Apple II FrequentlyAskedQuestions: CD-ROM

Csa2 FAQs-on-Ground file: Csa2CDROM.txt  rev013 3/28/1999

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The Csa2 (comp.sys.apple2) Usenet newsgroup Frequently Asked
 Questions files are compiled by the Ground Apple II site,
 1997 - 1999.


 001- What do I need to get/do to use Music and Data CD's on my GS?
 002- What do I need discQuest for?
 003- How can I back up my files on write-able CD-ROM?
 004- Is a special driver needed for a Toshiba External 2X CD-ROM?
 005- How can I get sound from my Apple HSS card + CD300 CD-ROM?
 006- Where can I find more info on CD-ROM drives, products, etc.?

From: Rubywand

Thanks to Jawaid Bazyar (Sequential Systems) and Tony Diaz (Alltech) for
information used in this mini-manual.

001- What do I need to use regular CD Music Discs and access
     data discs (like the Golden Orchard CD) on my Apple IIgs?
     What you need is ...

1- RAMFast, Apple, or other SCSI interface card.  The Slot in which the card is
located must be set to "Your Card" (e.g. via the Control Panel).

Note 1: Today, SCSI devices normally expect that a "termination voltage" will
be supplied by the SCSI interface card. RamFAST does this; but, most other
cards do not. If you have such a card and have a hard disk connected and
working, then, there should be no problem-- either the hard disk is supplying
the voltage or the card has been modified. Otherwise, be sure to obtain
information on the needed modification. (For the Apple Hi-Speed SCSI card
termination power mod, see the Hard Disk and SCSI FAQs in file

Note 2: A version 1.01 ZipGS card needs to be upgraded to work with RamFAST.

2- External CD-ROM disc drive (like Pioneer DRM-600, NEC MultiSpin, etc.) which
yuor SCSI card supports. For example, according to imformation supplied by
Sequential Systems, the Apple Hi-Speed SCSI card is known to work with the
Apple CD-150, Apple CD-SC+, and Pioneer DRM-600. The RamFAST is known to work
with many drives, including the Pioneer DRM-600, any NEC or Texel, and any
"SCSI Standard" drive.

Note 1: Check to be sure that the SCSI device number of your CD-ROM drive does
not conflict with the number for your hard disk, Zip Drive, etc.. Each device
on the SCSI chain should have a different number, usually in the range 1-6. #6
is usually reserved for the device you wish to boot, such as a hard disk. (A
drive's SCSI number is usually set via a switch on the back.)  SCSI number does
not need to relate to position on the chain.

Note 2: The last device on the SCSI chain (i.e. the drive which is physically
at the end of the chain) should have its Termination set to ON and Termination
for other SCSI devices shoud be set to OFF. If your CD-ROM Drive is the only
SCSI device, Termination should be ON. (Actually, a SCSI interface card may be
able to handle two devices with Termination set to ON. However, you are likely
to have problems if the last device on the chain has Termination set OFF.)

3- A SCSI cable. Common SCSI plug/socket sizes are 50-pin and 25-pin. Get a
cable which matches your CD-ROM drive and the device you plan to plug into
(i.e. a SCSI hard disk, Zip Drive, ..., or your SCSI interface card).

4- To hear music played from a CD, Stereo headphones, speakers, or hi-fi cables
need to be plugged into the CD ROM drive. Most drives have a mini-Stereo socket
in the front. To fit the socket, the plug for your headphones, etc. must be a
Stereo plug.

5- A Driver file which matches your interface card. For RamFAST, it is
Ramfast.Driver. For Apple SCSI cards it is SCSI.Manager and SCSICD.Driver. The
Driver file(s) should be in the SYSTEM/DRIVERS/ folder (i.e. the DRIVERS folder
in the SYSTEM folder).  To avoid conflicts, RamFAST users should remove
SCSI.Manager, SCSICD.Driver, and other Apple "SCSI ..." drivers from the

6- In order to play standard Music CD's via your computer, you should have the

     o A Media Driver which matches your CD-ROM drive. For example, RF.NEC is a
driver supplied with RamFAST which works with NEC drives. The Media Driver
should be in the SYSTEM/DRIVERS/MEDIA.CONTROL/ folder.

     o A standard System 6 control panel file (i.e. a "CDEV") named
"MediaControl". MediaControl should be in the SYSTEM/CDEVS/ folder

     o A standard System 6 media control New Desk Accessory file (i.e. an
"NDA") named "MediaControl.DA". MediaControl.DA should be in the

7- In order to access files on data CD-ROM discs (like DigiSoft Innovation's
Golden Orchard CD), the standard System 6 High Sierra file system translator
file (HS.FST) should be in the SYSTEM/FSTS folder. This lets you read ISO 9660
format data CD-ROM discs. You should already have the ProDOS FST (PRO.FST) in
the same folder. This lets you read ProDOS partitions which may be included
along with ISO 9660 partitions on a data CD-ROM disc.

