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PostPosted: Tue Feb 15, 2011 1:00 am 
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Space Cadet

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I have spent way too many hours now attempting to solve a problem that's been bothering me for more than a decade: How can I read all those old MacWrite files I wrote back in college? The search for a solution has led me here, and I'm exhausted enough now to plead for help. Here's where I'm at:

I've successfully installed Basilisk II with Mac OS 7.5.3 on a machine running Windows XP Home Edition SP2. I've attempted to run a number of old programs within the emulator that should be able to open up MacWrite files. (I believe I have old files in a variety of different MacWrite versions, between version 1.0 and MacWrite II. Last file created was in 1990.) My goal is to at least be able to read the file on the screen. I don't need to save or convert them to be happy - though it would be nice, even if only as plain text.

Everything I've tried either fails to install (either as a disk image or within the OS), crashes while running (usually crashes Basilisk), fails to see my files at all, or fails to convert the files to a readable format, showing them instead as plain text gibberish.

Here's what I've tried so far:
- Can't get DataViz; doesn't seem to offer the converters any more
- MacWrite 4.5 from http://software-shack.freehostingcloud. ... e_4.5.html (Can't get it installed)
- MacWrite 4.5 from http://homepage.mac.com/chinesemac/earl ... mages.html (Can't get it installed)
- MacWrite 4.6 from http://macintroid.tripod.com/downloads/macwrite.zip
- Word 3 and 5.1 from http://www.macintoshgarden.org/apps/microsoft-word (Cannot mount the img files as volumes.)
- Quill 2.04
- WordPerfect 3.5e runs, but crashes when trying to convert files
- Huge number of applications successfully installed from http://osvirtual.net/en/macos-7-5-3withsoft/. Included Tex-Edit 2.7.2 (can't see my files), WordPerfect Works 1.2 (can't see my files), MacWrite 2 (French version, hangs on startup), MS Word 3 (hangs on startup), MS Word 4 (French version, crashes Basilisk while starting up), WriteNow 3.0 (French version, sees files but gives error message attempting to open them), MS Works 2.00b (can't see my files)

And finally Word 5.1a, which actually successfully opened one of my MacWrite II files (I think it was) and allowed me to save it as RTF. So far, this is the only success I've had, and is what gives me hope that this project might actually be doable.

I salvaged the files themselves several years ago at a used computer shop where they were kind enough to transfer my files from the ancient diskettes to a thumb drive. Since then, they've been living on my hard drive. I'm exclusively in Windows at home, but I've tried to preserve the file folders intact, realizing that files like FINDER.DAT are no doubt crucial to using these files in the future. But not being a Mac person I wonder if there's some possibility that I've corrupted things somewhere along the line by storing the files under FAT32 and then NTFS? (Incidentally, is the FINDER.DAT file itself supposed to be visible when browsing around in the Finder???)

All I want is to convert a couple dozen files from 20 years ago into some sort of readable text. I never thought it would be this difficult! All I need is one program that works in order to achieve my goal. Or is there a better way to do this? Any help would be appreciated.

Adam


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PostPosted: Tue Feb 15, 2011 6:40 am 
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Hello, and welcome.

Your problem is a well known problem. When your files were copied from a mac file system to fat32 and/or ntfs, crucial information about the files was lost, unless they would have been packaged by some compressions software.

You need to provide your mac applications with information about which program is the creator and owner of those files. Creator and owner information comes in two 4 letter codes, like "ABCD" and "EFGH"
You can do that with e.g. resedit. Install the program, and use it to open your file. Then use getfile/folder from the file menu to see the creator/owner information and change it to the required values, like for resedit these are "APPL" and "RSED"

Resedit is here:http://www.resexcellence.com/support_files/resedit.shtml

Which creator/owner are needed, I don't know exactly, but you might find some intact files to use as example. and perhaps there are nice utilities on the internet that allow you to batch-change this info on files?

Good luck,
Cat_7


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PostPosted: Tue Feb 15, 2011 12:41 pm 
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Hi Adam,
would you like to try MiniVMac as well?
I have opened some of those ancient MacWrite files successfully there.
I uploaded a bootable image for MiniVMac some time ago, but it is .sit compressed: http://www.mediafire.com/download.php?xmovodaizune49b
If you wish, I can send you a zipped System6 image with the needed MacWrite software on it.
You should then follow Cat7's instructions and thats all.

If your files are not strictly confidential, I could try to convert them to a file type of your choice as well, if you would just like to see them again
and don't like to take a plunge into Mac emulation rather. Are you aware, how to create an (ISO) image of the files from your USB pen?

Best wishes!


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PostPosted: Tue Feb 15, 2011 1:40 pm 
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Could you post one or two sample files for those of us who like to experiment?


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PostPosted: Tue Feb 15, 2011 8:23 pm 
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Space Cadet

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Thanks for the responses. The problem does seem to be with the "resource fork" data. So I think that using a different emulator would not solve the problem.

