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Atari ST Quick FAQ by DrCoolZic - V3.1 2012-08-05

Why did I decide to update or rewrite portion of the original Atari ST Quick FAQ?

While reading the original document I found a lot of interesting information but it also turned out to be a rather frustrating experience! The reason is that as the original document has not been updated since January 1999 most of the links in the original document are broken, a lot of topics are outdated and some more recent information/features about Atari ST computers are missing (for example nothing about devices like PeST, UltraSatan, KryoFlux ...).

I therefore decided to rewrite a large portion of this FAQ. My document is based on The Atari ST Quick FAQ - Version 2.8a - 1999-01-22  (also available in an online version - in French) that was last updated by Nicholas Bales.

There is also a text version (V2.9a) of this FAQ as well as some older documents published in the Atari newsgroup: FAQ1, FAQ2, FAQ3

This is revision V3.1 of the ST FAQ - Last updated 2012-08-05 by DrCoolZic - Revision history



What's this FAQ all about ?

As you probably know FAQ stands for "Frequently Asked Questions". :-) (and that's a smiley! )
The intent of this FAQ is to provide introductory level information for someone starting with an Atari. However if you are looking to more in-depth  information this FAQ provides a lot of links to either external references or to internal references on subjects that I have covered.

Again this FAQ is based on the original ST Quick FAQ from  Nicholas Bales and for several subjects for which I (DrCoolZic) do not have specific knowledge or interest the original text has been kept unchanged.

At the time the original FAQ was written, information among "Atarians" was widely exchange through newsgroup related to the Atari. Apparently the Atari newsgroup are gone from the Usenet distribution (at least I could not find any on my provider's news server) but it seems that some archives are still available from Google Groups. Newsgroups have been replaced by forums and there are plenty of Atari Forums. Back to the top

Disclaimer just in case...

I cannot be held responsible of any data loss, hardware damage, warranty voids, or thermonuclear warfare resulting in the application of anything described here. Nobody else can be blamed for any misuse but yourself. Any action that is described here may only be done at your own risks and perils. Whatever happens, it's not my fault.

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Helpful criticism, corrections and additions in helping Nicholas Bales to create the original document came from: Richard Davey - Tom Derrick - Eric Hays - Tom Hopper - John Kormylo - Ken Macdonald - Ashley SeabrookMartin-Eric Racine - Peter - Rottengatter - Terry Ross - Neil Roughley - Hallvard Tangeraas - Jo Vandeweghe and of course Nicholas Bales.
Many thanks to all of these people.

And hopefully DrCoolZic have contributed to a better version of this document?

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What is this Atari ST thing?

The Atari ST is a 16/32 bit Motorola 68000 based personal computer range launched in the mid 80's which has evolved over the years from the ST (Sixteen bits data bus, Thirty two bits address bus) to the STF, STFM, Mega ST, STE, Mega STE, and into more modern computers like the TT030 or Falcon030.
There are even some extremely powerful Atari-compatible clones around like the Swiss 68060 based Hades or the German Milan, and clone projects like the French Phoenix or the American Wizztronics machine.

More recent clones includes the Suska III-C boards from Wolfgang Förster and the Atari ColdFire Project available from Medusa Computer Systems.

All these computers run various flavors of an operating system called TOS (The Operating System), which includes a graphical user interface called GEM (Graphical Environment Manager) from Digital Research.

If you are interested in the fate of Atari, and the company's history, you should look for sites in the link page.

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What kind of monitor can I use with Atari systems ?

Please also refer to my Video page for more information.

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Atari Graphic resolution

The Atari ST have 3 screen resolutions:

The original  STF/STFM have of 512 color palette, but starting with the STE this palette has been increased to 4096. Definition/selection of the 4 or 16 colors from the 512/4096 color's palette is done with the control panel accessory and for monochrome resolution the same panel accessory can be set to select either black on white (the default) or white on black mode.

