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Apple II Csa2 FAQs: 1Main-Start, Part 1/25

( Part1 - Part2 - Part3 - Part4 - Part5 - Part6 - Part7 - Part8 - Part9 - Part10 - Part11 - Part12 - Part13 - Part14 - Part15 - Part16 - Part17 - Part18 - Part19 - Part20 - Part21 - Part22 - Part23 - Part24 - Part25 )
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Archive-name: apple2/faq/part1
Posting-Frequency: monthly
Last-modified: 2009/12/01

See reader questions & answers on this topic! - Help others by sharing your knowledge
Apple II Frequently Asked Questions: Main Hall 1 ... Start Here!

Csa2 FAQs file ref: Csa21MAIN1.txt  rev141 December 2009

The comp.sys.apple2 Usenet newsgroup Apple II FAQs originate from
the II Computing Apple II site, 1997-2010. 
Mirrors- GS WorldView (formatted Text) also maintains copies 
 of the FAQs Resource files.

 Text and HTML-ized Text versions are maintained by FAQs mirrors
 around the world-- ref. the news.answers pure Text MIT archive.
Note: To correctly view tables and diagrams in Text files, use
a fixed spacing Font such as CoPilot or PCMononspaced (IIgs)
or Roman 12cpi (PC).

The HTML version of the FAQs is maintained on the II Computing site.


                   Csa2 Apple II FAQs Main Hall

               Revision 141 Update: 1 December 2009

     Welcome to the comp.sys.apple2 newsgroup Frequently Asked Questions!
This file is called "Main Hall" because it's your starting-off point for
accessing the Apple II FAQs.

     You can peruse a listing of all FAQs questions in Main Hall-2; OR,
you can check out some 'getting started' and 'what's where?' 
Questions & Answers here.

     There have been a few revisions since the November 1, 2009 release. 
These include the usual updates to the various site listings as well as
additions to the File Utilities FAQs. 

     Thanks to those who have suggested modifications and posted answers
or sent contributions which have been incorporated.

     As always, feel free to send information pieces, diagrams, etc. for
both established and new FAQs Q&A or resources. Ideas, suggestions, and 
FAQs content contributions can be emailed as Text or attached as .zip 
files to an email.

Best wishes to all Apple II users for a Merry Christmas! 

Jeff Hurlburt, 1 December 2009  (Include "Apple" in the message title.)

General Apple II and Getting Started Q&A

 001- What is a FAQ?
 002- What is comp.sys.apple2 and how can I read/post messages there?
 003- What software do I need to get started and how do I get it?
 004- How and where do I download and upload Apple II files?
 005- Where can I get Apple II information, software, books, and parts?
 006- What is an Apple II: The KIM
 007- What is an Apple II: The Apple I
 008- What is an Apple II: The Apple ][ and Apple ][+
 009- What is an Apple II: The "Black Apple"
 010- What is an Apple II: The Apple //e
 011- What is an Apple II: The Apple //c and IIc+
 012- What is an Apple II: The Laser 128EX and 'EX/2
 013- What is an Apple II: The Apple IIgs
 014- What is an Apple II: The Apple IIe Emulation Card
 015- What is an Apple II: The Trackstar Apple II Emulation Card
 016- What is an Apple II: Emulators
 017- Apple "][", "Apple II", "Apple //"-- which is correct?
 018- What is "8 bit" and "16 bit"?
 019- How can I tell what version my computer is?
 020- Suppose I just want to start using my Apple II Now!?
 021- Where do I find out about Apple II users' groups?
 022- How can I find out more about using and programming my Apple II?
 023- Where can I find out about Apple II developers?

001- What is a FAQ?

     A "FAQ" is a "Frequently Asked Question". The Csa2 FAQs is a collection of topics files and resource files which seeks to supply answers to questions about the Apple II series of computers and Apple II computing. --Rubywand


002- What is comp.sys.apple2 and how can I read/post messages there?

     Comp.sys.apple2 (Csa2) is a USENET newsgroup. Messages posted to these newsgroups spread to many thousands of servers and millions of readers throughout the world.

