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Article #40 (74 is last):
Newsgroups: freenet.sci.comp.atari.product.8bit.reviews
From: aa700@cleveland.Freenet.Edu (Michael Current)
Subject: SpartaDOS Tool Kit / utility / commercial
Posted-By: xx004 (aa700 - Michael Current)
Reply-To: aa700@cleveland.Freenet.Edu (Michael Current)
Date: Tue Apr 21 19:41:51 1992


Reprinted from the A.C.E.C. BBS (614)-471-8559

________________________________
_______SpartaDOS Tool Kit__________
_______a Rhetoric/Review__________
________________________________
by Mike Brown

Quite some time ago, I heard
whisperings about a super accessory
pack for Sparta DOS users planned by
ICD. The rumors had it that the
upcoming "toolkit" would address
SpartaDOS needs such as being able to
recover files that had been lost to
bad file allocation tables, better
handle MIO configurations, and a host
of other things that "serious"
SpartaDOS users have been without from
the start. Well, those bright boys at
ICD have finally gotten the SpartaDOS
tool kit to market; the SpartaDOS user
now has professional quality tools to
rival the best in the 8-bit world.

Just a note of explanation, since
SpartaDOS has a structure more akin to
MS-DOS than Atari DOS 2.x, most
utilities for recovery and
manipulation that were written for the
DOS 2.x type file structure would not
completely work or would not work at
all. Another consideration is that
SpartaDOS supports such exotica as
Quad Density (DS/DD) disks and hard
disks up to 16mb per logical device,
such utilities that have the Atari
180K/720 sector limits built in, were
to say the least, lacking.

To give you an idea of what Is
included, I'll describe each "module"
of the toolkit (after this, called the
SDTK) in for you.

The first tool is called RENDIR and
makes short work of a touchy task for
subdirectory users. It performs
renaming of subdirectories without
having to delete files, subdirectories
and then recreate the subdirectory
under the new name. Just give the
command the old directory name, and
the new directory name. Zap! you're
done!

VDEL will be a welcome improvement in
the ERASE command built into
SpartaDOS. The ERASE command goes out
and IMMEDIATELY erases everything that
you said to erase. This can be
dangerous if you are using a file name
such as *.*! VDEL shows the name of
each file that meets the requested
conditions, one at a time, and asks
you for a "Y" or "N" to delete or not.
At the end of the process, a message
appears reporting the number of files
deleted. Nice!

WHEREIS is a little utility that will
search (good for hard disk systems)
down through all subdirectories and
give a report of any matches found for
the name you enter. If you only know
part of the file name, wildcards will
also work; the full path and file name
will be displayed for all matches. The
number of matches found will be
displayed at the end.

MIOCFG is a utility that not only
allows Floppy disk only system users
to back up their MIO configuration
(before this utility, you could only
save the MIO config to hard disk #1),
but also allows multiple backups of
the config to be saved in any file
that you specify! Of course MIOCFG
also allows you to load back in a
config that was saved to disk, and
even allows an option to bypass
formatting of the internal RAM-DISKS.

SORTDIR allows you to quickly and
reliably sort directories and
subdirectories and write them back to
disk. This utility is the only one
I've seen that will allow you to sort
by more than one file "parameter". The
sorts supported are by: Filename, File
Type (extension), File Size, Date/
Time. There is also a Reverse sort
option that will sort in high-low
order if you so desire. This sort is
quite fast compared to some PD sorters
out there, but does not allow you the
option to abort the sort before
updating the directory- a minor point.

DOSMENU is included for those types
who just can't bear dealing with a
"command line" DOS like SpartaDOS. It
will display an almost dead ringer of
the DOS 2.x menu. The instructions for
DOSMENU say: "If you can't figure out
how to use this menu, seek some help".
It's really that simple! Some new
commands, such as "Z- Reboot System"
and "V- View file", as well as a full
complement of directory commands, are
terribly nice for the first time or
casual user.