Switching between Mid/Low-res is done in the set preference dialog box of the option menu and switching to Hi-res requires either to connect a monochrome monitor's cable or to use an Atari video switch. In all cases switching between any of the resolution modes reset the Atari.

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Connecting to a TV Set

STFM and some later models were equipped with an RF Modulator allowing them to be connected to a TV's antenna connector. You then need to tune into the correct channel on the TV to get the ST picture.
In some countries, Atari shipped machines with a SCART/Peritel cable that plugs into the monitor port instead of the RF Modulator. In this case you need the adequate cable and a SCART/Peritel equipped TV set. No tuning is required, and the RGB picture is better quality than with RF. These cables might still be available from some Atari dealers, but it is also quite easy to build one. As a TV connection act like an Atari Color Monitor it will only display low or medium resolution modes (see above) but not monochrome.

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Atari monitors

Depending on the graphic resolution you need to connect two different types of Atari monitors:

It is important to note that the SM124 monochrome monitor can only display Hi-resolution images, and that the SC1224 color monitor (or TV set for that matter) can only display Mid-resolution and Low-resolution images. As most games require Med/Low-res color and most application programs require Hi-res monochrome the choice of your monitor is important and this is also why many people ended up having both.

Note that If you have both monitors you normally have to plug and unplug video cable each time you need to switch from one to the other unless you buy an Atari monitor switch that allow you to switch back and forth between the two monitors at the toggle of a switch!

It is also important to know that monitors from Atari includes an audio amplifier, with a volume control knob, and a speaker for hearing Atari sound. On the STF/STFM models the only connector to provide the sound output is the one that connect to the monitors. On the STE there are two extra RCA connectors to output stereo sound. Note that well designed SCART/Peritel cable carry the sound to the TV set.

These two monitors cannot be connected to an Atari TT, as this machine requires a VGA monitor.

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VGA/SVGA or Multisync monitors

In order to connect a VGA/SVGA/Multisync monitor to an Atari it needs to supports RGB signals, and the following refresh rates for the horizontal and vertical synchronization signals (Note the second part of the table contains the measurements I made on an European Atari STE):

Specified Values ST High ST Low/Medium   My measurements ST High ST Low/Medium
Vertical refresh rate 72 Hz 50 or 60 Hz   Vertical refresh rate 71 Hz 50 Hz
Horizontal refresh rate 31.5 KHz 15.75 KHz   Horizontal refresh rate 35.8 KHz 15.7 KHz

ST High-resolution: Only a "modern" VGA/SVGA or most Multisync monitor can handle the ST monochrome Horizontal frequencies. To use a VGA/SVGA monitor for Hi-res monochrome you need to build a cable that connect the ST mono out to the red, green, and blue inputs of the monitor, as well as the H-sync and V-sync signals. You also have to connect the mono-detect pin to the ground pin.

ST Low/Medium resolution: Here on the contrary only very old CGA/Multisync monitors can handle such a low Horizontal frequency! A modern VGA monitor don't accept an HSync below 30KHz (the lowest VGA frequency). And therefore in order to display Low/Med-res you need an old monitor (e.g. a Multisync monitor) that can handle the above display rates. In this case you will need to build a simple cable that connects the red, green and blue outs, as well as the H and V sync signals from the ST monitor output to the display unit's and leave the mono-detect pin disconnected.

Follow these links to better understand the Video standards or to find out about your monitor capability. It is also possible to convert CGA video to VGA with this kind of converter, and it you want to better understand video conversion you can look here or here

The nicest solution is to have an old Multisync monitors that handles perfectly the three resolutions (for example a NEC Multisync II). In order to switch your Multisync monitor between Hi-res and Med/low-res you need to build a special cable with a switch.

Also remember that usually standard monitors do not have an audio circuit and therefore you need to connect the audio output of the Atari to an external sound system (this is covered in Atari Monitor Connector page).