     Most Internet Service Providers support posting and reading newsgroup messages via popular browsers like Netscape and Internet Explorer. A few internet sites also provide free access to newsgroups and allow posting messages. Two are Google and Mailgate. Google also allows searching for information in an archive of newsgroup messages which goes back to 1981. (For links see Q&A 001 in MAINHALL4.txt.)

     There are several newsgroups in the Csa2 and related families, all concerned with Apple II series affairs. They provide a forum for users to compare notes, ask questions, and share insights.

comp.sys.apple2 (Csa2)       - Discussion plus questions & answers
                               relating to all Apple II computers

comp.sys.apple2.comm         - Communications and networking related

comp.sys.apple2.gno          - Discussion of GNO/ME, a UNIX-like
                               multi-tasking environment for IIgs

comp.sys.apple2.marketplace  - Buying, selling, and promoting
                               Apple II and related products

comp.sys.apple2.programmer   - Discussion relating to any aspect of
                               programming the Apple II

comp.sys.apple2.usergroups   - Discussion relating to Apple II
                               users' groups

comp.binaries.apple2         - Public Domain software, shareware, and
                               freeware for Apple II's in Text-encoded
                               (binscii) form.

comp.emulators.apple2        - The unofficial 'Apple II games stuff'
                               newsgroup features discussions of
                               Apple II games as well as of Apple II
                               emulation on PC, Mac, and other

comp.sources.apple2          - A newsgroup for the posting of Apple II
                               source code

alt.emulators.ibmpc.apple2   - Discussion about the use of Apple II
                               emulation software/hardware on a PC.

--David Kopper, Dan DeMaggio, David Empson, Al Kalal, Rubywand


003- I'm an Apple II beginner. What software does a newbie need
     to get started and how do I get it?

     If you bought an Apple II with no software at all, then, at the very least, you will need to get diskettes which boot DOS 3.3 and ProDOS (which pretty well means you need to have a disk drive). Here is a listing of basic stuff to get ...

o- DOS 3.3: DOS 3.3 is an old but a good operating system for software on 5.25" diskette. There is a _lot_ of Apple II software on DOS 3.3 diskettes. To write and save programs, etc. under DOS 3.3 you want a disk which boots DOS 3.3 and lets you get to a BASIC prompt. Once in BASIC after booting DOS you will be able to CATALOG the diskette, and LOAD, RUN, SAVE, ... programs. DOS 3.3 commands are described in more detail in the Csa2DOSMM Q&A.

Commercial game disks often do not allow you to get to a BASIC prompt. Disks with programs from other users, software from Apple user groups, and copies of Apple's System Master disks will, usually, let you get to BASIC either by exiting a program or by doing a Reset. (See Q&A 020 below for more about this.)

o- ProDOS: Practically all of the above applies to ProDOS. ProDOS is the newer Apple II DOS which allows having sub-directories. It works with 5.25" and 3.5" diskettes as well as hard disks and other large media. (See Csa2DOSMM Q&A for more about ProDOS.)

Note: Diskettes used with an Apple II should be double-density (DD) diskettes. High-density (HD) diskettes sold for PC's will not work reliably in Apple II disk drives.

o- Copy II Plus: This is the standard general purpose disk/file management utility. Good versions for working with both DOS 3.3 and ProDOS disks are Version 7.1 and 7.2.

o- A telecom utility: an Apple II telecom utility (e.g. ZLink, ProTerm, ...) together with a serial interface board (or built-in serial port) lets you transfer the Apple II files you download on the net from your PC or Mac to your Apple II.

o- ShrinkIt: Most Apple II files are maintained on the net as shrinked files (.shk files) or on shrinked disks (.sdk files). ShrinkIt v3.4 is the standard utility for unshrinking these files; it requires a 128k Apple IIe or later Apple II. Earlier versions of ShrinkIt work on Apple II's with less than 128k memory.

     Aside from Apple II user friends, there are many places you can get the above, as well as all sorts of other Apple II utility, game, etc. software:

1. Apple II Users' Groups maintain software libraries of utility and games diskettes you can copy. (See Csa2USERGRP.txt.)

