EmuFAQ 2.0


Manual A reference, usually supplied in digital or paper form with a product, which allows the user to reach a higher degree of knowledge about the product it's referencing. Not reading relevant parts of the manuals, before asking questions about the product, is considered a serious breech of Nettiquette and a common answer to the questions might then be RTFM.

Common questions

How do I access my old disks?

Assuming they are on 5.25" format, there are a few ways of doing this. You need something that can physically read the 5.25" disk.

Disks can be protected originals, where a copy of the content is protected or they can be plain ones where you just port the content. For the protected original you need to port a full disk, in GCR mode.

Null modem

This applies to PC, Mac, Linux box or whatever - I'll stick to PC as that's what relevant to 99% of you anyway)

Connect the PC to the C64 via a null modem connection (typically a serial cable and a Null modem). Now hook up a terminal program in both ends and fire away using any of the file transfer protocols available in both ends.

Usage: Individual files

Hardware: You need both a C64, a 15x1 and a null modem cable

Advantage: Easy to set up
Disadvantages: You'll be doing it till hell freezes if you want to do more than just a few files

X 1541 cable

Hook up the C1541 disk drive to the PC using a X-1541 interface (it's just a cable - easy to solder even if you aren't born with five thumbs on each hand)

Using the programs StarCommander or Trans64 you can transfer the data to the PC in a blizz. StarCommander is still developed and allows you to do all sorts of nice things, including picking individual files from the disk and copying them to the PC in any form you want, converted on the fly.

Please mind that there is a family of cables, and you need to see which one fits your needs.

Usage: Individual files as well as full disks, depending on program used.

Hardware: You need a 15x1 disk drive and the X1541 cable

Advantages: Fast, reliable and flexible
Disadvantages: It simply won't work on all machines and getting a working 1541 drive might cause problems.

The cables can be bought from several sources on the net:



This is an interface that allows you to hook on standard PC 3.5" and 5.25" drives and in the process they are suddenly able to read just about every disk format ever created. Amazing piece of hardware.

Usage: Individual files as well as full disks, depending on program used.

Hardware: The catweasel and a PC 5.25" disk drive

Advantages: The fastest solution and the drives are really cheap if you find them
Disadvantages: Costly and the software support is not perfected as StarCommander.

Buy the service from someone Nicolas Coplin, producer of the C64HDD, has a service of porting disks to D64 images. Presumably they are mailed to you. Please click here to check it out (scroll to the bottom of the page).

How do I access my old tapes?

Tapes are more problematic than disks. To be honest, the best way is to the the stuff over to the PC and process it from there. Get Markus Brenner's mtap and port the content to the PC, whereafter you process it further. The end result is a TAP which is basically a generic nibble copy of the tape, or "tape image" as an analogy with the "disk image" expression.

On the PC you can do the same thing as you would to on the native 64, but you can set your emulator to run in infinite speed, which is a relief when working with infamously slow tapes.

For the non protected originals, you can typicall do a LOAD from the virtual tape and then save to a disk image. This can be used also for TurboTape and other similar speeders. In case you are going to do a bunch of those, I'd propose looking for a native C64 program doing this sort of convertion for you but on a batch basis.

For originals, the protection was typically the fact that the original was placed on tape, and in the loader you found different ciphering mechanisms, for making extractions harder. Getting the program out in this scenario, is the same as the native c64 there are a few ways:

Cracking: Many youngsters spent they youth doing becomming experts on this (yes lads, me included!), which means extracting the program with professional expertice. If you read this, you are probably years from doing this on a decent level. Crackers can of course do multilevel programs, and replace the built in tape loader and replace it with a custom loader for disks.

Freezeing: You can mount a cartridge image to your emulator, and freeze the program after loading and saving it to a disk. It's ugly, but for programs that will not load additional data from the tape upon level completion, then this is working.

Transfering: Crackers typically made transpers for common loading formats, so they needed to learn you to bypass the loader once or twice only. The cracker tools just extract the data to a disk, and dodn't make it into an operational program, as it was merely a way to take the tape into raw material for the further cracking. Some companies did however produce transfers that took the tapes and made fully operational copies on disk. If you have a tape protected with a loader for which you have a transer, this is a fully working way to get a working diskcopy.

How do I convert my old Word processor documents?

Assuming you ported the data there are two ways to go on;

Run the original program in an emulator Will always work. You can even set the speed to the maximum of what your system can cope with so it could be considerably much faster than it was on the original C64. Note that VICE is available in C128 mode as well so word processors in this system can also be emulated.

Advantages: Given that you have the program that created the original text, this works great
Disadvantages: You typically must have a cracked copy of your words processor, or it doesn't work on the emulator.


Convert the document(s) and edit on any other Word processor

Let's face it - word processors on the PC are SOOO much better than they used to be on the C64! If you convert your old texts to a format that is PC readable, then you have fully migrated into a slightly more sustainable environment.

Advantages: Take full advantage of the newer system
Disadvantages: You must be able to convert the old text into a newer format.

How to convert it? Well, I am not aware of any good way of doing it on the PC so you simply have to do it on the native c64. Sometimes the word processors have the option of saving the files in plain text format - you lose all the formatting, but you have all the text as written.

If you're lucky, you've written your texts in a format that is readable by Gnylf, a very handy program written by the good friend Linus Walleij. It runs on the C64 but could very well be run under on of the emulators.

How do I play games in the emulator?

The long story

What meets you when you boot a Commodore64 is not a shell, like MS-DOS or Unix, but a screen editor From it you can enter basic statements, but also issue DOS commands. You can freely walk with the cursor, alter the line you're on and then press return to issue the command.

