How to copy IIgs system disk

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Last seen: 3 months 1 week ago
Joined: Feb 17 2013 - 16:18
How to copy IIgs system disk

I just obtained a ROM3 IIgs with 2M of total RAM. Included were 2 3.5" drives and a 5.25" drive (I believe I will need a separate controller for the latter). The 3.5" drives are A9M0106s, as I believe were standard with the IIgs.

Included was a motley assortment of IIgs disks, labeled on the disk shell with Sharpie. Two system disks were included. I've been trying to duplicate them with no success.

I can see two ways to do this on the IIgs after initializing a blank diskette:

1. Drag the system disk icon on top of the new disk icon, which apparently does a block copy, The resulting disk will start to boot, but crash into the monitor almost instantly.

2. Drag the files from the system disk into the new disk. The resulting disk gets much further in the boot process, but then generally either crashes into the monitor, or displays an error message saying there's not enough RAM to load the Finder.

After either type of copy operation, a "Verify" procedure always returns no errors.

I disassembled both drives, blew out the dust, and cleaned the heads with alcohol. This made me feel better but did not change anything, sadly-- the symptoms are the same as before.

Perhaps I am using the wrong type of diskette? I have a bulk pack of black "one hole" disks, but I noticed the drives have microswitch sensors for the second hole normally seen on 1.4M HD diskettes.

Last seen: 5 hours 6 min ago
Joined: May 27 2013 - 13:01
Re: How to copy IIgs system disk

I do not know why you are encountering the errors because I never used GS/OS to copy a system disk. I use any copying program that runs under ProDOS.

What I do know is that you need no extra controller to hook up the 5.25 drive. And you need not be concerned about the disks themselves if there are currently no errors on them. Read the Owner's manual for the iigs to learn how to daisy chain disk drives on the iigs Smartport. You need to learn how to do this.

speedyG's picture
Last seen: 4 days 7 hours ago
Joined: Nov 16 2011 - 07:45
Re: How to copy IIgs system disk

Hello dramsey,
daisychaining must be performed that way that after the IIGS first
the 3,5 drives must be hooked followed by the 5,25 drives:


with adresses:

IIGS - s5,d1 -- s5,d2 -- s6,d1 -- s6,d2

.....3,5 drives allways map to slot 5
and 5,25 drives allways map to slot 6 !

therefor of course in the options panel the slot 5 and slot 6 must
be set to internal option and both slots may not contain the option "your card"

Due to the fact that the systemdisks ( GSOS ) contain subdirectories / folders
i prefer copying them with Copy II Plus ( at least version 8 often mentioned as CPS II )
instead of using drag and drop. This permits to keep only files needed in the subdirs
and recieve more availiable free space on the disk.

The reason for this preferation is that in "verify" function the drag and drop
only compares the directories and directory entries but not the real contant byte by byte ( quick and dirty ).
CPS has a byte by byte compare and verify option that realy works correct.
And CPS offers as well the option to copy in file/dir-mode or by track-mode ( blocktransfer ):
copy files - or - copy disk.

Another point to mention as possible problem:
Disk-track misalignment.
If that drives have variation in alignment it might happen, that disks -
( if remaining without drive change ) - are verified without errors but -
the mess starts up after drive change of the disks, because with progress of tracknumbers
also the misalignment increases. That result to the early tracks remaining to be readable -
but later tracks fail.
By the errors you explain, it seems to me that this might be your problem.
If you want to verify this you should mark the drives by letter and mark disks also by letter
to indicate which disk has been written by which drive. If the verification fails each
time after swapping disks there is rather high chance of difference in alignment.

...and just by the way because many postings in earlier threads have been trying to explain the
"notch-mysteries" of the 3,5 Diskettes:

this drawing explains the markings and notches at 3,5 disks.

sincerely speedyG

Last seen: 3 months 1 week ago
Joined: Feb 17 2013 - 16:18
Re: How to copy IIgs system disk

OK, I'm getting there.

Using standard ProDOS 8 utilities like Fast Copy, or the "Duplicate DIsk" feature of System Utilities, I can make bootable system disks all day long, on either 3.5" drive. Works great.

Why can't I do this from within Sys 6.0.1? Well, who knows? I'd check my gs manual if I had one (note to self: find gs docs)

I have the 5.25" drive hooked up-- that's what I'm using to boot ProDOS-- and it works fine.