2. Some schools and universities have Apple II areas where you can copy system and utility diskettes.

3. Many sellers of original and second-hand software advertise on the comp.sys.apple2.marketplace newsgroup and/or maintain web sites you can browse. Be sure to check the listing of vendors presented later on.

4. If requested via email, regular posters to Csa2 will often send one or more 'getting started' diskettes which will boot DOS 3.3 and/or ProDOS and which include some copy, telecom, etc. utilities plus games. (Expect to pay mailing and materials costs.)

5. The Apple II archive sites listed below maintain large collections of software which you can download via PC or Mac and transfer to your Apple II.



004- How and where do I download and upload Apple II files?

     How: By far, the easiest and quickest way is to access software sites on the net using a PC or Mac. Files can be moved to and from your Apple II via a NULL modem connection with the net computer. If you use a Mac, you may have the option of transferring the files via a ProDOS or HFS diskette or an HFS Zip disk. (For details on hardware, file transfers, downloading, and uploading, see the Telecom-1 and Telecom-2 Q&A.)

     Where: Today, most users upload software, info files, etc. to one or more of the major Apple II ftp software archive sites. Other options include comp.binaries.apple2 and BBS systems. The software archive sites are good places from which to download software. In addition, some software vendors, developers, and Apple Computer make software available for download at their sites.



005- Where can I get Apple II information, software, books,
     magazines, and hardware?

     A good place to look is Csa21MAIN3.txt ("Main Hall-3: Apple II Web Sites") ...

For places to buy systems, parts, boards, and software, see Q&A 005.
 Or, see

For places to get books and periodicals, see Q&A 006.
 Or, see

For places to get Apple II information and software on the net, see general and/or game-specific Q&A.
 Or, see

     If you are looking for a specific piece of utility or system software, check Csa21MAIN4.txt ("Main Hall-4: Get It- Links to popular software packages") ...

For links to File handling utilities, see Q&A 001.
 Or, see

For links to Telecom wares, see Q&A 002.
 Or, see

For links to System software, see Q&A 003.
 Or, see

     For links to specific emulator packages, check Csa2APPLICS.txt ("Applications") Q&A 003; or, see .



006- What is an Apple II: KIM and SYM

My Ex bought a KIM in ... had to be 1976, 'cause that's the year we
split. He played Hunt the Wumpus on it. I couldn't see the point of
messing with those red LEDs at the time.

Nancy Crawford,  Csa2 post on 27 December, 1995

     KIM (for "Keyboard Input Monitor") was a 6502 'development system' release in 1976 by MOS Technology. A single board with six 7-segment LED displays, it soon had a wide following of avid experimenters who wrote programs like Jim Butterfield's "Lunar Lander" and Stan Ockers's "Hunt the Wumpus" and published numerous articles in magazines like Byte and KiloBaud describing hardware add-ons.

     Another 6502 based board was SYM from Synertek Systems. It arrived two years after KIM near the end of the 'computer experimenter' era. SYM offered a speaker and more extensive interfacing capability, including support for a CRT display.

     KIM and, to a lesser extent, SYM, were the introductions to 6502 computing which would, in a few years, lead many to become Apple II users. -- Rubywand and Tim Aaronson


Related FAQs Resources (ref. FAQs Contents Csa21MAIN2): R010APPLE1.GIF (gif picture file)

007- What is an Apple II: The Apple 1

     The original Apple was not much more than a board.  You had to supply your own keyboard, monitor and case. It sold for $666.66, but now they are worth much more as a collector's item.

     For Apple 1 pics and more information, ...

Applefritter Apple 1 Owners Club 

Dr. Tom's Apple 1 Pics and Info
  Faqs Resource File R010APPLE1.GIF at ...