The hot dogs at ICD, not knowing when
to leave well enough alone, came up
with COMMAND to soup up the SpartaDOS
command processor with extra features.
First off, it allows reprograming of
ctrl-(number key) and ctrl-shift
(number key) to any 20-character
"macro" string that you desire. They
are programmed by just keying "PF
(number) " where  is
what you want put to the screen when
the PF key is pressed. When COMMAND
loads in, it looks for a file called
"COMMAND.BAT" to load in your standard
definitions, but any batch file can be
used to automate the PF defintion
process.

Next, you can change the screen color
with COMMAND loaded. Just key BLACK,
GREEN, or BLUE to get that color
background.

COLD is a new command that gives a
coldstart without having to wait for
extended memory systems to "drain
down", and the content of all internal
RAMDISKS is retained.

HELP or ? will give you a brief list
of all of the new extended command
processor functions and features.

PATH is very similar to the PROMPT
command in MS-DOS. You can turn the
path display on or off as you desire.
Path ON displays not only the Drive
that is active as a prompt, but also
the current "path" is displayed (if
any).

If you turn on IBM (shame, shame)
mode, COMMAND will emulate the use of
the cursor keys like MS-DOS does. And
adds these special keys: Right arrow-
Pulls in the next character from the
last line keyed from a buffer and
place it on the current line. Left
Arrow- Back up one space (just like
the BACK SPACE key). Ctrl Ins- Places
you in "insert mode", keypresses will
be processed without affectin the last
line buffer's index. Ctrl Del- will
advance the last line buffer's index,
deleting characters from the buffer,
not the current line. Start- Repeats
the remaining characters in the last
line buffer. If you are in the first
position of the input line, pressing
START will repeat the entire last
line. And more "last line buffer"
magik!

CLS tells COMMAND to clear the screen,
again, like MS-DOS.

I have saved the best for last, DISKRX
is a complete SECTOR editor and
RECOVERY TOOL for SpartaDOS! There are
so many neat features that it would
take another whole article to detail
them. Here are just a few of them:

Edit sectors in either HEX or ATASCII,
both translations are always
displayed, but edit flips back and
forth between the two.

The display will tell you a bit about
the sector being worked on, if it is
part of the BOOT, BITMAP, MAIN DIR,
MAIN FAT (File allocation table, or
sector map), SUB DIR, SUB FAT, or
DATA.

Blank the current sector being worked
on Show the formatted directory,
optionally you may specify a
subdirectory. Such useful information
as Full File name and Size, Present
entry Status, The first Sector Map of
the file, and the sector(s) where the
entry is actually written.

File Mode shows you all the sectors
belonging to a particular file (path
optional) for viewing or edit. File
mode will trace the file sector map
for a particular file for you.

Override allows you to recover disks
where the first sector has been
damaged, and the basic status of the
disk is not readable or incorrect.

Full searching for ocurrances of
ATASCII and HEX strings is supported
with imbedded wildcards.

Toggle allocation on/off of a sector
in the current bitmap.

Write to the current sector or specify
another sector to write to.

Read Next Sector in file or next
sequential sector, Read Prev.
File/Seq. Quick Scan forward/backward.

Tag sectors, and write them to a file
that you pecify on this or another
disk And MORE!!!!!

Again, I have glossed over some of the
most interesting parts of DISKRX and
every time I sit down with it, I find
something new and amazing that it can
do. "M" gets you a 2-page menu of
commands, and information about the
commands.

Overall, this program is well worth
the $29.95 that ICD is asking, just
for the entertainment value. Not many
dealers have it yet, so call their BBS
(815-968-2229) and order it direct.

-- 
 Michael Current, Cleveland Free-Net 8-bit Atari SIGOp   -->>  go atari8  <<--
   The Cleveland Free-Net Atari SIG is the Central Atari Information Network
      Internet: currentm@carleton.edu / UUCP: ...!umn-cs!ccnfld!currentm
     BITNET: currentm%carleton.edu@{interbit} / Cleveland Free-Net: aa700





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