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Falcon video

The Falcon is equally happy with a VGA/SVGA/etc. monitor or an old ST/STE type monitor (though resolution will be limited to 640x400 interlaced on these).
Whatever the display you choose, the Falcon requires an external video adapter, either for ST type monitors or for VGA screens. There are also third party adapters that can switchbetween the two displays. A text file about Multisync/VGA/ST-res adaptors for Falcon is here.

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How do I boot up my Atari ?

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Booting without a disk

First of all, most Atari computers have TOS in ROM and therefore don't need a boot disk to start the system! If you do not have a correctly formatted double density disk to boot from, just wait a few minutes for the GEM desktop to come up on it's own, then format a blank double density disk using the menu option. Having a formatted disk (even an empty disk) in the drive dramatically shortens the boot up time. If the desktop screen doesn't come up after more than 5 minutes, either your ST is broken or you have an ST without TOS in ROM.

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Getting started without a manual

If you have never used an ST and don't have a manual on hand, there is little you need to know to use the GEM desktop. here are the basics:

Once you have got the hang of this, the rest is pretty straight forward. This is for all TOS versions. Newer versions of TOS have additional features.

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Atari language disks

Depending on the ST version you have, a language disk was supplied with some basic software, mainly:

Very few of the programs supplied on these disks were of much use. If your system disks have been lost, it is no big deal. Better public domain or shareware equivalents can be found on most FTP servers

Software supplied with the Falcon included several commercial programs such as MultiTOS, Atari Works or SpeedoGDOS. These are not freely available.

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How do I know what TOS version I have

One way to find out which version of TOS you are running is to check out the latest copyright date in the Desk, Information box.

In addition to these, a Falcon will be running TOS 4.02 or 4.04 and a TT030 will have TOS 3.01, 3.05 or 3.06. The new Milan computer runs a licensed TOS 5.0.

To obtain a full report on your hardware (RAM, TOS, disks, etc...), you should run a program such as Sysinfo.
Look a this nice document or a quick list of the main TOS versions to get interesting information on TOS versions.

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The term Emulator is overloaded especially for the Atari. Originally the term was used to indicate a program to emulate a terminal for example a VT52 Emulator. But here we talk about the more recent usage of the term emulator that designates a program to emulate an older machine (computers or game consoles) running on a recent and powerfull computer

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How can I get Atari ST software to run on a PC, Mac, or Unix box ?

You need a program ("an ST emulator") that will fool your computer into running Atari ST programs. There are a lot of sites dedicated to the subject of Atari emulation and I will therefore point you to a list of links on the subject. For example Emulateurs & TOS (in French!).

The most Famous are SainT, Steem, and Hatari. Please also look at my version of Steem

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Where can I get those TOS ROM images ?

TOS is the ST operating system. It was supplied on ROM chips with most Atari machines. Most emulators need an image of these ROMs in order to run. However, TOS is still copyrighted software and the distribution rights belong to Atari. Atari has not stated that any version of TOS can be freely distributed and used. Owners of a real ST can use a program called Romimage to make a TOS image for their own use. This is considered legal as long as the image is not distributed and you own a legal copy of the program (ie: the ROMs).
However most version of the TOS in many languages can be found at the Atari ST TOS ROM.

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What are .ST files and what can I do with them ?

Emulators often have problems reading original ST floppy disks, mainly because of hardware issues on the emulating machine. A common workaround is to convert all the data contained on a disk (including special formatting, boot sectors, hidden tracks, etc...) into a disk image file. The most common format for this is the .ST file format from PaCifiST as well as the older.MSA format. The emulator then mounts these files as if they were real disks. Please refer to the different emulator links for more information on creating/finding disk images.