     Once the above items are checked, Shut Down your IIgs. Turn it OFF. Turn
OFF the CD ROM drive. Wait 10-20 seconds. Turn ON the CD ROM Drive. Wait a few
seconds and turn ON your IIgs. Boot System 6.01.

     Your SCSI card manual and/or information supplied by the CD-ROM drive
seller is the best guide for doing any necessary setup chores.  If a SCSI hard
disk or Zip Drive is already connected and working, it's likely that no special
setup will be necessary.

Note: If the CD-ROM drive is the only SCSI device on the chain and you are
using a RamFAST along with a ZipGS accelerator, be sure to run RAMFAST.SYSTEM
after booting in order to change at least one setting. You want to click
[O]ptions and set "TransWarpGS" to "NO".

Playing a Music CD

     Click on Control Panels in the Apple Menu. Select the Media Ctrl control
panel. I have "1" for Media Channel, "RF.NEC" (the name of the driver) for
Media Device, and "GAME PORT" for Port. After entering your settings, close the
panel. This will save your setup in a file named "Media.Setup" in the same
Media.Control folder which contains your media control driver.

     From the Apple Menu click on Media Controller to show the CD ROM player.
Click Channel 1, the name of your CD ROM driver sould show in the player
display. Insert a CD. Click Play and adjust the volume on the drive.

Loading Data, Games, etc. from a Data CD

     Startup is the same as described above. It seems to be a good idea to have
a data CD in the drive before turning ON the computer. Some drive + card
combinations may not go on-line if no CD is present by the time you turn ON the
computer. You can experiment to see what works for your particular system.


Even more? discQuest

002- I've heard of a package called 'discQuest' which is
     supposed to open the way to accessing all sorts of
     commercial CD's. But, if I can play CD music and load
     files from data CD's, what do I need discQuest for?

     Below is a condensed discQuest review. It should help clarify things.

DiscQUEST v1.2.2
$99.95 list, for 2MB IIgs
  from Sequential Systems (800-759-4549)
CD ROM drive, interface, and System 6 or later required;
  hard disk and System 6.01 recommended

     There is a burgeoning library of CD-ROM releases. History of the World
from Library Reference is a case in point. discPassage is a PC/Mac interface
program which lets a user access text, pictures, and sound tracks on CD's which
employ a discPassage database.

     Typically, dP products carry the digital data disc symbol and are labelled
"for Mac or multi-media PC" with Mac and PC versions of discPassage included

    "Whoa! My IIgs has a CD-ROM reader, SCSI interface, and all the standard
System 6.01 drivers. It still can't do much with those disc CD's."

     Right. The basic IIgs setup CAN access data and programs on for-Apple II
CD's. If you've added the appropriate Media NDA and Control Panel, your CD-ROM
IIgs can also mimic a CD music disc player complete with all of the usual
controls. Audio is output directly from the CD-ROM drive to headphones, a hi-fi
amp, or a pair of amplified speakers.

    "Fine; but, how do I ask the Family Doctor a question, peruse an
encyclopedia, and use other neat CD-ROM data disc products?"

     Actually, with HS.FST in your SYSTEM/FSTs folder, you can click the CD-ROM
icon, display folders, and even load TEXT files from discPassage CD's. Your
IIgs is 'compatible enough' with ISO 9660 even if some of the PC filetypes are
unfamiliar. Still, this kind of access is hardly satisfactory. What you lack is
the software key to unlock the discPassage database. Your IIgs cannot run PC or
Mac versions of discPassage; but, it CAN run a for-GS database unlocker named

      How do the systems match-up? Well, I tried out several CD's under
discPassage on a 33MHz '486 PC and discQuest on a IIgs with 10Mhz/64K ZipGSx.
On the PC you get to see an intro pic (which discQuest skips); and, in one
case, a sound file which played fine with discPassage did not work under
discQuest. (Sequential Systems has been notified; and the designer says an
update is in the works.)

