Classic Computer Magazine Archive START VOL. 4 NO. 7 / FEBRUARY 1990

Disk Instructions

Now Using Your START Disk is as easy as 1, 2, 3!

Running the START Menu Program

From a Floppy Disk: Put your START disk in drive A and turn on your computer. The START menu program will come up automatically.

From a Hard Disk: Boot your computer as you normally would. If you're using a color system, set the computer to medium resolution. Put your START disk into either drive A or B, and double-click on the drive's icon. After the disk's directory appears, double-click on START.PRG. Note: Do not run the menu program from your hard drive! Each issue's disk has its own START.INF file which must be in the same directory as START.PRG.

When the menu program first runs, it will ask you to describe your floppy disk drive configuration. It is very important that you enter this information correctly, as the program will use the information later to correctly back up and prepare your program disk. Click on Single or Double sided for both drives A and B; if you only have one drive, the Drive B buttons will be greyed out. If you are unsure whether your drives are single--or double-sided, click on Help.

What Then?

This is where accessing your START programs gets easy. Just follow these three steps:


1. Here, you can format a single- or a double-sided disk in either drive A or B. Click on the drive containing the disk to format, select Single or Double sided and then click on Format. Formatting a disk will delete that disk's contents. Do not format your START disk.


2. We recommend that you make an archive copy of your START disk, which is in the special Heidi format. If you have a single-sided drive you can back up Side 1 of your disk onto one single-sided disk. We also recommend that you borrow a friend's drive to back up Side 2 of the disk onto another single-sided disk. If you have a double-sided drive, you can back up the disk onto one double-sided, Heidi-format disk. The computer will rely on the system configuration information you entered earlier to tell you which disk needs to go in which drive.


3. This is the heart of the START menu program. The Prepare a Disk option brings up a window that lists the names of the programs, source files and demos on this issue's disk. The names of the programs will be given in full; you don't have to worry about the specific names of the archive files. If a program has accompanying source code on the back side of the disk, the entry will be listed separately. For example, one entry may be "Avecta I: Ebora" and an entry further down would be "Source Code for Avecta I: Ebora."

Next, a dialog box will ask for the destination directory, and whether you wish to send the program files to a folder. The destination directory may be a floppy, hard drive or RAM disk. If you wish to put the files in a folder, the program will offer you a default folder name. Press (Return) to use this name or edit the path directly. If the folder does not already exist, the program will create it. If you select drive A or B as your destination drive, the program will ask you if you want to format the destination disk. The menu program will then unARC the files directly to the destination drive, and will minimize disk swapping by analyzing the drive configuration you specified earlier.

Bonus Options

Each month, your START disk menu program will include special bonus information ranging from the issue's disk contents and coming attractions to special subscription offers and the latest-breaking Atari news. Click on the various menu buttons and scroll through the main menu window to read this information.

And There You Have It

For more detailed instructions, click on the Help button. Click on Exit to return to the Desktop. And that's all there is to it--un-ARCing START programs was never easier!

Your START disk format and interface was developed by some of the most talented programmers in the ST world. Contributing Editor David Ramsden wrote the interface for the menu program and the custom unARCing routines that are as much as 40 percent faster than ARCX.TTP. Contributing Editor Dave Small and Dan Moore wrote the Heidi formatter that made the back side of the START disk accessible for the first time. Charles Johnson of Codehead Software wrote a custom version of the STARTGEM program that lets the menu program run at boot time even though it's GEM-based. Keith Gerdes of Double Click Software wrote DC SQUISH, which lets us compress the START menu program executable and resource files to save valuable space on the front side of the disk.