It seems that all the resource fork data HAS BEEN PRESERVED, in "RESOURCE.FRK" subdirectories. I also have "FINDER.DAT" files in every directory and "Desktop DB" and "Desktop DF" files at the top of the tree. So I have all the data - it's just be separated out into different files to make it storable in FAT format.

These files are all [i]visible [/i] in the Finder in the emulator. So it looks to me like the problem is simply that the flattening of this data into separate files, which occurred automatically when the files were copied from an older Mac to a FAT disk, simply has to be reversed.

ResEdit does not seem to have the ability to reconnect the resource data that is sitting in a separate file - it simply sees my files as lacking resource fork data, as other applications do. I see there are tools such as FixupResourceForks that can be used for this on a modern Mac. But for the life of me I can't find any tools that will run on 7.5.3 that will do this recombination.

This leads me to wonder if I'm not missing something obvious. I imagine that if a Mac would write files to a FAT disk in this format, it would be able to simply read them back in this format as well. That would imply that there were no utilities to do the conversion, as it was built into the operating system. If this is the case, perhaps I simply need the emulator to "see" the files in the right way.

Perhaps there is a way to have HPVExplorer reinterpret these files to make a DSK file that looks correct?

I feel like I am so close now. And everyone who ever put a PC diskette into a Mac would have had this same problem. So why is it not talked about more online??

Thanks,
Adam


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PostPosted: Tue Feb 15, 2011 10:12 pm 
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Can I make Basilisk open up a DSK file in such a way that the emulated OS thinks it's a PC formatted disk? I think that might solve everything...

Adam


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PostPosted: Tue Feb 15, 2011 10:15 pm 
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Hi,

Yes, perhaps those files could be placed in a disk image. But I don't know if the files you have do represent the real mac os file structure on a disk. Perhaps mac disks require these files to be in specific locations, I don't know.

this restates the problem:
http://lowendmac.com/crews/06/0104.html

this explains the resource fork:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Resource_fork

Extract:
Another challenge is preserving resource forks when transmitting files using non-resource fork-aware applications or with certain transfer methods, including email and FTP. A number of file formats, such as MacBinary and BinHex, have been created to handle this. Command-line system tools SplitForks and FixupResourceForks allow manual flattening and merging of resource forks. In addition, a file server seeking to present filesystems to Macintosh clients must accommodate the resource fork as well as the data fork of files; UNIX servers providing AFP support usually implement this with hidden directories.

The tools mentioned are part of the Xcode development suite. It seems FixupResourceForks migh be your tool

Or this might save you:
http://hintsforums.macworld.com/showthread.php?t=35076 (please read up on post #3)

I tried copying a simpletext readme file to windows and then back. It lost it's resource fork. But when I opened it in ResEdit, resedit immediately said it would add a resource fork. When I added the creator/owner info in the resource, and saved the file, it was readable again with simpletext.

Best,
Cat_7


Last edited by Cat_7 on Tue Feb 15, 2011 10:54 pm, edited 2 times in total.


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PostPosted: Tue Feb 15, 2011 10:40 pm 
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Yes, you are right in some ways.
If a classic Mac stores data on some "foreign" file system e.g. network volumes or FAT formatted USB sticks, those data can be read back again, of course.
The administration data you mentioned, are visible with the foreign file system and must be left untouched.
Unfortunately, as soon as the files get MOVED, by means of the foreign file system, to some location different from the original place, the Mac looses track.
The IDs mostly default to DOSA and TXT and no classic Mac app will read it.
This is why Mac files are usually shipped with some kind of contanier. SIT or ZIP are fine, IMG, DSK or ISO may work too.

As far as I know, there is no way to restore the original information in an elegant way. (Except for taking back your stick to the place it came from):-)
The fastest way to fix your files, is to "guess" file and creator IDs, restore, open them with the suitable old program and convert it to .pdf, .doc or whatever.
For MacWrite you may try Creator "MACA" and Type "WORD" if your files have been saved as MW2 document or later,
that should do the trick if the data themselves have not been corrupted meanwhile.

For running those oldies, I think MiniVMac will be your only possibility except for FusionPC or SoftMac may be.
I am handling such old stuff with MiniVMac in SheepShaver in GNU-Linux.
Once you managed to open the files with MiniVMac you can copy things to SheepShaver and to the host.
It can be done that way, Cat7's solution may be more elegant. I tried something similar once, but could not make it.
("Smack the client" didn't help either.)

Best wishes!


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PostPosted: Wed Feb 16, 2011 12:32 pm 
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I think I just tried what you are aiming at:
I took a MacDraw file with a floppy to my PC and copied the files to the HD.
Then I inserted another floppy, moved all files from HD back to it, and yes the MacDraw file is read by the Mac all right.
I did not think this would work that easy, and never tried. So you are right with your assumption, great!
If such a file transfer can be done with floppies, it should be possible with images just the same.
Do you recall what kind of devices were carrying your files originally?