     As might be expected, pictures come in faster under discPassage because
discQuest must often spend extra seconds processing each PC-format image. The
larger the graphic and greater the number of colors, the bigger PC's advantage.
Based upon samplings of several CD's, discQuest often needs about 15 seconds to
load and display a pic that discPassage can handle in 3 seconds. Fortunately,
you can reduce this delay by selecting Preferences and setting Color to

     Both setups handled sound files well, consistently starting playback in
under 4 seconds. The big surprise of the face-off came when comparing time
required to open folders and display item choices-- for example, to open
"Ancient Civilizations" and list article titles. DiscPassage routinely took
10-20 seconds; whereas discQuest seldom took even 2 seconds!

     Just click the discQuest icon and, in a few seconds, the name and main
folders of the current discPassage-compatible CD appear in a scrollable Browse
window. From here you can open folders, do searches (by word, author, subject,
or title) and read articles in scrollable windows. Of course, you can also
listen to sound tracks, view pictures, and obtain printouts of text and

     A major benefit of having reams of text 'on the computer' is that you can
clip and save selections for use in articles, term papers, and other projects.
discQuest scores a "pretty good" here, since you are free to add and delete
text and can use Cut & Paste within whatever article you are viewing. The
result may then be saved to disk. At present, however, discQuest does not
maintain more than one text window on its desktop; nor does it support loading
text files from disk or opening a New (blank) text window.

     The standard discQuest package includes a sample CD (such as "Family
Doctor" or "Total Baseball"), fifteen pages of information and instructions,
and two diskettes. One diskette lets non-hard disk users start discQuest after
a bare-bones System 6.0 boot. The other will Install discQuest and a monospace
font (CoPilot.8) to hard disk plus, if desired, several support files. The
latter include HS.FST and drivers for popular CD-ROM readers plus the Media NDA
and Control Panel stuff to support playing music CD's.

     If you already have CD-ROM up and running on your IIgs, then hard disk
installation of discQuest should involve nothing more than creating a folder
named DISCQUEST, copying the program there and copying CoPilot.8 to
SYSTEM/FONTS. The other files are present in case you've purchased Sequential's
Complete System Package. The one sent to me included discQuest software and
info sheets, NEC MultiSpin (x2 speed) CD-ROM reader, RamFAST SCSI interface
card, cable, Labtec CS-150 amplified speakers, manuals, and four more sample
CD's. A company rep noted that CSP components and pricing change regularly; so,
if interested, be sure to check with Sequential.


From: Matt Portune

003- How can I back up files on CD-ROM?

     Compact disk recording opens up many possibilities. Obviously, archiving
software is one of them. Another is being able to record audio. In my studio,
I've placed a lot of important material on analog tape; and, unlike the
diskette situation, there is no doubt of the imminent danger of degradation.
Burning the audio to CD would maintain the original quality, with the added
bonus of random access.

     CDR also opens up business opportunities. Archiving data for businesses
and spinning off audio masters and mixes for bands and clubs are just two good
prospects. All of which more than justified the cost of a CD Recorder.

     First priority, of course, was preserving my precious ][ goodies! I began
the whole process on a Wednesday afternoon, and worked non-stop through Sunday.

     Step One was to archive programs and their support files into compressed
SHK files. Not only does this help keep everything organized, but it also
prevents loss of resource fork data when files are moved to the PC for

     I archived the data from every floppy I have plus files from each hard
drive partition. A few items were archived twice; but, this way, I can choose
from a 'raw' original or 'set up' version. (Besides, separating out duplicates
would have taken an extra day!)  Anyway, the entire backup only reached about
105 megs. There would be plenty of breathing room on a 650 meg CD.

     Since all 10 of my hard disk partitions are ProDOS, I settled for
transferring data to the PC in 32MB chunks. This was done using a home brew
null-modem cable to connect the serial ports of both machines.

     It's surprising that so many computer users go to the trouble of using
diskettes for machine-to-machine transfers. Null-modem is so easy! I attached
my cable, launched Spectrum v2.0 on the GS and Hyperterminal on the PC, and,
then, told Spectrum to Zmodem-upload everything on the transfer stuff partition
to the PC.

     The machines held a steady transfer rate of about 4500 CPS. Since I had a
few 32-meg partitions to upload it was a good excuse for leaving the computers
to their work and indulging in Babylon 5 re-runs!

     Finally, on Sunday afternoon, the uploading was complete. On the PC,
everything wound up in a folder called "GS Backup". Inside this folder, I
created other folders (Games, Graphics, etc.). All in all, 100+ floppies and a
340 meg hard drive had been turned into a nice, organized 105 meg archive.

