Like many Commodore users today, I have collected a large number of .d64 disk images. But to use these disk images on real Commodore hardware, I don't have enough floppy disks for them all. So, a good portion of my floppy disks contain more than one game or program. However, transferring files from disk images to actual floppy disks, and then later to transfer those to a compilation disk, means a lot of wear and tear on my aging Commodore disk drives. Therefore, in order to spare my 1541s a bit of work, I utilize some really excellent on-line disk management services.
There are a few applications that you can find on the Net for your PC to create floppy disk images, as well. But, most of these are written for Microsoft Windows, and don't work all that great on Linux (which is the OS that I use). So, these on-line services are really handy, as they are OS neutral.
I know of three websites that offer really good disk authoring and management tools. They are CommodoreServer, Commodore OnLine, and The Retro Computer Scene, which I've previously reviewed on my site, here. But, in that review, I covered their disk organization services. In this blog entry, I'm now going to discuss their disk authoring capabilities.
Overall, the disk creation and the loading of PRG files processes are pretty much the same across all three sites. Their interfaces are just a little different.
Here is how the three websites present their disk manager interface:
Retro Computer Scene
The RCS interface is pretty straight forward. You are presented with the contents of your .d64 image, in plain text, and you have all of the subsequent buttons for the available tasks on one screen.
Commodore OnLine is very similar to RCS, as that all of the related tasks are presented in one simple screen.
CommodoreServer, on the other hand, is a little more detailed than the other two, as they provide you with more organization capabilities and the ability to create multiple “snapshots” of your disk images, as you make changes to them. Also, you may have noticed that CommodoreServer also allows you to save thumbnails, or disk “cover art” for each of your disk images. So, although their interface is a little more complicated, the online tools are that much more powerful.
The process for creating your custom floppy disk compilation boils down to these four steps, no matter which online service you use:
In this blog post, I'm going to focus on CommodoreServer, as it is the one I use the most.
First thing is, you need to upload the .d64 disk images you want to work with; that is, the disks that have the programs you want to copy to your new compilation disk. For CommodoreServer, you have the option of creating sub-directories, to help organize your disks. Create your sub-directory, navigate into it, then click on the Browse button to choose the .d64 file from your PC's hard drive. Then, click on the Upload Now button to upload the disk to your storage space.
When you are viewing the contents of the disk that you've just uploaded to your storage space, click on the individual PRG files (one at a time) that you wish to transfer to a new disk. On CommodoreServer, this action will then display for you the contents of the PRG file, itself. From this screen, click on the Download This File option, found to the right-hand side of the screen.
This is where CommodoreServer is different from the other two services. Rather than having to click on the PRG file, itself, both CommodoreOnline and the RCS have a download button next to the PRG file name.
Once you have downloaded all of the PRGs to your desktop PC, return to the disk directory view, and choose the option Create New Disk In This Folder, found along the right hand side of the screen. Give your new disk image a filename, a disk name, and a disk I.D., then click the Submit button.
After you click on the Submit button, you will be taken to the disk details screen. Scroll down along page until you see the option to Upload File. Here is where you will add the PRG files, which you downloaded earlier, into the disk image. Just click on the Browse button to find the PRGs on your PC, and upload them one at a time to the disk image.
And that's all there is to it! Once you have all of the PRGs that you want uploaded to the disk image, you can then download the entire disk and copy that onto a physical floppy. This process saves a lot of wear and tear on my aging Commodore equipment and I hope it can do the same for you.
I have recently learned that CommodoreServer's virtual disk drive service, V-1541, now supports file copying between virtual drives. Therefore, this process of copying files between disk images has just gotten easier to do on your C64. I have amended my original blog post about the V-1541 to include this new information. The link to the blog entry is here.