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blog:2018-04-20

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Apr-20-2018

Recently I came across an old notebook of mine, and inside were some notes I made regarding the 1541 DOS Wedge utility program. This program came on a floppy disk, which Commodore originally bundled with the 1541 floppy disk drive.

What you did was load up and run this utility, which then resided in the C64's higher RAM. As long as you didn't load up machine language program, the utility would remain available until you powered off (or reset) the computer. This way, you could do quite a bit of housekeeping work on your floppies, as well as run just about any BASIC program without losing the extra DOS commands the wedge made available.

The big advantage to using the DOS wedge was that you did not have to type in the familiar OPEN15,8,15, and :CLOSE15 commands when you wanted to do something with the floppy drive. Also, you could display a floppy disk directory without losing the program currently stored in RAM.

Although there are apps that you can use that make the task of managing the contents of your floppy disks a lot easier, I still remember using this program quite a bit as I just found it easier to load and use. It also didn't cost me any more money to have/use, like a Fast Load cartridge or something similar.

1541_demo_disk.d64

The DOS Wedge provided these shortcuts to the most popular disk tasks:

Command Description
/program Load a program from disk
program Load and Run a program from disk
program Save a program to disk
%program Load a machine language program from disk
> or @ Display current drive error status
>$ or @$ Display disk directory (without erasing program in RAM)
>N:diskname,id Format a new disk
>I Initialize (setup) new device
>V Validate a disk
>#drive number Change the active drive
>S:progname Scratch a program from disk
>R:newname=oldname Rename a program
>C:destprog=sourceprog Copy a program to a new program on the same disk
>D1=0 Duplicate the disk in drive 8 to drive 9
>UJ Reset the disk drive (if you get a “drive not ready” error)
>UI+ Change disk drive speed to C64 mode
>UI- Change disk drive speed to VIC-20 mode
>Q Quit the DOS Wedge program

Tips

Rather than having to load and run the DOS Wedge boot program, you can directly load the “DOS 5.1” ML program and then execute SYS 52224. To make it even easier to get DOS Wedge running, I have renamed the program from “DOS 5.1” to simply “!”. So, now to load up the DOS Wedge, I just type LOAD“!”,8,1.


In the RUN magazine's special issue of 1986, there was a helpful little program that was published which made it very easy to copy the DOS Wedge utility from memory to floppy disk.

To use the DOS Wedge Improver program, follow these instructions:

  • Load the DOS 5.1 Wedge as usual.
  • Once loaded, type NEW and press RETURN.
  • Load and run the DOS Improver program (download a copy of it here).
  • Put a formatted floppy disk in the disk drive on which you wish to copy the DOS Wedge.
  • Type SYS 52224 and press RETURN.
  • Type SYS 52400 and press RETURN.

The DOS Wedge will now be copied onto the floppy disk in the disk drive, and the computer will then reset itself. To copy to another disk, restart the DOS Wedge utility by typing SYS52224 and press RETURN, then make drive 8 the active drive by typing @#8 and press RETURN. Then, save DOS Wedge to a new disk by typing SYS52400 and press RETURN.

The DOS Wedge Improver makes a small change to the DOS Wedge program, allowing you to copy it to floppy disk by using the SYS52400 command.

blog/2018-04-20.txt · Last modified: 2018/11/11 19:41 by mastercontrol