Technology and retro computer blog

Floppy Emu disk archiving on Mac LC475

Recently I wanted to update my 400k Macintosh disk archive so that the .dsk files I was providing could easily be used on an old  Macintosh.  The .dsk files that I have can be used in MiniVmac and also in the Floppy Emu disk emulator, but they aren't easily usable when copied directly to an old Macintosh.  The .dsk versions have lost the Macintosh resource fork required by old Mac systems to associate the files with an application.  So I needed to come up with a method to restore them back to Macintosh images and preserve the resource fork.

I came up with the idea of connecting the Floppy Emu to my LC475 as the internal disk drive and then archiving each disk using DiskCopy 4.2.  The LC475 runs System 7.5 and has all the necessary utilities installed: Stuffit Deluxe 4, DiskCopy4.2 and DropStuff.

This process worked well.  I loaded all the .dsk images onto an SD card in the Floppy Emu, then one by one I "inserted" them into the LC475.  As far as the LC475 was concerned a physical floppy had been inserted.  I then used DiskCopy 4.2 to read each disk and save the image file to the hard drive.  Once archived to the LC475 hard drive the .image files contained the resource fork to associate them with DiskCopy 4.2.

While they exist on a Mac drive, the .image files will retain the resource fork, but once copied to a non Mac system the resource fork is lost.  The typical way of preserving the resource fork is to archive the files using Stuffit and Binhex.  Newer versions of Stuffit that run on System 7.x will generally open any file, but older versions that run on System 6 and prior will not recognise a file unless the resource fork is in tact.  So to make these files usable on System 6 machines you need to archive the Stuffit files with BinHex which preserves the resource fork in a .hqx archive.  The Bixhex archive (.hqx or .bin) can be opened by BinHex on System 6 machines without the resource fork in tact.  To make the process easier I decided to archive the images as self extracting Stuffit archives (.sea) prior to archiving with BinHex.  This means that only BinHex is required on a System 6 machine to use the archives.  Once extracted from the .hqx archive using BinHex the .sea archives can be run to extract the .image files. 

Once all .dsk images had been created on the LC475 using DiskCopy 4.2, I used DropStuff to create the individual .sea.hqx archives.  DropStuff can be configured to automatically create .sea.hqx archives.  Once configured you drag and drop multiple files onto the DropStuff icon and it does the rest.

See pictures of the process below.

The Macintosh LC475. This is a great machine for the retro Mac hobby, the cover unclips from the back and all the main components are easily accessible.  The hard drive and the floppy drive unclip and and can be removed in seconds. This machine also has a PDS Ethernet card and a reasonable sized hard drive which makes it great for transferring files via ftp.

The picture above shows the Floppy Emu connected to the LC475 as the internal floppy drive.  All I've done here is detach the cable from the internal floppy from the logic board and replace it with the cable from the Floppy Emu.

Once the Floppy Emu is connected you select a disk image and it appears on the Mac desktop just like a disk inserted into the internal floppy drive.

This picture shows the emulated floppy disk being read by DiskCopy 4.2.  Once read it can be saved as a disk image to the hard drive.

Go to the updated Mac 400k disk image page to download images.

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