--Dan DeMaggio, Charles T. Turley


008- What is an Apple II: The Apple ][ and Apple ][+

     The II and II+ are the computers that launched the Apple II line. They have the 6502 microprocessor, ability to do Hires and Lores color graphics, sound, joystick input, and cassette tape I/O. They have a total of eight expansion Slots for adding peripherals such as the Disk ][ controller, MockingBoard, serial I/O, and printer interface. Clock speed is 1MHz and, with Apple's Language Card installed, standard memory size is 64kB.

     The distinction between the ][ and ][+ is the installed ROMs. The ][ starts you in the Monitor program and includes in-ROM Integer BASIC. The ][+ has the AutoStart ROM which tries to locate and boot a diskette upon startup and defaults to Applesoft BASIC which is included in-ROM. Many ][ owners upgraded to the ][+ ROMs.

     Apple ][ and ][+ computers can run thousands of games, utilities, and other programs created to run under Apple DOS-- chiefly, DOS 3.3. Both machines can, also, run under ProDOS through v1.9 so long as the software does not require features of an "enhanced" 128k IIe. For instance, you can run Appleworks if you have more than 128K RAM installed and a program called PlusWorks. However, the ][ can not run BASIC programs under ProDOS since Applesoft must be in ROM.

Recommended configuration: 16K "language card" (in Slot 0), an 80-column video card (not the same as a //e Extended 80-column card), shift key modification (a wire running from shift key to game port), modified character ROMs to display lower case, composite color monitor, Disk ][ controller card, two 5.25" Disk ][ or compatible drives, parallel printer interface card, and parallel-interface printer. You can add memory beyond 64k in various ways, but many programs that "require 128K" probably will not work
, no matter how much RAM you have. You can also add accelerators like the SpeeDemon or Rocket/Zip. --Dan DeMaggio, David Empson, Rubywand


009- What is an Apple II: The "Black Apple"

     Bell & Howell marketed the "Black Apple" made by Apple. It is an Apple II+ done in black with some extra audio/video connections to fit with projectors, etc. made by B&H-- mainly for use in the classroom. A nice feature is the "handle" attached to the back. It contains a few power outlets, allowing the CPU, Monitor, etc., to be controlled with one switch. Evidently, 5000-10,000 units were produced. --Coaxial, Mike McGovern, Rubywand


010- What is an Apple II: The Apple //e

     The //e comes in two flavors: Enhanced and unenhanced. When you start your computer, the unenhanced IIe displays "Apple ][" at the top of screen; the Enhanced IIe displays "Apple //e". 

     Apple made an Enhancement kit to upgrade an unenhanced to Enhanced by replacing 4 chips: CPU 65C02, Video ROM includes MouseText, and new Monitor/Applesoft ROMs. Some places used to sell a IIe Enhancement kit for $20.00.

     The current IIe operating system is ProDOS-8. (The IIe can also run DOS 3.3, earlier DOS's, and Pascal.) A lot of ProDOS software requires an Enhanced //e, and sometimes 128K, too.

     A IIe Enhancement Kit does not include any extra RAM. You can expand a 64k IIe to the standard 128k required for a fully Enhanced IIe via an Extended 80-column card. It plugs into the Aux Connector on the motherboard. Alltech ($19.00), and MC Price Breakers ($14.95) sell such cards.

     Except for being able to type and display lower-case characters, the unenhanced IIe is very similar to the II+. A 128k Enhanced IIe adds a number of features including 80-column firmware and 16-color double-lores and double-hires display capability.

     The Apple //e remains useful for four major reasons:

 1) It runs AppleWorks, a simple to use, yet sophisticated Spreadsheet/Word Processor/Database.

 2) It can run many games and other entertainment software products.

 3) There were many Apple II's in schools and a ton of Apple II educational software is available.

 4) It is was and will always be a _Personal_ computer.  You can learn as little or as much as you want, and nothing stops you from learning about every nook and cranny in it. Ask any big name programmer in MS/DOS or Mac where they learned to program.  Most of them taught themselves on a good ol' Apple II.