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Software General Information

This section of the FAQ has drastically changed from the original one because the situation of the Atari software is quite different today. Most of the Atari programs are still copyrighted and therefore copying or distributing them is illegal. However nowadays it is becoming almost impossible to find shops that still sell these programs which are 10 to 20 years old. Your best bet now if you want to be 100% clean is either to look for remaining shops, or to look for people selling old stuff on places like eBay, or to find freeware and public domain programs in FTP sites or other places, or specialized site like music site. A special thanks to authors of programs that have generously "donated" (removed protection and made public domain) their programs. You can also sometimes find programs published by Magazines. Beyond that it is possible to find a lot of disk images of games and other programs on the Net.

Again the situation in 2010 is again quite different. Many of the Atari programs are now considered as abandonware and therefore widely distributed. You can start with This site Atari ST - Essential Software

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Star programs for Atari

This section list some of the most famous software available at the time for Atari. You may need to find them in order to be able to read some specific data file (word processor, graphics, music, etc...)

A more complete list can be found in the Atari ST Essential Software

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Can I upgrade my operating system ?

The ST's operating system TOS (see the list here), is on ROM chips on most STs. Upgrading your TOS means replacing the old ROMs with new ROM or EPROM chips. It is extremely difficult to find those ROMs today however from time to time you will find some offer on eBay. Another solution is to use the SELTOS freeware program that allow  you to load a different TOS image from a floppy disk.
There are also third party replacement operating systems such as MagiC and Geneva (TOS-like multitasking systems) or MiNT and Linux-68K (UNIX-like systems). For more information on TOS follow the TOS links

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How do I backup my original program ?

In most country it is legal to make one backup copy of your original software for safety reason. Most commercial programs on Atari are protected either by a key that plug into the cartridge port or by incorporating protection mechanism in the original floppy disk.

For software with a key (e.g. most Steinberg programs) you can make as many copy of the original disk with any standard copy program.

The second protection mechanism works by placing specific "defects" on the floppy disk (e.g. CRC errors, weak sector, holes, ...) that prohibit a normal copy program to work. In the early days it was easy to circumvent the protection by using specially design copy programs, but as protection mechanisms were perfected you had to use some specially designed hardware to make copy of the original disk. The most famous HW for copying protected programs are the Blitz cable (specially design cable connected to the ASCI and Floppy connectors of the Atari and requires an external floppy drive) and the Discovery Cartridge from Happy Computers (that plug into the cartridge and floppy disk connectors). There is also the preservation of Atari software project that allow to create disk image of virtually any original protected programs but it does not allow to make backup copy and thereforeonly works for emulators.

For more information please refer to backup on my page on protection.

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How can I upgrade memory on my Atari ?

I also provide more in depth information in a specific page about Atari's Memory.

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Expanding SIMM equipped models

If your ST is equipped with SIMM memory, you can easily upgrade your memory to 1, 2 or 4Mb by just taking out the old SIMMs and popping in the new ones. The correct memory type is 30 pin SIMMs, with or without parity, capacity being either 256Kb or 1Mb. The minimum speed of 256Kb SIMMs is 150ns and 120ns for 1Mb SIMMs. It is best not to mix different SIMM types. They must be installed by pairs in slots 1 and 3, then 2 and 4 (from back to front).
Atari STEs are originally equipped with either 2 (520STE) or 4 (1040STE) 256Kb SIMMs that can be replaced by 2 or 4 x 1Mb SIMMs.
Because of a bug in TOS, STEs will not recognize a 2.5Mb configuration (2x256Kb + 2x1Mb) without a small bootup program like silkboot2e or simmfix. These can be found on most FTP sites but are quite unreliable.

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Expanding DRAM equipped models

On DRAM memory models, the memory chips are soldered directly to the computer's motherboard. This makes memory expansion a lot more tricky. A way to avoid the soldering and memory limitations is to use a special memory expansion board that replaces the original memory banks with standard SIMM sockets.

Several such solutions were available like the Marpet Xtra Ram board or the Aixit 10Mb expansion board, or the JRI-RAM+ board.

