About ADFs ...

Copying ADFs

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In the previous chapter I mentioned that there is a close relation between the adapter card and their corresponding ADFs. Usually the card manufacturer supplies an Option Disk coming with the adapter and its documentation. The least thing this option disk contains is one file: the @xxxx.ADF - if there is only one file required.
Some option disks contain much more infos - and you can bet that these are not there to just fill the space. Some cards need a somewhat modified setup software, some come with special diagnostic files, some need software drivers for proper function.

The basic rule of proper installation of MCA-cards is this:

  • Start the machine with the reference (either disk or partition)
  • From the main menu select "Copy an option disk"
  • Insert the option disk into drive A:
  • Let the program copy the files (may require several disk changes)
  • After finishing: leave the reference
  • Switch the machine off
  • Install the adaptercard
  • Power the machine back on - will display a configuration error
  • Run the "Set configuration" or let the machine do the "Automatic Configuration"

The "Copy an option disk"-program does quite a lot:

  • copying all files with extension:
    • *.ADF
    • *.DGS (diagnostic files)
    • *.PEP (additional diags-file)
    from the option disk to reference disk or reference partition.
    New files are simply copied to the reference, existing files are overwritten, if the version on the option disk has a later date.

  • The following files on reference disk or partition are replaced, if they are dated later than those already existing:
    • COMMAND.COM (customized version)
    • DIAGS.COM (the diagnostic tool)
    • CMD.COM
    • SC.EXE (The "Set Configuration" tool)
    • UPDATE.EXE (an Update utility)
    • SYSCONF (a dump of the system-configuration)
Some people install the hardware first and wait until the "Set configuration" utility complains about a missing ADF until they push in the option disk into drive A: and let the files load.
This however is bad style.
Main reason: the files are not copied for permanent use onto the reference disk and sometimes not all required files are loaded. This might end up in an invalid configuration - or in a virtually unconfigurable card at all.

Same problem might occur, when someone copies only the ADFs from a collection like mine directly onto the reference disk. This might work - but will not work in all cases. I will give some examples in the last chapter. It is a method for emergency cases or rare adaptercards to which option disks are no longer available, but the chance to get them working properly is only 50 percent.

The optimum solution is: having the option disk and run "Copy an option disk" from the reference.

Guess you are ready for the next chapter !

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