Recommended configuration: Extended 80 Column card (gives you 128K) or RamWorks (512K to 1MB RAM), Enhancement kit (for unenhanced IIe), and a composite color monitor which can display decent 80-column text, Super Serial card, Disk ][ controller card, two 5.25" Disk ][ or compatible drives, parallel printer interface card, and parallel-interface printer. A Hard Drive is recommended if you use a lot of different programs. Heavy Appleworks users should add the hard disk, extra RAM, and a 4MHz or better accel
erator (like the Rocket Chip, Zip Chip or TransWarp). --Dan DeMaggio, Rubywand


011- What is an Apple II: The Apple //c and IIc+

     The //c and IIc+ are compact 'luggable' versions of an Enhanced //e, with many built-in 'cards'. Included are 2 serial ports, a mouse port, a disk port and 128K of RAM. Support for the original Apple cassette tape I/O is gone. The //c has a built-in 5.25" drive while the IIc+ has a built-in 3.5" drive.

     The IIc+ has a built-in accelerator that runs at 4MHz (vs. the //c's 1MHz) making it the fastest Apple II as well as faster than any of the A2 clones. (To boot your IIc+ at 'regular', 1MHz, speed, include the Escape key in the usual boot keypresses-- i.e. OpenApple-CTRL-ESC-RESET.) The IIc+, which was introduced after the IIgs, also allows daisey chaining the GS Apple 3.5" drive along with 5.25" drives.

     The //c and IIc+ run just about all of the DOS 3.3, ProDOS, "128k" software, etc. that an Enhanced //e runs plus the few //c-only software releases. However, the use of certain locations for storing system variables and ROM differences means that //c series machines will not run a number of old games designed for the ][ and ][+ which the IIe and IIgs will run.

     Even though //c machines don't have slots, you can still add extra memory (there's room under the keyboard) and a hard drive (through the disk port-- a bit slow by ordinary standards, but usable.  Hard to find though.. Was made by Chinook). There is also a for-//c "D" version of MockingBoard you can plug in to get much improved sound and music from software supporting the board, and a module you can attach to convert output to RF for using a TV as a monitor.

Recommended configuration: A composite color monitor which can display decent 80-column text, 1 MB RAM, and, maybe, a hard drive. For the //c, add a second 5.25" drive; for the IIc+, add a second 3.5" drive and two 5.25" drives. --Dan DeMaggio, Rubywand


012- What is an Apple II: The Laser 128EX and 'EX/2

     While not made by Apple, these Lasers can run just about anything that an Enhanced //e can run. They are as luggable as a //c and include built-in 'cards'. They are also fast; the entire motherboard runs at 3.6MHz. If you want to use a card in the single expansion Slot, you may have to disable the internal UDC (for 3.5" drives) or the internal 1MB memory expansion.

     Unlike the EX model, which supports one additional disk drive, the EX/2 supports as many daisy chained drives as a IIgs and has a built in BRAM control panel for saving settings. The EX/2 also has a built in 3.5" disk drive, a MIDI port, and a video port which can support analog RGB and digital CGA monitors as well as an LCD display. --Supertimer, Dan DeMaggio


Related FAQs Resources (ref. FAQs Contents Csa21MAIN2): R024GSSPECS.txt (text file)
Related FAQs Resources (ref. FAQs Contents Csa21MAIN2): R002WOZGS.GIF (gif picture file)

013- What is an Apple II: The Apple IIgs

     The IIgs (or "GS") represents a giant leap in the Apple II line.  It's 65C816 microprocessor can switch to 6502-emulation mode for running 8-bit Apple II software favorites, while, in native mode, it runs 16-bit GS applications. GS delivers  new super-hires graphics modes, a toolbox in ROM, a 32-oscillator Ensoniq sound chip, and a max base speed of 2.8MHz. Base RAM memory is 256kB (ROM-01) or 1MB (ROM 3) expandable up to 8MB.

     GS built-ins include modem and printer serial ports good for up to 230k baud, Disk Port supporting two 5.25" and two 3.5" (800k) drives, RGB and composite video outputs, enhanced and 'old Apple' sound, ADB bus for keyboard and mouse, game port supporting two two-button joysticks, clock/calendar, and battery RAM to retain user settings accessible via the Control Panel. (To get to the Control Panel press OpenApple-Control-Escape and select "Control Panel".) There is more about Apple IIgs specifications 
in the FAQs resource file R024GSSPECS.txt.