DIY conversions require serious soldering skills, and are not for the faint hearted. Descriptions of such modifications can be found below:

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4Mb, the Final Frontier

On ST, STF and STE computers, the MMU (Memory Management Unit) has a hardware limit of 4Mb.
However recent developments have seen third party expansion boards that allow going beyond this limit. The Magnum-ST board from Woller+Link in Germany allows up to 16Mb on aplain ST/STF (not STE). TOS versions below 2.06 will not deal with more than 4Mb, so either a TOS upgrade or MagiC is necessary.

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Falcon boards

The step forward from DRAM to SIMMs on the STE series became a step back to a proprietary memory board system on the Falcon. The falcon was pre- equipped with 3 memory board models: 1, 4 or 14Mb. Upgrading a Falcon means scrapping the original memory and replacing it with either a new proprietary memory board or a third party SIMM board. There are many of these available and can sometimes be combined with a CPU accelerator board.

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How can I connect a hard disk drive to my ST ?

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ACSI Hard drives (Atari Megafile and SH series).

ACSI is Atari's proprietary hard drive connector. It is similar to SCSI which was standardized later, but not directly compatible. ACSI drives were the Atari Megafile and SH series that ranged from 20 to 60Mb capacities. Supra, and maybe some other manufacturers also made some ACSI drives at one point, but these are quite rare. These are the only hard drives that are directly "plug'n'play" compatible with the Atari ACSI/DMA port on stock STs. Atari SH drives have the advantage of being made up of an ACSI to SCSI host adapter connected to an Adaptec 4000 SCSI to MFM adapter that is attached to the drive. It is thereforesometimes possible to adapt these drive to use SCSI drive mechanisms. This is not the case for Megafile drives.

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SCSI hard drives

In order to use SCSI peripherals, and unless you have an internal Atari interface (Mega ST, Mega STe) you need a SCSI host adapter that connects the SCSI drive to the ACSI hard drive port on the Atari. There are several models available depending on whether or not you need parity, whether or not they are for external or internal drives. The 2 most common SCSI host adapters are the Link II from ICD and Link'97 from WB Systemtechnik. Don't forget also that there is not much room for a 3.5" hard drive inside an original ST case. You will need either to put the whole system into a PC type tower case, or to find an external housing and power supply for your hard drive. The Mega STE internal SCSI interface does not support parity.

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IDE hard drives

The Upgrade Shop, a UK based company sells an internal IDE host adapter for STE only, It plugs into the processor socket and requires 4 wires to be soldered to the board. It is mainly aimed at connecting 2.5" IDE drives internally, but 3.5" drives can be attached to it if the computer is tower-mounted. Instructions to build your own DIY interface also exist, but should only be performed by people with a solid knowledge in electronics, soldering and programming GAL chips. See also the Atari IDE disk Interface from Pera Putnik
The Falcon has an internal IDE slot for internal 2.5" IDE drives. Some Falcon users have managed to fit a replacement 3.5" drive after cutting parts of the metallic shielding.
Just a general note: You can partition IDE drives as much as you like, but do not format them. Some of them will not recover from a "low level" format.

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ZIPs, CDROMs, Syquest drives, anything else non-SCSI

Using a parallel ZIP drive on any Atari computer's parallel port is impossible because of the lack of several signals in Atari's implementation of the parallel port. You should use a SCSI ZIP drive. There is however a parallel port interface that plugs into the cartridge port of Atari computers, available from Woller+Link (Germany). See the Zip Drive FAQ
SCSI versions of ZIPs and CD-ROMS are recommended, so that you can use a SCSI host adapter. Be aware also that CD ROMS and ZIP drives use parity, so you must have a parityenabled SCSI adapter.

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Hard disk driver software

In order to get TOS to recognize the drive, a HD driver package will be needed. Here are some of the more popular packages:

It also seems that some drivers are more suited to one type of drive whereas they can have problems with other drives. A good idea might be to ask in forums or the software vendor forany compatibility issues before buying.

