Rawrite QL Boot Disk

Floppy Disk

Last Updated: 01/04/06

One way for a PC owner to transfer key files like Zip and Unzip to a QL is to create a 'raw' QL disk image which can be downloaded and written out as a QL disk by the PC. Done in this way, a 'ready to use' disk is created for a QL, without having to struggle to work out how to transfer QL executables like Unzip via a PC to a QL.

The 'Rawread' and 'Rawrite' are free DOS utilities which can read a complete image copy of an alien format disk (Rawread) and write it out to a formatted DOS disk (Rawrite). In effect, the disk is automatically converted to a QL disk with the original files on it. My thanks to Dave Walker for suggesting this method, and to Tim Swenson who made a QL disk image for me to place here ready to download. Tim also wrote the notes below.

You will need the RAWREAD and RAWRITE extensions for DOS. Click on the links below to download them. If you only wish to make a QL disk, you will only need RAWRITE. Run these in a DOS box or command prompt window under Windows. Please note that I have given these files extensions of .ext to enable them to get past some .exe filters which some users may have problems with. Once downloaded, rename RAWREAD.EXT to RAWREAD.EXE on the PC, and rename RAWRITE.EXT to RAWREAD.EXE, otherwise they cannot be run on a PC. Both have been virus checked with AVG anti virus before being placed here.

Click here to download RAWREAD (10K)
Click here to download RAWRITE (18K)
Click here to download the QLBOOT disk image for 1.4MB HD disks (1.4MB)
Click here to download the QLBOOT disk image for 720K DD disks (720K)

To get a short help screen on either, add a '-h' parameter when running the program from the DOS prompt, e.g.

Tim Swenson's documentation follows:

Getting Started with the QL

by Timothy Swenson

Floppy Disk

This document is for those persons that are just starting with the QL. Whether you have pulled your QL system from the attic to tinker with, have recently picked up a QL, or are using a QL emulator, this document will tell you how to get all those things necessary to get started with the QL.

There is a lot of QL software on the Internet. Getting it to the QL in a usable form can be a challenge. The QL executable files have a format that is not suitable with copying to other disk formats. You can't take a QL executable, copy it to an MS-DOS disk and then expect it to work on another QL.

Most of the QL software on the Internet is stored in a zip file. If you don't have a copy of unzip for the QL, you can't unpack the software once you have it on your QL. So, you issue is how to get unzip to your QL in a format that the QL can execute. This is where the QL Boot Disk comes in.

QL Boot Disk

The QL Boot Disk is a disk image that you can download and use to create a QL floppy disk. The disk image comes with a number of QL extensions, such as the Pointer Environment, and a copy of unzip. To get this QL Boot Disk, follow these steps:

1. Go to the download links above.

2. Download a qlboot.dsk file (choose the appropriate version for 1.4MB HD disks or for 720KB DD disks - most PCs have 1.4MB HD disk drives and will read and write both types of disks, some older QL disk systems only have 720KB disk drives. 720KB DD drives will usually, although not always, successfully read DD disks recorded on an HD disk drive).

3. Download the rawrite executable.

4. Insert a DOS formatted blank 3.5" 1.44 meg or 720 K floppy (as appropriate) in a floppy drive.

5. Execute rawrite from the DOS prompt. Enter qlboot.dsk and then select the drive where the disk is at. rawrite will copy the qlboot disk image to the floppy. It will usually take about 1 to 2 minutes.

You will now have a floppy that is in the QL native format and can be used on a standard QL and with a number of QL emulators. Read the disk on your QL system and you should find a short README text file which you can load into a text editor or viewer (such as QED on the disk) to read it.

Getting Files to the QL

Now that you have the capability of unzipping QL zip files, the next step is getting files downloaded off the Internet to the QL. If you are using a QL emulator, some of them allow access from the QL to the native Windows file system, in the form of a drive such as DOS1_ or making WIN3_ point to a location in the Windows file system. In this case, then the Windows file system can be used like a QL disk when reading the zip files. Do not write any QL executables to these drives, as this will render them useless.

If you need to get the .zip files to a real QL, you will need to copy the files to a QL floppy so that the QL can read the files. Windows does not know how to access a QL floppy, so you will need a tool to do this. QLTOOLS is one such program and is available from Jonathan Hudson from his web site http://www.daria.co.uk/qdos/. Find the link to the QDOS/SMSQ software. On this page, find the download for QLTOOLS and download it. QLTOOLS comes with a manual, so use this to learn how to have the Windows system write to the QL disk. Now you can download all of the QL software you want, transfer it to the QL floppy and then onto your QL.

Return to transfers page | Return to section index | Return to home page