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CP/M Help

By CCJonathan ·
This is a question for those of you who have been on the IT block for a long time...

I've got a stand alone system running CP/M as the platform for Balcones' The Boss Financial Accounting System (c)1981.

Well, as you'd expect, the computer has no modem, no ethernet, no external hookups of any kind except video, parrallel, and serial. It has, remarkably, a 3.5" floppy disk drive.

My company seems to have a great deal of very valuable financial data on this system, but absolutely no idea how to get it off into a newer system. They're very concerned that the 20 year old computer is on its way out and there's a near panic.

There seems to be very little in the way of information about this topic online, so I'm coming to the best and the brightest for help. What I did find though is that CP/M, rather narrow mindedly imho, is such a secure system that there is seemingly no way to remove data from it.

So, my question for you folks is this: how can I get the financial data off the system and onto a newer system that can be backed up and isn't 19.5 years past warrantee?

It's been suggested that we could physically remove the hard drive and install it into a newer system and hope that Windows will recognize the drive and be able to read from it. But because of the import of the data I'm hesitant to flip the switch of a computer that's been powered for so long.

Any ideas? 1000 points offered...

Thanks in advance!

Jonathan

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CP/M Help

by Ann777 In reply to CP/M Help

There are ways to do this, but you really haven't provided enough infomation on how to best accomplish this on your system.

Most if not all CP/M versions allowed file transfer using the serial port and cables connected to two computers. FILINKcomes to mind here.

Which VERSION and flavor of CP/M do you have there? Is the DATA formatted in such a way that ONLY that accounting program knows how to use it? Cany you give up any specifications on the hardware that you are using? Have youtried using the PIP command and copying a test data file to floppy?

PIP [d:][newfile.ext]=[d:][filespec][<t>
Copy files between peripherals whilst performing optional conversion <t>.

Copy file from drive to drive: C> PIP H:=A:INFO.DAT
Copyfile to new name: C> PIP A:NEW.DAT=A:INFO.DAT
Copy file to printer: C> PIP LST:=A:LETTER.TXT

...more...

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CP/M Help

by Ann777 In reply to CP/M Help

In addition, a range of parameters can be specified in square brackets [] immediately after the PIP command to perform various translations during the copy.

Block Mode Transfer - Copy data in blocks, used with devices such as paper tape readers.
[E] Echo to screen - copy to screen as well as destination
[Pn] Form Feed - Insert a form feed (ASCII code 12, 0x0C) every n lines.
[F] Supress form feeds
[H] Hex format - only allow copying of intel HEX format files, terminate if match fails
Ignore NULL records - An alternative/extension to [H], ignores NULL (hex 00) records and ensures content is in Intel HEX format.
[L] Lower case conversion - converts all upper case characters to lower case.
[N] Number lines - Move text to start at column 9, and insert right justified line numbering in the space
[N2] As [N] but zero pad the number to 6 digits
[O] Object file transfer - would otherwise break on non ascii/hex files
[R] Read System Files - read and copy system, sets [W]
[Qstring^Z] Stop copying at specified string, ^Z refers to CTRL-Z
[Sstring^Z] Start copying at specified string
[Tn] TAB setting - move tab settings of file to columns, n, 1n, 2n, 3n, etc.
[Gn] Transfer from user area n to currentarea
[Dn] Truncate file at column n
Uppercase conversion - the opposite of [L]
[V] Verify the copy
[W] Write to a readonly file
[Z] Zero parity setting - Set highest (parity) bit of every byte to 0, thus converting 8-bit ASCII to 7-bit

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CP/M Help

by Ann777 In reply to CP/M Help

... Also some CP/M systems format the floppy in a very specific manner. You may not be able to just place the floppy in a Windows systemand expect it to be able to read the floppy. You may be able to download and use CPM.ZIP --- http://www.ansible.demon.co.uk/ai/freebies.html --- .... but again everything depends on your versions and hardware/software.

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CP/M Help

by Ann777 In reply to CP/M Help

Incidentally, I don't think that Windows will recognize the drive if you put it in another system as secondary and try to see what's there. If the BIOS sees it (which it should), Windows will probably not recognize the format of it.

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CP/M Help

by Ann777 In reply to CP/M Help

The only way I know to tell the version is to boot it up and read it from the screen. You might be able to tell from the cpm boot disk file.... but you probably don't have a boot disk either.

See if you can transfer files with a normal serial cable... see this for more info:

http://www.retroarchive.org/cpm/cdrom/STARLET/GENIENEC/NECTOPC.TXT

The NEC 8500 is a CPM OS ; see if you can adapt the above to what you need. This is going to take a lot of trial and error on your part. I do not have access to any working CP/M systems any more. Nor do I remember all the details (commands/settings)... but if you can get more specific info, I may be able to find some specific instructions.

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CP/M Help

by CCJonathan In reply to CP/M Help

Poster rated this answer

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CP/M Help

by CCJonathan In reply to CP/M Help

Ok... this seems like a totally layman question, and it really is. However, I have zero experience with CP/M and there's no documentation in sight in this place (I'm new)...

Could you tell me how to check to see what version/flavor is being run?I know in DOS you'd use the "ver" command, however I imagine it's not this simple.

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CP/M Help

by TheChas In reply to CP/M Help

Here are the CP/M links that I have.

http://www.retroarchive.org/

http://museum.sysun.com/museum/cpm/index.html

http://www.gaby.de/ehome.htm

Hopefully, one of them will get you to what you need.

Chas

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CP/M Help

by CCJonathan In reply to CP/M Help

Well, the project is still "on hold" for the time being, but thanks for your help very much. I'll keep this thread on my files for the future.

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CP/M Help

by CCJonathan In reply to CP/M Help

Anna,

Thanks very much for your continued help. :)

I did get some hardware information (very basic)...

It's an HP 9133D with a 14.8MB HDD using 256 Byte Sectors and has a 10833B port and a 3.5 inch floppy disk drive.

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