The Commodore DOS features "devices", where the screen is device 0, tape is 1, a printer 4 or 5 and disk drives normally 8, 9, 10 or 11. To load a file from a device has the general syntax:

LOAD ["filename"][,device][,absolute address]

The system from boot-up assumes that input device is tape and output device is screen, which means that you do not specify the device if you want to load from tape. Also the "absolute address" parameter can be 0 or 1 where "0" means "load to basic" (default) and "1" means "load to the address specified in the file".

So if you want to load from tape you just need to issue the command LOAD. This loads the next file from tape. In the world of emulator, this means that you want to load from a T64 or TAP file. You can issue the same command more specific; LOAD "*",1 ... This means "Load the first file you find with any name, from the tape device - i.e. device 1"

To load from a disk (which is a D64 file in the world of emulators), you cannot just issue LOAD but need to add the device indicator (or you have stated you want to load from tape). So issuing the command LOAD"*",8 means that you want to load the file that appear in the disks table of contents (called the "directory"). So what about all the other files on the disk - how can you see them?

To load the directory you issue LOAD"$",8 followed by LIST. There you see the contents. Files with the file type PRG can normally be loaded by issuing LOAD"filename",8. If the directory is longer than a screen you risk missing the first files, but you can halt the output using the key CTRL and abort using the key Run/Stop.

If you have the directory on the screen, you can use the screen editor to walk up the screen and type LOAD before the filename (on top of the length reference) and walk passed the filename and type ,8: after the closing quotation mark. The colon means "end of statement" and is only placed there to prevent the PRG reference to be parsed as a command.

Finally; You have to run the program loaded, which is done using the RUN command.


The short story

To load from tape, issue LOAD
From disk, issue LOAD"*",8
Then type RUN to run the program

Also; In most emulators you get a menu of the contents, where you can select a file which is then loaded and executed.

How do I play multi disk games on my emulator?

This is described in the manuals of the emulator. You generally press a key to enter the setup of the emulator, and you there select a new file. The description assumes that you are in the position where you have a message such as "Insert disk 2", "Insert the character disk" or "Please turn the disk" on the screen.

C64S 2.52

Press F9. Select "Disk" (ALT+D)in the top menu, and then find and select the D64 you have the rest of the game/program on. You now see the option "Set" in the lower row, and pressing "s" selects the new disk. Press Esc to return to the emulated program.

By the way: CTRL+Break returns to DOS.

CCS64 2.0

I am still amazed how people can miss this -There are several ways!

a) Press ALT+8 to select a new image which is associated with device 8. As stated in the bottom of the screen, F1 or S sets the new disk.
b) Press F9 and navigate to the "1541 Device 8" option, and do the same as above.

CB64 Comeback 64 0.99 doesn't yet support D64:s so you don't have that problem
Frodo 4.1a

This assumes you already found how to run a program under Frodo. I'm not too fond of the interface here, that you must enter the menu Tools followed by the option Preferences. Now select a new image to be mapped to your device.

Frodo also has a special option for this case, to cope with "insert next disk" cases - there is even a special option in the Tools menu for this. The option is described further in the manual.

PC64Win 2.14 As was clearly stated in the boot up splash info, you press F9 to enter the requester where you can select a new image. Easily assumed to be impossible to miss...
VICE Similar to Frodo you here attach images to the devices. Press Esc to invoke the menu, select attach (Select by the highlighted bar or by pressing the key A). Now press Esc a few times to go back to the running program.

What is this .LNX, *.P00, *.D64 stuff?

Files are stored in different formats, with different characteristics. Please download 64Copy for the latest reference of the formats.

Which emulator is the best one?

The choices we make are often personal, and not everybody seek the same thing. What is more important; perfect emulation of VIC, SID the 1541 disk drive, support for all formats, fast updates, ability to show as a window, an integrated transparent debugger, full capacity even on low end hardware and several other aspects. If an emulator is perfect with everything but your favorite game, you are likely to look for the second best anyway, aren't you? It's also rather good if it works on the platform you use; you have very limited use of the ass kicking emulator under Unix if you run a Mac yourself.

So, I am very subjective indeed, and I'll also give my reasons.

CCS64 2.0 beta This is the technically best one, and the one I prefer as long as it does it's job and I don't need to test any of the others very often. It handles all the graphic tricks amazingly well. It still lacks a full, transparent machine code monitor/debugger (what's in it today is not complete) and it can't run in a window under Windows. Håkan is still developing and I have high hopes for the future.
PC64Win A nice one, but it's no longer being developed. The VIC emulation is line based, which means that stuff like demos often look like crap, but it can run in a window.

I always said this one needed a Digital Alpha to run properly, but as the power of faster CPU:s reach the mass market, Frodo is becoming a better and better option. On a fairly modern machine you should have no problem running it at full speed.

It has a debugger, can run in a window, but the setup system is not something I am very fond of. I can't understand why mapping a certain image to a certain device can be considered a preference that also might be interesting to save.

VICE Was long an outsider, but a very competent such. Is now well established and VERY competent: Great emulation, but the possibly strongest side is that it's also available in VIC20 and C128 modes. In the newest release (1.7 at the time of writing this) it's possibly the best option available for free. Debugger is simply great.
ComeBack64 Johan - the main author - is a FairLighter, so it features the legendary FairLight intro in the options menu. It still has some distance to cross before it's a serious competitor to the top emulators out there. I hope I'm able to say more about the competence of the emulation and the format support in the 1.0 release.