CiderPress FAQ

Some common questions and solutions.  Return to main page.

Why can't I open my MicroDrive CF card?

If the CF card was previously formatted for Windows or a digital camera, it may still look like a valid volume, and Windows will assign a drive letter to it even though the card holds nothing but Apple II data. It may even allow you to try to open files with garbled names. If try to use the CiderPress Open Device or Volume Copier features by selecting the drive letter, you won't see your Apple II data.

All you need to do is open the card as a physical (numbered) device rather than a logical (lettered) device.  Better yet, update the CF card with the newer version of the MicroDrive utilities; this will clear out the Windows volume data so the problem (and some others) don't arise.

How do I transfer my Apple II disks to my PC?

This isn't something that CiderPress currently helps with.  There are, however, a number of useful utilities, as well as sites with disk images.  Check the comp.sys.apple2 FAQ site for information, especially this section.  ADT is probably the most popular program, but using ShrinkIt to create disk images and transferring them over a null modem cable or AppleTalk network works too.

If you have a SuperDrive or floptical drive on your Apple II, you can read and write 1.4MB floppy disks.  To copy disk images, just create images with ShrinkIt, copy them to a 1.4MB ProDOS-formatted floppy, then copy the disk images off with CiderPress.  If you're planning to use them with an emulator right away, copy them off with the "bulk" disk image converter so that they'll be in the format your emulator prefers.

While CiderPress supports ProDOS-formatted 720KB and 1.4MB 3.5" floppy disks, it cannot support 800KB 3.5" disks or 140K 5.25" disks due to limitations of the disk drives used on PCs.  (A program called "disk2fdi" provides some support for reading 5.25" and 3.5" Apple II disks on the PC.)

How do I transfer disk images to physical disks on a real Apple II?

You need to convert the disk image to a format accepted by software on the Apple II and then transfer it over.  Check the links in the previous answer -- software that helps you copy disk images to the PC will usually help you copy them back. 

Where can I find an Apple II emulator?

Check out AppleWin, KEGS, and Sweet16.

Why is my disk image opening in read-only mode?

Possible reasons:

When I paste files, the disk fills up almost immediately!

When pasting files into a ProDOS disk image, you can choose the directory into which the files should go.  If the disk image doesn't have any subdirectories, all of the files will be pasted into the volume directory, which only holds 51 files.  You need to paste the files into a subdirectory ("folder"), which can hold an effectively unlimited number of files.

If you were copying from a set of nested subdirectories, and you want to preserve the original structure, disable the "Strip pathnames when pasting files" option in Edit->Preferences (or paste with Edit->Paste Special and select "keep full pathnames").  If you were copying from a single subdirectory, or you want all of the files to be pasted into one place, you will need to create a subdirectory with Actions->Create Subdirectory first, and then paste into that.

You can see how much free space a disk has with the File->Archive Info feature (just hit Ctrl-I after opening the disk image).

Why isn't my disk image recognized?

CiderPress tries to correctly identify the sector ordering and filesystem of every disk image, but in some cases it's not possible.  The most common reason is that the disk image isn't in a recognized format (DOS, ProDOS, Pascal, CP/M, or RDOS).  Many games were shipped with custom disk layouts, usually for copy protection reasons.

In some cases, disks with modified versions of standard file systems will fail to be recognized.  This is most common with "customized" DOS 3.3 disks that have abbreviated catalog tracks.

Disk images that can't be opened with "Open..." can usually be opened with the Disk Viewer in the Tools menu.  If the Disk Viewer can't open the image, then either it's stored in a file format CiderPress doesn't support, or it's not a disk image at all.

How do I open a modified or slightly damaged DOS 3.3 disk?

The disk format auto-detection algorithms rely on finding the disk catalog track.  If it's very short, or partially damaged, CiderPress won't recognize the disk.  In some circumstances you can specify the format manually:

This can also be used to select which half of a hybrid DOS/ProDOS image to use.

Why does CiderPress say my files are "suspicious" or "damaged"?

CiderPress runs an extensive set of consistency checks on disk images before it will allow them to be modified.  Problems found might indicate damaged files, or might only indicate the potential for damage.

For example, if some of the sectors of a file are not marked as "in use", the next file you copy to the disk could overwrite parts of the existing file, corrupting it.  CiderPress prevents you from making damage worse by treating such disks as "read only".

Some DOS 3.3 software shipped with "title" files in the catalog.  These were only meant to highlight portions of the catalog, not hold data, so sometimes the software authors would use one sector in the catalog track as the "storage" for all of the titles.  CiderPress will detect multiple files sharing the same storage, and mark them as "suspicious", meaning that their data might be present but that altering the files could have unforeseen consequences.  "Suspicious" disks are also marked "read only".

Why are my .hdv images opening read-only?

Some ".hdv" files are undersized, and grow as you add files to them.  CiderPress thinks these are damaged, because the size that the volume claims to be is much larger than the actual number of blocks in the file.  You can tell what the difference is by opening the volume and selecting File->Archive Info (or hit Ctrl-I).

To be able to write to these disks with CiderPress, you need to expand them to their full size.  One approach is to force your emulator to expand them.  To do this, launch a ProDOS block editor within the emulator, and open the last block on the disk (e.g. 65534 on a 32MB image).  Read the block and write it back.

Another approach is to create a new volume and copy all of the files over.  To do this:

  1. Create a new disk image with File->New Disk Image.  Select ProDOS and 32MB.
  2. Open the old disk image.  Select all files with Edit->Select All (or hit Ctrl-A).
  3. Open the new disk image.  Select Edit->Paste Special, and choose "Keep full pathnames".  (If you don't have "strip pathnames when pasting files" set in Edit->Preferences, you can just use Edit->Paste, or hit Ctrl-V.)

That's it.  For some emulators it will be necessary to close the file in CiderPress (File->Close or Ctrl-W) and then rename it from ".po" to ".hdv".

How do I use DiskCopy 4.2 images on a Macintosh?

[this answer is probably out of date]

Some (all?) DiskCopy utility programs on the Macintosh require the correct file type and creator type values to be set on disk image files.  If you try to open a ".dsk" file with a generic file type, you'll get an error message claiming that the file format isn't recognized.  The correct values are 'dImg' for the file type and 'dCpy' for the creator.

You can use ResEdit, BBEdit, or Norton Utilities to change the type and creator.  If you're using PC Exchange on the Macintosh to copy the images off of Windows-formatted disks, you can configure it to set the type automatically for ".dsk" files. 

How do I format a floppy disk with ProDOS?

Copy a 720KB or 1.4MB ProDOS disk image to a PC-formatted floppy disk with "Volume Copier" in the Tools menu.  If you don't have a disk image handy, create one with File->New->Disk Image.

CiderPress does not perform low-level disk formatting, e.g. reformatting an 800K disk for 720K.  From Windows, open My Computer, right-click on the floppy drive, and select "Format".

Can I use CiderPress on a non-Windows system?

Yes, with emulation. It works reasonably well with Wine (, and very well with system emulators like the free VirtualBox.

Is there anything that CiderPress *doesn't* do?!

Yes.  Take a look at our feature request list.