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New Hard Disk Replacement

By far the best solution to replace ASCI/SCSI/IDE hard disks on an Atari system is to buy the HW developed from Jookie's two projects. The first project is called SatanDisk. It has now been replaced by a more powerfull solution called the UltraSatan project. Basically these boards allow to use MMC or SD cards as a Hard Disk replacement for the Atari.

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Floppy Drives ?

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Replacing a floppy drive

The disk drives used by Atari ST computers are industry standard 360K (single sided) or 720K (double sided) double-density DD floppy drives.
PC drives can be used as replacement drives, only nowadays it is difficult to find 720K drives. You can however use just about any 1.44Mb HD drive as these will perform perfectly well in DD 720K mode. Nevertheless, you have to be aware of the following:

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Upgrading to a HD drive

Using a high density drive in High Density mode on an ST, is feasible, but requires a few hardware hacks, both on the ST and on the drive. Ready made HD kits are available at several places, and a few DIY text files describe (sometimes contradictory) modifications too on several FTP servers. Then there is the issue of the controller chip. The WD-1772 is not designed for handling the faster frequency needed to use HD mode, although some people have had one running for years with no problem so an 'Ajax' chip is highly recommended. Most STEs seem to have an Ajax chip fitted as standard.
Lots of information on the subject can be found at the Atari Hardware Hack Page

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What about printers ?

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What kinds of printers can I connect ?

All Atari computers have a standard bidirectional printer port, which means that basically any printer that connects to a PC parallel port should work with an ST, with the same cable.
A problem lies, however, with the recent appearance of cheap printers "Optimized for Windows 95". These units actually lack hardware, making them rely on require Windows 95 to run. They will also not work with a Mac or Unix box, so be careful when you buy.
Atari became famous in the DTP for offering the first cheap laser printers. This was done by using the computer's RAM instead of having built-in memory. The SLM laser printers therefore require at least 2Mb of RAM to run. They also attach to the ACSI/DMA port, which means that they cannot be connected to a Falcon. A Falcon/SLM adapter, called the Heatseaker, didexist but never got to the market.

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Where do I get a driver for my printer ?

The issue of printer drivers is mainly an application problem. The part of TOS originally devoted to printing and graphic output, called GDOS, was not included in ROM, therefore some applications bypassed it and developed their own printing routines. This sort of application will require it's own proper drivers to be written.
Properly written programs will use the GDOS standard, allowing use of proportional fonts and standard drivers.
To run GDOS on your computer, there are several solutions. FontGDOS is the latest freeware GDOS implementation from Atari, but is slow and handles only bitmap fonts. SpeedoGDOS and NVDI are both commercially available and fully maintained, and handle both bitmap and proportional fonts. NVDI is also a very efficient screen accelerator. Basically, if you plan on using a printer, you should consider obtaining NVDI.

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Mice, mouse

The Atari mouse was quite poor, and very few remain in good working condition after the years. When it finally needs replacing, these mice are very hard to find. Try contacting an Atari dealer in your area, as most of them carry some sort of Atari compatible mouse.

A PC serial mouse can be connected directly to the serial (modem) port. There are two drawbacks to this. Firstly, on a machine with only one serial port it prevents from connecting anything else (modem, extra midi ports...). Secondly, you will need to load a serial mouse driver at each boot. Genmouse or Mouse25 are such drivers and can be found on your favorite FTP sites. The problem is that, being auto folder programs, they will obviously not run with auto booting programs such as games.
Some Amiga mice have a little Amiga/ST switch allowing them to be used on an Atari. There is reportedly a means of converting an amiga mouse to an ST mouse by inverting two wires, but I could not not find the instructions.
Erratic mouse behavior is sometimes caused by a faulty connector. The mouse port connections under the keyboard, are subject to stress when there is continuous plugging and unplugging of the mouse (to connect a joystick for example). A remedy for this is to take apart the ST and touch the solder joints that connect the mouse connector to the keyboard PCB with a soldering iron, just to reestablish a good contact by slightly melting the solder.