     After double checking the archive, I slapped a blank CD into the recorder,
started EZ-CD Pro, and selected "New" from the file menu. I scanned the
displayed listing of burn formats for "HFS" because it is recognized by both GS
System 6 and Mac. Unfortunately, HFS was not in EZ-CD Pro's list; so, I
selected ISO-9660, which System 6 can handle via the HS.FST.

     Actually, the whole process went very smoothly. I chose the "GS Backup"
folder as the data to burn to the disc, and, after about 7 minutes, the CD
recorder spit out a shiny new GS archive!

     Or, so I thought...  I put the CD in the GS drive. It mounted fine, but
upon opening the CD, I found that EVERY file was placed in the root directory,
instead of in it's proper folder.  Also, every filename had a ";1" after it?!

     It turns out that the ";1" is an end-of-filename character (the ";")
followed by a an ISO-9660 version number. Versions of ISO-9660 which do not
support the Apple Extensions require such a suffix for non-directory files. The
cure is to find a CD burner program which supports either High Sierra Group
format or a more up-to-date version of ISO-9660.

     The directory problem was _my_ fault. I was still learning the software's
"parenting" feature, and had mistakenly told EZ-CD to make the disc with every
file in the root directory!

     Anticipating some such screw-up, I had made sure to not select "close
disc" on the first burn. This makes a disc "multisession", which means you can
do later burns ("sessions") and write new stuff until the disc is full, or
until you "close" it. (You cannot, however, erase anything.)  So, I told the
software to make the first session inactive, and burn a second session which
would have the files in their directories.

     After another 7 minutes, out popped attempt #2. Sure enough, in the PC's
CD-ROM drive the first session showed as ignored, and the new, Version 2,
session was active! Alas, on the GS, the situation was reversed. Version 2 was
ignored. I found out later (by asking someone) that HS.FST does not, currently,
support multisession discs! As Poor Richard once observed in his Almanac:
"Experience keeps a dear school ... ."

     Despite a few tribulations, I'm pleased to report that my first CD was not
a waste. If you have the Balloon NDA installed and double-click a file, it is
recognized as an SHK archive and is opened accordingly. Opening the files from
GSHK worked fine, as well. It 'ain't pretty'; but, the archives are all intact,
and perfectly readable on the GS.

     Since I have more things to add to a future CD (like GNO v2.0.6), I'll
soon be ready to pull all the data off "disc 0" and burn a fresh one, doing it
right this time. At least, for now, I have everything backed up on a safe,
long-lasting medium, thus taming my dying-floppy paranoia. Now, if I could
somehow archive the II hardware ...!


From: M. Kelsey

     I made a ProDOS 8 CD-ROM just today for the first time. I used Windows '95
since it has APSI driver emulation in an MS-DOS prompt and a *freeware* utility
called DISK2CD from .

It consisted of only these few steps:

        1.  Get all software onto youir Apple II hard drive that you
                want written to CD.
        2.  Disconnect the hard drive.
        3.  Reconnect the hard drive to a Windows '95 or DOS machine
                with appropriate ASPI drivers.
        4.  Run DISK2CD.
        5.  Test the CD out on your Apple II =)

     Now I can use Copy II+ 6.5 to make disk images in an uncompressed form,
store them with their file attributes, and have a bootable CD-ROM from which I
can access the utilities and disk images!  (WooHoo!)  Bye bye to all those 300
5.25" disks!


From: Supertimer

004- Is a special driver needed for a Toshiba External 2X CD-ROM
     drive on a IIGS with Apple Hi-speed SCSI interface?

     Yes, you need an SCSI-2 driver. Sequential Systems,,
sells such a driver for the Apple Hi-speed card. This driver works well with an
Apple CD-300 and a quad-speed Hi-Val drive tested against it. The Toshiba drive
is also an SCSI-2 standard CD-ROM. They all use the same commands and need this


005- I have an Apple Hi-Speed SCSI card and CD300 CD-ROM drive on
     my IIGS. How can I get sound from my CD's?

     Sequential's new driver allows the audio to work. It allows the Apple
Hi-Speed interface to work with all new CD-ROM drives.


From: Stephen C. Davidson

Related FAQs Resources: R014CDROMIN.TXT (text file)

006- Where can I find more information about specific drives,
     interfaces, and CDROM software?

     See the Apple II CD-ROM Info resource file R014CDROMIN.TXT . For
additional SCSI interface information see the Apple II Hard Drives and SCSI
Interface Manual file F004HDNSCSI.