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Roy Longbottom
Utility: Media Admin
ZX Spectrum 48K

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John Gilbert
Chris Bourne

If you've got a microdrive you'll no doubt be used to unexplained crashes, or at least have heard some hang-up stories.

Roybot has rushed to the rescue with the RamDos utility - an electronic version of Rambo.

The RamDos operating system contains four facilities: Edit, Status/Recover/Test, Rebuild/Peek and Cartridge copy.

Edit provides an expanded version of the microdrive facility Catalogue. It shows type of file - Basic or code - with file size and allows you to copy or erase from Microdrive to Microdrive or tape. Files can also be copied using only one drive by switching cartridges back and forth.

The Status/Recovery/Test (SRT) feature also provides a catalogue but shows details of the 180 cartridge sectors rather than files. It provides a detailed analysis of each sector showing file name, sector and record numbers, record length, and the status of a file. It also looks for any format errors within a sector and marks them on a sector map displayed on the screen.

SRT also checks for errors in files. If a record within a file contains an error SRT alerts you and the Rebuild/Peek part of the package repairs the damage. If the record can't be repaired you have the option of placing the correct information either in the same sector or in another.

Rebuild/Peek reads whatever is readable, finds anything that isn't and repairs damaged sector formats. You can, for instance, read in a damaged Basic listing and patch up the errors in the code. Similarly it will read faulty sectors, without the usual error-checking that makes them unreadable, and allow you to change faulty formats or characters within that sector.

Finally, the Cartridge Copy facility provides an extension of the Sinclair Basic Copy. It's a small Basic program which, according to the slim computer printed manual, leaves lots of buffer room for a fairly quick copy.

The manual is an integral part of the package with information about microdrive information structure, how to rebuild busted files and the correct structure of a microdrive file. You don't have to digest this information to use the operating system but it gives you a better feel for the mass storage device than the Sinclair manual and shows, in lay terms, the reasons why the system works - or sometimes doesn't.

Roybot's Midrodrive Management and Recovery software is like a pick-up truck in the desert. It's indispensable if you've broken down. It's also four-wheel drive and easy to use.

Label: Roybot
Author: Roy Longbottom
Price: £9.75
Memory: 48K
Reviewer: John Gilbert


Versatile and indispensable operating system. Something similar should always have been with the drive.