I see faith in your eyes
Never you hear the discouraging lies
I hear faith in your cries
Broken is the promise, betrayal
The healing hand held back by the deepened nail
Follow the God that failed
"The God that Failed" - Metallica
ST UTILITY SOFTWARE REVIEW: "FCOPY PRO" BY ICP
by Richard Karsmakers
Since times now long forgotten, the German programmer/author
Martin Backschat has supplied us with his trustworthy little copy
program, "FCopy". It must have started somewhere in 1987, with
version 1. Through some subversions and major revisions, 1990 saw
the release of a more finished version of the program: "Fcopy
Whereas the old versions 'only' allowed quite basic things the
likes of copying, scanning and formatting, version III already
included an option to make a backup of your harddisk.
Unfortunately, you could not restore it (bummer).
The biggest advantage of any of the "FCopy" versions was, if you
ask me, the fact that it was able to automatically recognise the
disk format (i.e. the amount of sides, tracks, and sectors per
track), so that it always read the proper amount of disk space
without the user having to try to find out the disk format by
trial and error. By now this is standard in all copiers, but
"FCopy" was the first, and generally found an increasing user
I - II - III - PRO
However, the new version has even more advantages, I can assure
The new version is called "FCopy Pro", which apart from the
older options includes quite some new ones. Harddisk owners will
be relieved to notice that they can now also restore their
backups (even the backups made with "FCopy III"). Also, a small
disk editor has been built in as well as an option like 'smart
But you're not going to be able to use any of these options
unless you first run a registration program on the disk. This
will adapt a non-executable data file into an executable program
file that contains your name. This can then be made to have an
extension of .ACC or .PRG, to be used as a desk accessory or
regular program respectively. This is very handy, but was already
possible with "Fcopy III".
So what's new?
Well, instead of just summing things up rather incoherently, why
don't you let me sum everything up one by one:
With this function, it is possible to have the program check
whether the data on the target disk has been properly written,
i.e. without any errors having occurred. In "Fcopy Pro", it is
possible to switch this button off while copying (which can be
done with most buttons now).
This is a totally new function, which is very useful if you're
regularly making multiple copies of one disk. Before the program
starts writing everything to a target disk, if first checks
whether it is already formatted using the proper format. If not,
it will do so automatically.
A general option that specifies whether the destination disk
should be formatted or not.
Read Disk Configuration
Behind this options lurks the success of all "FCopy" versions.
When this option is switched on, the program will check the
format (sides, tracks, sectors) of the source disk and
automatically takes that into consideration. History were the
times of "ST Copy" where the user first had to check for aeons
which format the source disk was (by trail and error).
Isn't it stupid nobody thought of this before? All necessary
information is contained in a disk's bootsector!
The new thing of "FCopy Pro" is that these parameters are
actually displayed now as well (i.e. you always know which
format the source disk is while copying). It is also possible
just to get the parameters of the source disk on screen without
actually having to start copying - which can be done by clicking
on the word 'Read Disk Configuration'.
With this, is is possible to create several copies of one
original, without having to insert the original each time. With
older versions of "FCopy", one had to specify the exact number of
copies you would want to make, but now this is no longer
necessary (it now works just like "ACopy").
Get Sectors all/used
Somewhere on a disk information is contained which sectors are
being used in files and which ain't (that's in the FAT, the File
Allocation Table). When this option is switched to 'used', the
program will only copy the tracks containing sectors that are
actually used in files (this is quicker, as often the entire disk
need not be copied). When switched to 'all', is simply copies the
whole thing - which is easy if you're copying disks that (may)
contain some extra stuff not contained in files (like data
Part of the screen is sacrificed to displaying the disk
configuration of the source disk while copying. When 'Read Disk
Configuration' is switched off, the parameters specified here are
used for copying/formatting/scanning/etc. You can now decide for
yourself how many sides, tracks and sectors per track you would
want to copy. This is handy should you want to copy only part of
New: High Density (HD, 1,44 Mb) disks are also supported.
Right next to the 'Disk Configuration' department you will find
a special little menu for pre-defined disk format parameters,
which is another novelty for "FCopy Pro". Commonly used disk
formats are specified here, and can be changed to your own needs.
These can then be ported to the 'Disk Configuration' screen by
one mouse click. These parameters can be saved.
"FCopy Pro" is more flexible than the Public Domain versions.
You can now also determine some of the internal parameters in a
separate screen. Some of the internal parameters you can change
- Whether the 'streamer' function (see below) should compress the
data when writing to floppy.