If all else fails, you can always use the Alt + Arrow keys trick (Alt + Shift + Arrow keys for pixel scale movement, Alt+Clr/Home for left click, and Alt+Insert for right click) as a lifesaver, but that's hardly a practical solution in the long run.

The best replacement for Atari mouse is to use the PeST (PS2 Mouse Interface for the Atari ST) adapter. See also here

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The Universal 4 Inch Drop Fix (tm)

A common problem on Atari ST computers is socketed chip connections coming loose. The symptoms are erratic behavior, sudden resets, unexpected bombs, blank screen (white), disk errors, etc... This is the result of the PCB aging, heating, dilating, warping, slowly easing the chips out of there sockets.
A common, and quick fix to this is the famous 4 inch drop, and it goes like this:

As silly as it may sound, this sometimes works, reseating the chips and solving the problem. The result is not 100% guaranteed however. If the problem still occurs you probably have a more serious problem.
Of course, another (more professional) option is to take apart the machine and reseat all the chips by hand.

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Schematics and Connector Pinouts.

When your computer breaks and there is no Atari Service Center in your neighborhood to repair it for you, you'll want to see if you can do it yourself, or get someone else to fix it. Chances are that you will need some schematics of the machine. You can find most of these at The Atari Hardware Hack Page

See also my page about the Atari connectors and cables.

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How can I transfer files between an ST and other computers ?

Exchanging TOS and MS-DOS floppy disks

Disk exchange between MS-DOS and TOS is absolutely possible, if you follow these rules:

As a summary, it is usually best to format a DD 720K floppy on the PC before using it to transfer files.

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Exchanging TOS and Macintosh floppy disks

TOS is not compatible with the Mac's HFS disk format, but MacOS versions from 7.5 onwards are supplied with PC Exchange, that allows reading and writing of MS-DOS disks, which are compatible with TOS as explained above. PC Exchange is also sold separately by Apple dealers.
An old ST program called DCFormat can reportedly format HFS and MFS disks.

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Exchanging TOS and Windows SD/MMC cards

By using a Satan or UltraSatan "Hard disk" (see above) and proper hard disk driver it is possible to exchange directly information between Atari computers and PC. More information to be provided.

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Serial/Parallel file transfer

Another way of exchanging files between ST and PC is to connect the two computers through serial or parallel links. Here we are talking about file transfer not real network setups which are covered in the section below

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LAN Networking

If you plan on integrating your Atari into a real heterogeneous network with other computers, then you will probably have to setup some kind of Local Area Network. Beware, as this is not for the faint-hearted. Issues related to LAN networks and Ethernet are best dealt with on the following web page.
The best general purpose TCP/IP stack around on Atari platform is STiNG, which has drivers for nearly all the ports available on Atari machines, including the very rare Riebl Ethernet cards or the Falcon/TT030 LAN ports. There is still no NFS auto-mounting client though.
The other networking solution is MiNTnet, and extension to MiNT, which offers unix-like connectivity to the Atari platform. Here are some instructions for setting up a serial NFS connectionwith a PC.

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MIDI file transfer

MIDI is one of the main activities on Atari computers. The issue of transferring MIDI files, other than through the means described above, can be solved by recording the MIDI data directly with MIDI cables.

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File conversion issues

Just because a file has been transferred does not make it readable by the software. Here are some file types that come up often.

All of these programs are shareware and can be found on your favorite ST archive If you no longer have an ST to run these conversion programs, you might try using an ST emulator

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How can I get on the Internet ?

This section is here for historical reason as I doubt anyone want to use an Atari to connect to Internet through an ADSL connection?
The ST can be used to send and receive email, read usenet newsgroups, download from FTP archives, and surf the web, chat on IRC, basically all you'll want to do on the Internet. For this you need :

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