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openCBM – Installation under Windows 10

Introduction

Since Windows 7, Microsoft has tried to make their operating system more secure. However, the term “more secure” is actually wrong here. Even though many may now cry out and consider their favorite operating system to be secure per se, this is merely a fallacy. Something like a secure operating system does not actually exist, and with increasing complexity will probably never exist.

Surely everyone knows the reports about Windows and its security. And that other operating systems are much more secure. The truth is that every operating system has gaps, and plenty of them. No matter from which manufacturer or which type. Security is inversely proportional to the distribution of an operating system. The more widespread it is, the more people have an interest in “cracking” other computers. And the more resources are used for this, the more gaps are found. 

An operating system with a low distribution is therefore not secure, but only uninteresting for “hackers” because the effort to find the gaps is not in any relation to the “yield”. But this is of course not a guarantee that nothing will ever happen here.

Now, you can think what you want about Microsoft, but so far they are still the unchallenged leader of installed desktop operating systems. Therefore, Microsoft partly had to take paths that more or less make life difficult for the honest user. I don’t want to go into this further, since this shouldn’t be a topic. But you now have to subject yourself to many restrictions, especially under Windows 10, which sometimes present less experienced users with insurmountable obstacles when installing programs and especially drivers.

I would like to try, with the help of a largely illustrated tutorial, to show at least one possible way to get your XoomFloppy, XoomFloppy Pro or ZoomFloppy running with openCBM. I use a Windows 10 Professional in the 64Bit edition as a basis. Only a basic installation was done, otherwise there are no other drivers or additional programs on the system.

Fresh Windows 10 installation

From this point, I will now show step by step what to do to install openCBM on a Windows 10 system. Unfortunately, I can not show in this tutorial all possible problems and errors that may occur due to already installed drivers or software. There are too many possibilities and especially drivers and software that can interfere with other programs. In most cases, however, this will have no effect, so that probably only very rarely it should then come to problems.

But I can gladly try, as far as it is possible from a distance, to support with such problems. For this purpose, the comment field is open to everyone and can also be used for such cases.

Start the installation

Download and unzip

First of all, of course, the appropriate software is also needed to be installed. In this case openCBM in the current version 0.4.99.99. Furthermore the tool “Zadig” is needed, which can be downloaded HERE. Zadig is a tool which makes it quite easy to install drivers like libUSB very easily. Of course you can download and install libUSB directly from the project page. But exactly here you will be confronted as a beginner but quite quickly with very many problems and questions that arise due to the current security systems under Windows 10.

Therefore, I limit myself here to the simpler way, which also does not bring any disadvantages because of it.

The following files are now available for download.

Downloaded files

First of all the ZIP file of openCBM should be unpacked. This can be done by clicking with the left mouse button on the openCBM file and then selecting the newly added menu item “Tools for compressed folders”.

Unzip archive

After that click on “Extract all”.

Click on “Extract all”

And already the unzipped files are available in a subfolder.

Unpacked directory

Install driver

Next, connect the XoomFloppy, XoomFloppy Pro or ZoomFloppy (for simplicity’s sake, I’ll just refer to it as the XoomFloppy) to the computer’s USB port. Windows will first display a message at the bottom right that the drivers are being installed, followed by a second message that the device has been successfully set up.

However, this is a mistake on the part of Windows, as the Device Manager shows.

Kein Treiber installiert

As you can see, there is an exclamation mark in front of the driver. This indicates that either no driver could be installed or started. This is not surprising, since Windows does not know this device. By the way, the XoomFloppy and the XoomFloppy Pro also report as ZoomFloppy in the Device Manager. The reason is that the original ZoomFloppy firmware is installed on them as well.

Now the tool Zadig is started, which was downloaded before. Since this is a self-executing EXE file, nothing needs to be unpacked beforehand. This tool is not installed, but of course it needs administration rights, which is indicated by this message, which must also be confirmed. Otherwise Zadig cannot install the driver.

The following question, whether to check for updates, can be answered in the negative. The current version has just been downloaded from the developer’s site.

The Zadig interface is now displayed. Since nothing else has been installed on my Windows 10 yet, the correct device is also displayed directly. This will probably not be the case on a system that has been running for a long time and where one or the other device has already been installed. In any case, the device with the name “xum1541 floppy adapter (ZOOMFLOPPY)” should be selected there. If you have one of the cheaper “Cheap” ZoomFloppys, you can use a different name in the brackets at the end. In any case it is important that it is the “xum1541 floppy adapter”.

If this entry cannot be found, please select the entry “List All Devices” under “Options”.

If the “xum1541 floppy adapter” is selected, the next step is to find the “libUSB” driver from the list. It is important that it must be the “libusb-win32” driver, even if it is a 64 bit Windows. 

If everything is set correctly, as in the next picture, you can click on “Install Driver”. Zadig will now install the correct driver. 

It will take a small moment, and the system may also look like it is stuck for a brief moment. Just wait until the message appears that the installation was completed successfully.

If the Device Manager is now called, the warning triangle has disappeared and the driver could be initialized successfully.

Driver successfully installed

If everything has gone without problems up to this point, we can now move on to the actual openCBM installation. You could also say that the worst is over.

Install openCBM

Now a “command prompt” must be started. To do this, enter “cmd” in the input field at the bottom left and right-click on the “Command Prompt” entry that appears.