- Whether partition data should be optimised during the writing
back of streamer data (bye bye, "Tune Up!").
- Whether a harddisk partition should be used as 'extended
memory' (you can then copy a disk that contains more data then
you can read in your computer's memory, where the harddisk will
be used as buffer).
- Whether the user's interface should or should not use request
boxes, sound and a mouse speeder.
- Whether special tricks should be used for faster formatting
('fast format' and 'fast access headers').
- The amount of retries when the program encounters a read error.
- Some specifications with regard to the recognition of High
- Specifications for drive A and B number of sides, density and
The standard copy option, that has however been enriched because
of the 'smart formatting' option. The serial number of a disk (a
number in the bootsector which the operating system uses to
determine whether a disk swap has occurred) is correctly changed
for each copy, preventing dangerous crashes that may result in
data loss (like is the case with copies made with "ACopy").
With this it is possible to check a disk for read errors. The
new thing about "FCopy Pro" is that, once such an error has been
found, full analysis can reveal which file(s) has/have been
effected by those errors.
Older versions of "FCopy" allowed the formatting of disks using
the parameters mentioned in the 'Disk Configuration' department.
"FCopy Pro" is, again, more flexible here. One can now also
specify the number of directory entries and sectors per clusters,
and one can choose whether or not to write a bootsector guardian
(something in the bootsector that says 'no virus'). Formatting
also happens 'backwards', i.e. the vital bits of a disk are
formatted last (bootsector, FAT, directory).
A 'streamer' is a peculiar kind of cassette deck on which owners
of hard disks can make a backup. Behind this name lies the
harddisk backup option of "FCopy Pro". Thank God it uses
This option was already contained in "FCopy III", but
unfortunately the backup data could not be written back to the
harddisk ("Sorry mister. This return ticket will only bring you
from A to B, but not from B back to A!"). Anyway, "FCopy Pro" can
do the writing back bit - and it can also write back backups made
using "FCopy III". The backup data can be compressed, so that
less floppies are needed.
Displays the directory of a disk, including the file attributes,
folders, date, size, etc.
A very handy option, which can be used to convert a disk format
from one to another (as long as the target format has enough
space for the things present on the source format). With this it
is for example possible to copy a half-empty double-sided disk to
a single sided disk. FAT and directory are automatically adapted,
and any of the buttons mentioned above function properly
This is the most notable new option of "FCopy Pro": Quite a
full-fledged disk editor. With this is is possible to examine and
manipulate data on floppy-or harddisk. Options include one-click
ways to jump to bootsector, FAT 1, FAT 2, root directory, first
data sector and last data sector. A bootsector can be checked for
virus infection, and the guardian program mentioned earlier can
also be written here.
With this function is is possible to empty a disk quickly,
without having to format a disk or delete all its files.
Basically, it creates an empty directory and clears the FAT's,
which is a lot faster than formatting. Sectors marked as 'bad'
will be retained.
Another new option of "FCopy Pro": The possibility to create an
'image copy' of a floppy disk to harddisk - i.e. all sectors are
written into one huge disk file. This is the perfect way to
create backups of floppies! All buttons mentioned above are
Need this be explained?
"FCopy Pro" is a good and reliable program, contained many
options that will make everyday life of the computer user a lot
easier. The manual, which is over 50 pages in length, clearly and
elaborately illustrates what the program can do. It also supplies
remarkably handy tips for its use. Keyboard equivalents make the
program even more user-friendly.
I would like to advise everybody to buy this. Although it
doesn't copy protected software, it is the perfect copier for
other jobs. The disk monitor is quite extensive, though I
wouldn't get "FCopy Pro" if I needed a disk editor.
"FCopy Pro" is available at 89 German marks from ICP through the
address below. If you live outside Germany, I suggest you first
write for info, supplying ICP with International Reply Coupons
for an answer. As yet, the manual is only in German but I guess
they'll get to work on an English version if there's enough
ICP-Verlag GmbH & Co. KG
D-8500 Nürnberg 1
The text of the articles is identical to the originals like they appeared in old ST NEWS issues. Please take into consideration that the author(s) was (were) a lot younger and less responsible back then. So bad jokes, bad English, youthful arrogance, insults, bravura, over-crediting and tastelessness should be taken with at least a grain of salt. Any contact and/or payment information, as well as deadlines/release dates of any kind should be regarded as outdated. Due to the fact that these pages are not actually contained in an Atari executable here, references to scroll texts, featured demo screens and hidden articles may also be irrelevant.