utility Documentation

Written by Chris Despoinidis
Wednesday, 23 July 2008




This document refers to the programs provided on the NewBrain CP/M system disc that are produced by Grundy Business Systems. These programs are
particular to the NewBrain CP/M system and will not work on any other CP/M system. These programs should not be used through a networked system.

Blank discs must be formatted with this program before use. When it is invoked it will ask which drive is to be used for the formatting operation.
If you have two or more drives, it is recommended to use a different one to A: Answer A,B,C, or D as appropriate and press NEWLINE. The program will then
ask you to place a blank disk in the stated drive and press NEWLINE. If you have a single drive system it is important at this point to remove your
system disc and place a blank disc in the drive, otherwise your system disc will become formatted. To avoid accidents it is a good idea to write-protect
your system disc. If anything other than NEWLINE is pressed at this point control will return to the first question. Once NEWLINE is pressed the disc
will be formatted. At the end the first question will be reasked and you can format another disc. If you wish to exit the program press NEWLINE. Before
you do this make sure that a system disc is in A: again, otherwise the system will "crash".

This program copies the system information on the reserved tracks from one disc to another. This should usually be done after formatting a new disc. The
information copied will include the configuation information and the initial command line. When activated it will first ask for the letter of the drive
from which the system information is to be read. Enter the letter of the drive and press NEWLINE. The system information will then be read from that
drive. It will then ask where the information is to be written to. Answer this in the same way, and the information will then be written. This question
will then be repeated. To exit the program press NEWLINE or cntrl/0. At any point discs in the drives may be removed or replaced as required.


This program will set up an initial command that will be executed by the CP/M system when cold-booting the system. For example, you may wish always to use
WORDSTAR. When the program is activated it will prompt with '>'. Type in the command you wish e.g. "WS" and press NEWLINE. If you wish to clear the
initial command just press NEWLINE. To leave the command unchanged press cntrl/0. To change the initial command, simply repeat the process using the
new command name. Note that the command will be set on the disc in drive A: only. To place it on other discs you must either repeat the program or SYSGEN
to the other discs.


This program exits the CP/M system. In the case of the 32K CP/M system the screen will go blank temporarily before restarting BASIC. While this is
occuring you may press the stop key to reenter CP/M instead (as on powerup). With the 64K system the main menu will reappear and you can then select your
next program.


This is a program that copys a disc track by track when only a single drive is available. The method is to fill the RAM with as much as possible from the
source disc and then write this to the destination disc. When the program is started up it will say "Place source disc in drive A:". This will then be
read, and then it will say "Place destination disc in drive A:". This will then be written to. The process will be repeated, until at the end it will
say "Type C to continue with another copy operation or NEWLINE to return to the system".


This is a program to copy a disc when two drives are available. When it starts up it will say "Place source disc in drive A: and destination disc in
drive B: and NEWLINE to start copying or anything else to exit. Any other key will cause the program to abort. A track by track operation will then take
place, and the original prompt will reappear. This program will only work on two similarly configured drives (PIP should be used otherwise).





The NewBrain CP/M CONFIGURE program which will run under both 32K and 64K CP/M systems allows the user to set his CP/M system according to the type of
disc drives and devices he wishes to use. The information is processed and written to the first sector of the first track of the drive specified at the
end. This information is thus copied during SYSGEN and does not affect the files on the disc. The information is only read in at cold boot time, so will
not take force until that occurs. When a cold boot occurs, the configuration information is read off the disc in physical drive 0 (usually A:). The
information on discs in any other drives is ignored. The configuration information is used in both CP/M systems and in both the paged and non-paged
DISCIO systems.


From the CP/M A> enter CONFIGUR and press NEWLINE. When running the program, at any point the user may abandon the program by typing cntrl/C. and no
change will be made. When answering a question the CP/M line editor can be used to correct answers. Once NEWLINE has been pressed it is not possible to
correct any errors. The XSUB utility may prove useful.


3.1) How Many Disc Drives Do You Wish To Configure

Enter the number of disc drives there are in your system. This will usually be a maximum of 4, but may be more if you have a hard disc or have a RAM disc
facility (wishful thinking). If you specify more than there are the floppy disc controller will not object, but there will be a strange delay of a few
seconds on cold booting while the controller attempts to recalibrate the unattached drives. From now on the questions will be asked for each drive.

3.2) What Is The Physical Drive Number (Usually N)

This gives the hardware drive number to be used to access the drives. Usually you should respond with the suggested value, but if you have hard discs or
RAM disc facilitys they may be different.

3.3)What Is The Gap Length (Usually 42)

You should always enter 42 unless you have other disc controllers.