There you have to select “Run as administrator”. Without administrator rights, the installation would otherwise fail.

The warning that opens must be confirmed with “Yes”.

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Now you have to change with the “cd” command to the directory where openCBM was unpacked before. Normally downloaded files are stored in the user directory under “Downloads”. And if there was unpacked, there is the unpacked directory of openCBM. Windows creates one more directory before, with the name of the file. Therefore you have to change one directory deeper.

On my test system, I named the user “test”. Therefore the user directory is “C:\Users\test”. The full path on MY COMPUTER, is therefore “\Users\test\Downloads\opencbm-0.4.99.99\opencbm-0.4.99.99”.

This path differs, of course, according to the user name. And if the file has been unpacked somewhere else, you have to navigate there accordingly.

There you can see among other things the file “install.cmd”, with which the actual installation can be started. Simply enter “install.cmd” in the unpacked openCBM directory and execute. The installation is unspectacular and can be done quickly. The directory, which was indicated at the place with the red marking, well remember, and/or copy.

openCBM install 2 800

This path is now included in the system path, so that you can call the commands later from any path without having to know where they were installed. To do this, simply enter the word “environment” at the bottom left of the line. Windows will then hit the item “edit system environment variables”. And this point should also be clicked.

In the window that opens, select the “Environment variables…” item.

There in the window “System variables” double click on the entry “Path”.

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Then click on “New”.

A new entry is added to the list. Enter the path from before, or paste it <CTRL> +<v> with if it was copied before. Confirm this entry with “Return” and finally click on “OK”.

Finally, all the windows can be confirmed with “OK” and closed. This completes the installation and a first test can be performed. In order for the changes to the environment variables to take effect, the command prompt must also be closed. Especially since now no window with administration rights is needed anymore.

First test

Now it’s time to test if the whole thing worked. So first the USB connection is disconnected again, and the XoomFloppy, etc. is connected to a Commodore floppy. Then the USB connection can be re-established and the floppy drive can be switched on.

Next, a command prompt is needed again. As already mentioned, administration rights are not required. Therefore, the window can simply be opened, as explained above. Only this time the entry is not clicked with the right mouse button, but with the left mouse button.

With the command “cbmctrl detect” the BUS is scanned, which is connected to Commodore hardware. The bus is scanned and the drives with their device ID and the designation, as well as the installed Kernal are output.

In my example, the output looks like this:

8: JiffyDOS 1541

This means that a drive was found with the device ID 8. It is a Commodore 1541 and JiffyDOS is installed as Kernal. There could now also be “SpeedDOS”, “DolphinDOS” or in the case of an original Kernal, simply “1541”. With it one knows now on the one hand that the installation worked, and which devices are straight connected.

Some other important commands are:

  • cbmctrl dir 8
    Output of the directory of the drive with the device ID 8, which would correspond to the command “LOAD”$”,8 and then LIST” on a Commodore computer
  • cbmctrl reset
    All drives will be reset.
  • cbmctrl status 8
    The error channel of the drive with the device ID 8 is queried.
     

A complete  manual in English is also available. Or as an online version in HTML.

Possible problems

The following message may appear.

error: no xum1541 device found
libusb/xum1541:: Das System kann die angegebene Datei nicht finden.

In most cases this is due to a communication error on the USB. It also happens when you forget to turn on the floppy drive and the previously entered command hangs. 

It usually helps to switch off the drive, disconnect the USB connection for a short time, and then connect everything again and switch on the floppy. The error message is unfortunately a bit misleading, because it is not a “file” that was not found, but the device itself. But in this case the XoomFloppy.

Another problem that often occurs on current computers is that only one command can be sent and nothing else happens afterwards. This usually occurs with USB 3.0 ports. Remedy is partly difficult here. If you have an additional USB 2.0 port, you should try it. Also a USB 2.0 hub can sometimes help. But this cannot be answered in general. 

There must be some experimentation. I have not yet encountered this phenomenon on older computers. If you have an old laptop, you can try it there.

Other tools

gui4cbm4win

This is a graphical user interface, which is based on an installed openCBM. After downloading and unpacking the archive, the EXE file must be copied to the directory where openCBM was installed. As a reminder, this was the path that was also entered in the environment variables. After copying and starting the following interface is presented.

So files can be transferred quite easily between a Commodore floppy and the PC. But also the formatting of floppy disks is possible.

The software can be downloaded HERE

CBM-Transfer

Also a graphical GUI offers cbmXfer, which is also based on the tools of openCBM, but requires additional tools. At first glance it looks very similar to the aforementioned gui4cbm4win, but it offers many more possibilities. Among other things disks can be copied or images can be written back.

All necessary tools and the software is available for download at http://www.6502.org/users/sjgray/software/cbmxfer/cbmxfer.html 

nibtools

This is a collection of small command line tools that can be used to copy floppy disks that would normally not be copied despite the copy protection used there. The copy protection is transferred to the copy. These tools require an additional parallel cable, which is also required for SpeedDOS, among other things.

Download

Conclusion

Installing openCBM on a Windows 10 operating system is actually not that complicated. Tools like Zadig simplify the installation enormously. And through graphical user interfaces, the openCBM tools can also be operated with the mouse without having to remember commands and parameters. 

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