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PostPosted: Thu Feb 17, 2011 10:03 pm 
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Space Cadet

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In an attempt to get this simple approach to work, I attempted to reconstruct what the original diskettes looked like. Failing this, I tried to recreate the thumb drive file layout (it was long ago copied to my hard drive archive). I can see from FINDER.DAT files that there were more files on my thumb drive than the ones I preserved (unrelated to this project). It seems I deleted these extraneous files when I copied things off the thumb drive. So it was not possible for me to recreate a perfect image of either the diskettes nor the thumb drive that stored the two diskette contents. This may be why this approach failed.

So instead I fell back to the brute force method of using ResEdit to modify each file one at a time. I used the FINDER.DAT files to determine the "type" and "creator" of each file. Turns out there was quite a variety of file types but fortunately Microsoft Word 5.1 was able to open almost all of them after the ResEdit modifications, and I could successfully save everything to RTF format. The only file that I couldn't convert in the end was a "PICT"/"MDRW" file. I presume this is because the data in the RESOURCE.FRK folder for this file was needed for MacDraw to open it correctly. In all other cases ignoring the resource fork data had little or no effect on the reconstruction of the original file.

I guess my next project will have to be to convert all my other files to something that will stand the test of time better, before it's too late. Hmm. 184,292 files in my life archive now. How long will it take to convert it all to, say, PDF? Or better yet, just print it all out and bury it underground??? :-)

Thanks for your help, guys!

Adam


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PostPosted: Sun Mar 13, 2011 11:38 pm 
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Tinkerer

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Quote:
It seems that all the resource fork data HAS BEEN PRESERVED, in "RESOURCE.FRK" subdirectories. I also have "FINDER.DAT" files in every directory and "Desktop DB" and "Desktop DF" files at the top of the tree. So I have all the data - it's just be separated out into different files to make it storable in FAT format.


FINDER.DAT and RESOURCE.FRK are the way the PC Exchange control panel manages Mac OS-only stuff with FATxx (PC-formatted File Allocation Table) disks. They are not supposed to be visible in the Finder like this, so you must be viewing or have either transferred files behind PC Exchange's back.

Tip: QuickTime uses the RESOURCE.FRK directory method for resource forks on non-Mac systems.


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PostPosted: Mon Mar 14, 2011 7:36 pm 
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Granny Smith
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I don't usually advertise the site anymore, but my Mediafire Archive and blog posts on system608.wordpress.com contain MacWrite and various other writing utilities, for anyone else with this problem.


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PostPosted: Tue Oct 18, 2011 9:23 pm 
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There are utilities out there that can apply the file type and creator code when you drop files on them. I'm pretty sure that File Buddy can do it:

http://www.mac.org/utilities/filebuddy/

Another one is FileTyper:

http://www.mac.org/utilities/filetyper/

I'm away from my Mac, but I'm fairly sure both of them run under Basilisk II.

A lot easier to use than ResEdit.


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PostPosted: Mon Nov 14, 2011 7:08 am 
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Space Cadet

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"If such a file transfer can be done with floppies, it should be possible with images just the same."

Sorry for bumping an old thread, but it looks like ajvajra never figured out what 24bit meant, so just in case someone else will runs into the problem and reads this and doesn't understand again in the future, what this means step by step:

1. First, create an empty dos format disk image that will work with basilisk (a 'raw' disk image, without any headers, compression, encryption, etc.)

Actually, since you're going to need Basilisk set up with PC exchange to read the disk later anyway, you can use it to create the disk image too; that way you don't have to worry if you have right kind of disk image to work with basilisk:
i) run the basilisk gui
ii) Create a volume, choose the size, and give it a filename to save it as. Now you have a big blank file, and it's added to your basilisk config
iii) start basilisk. When the mac boots and finds the blank disk, the finder won't recognize the format and it will ask you if you want to initialize (format) it. Do that, give it a name, and from the Format pulldown, choose "DOS". Once it's done, the Mac will finish starting up, and you'll see the PC disk on your desktop along with your other disks.
iv) shut down again.

2. Back in windows, copy the files onto your disk image

There isn't anything built into windows for working with raw disk images, but we won't let that stop us. =)
i) Download and install WinImage (shareware) http://www.winimage.com/download.htm
ii) Run WinImage, and open your dos disk image in it
(File -> Open, choose 'All Files', from the 'Files of type' pulldown, browse to and choose your disk image file)
iii) Delete any existing contents from the disk image
(select any files that appear in the winimage window, click delete, and accept the confirmation prompt)
iv) Copy your archived files originally from the dos floppies into the image
(drag them from any file window into the winimage window and accept the prompt)
v) Close winimage

3. Load up basilisk with your disk image attached, and it should now have your mac files on it with resource forks intact. Assuming you've got the other key ingredient, having an app on there that can open that file type, you can now double click and watch the magic.


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