I have a fair number of remaining questions:

1. There are only two Control Panels, "Printer Port" and "Clock". There are a couple of others on the Install disk, like Calculator, but nothing for setting mouse speed or configuring the RAM disk. Where is everything?

2. The desktop takes up a rather small portion of the monitor's screen space. I presume I can tweak the monitor hardware settings to expand it a bit.

3. ADT Pro apparently works with the IIgs, but I would need a modem cable for the computer's modem port. Could I just use a Super Serial card instead?

4. What is this "CPS" of which you speak? I have Copy II Plus but it doesn't seem to know about 3.5" diskettes.

speedyG's picture
Last seen: 4 days 7 hours ago
Joined: Nov 16 2011 - 07:45
Re: How to copy IIgs system disk

Hello dramsey,

just answering in the order the questions have been given:
1. I havn´t been talking about the control panel. I meant the "Option panel"
you get that by pressing the option-button ( low left side ) and keeping it pressed at power-on and
releasing it a second after power on - then selecting "1" when first menu appears....
In Option panel you also may set mouse speed and a bunch of other things like RAM-disk size....
2. depends to monitor you use...
3. Yes you may use also instead the super serial card - but you must set in Options panel at "slots"
the slot you inserted your super serial card to "your card"
4. CPS i just explained is a kind of "shortcut" or "nickname" of copy II plus ( CPS = Central Point Software =
source company )
and if you want it to work with 3,5 disks you need at least version 5.xx
( but at common download sites you´ll instead find 8.x and 9.1 - and both work with 3,5 drives
you just have to select the proper slot and drive ). Download from:

sincerely speedyG

Last seen: 1 month 5 days ago
Joined: Oct 9 2013 - 19:33
Re: How to copy IIgs system disk

dramsey wrote:
OK, I'm getting there.
Why can't I do this from within Sys 6.0.1? Well, who knows? I'd check my gs manual if I had one (note to self: find gs docs)

Go to this link to get all the IIgs documentation you are likely to ever need.
As always speedy has you covered with the ins and outs of your other questions.

Last seen: 3 months 1 week ago
Joined: Feb 17 2013 - 16:18
Re: How to copy IIgs system disk

Thanks Speedy. I didn't know about the Options panel.

Someone else has suggested that an error in the 1M Apple RAM card might account for the difficulties I had duplicating diskettes in the Finder. This makes sense because the Finder's obviously using the RAM card when I copy that way-- the entire source disk is sucked in at once, then written to the destination disk in one pass.

When I used ProDOS utilities to copy the disk, it makes dozens of read and write passes, obviously within a 48K or 64K memory partition...

Is a large 4M or 8M RAM card for the IIgs useful for anything other than a RAM disk?

speedyG's picture
Last seen: 4 days 7 hours ago
Joined: Nov 16 2011 - 07:45
Re: How to copy IIgs system disk

Hello dramsey,

well the majority of the software for Apple II series does not make use of that RAM due to the demand
to keep compatibility to older models.

But a recognizable bunch does make use of it:
First of all
the older Versions required special patches ( up to version 3.xx )
but the newer versions ( 5.0 and later ) made full use of that RAM
if not reserved to RAM disk usage
also the different Desktops like Pinpoint, and a bunch of Beagle Bros. Utilities like
the entire set of Time Out utilities or for example also KIX.
Also Copy II Plus from Central Point Software ( version later than 7.xx ) use entire RAM
if not locked to use as RAMdisk and in disk-copy mode.
Not to forget a large bunch of Games only able to be played with advanced Graphics of the IIGS.
Also the ORCA platform of compilers use entire RAM as well as some other Textprograms
like the adaption of Word Perfect or the special IIGS edition of Editor from Beagle Bros.
I´d recommend to search the sites specialized to IIGS software like:
the listed sites have 16 bit software folders generally for use with the IIGS.

In general it was common after 1985/86 that the software market switched over to offer software for the IIGS by either
offering new versions of old software that was modified for use with the IIGS
or by offering special IIGS versions of software not to forget the new bunch of software
that made use of the sound capabilities of the IIGS like the music construction set.

The real pitfall of large RAM is faced while quitting an application if you have forgatten to
save contents in RAMdisk or RAM to your media.

Using large RAM therefor also should always be in conjunction of the use of large media like
Harddisk or CFFA.

sincerely speedyG

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