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Classification: DOS Extender Programmer: Sid Davis
Publisher: WSoft Year: 1992 / 2018 (v 7.1)
Files: wsdos-7.d64 - - wsdos-7.d81 - ramdos128.d64

I've previously reviewed WS-DOS elsewhere on the website, but I'd thought I'd take a closer look of the latest version of WS-DOS (7.1) and share some of my experiences using it these last few years.

WS-DOS is a utility program that simplifies and expands upon the C128's DOS functions. The big improvement involves a fast loader for your C64 programs. In a nutshell, WS-DOS makes use of the C128 “burst mode” file loader, when coupled with a 1571 floppy disk drive. It loads a program written for the C64 into the appropriate section of RAM, using the faster disk speed of the 1571, then automatically goes into C64 mode and then executes the program. WS-DOS will still work with a 1541 disk drive, you just won't get the faster load times that the 1571's “burst mode” provides. With version 7.1, WS-DOS also supports RAMDOS, with an REU acting as a hard drive. Also with the 7.1 upgrade, WS-DOS is configurable to work with storage device numbers 8 through 30.

Along with this faster loading feature, WS-DOS also provides a few extra short-cuts to help make your disk commands a little easier to use. For example, if there are some 64-mode programs that you routinely use, you can assign shortcut keys to WS-DOS that will automatically be loaded, by holding down the assigned key, while pressing the C128's reset button. You can assign the number keys 0 through 9 as shortcuts. All you need to do is have the proper floppy disk in the drive when you reset the machine.

WS DOS also provides you with a really easy way to copy individual files between disk drives (and RAMDOS, if available). All you have to do is assign the destination drive and then tell WS-DOS the files to copy. All of the disk operation commands are outlined in the manual, but here's a quick list of what's available:

Command Key Description
@ Disk commands and disk error fetching
Load and run a C64 program
/ Load and list a program
$ Display disk directory
? Find the address-mark of a program
* Copy a program/file to the target drive
# Change the destination/target drive number
% Edit and display assigned auto-boot shortcuts
! Load the auto-boot data file from disk
Save the auto-boot data to disk
HELP Show the help screen

You can also send disk commands directly to the disk drive via the @ command. These disk commands include, @r: to Rename, @s: to Scratch, @n; to Format/Initialize, and @v: to Validate.

WS-DOS will stay in memory and will remain active as long as you don't shut power off to the C128. You can return to the regular READY prompt by simply pressing the ESC key or typing x. To activate WS-DOS again, all you need to do is press the C128's reset button.

Even though WS-DOS main purpose is to make loading C64 programs (for C64 mode) faster, you also have the ability to run native C128 programs with WS-DOS. However, you need to create simple “run scripts” in order to do it. This is where the new script for 7.1, DOSEDIT, comes in. What it is, is a one line text editor. You launch it via the WS-DOS command line, type in the direct DOS command you wish to use, then exit the program. You can then use WS-DOS to rename the output file to what ever executable name you wish to give it. For example:

If I wanted to make my C128 BASIC program “Quicknotes128” launch-able from within WS-DOS, I would enter a command like this in DOSEDIT: d=peek(186);run“quicknotes128”,u(d). Once created, I would then @r:qnotes128=dosedit.output. To run Quicknotes128 from within WS-DOS, I would then simply type in the executable “qnotes128” at the WS-DOS command prompt.

I think that this is a great little utility if you frequently use your C128 in 64 mode; and it's even more useful if you have a 1571 floppy disk drive. I should also mention that it works in both 40 column and 80 column video modes. Be sure to read through the manual for even more information on all the useful things you can do with WS-DOS. I've included a D64 image of just WS-DOS and associated executable files, leaving out the RAMDOS bank images (included in the original D81 disk images), for those of us who don't have a 1581 disk drive for their real C128s.

Here's video I did a few years back, when I had a YouTube channel. It demonstrates loading the game Beamrider in VICE, using a 1571 with and without WS-DOS.

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unseen128/wsdos.txt · Last modified: 2024/02/13 04:19 by David