3.4) What Is The Gap Length On Formatting

You should always enter 40 unless you have strange disc drives.


3.5) What Is The Special Parameter Byte Of The Drive (Usually 0)

This will be 0 usually though setting certain bits have certain interesting effects. Setting bit 0 will cause data to be read and written to the disc in
inverted format. This can be useful, for example when reading many SuperBrain disc formats. Setting bit1 will cause the disc controller to double the track
number when seeking a certain track (though the cylinder number in the sector searched for will remain unchanged). This can be useful for reading a 48
tracks per inch (TPI) formatted disc with a 96 TPI drive. It is not recommended to write to a disc in this mode as it may not be read by a 48 TPI


3.6) What Is The Seek Rate Of The Disc In Milliseconds

Consult the technical manual for the drive you are using and enter in the correct value. If in doubt 20 for 40 track drives (4 for 80 track drives) is
safe but slow. If the drive has been supplied by Grundy Business Systems the value you require should be supplied.

3.7) What Is The Sector Size (512 or 1024)

The disc controller supports two sizes of physical sector size, 512 and 1024. However the software will only support a 512 byte sector unless an expansion
interface is used. Usually a 512 byte sector will be used.

3.8) How Many Sectors Are There Per Track

This question refers to the number of physical sectors (NOT CP/M sectors) there are per track. If 5.25 inch discs are being used there is a maximum of
10 (which is the usual value) for 512 byte sectors and 5 for 1024 byte sectors.

3.9) What Is The Skew Factor (Usually 0)

Normally you will enter 0. This is because when you format a disc the controller will hard-format the most optimum skew factor onto the disc.
However you may wish to use a software skew to read other formats of disc. For example many SuperBrain formats use a skew factor of 2. The skew factor
is one greater than the number of physical sectors skipped between reading sectors on a track in the logically correct order.


3.10) How Many Sides Does The Drive Have (1 or 2)

Enter 1 for single sided drives and 2 for double-sided drives. You may of course enter 1 for a double-sided drive if you wish to read a single sided
disc in it. If you answer 2 you will then be asked:


3.10.1) Are The Tracks Numbered......

If you have a double-sided drive you can either use the tracks on one side of the disc followed by the tracks on the other side, or you can use first a
track on one side, then a track on the other. If you wish to use the former then reply 1, if the latter (which is more efficient and is the usual
NewBrain format) then reply 2. Many alien formats (e.g. SuperBrain) do however use the former scheme.

3.11) How Many Tracks Per Side are There On The Disc

To answer this question you should refer to the technical manual of the disc drive. For a 5.25 inch drive normally it will be 40 for a 48 TPI drive and 80
for a 96 TPI drive.

3.12) How Many Tracks Are Reserved (Usually 2)

The usual answer will be 2. The system information in the NewBrain system tracks take up 7K bytes, and the reserved tracks should be enough to hold this.

3.17) What Is The Blocksize In Kbytes ([1,]2,4,8, or 16)

Usually it will be 2 for 40 TPI single/double sided drives and 4 for 80 TPI double sided drives. Other format discs may have other blocksizes. If
introducing a wierd format a rule of thumb is to use a blocksize that will give you between 128 and 255 blocks. The maximum number of blocks is 512.
Once you have answered this question the program will tell you the disc capacity. This may be less than the advertised capacity for two reasons.
Firstly it does not include the space for the system tracks and secondly it will be a multiple of the blocksize and any odd amount is unused. This will
be the value displayed when doing a STAT DSK:


3.18) How Many Entries Are There In The Directory
(Multiple of N)

Usually this will be the lowest number possible. If it is greater than 128 then a message will be output which states that only 128 entries will be
checked. This means that the CP/M system will only sumcheck the first 128 directory entries in its system which detects whether the discs have been
changed surreptitiously.

3.19) Is The Disc Removable (1=yes, 2=no)

Usually answer 1, but for non-removable hard discs and RAM disc facilities it may be more efficient to answer 0. If you answer 0 the CP/M system will not
use its directory sumcheck system to detect whether the discs have been changed.


This information is only used in the 64K CP/M system, to describe the devices that are attached to the CP/M logical devices (I0BYTE is not used). (nl)

Configuring Stream 2
Device Number 16 (21 to open parallel printer port)
Port Number O
Enter Parameter String [*] L0*0 (honest 'output, no buffer)

Configuring Stream 3
Device Number 17
Port Number 0
Enter Parameter String [*] n*0

Configuring Stream 4
Device Number 3
Port Number 0
Enter Parameter String 16

System configuration complete.
On which drive do you wish to configuration to be done (A=0, B=1 etc.)

Last Updated Monday, 28 July 2008

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