Semi-Virtual Diskette (SVD)
PC Software

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For Info:

Introduction  -  Download Software   -  Install Downloaded Software   -  Using the Software   -  Trouble-shooting

PC Software Introduction

The SVD PC Software consists a few things, all of which you get in the single simple download below:
SVD Control Program (SVD-CP)The SVD-CP is the software that runs on your PC to control the SVD unit. It uses the serial/rs-232 port on the PC to talk to the SVD.
* FAQ: What if I don't have a serial/RS232 port on my PC?

The SVD-CP understands a bunch of different on-line floppy image formats and can download/upload these to the SVD. It also understands the way in which the files on the floppy are stored (the filesystem) so it can be used to send a single file to the SVD instead of a complete image.

Sample Floppy ImagesThere are numerous floppy images for all different platforms distributed with the software. These are simply to get you started. You should go to the links section for links to web sites with far more floppy images and programs.
Conversion ProgramsThe SVD-CP is all you really need for using floppy images with your vintage machine. However, it uses a couple of "helper programs" which do fast conversion of floppy images. You can easily use these applications to convert files as well. There are html-based manual pages for these helper applications, too.

Download PC Software

Version 2.3 of the Helper Tools


This is a partial update of the Version 2.2 distribution that adds Apple formats to the "Save Image" dialog within the Control Program. This update is only necessary for those of you who want to save Apple images in NIB, DO, or PO formats.

THIS IS NOT A COMPLETE VERSION OF THE SVD INTERFACE! Please download Version 2.2 before installing this update.

To use this update, download the file into the target directory that you originally extracted Version 2.2 and extract the files. It will replace the two helper programs tosvd and fstool.

Version 2.2 (latest and greatest)

This version includes Apple ][ support and supports Firmware v2.3. See here for information on this release.

Version 2.0 (previous release)

This was a major release of the SVD Control Program that included the ability to support writing to the virtual disk. See here for information on this release.

Installing the PC Software

The SVD software is downloaded as a simple "ZIP" file for Windows and a "GZIP-TAR" image for Linux. The software doesn't use an install script, or anything fancy at all. The basic task to install the software is to extract the files from the download into a target directory. You can then run the SVD Control Program (the SVD CP) from that directory.

The simplicity of the SVD CP installation makes it easy to have multiple different versions of the program. Further, it makes updates simple. The downside is that you must know how to use WinZip on Windows or gunzip on Linux.


The SVD CP comes as a file of the form:
Which stands for version 2.2 of the SVD CP in zip format. You can simply unzip or extract the files into a location that suits you. Normally, I simply create a directory/folder such as "SVD22" and then extract the files into it.

You must allow the zip program to create subdirectories though! If you unzip the download file, and the resultant directory doesn't have the subdirectory OSFiles in it, then the zip didn't create sub-directories as it should. You'll need to unzip again, after setting the appropriate option.


Linux installation operates in the same was as Windows, except that the download file is named as:
  • SVD22.tar.gz
indicating that it is a gzip'd tar archive. Just as with Windows you should extract the archive into a directory that suits you.

For example:
$ gunzip < SVD22.tar.gz | tar xvf - 

Or for Linux distributions with ability to use a gzip filter in tar:
$ tar zxvf SVD22.tar.gz

Using the PC Software

Each one of these sections includes a bunch of illustrations and screen shots so they may download a bit slowly on slow connections.

For a single file, printable version version of these instructions, click here. Note that the file which next comes up will NOT have the menu on the left side, and may take a little while to load.

Trouble-shooting the PC Software

Can't Download the Software

If you can't download the software, then there is something wrong with the web-site! Please contact me right away so I can fix it.

Can't Get it to Run

When you download the software, you will get a "ZIP" file. Within this file are the programs and other files necessary for the software to run. So the first thing you much do is UN-ZIP the file. Please see the install/running instructions on the PC Software Page for instructions on how to do this.

The Darn Thing Just Crashes!

Yikes! A crash like that is not supposed to happen. The program runs on Windows 98/Me/2000/XP and Linux. If you are seeing an unexplained crash, then something is amiss. Please contact me right away so I can fix it.

There is one reported (actually, I found it myself) crash that I can't fix. If you browse for a file on the Desktop of Windows XP, and the extension of the file is unknown to Windows - which is often the case with image files - the file browser within the SVD CP may completely crash. I'm working with Microsoft to figure out why this occurs.

Can't Get it to Talk to the SVD

This is the most common problem that people experience with the SVD CP software. Here are a few steps to follow to figure out the problem:


Start the SVD Control Program (SVD CP)

Once you have the SVD CP installed, user the browser to navigate to the directory in which you UN-ZIPPED it. Then click on the main program which is called SVD. If you can see the extensions on Windows, it may appear as SVD.exe. On Linux it will not have an extension. Clicking on this program should cause it to come up immediately.


Try the Simple "Check" Button

On the SVD CP interface, there is a little "Check" button at the lower right. Clicking it causes the SVD CP to try to contact the SVD over the serial port.

If the connection is successful, a message comes up saying that the SVD is responding just "peachy." Also, you will see the version number of the SVD firmware filled in at the lower left.

If the connection is NOT successful, a message saying so will pop-up. The best thing to do at this point, is to Reset the SVD by using the Reset button on the physical SVD. Then try to click on the "Check" button again.


Make sure the serial/RS232 Port is Correct

In both Windows and Linux you must tell the SVD CP what serial/RS232 port you are using. The SVD CP will use this port to talk to the SVD hardware. Setting the port is rather simple, so please see the PC Software Page Instructions for setting this port correctly.

However, sometimes it just won't work. The best advice I have here is to try different ports. On Windows, the SVD CP queries the operating system to find out which serial ports are free - this is the "probing" operation that it does. If the serial port looks like it is connected to something else, then it won't be displayed in the SVD CP. Note that if you have TWO SVD CP's running, one of them is unlikely to see the serial port.

On Linux it is a bit trickier. The SVD CP doesn't try to query the serial ports. You need to type in the full filename of an appropriate serial port. Linux is often configured with "getty" processes running on serial ports. It may make sense to turn those off, although modern distributions are smart enough to stay out of the way of programs like the SVD CP. Also, you'll want to ensure that your user name has permission to use the serial port.


Set the Speed to a Reasonable Value

Setting the speed of the serial port is just as easy as setting its name...maybe easier. Go back to the PC Software Page Instructions for setting the speed correctly.

However, different machines sometimes have problems with the serial port and keeping up with the SVD transmit speed or even working with the SVD. My rule of thumb is to keep the speed set at 19200 or higher. Most machines won't work with the SVD below this speed. In fact, set it to 57600 for best results. Personally, I always use 115200. So try a couple of different speeds.


Check the Cable

Finally, you may have a cable problem. The SVD uses a "straight-through" 9-pin serial cable. By "straight-through" it means that the transmit and receive lines aren't physically flipped. The SVD itself "flips" these signals to communicate with the PC.

Also, all pins on the cable must be connected. This is important because the SVD includes "Null-modem" wiring. Null-modem wiring effectively causes the PC to ignore modem control signals that would be used when controlling an old modem. If all pins aren't connected in the cable you are using, then the PC may think it is talking to a real modem.

As a last resort, just try another cable.