     The IIgs can run DOS 3.3, ProDOS, Pascal, and any other OS the earlier 8- bit models can run. In 8-bit or "emulation" mode, it works much like an enhanced //e, even down to supporting nearly all of the old monitor routines and softswitches. One notable difference is that users must go to 64k Bank $FF (e.g. FF/F800 - FF/FFFF) to view monitor ROM contents. In the default (Bank $00) area, an F800L etc. monitor command shows code in the "Language Card" RAM. Like the //c series, it does not support the ori
ginal Apple cassette tape I/O.

     GS is the only Apple II machine which can run GS System (sometimes called "GS/OS"). GS System and Toolbox routines make it possible for the System Finder program to deliver a sophisticated 'mouse and windows' environment which looks very much like PC's Windows. The current version of System is System 6.0.1.

     The first GS's were released in the Fall of 1986. The batches produced until mid-late 1987 became known as "ROM 00" machines after release of the "ROM 01" models. Many ROM-00 owners took advantage of Apple's offer to convert their machines to ROM-01 via swapping in chips. By 1989 the ROM 3 GS was released. It is essentially a ROM-01 with 1MB base memory and several minor enhancements. Few ROM-01 owners moved to the ROM 3.

     The first GS's were released in the Fall of 1986. The batches produced until mid-late 1987 became known as "ROM 00" machines after release of the "ROM 01" models. When you turn ON or force restart* a ROM-01 GS, the startup screen shows "ROM Version 01"; on a ROM-00 GS the startup screen says nothing about ROM version. *(Press OpenApple-Control-Reset to do a forced restart.)

     The original GS's came in cases marked "Limited Edition" with Steve Wozniak's signature. Often, these are referred to as "Woz GS's". (See FAQs resource file R002WOZGS.GIF for a picture.) Only about 50,000 ROM-00 IIgs's had the "Woz" signature. A relatively small number of users chose Apple's option to upgrade their //e's with a motherboard swap. Introduced in early 1987, the upgrade included "IIgs" labels which users could substitute for "//e" in the case insert.

     At the time of the ROM-01 change-over in 1987, Apple supplied a ROM-00- to-ROM-01 upgrade service free. It consists of swapping in a new ROM and a new Video Graphics Controller ("VGC") IC. ROM-00 machines which have not had the upgrade can not run modern GS software-- the ROM must be upgraded. Alltech (760-724-2404; ) is a good place to check for a ROM-01 'upgrade kit' consisting of the 01 ROM. (Price: around $30.00)

     The VGC upgrade is not required for software compatibility, and is not needed for all machines anyway. It is supposed to fix cosmetic problems in monochrome double-hires graphics mode (pink flickering or fringing on what is supposed to be a black and white screen).  On some machines the VGC swap also fixes some color combination problems in 80-column text mode.

Note: ROM-00 machines can boot disks which start System up through Version 3. (Booting these disks typically starts by displaying some version of "ProDOS 16".) The downside, of course, is being unable to boot modern versions of System and use software which needs to run under the later versions. On the other hand, a number of very early products run under versions of System which have no patches for ROM-01 or ROM 3. Original diskettes for these products will boot correctly only on a ROM-00 GS.

     Whether via the upgrade or original purchase of a newer GS, by late 1987 nearly all GS users were 'on the same page'. That is, we had the ROM-01 platform with its base 256kB RAM plus the official Apple 1MB Expansion Memory Board plugged into the Memory Expansion Slot for a total of 1.25MB of fully- accessible system RAM. For the next couple of years, practically all GS software was designed to launch from 3.5" diskette under "ProDOS-16" and to fit within the 1.25MB of RAM everyone was assumed to have 

     In 1989 Apple introduced the "ROM 3" GS-- the startup screen shows "ROM Version 3". (No ROM-02 GS was ever released). The only major improvement over ROM-01 is more base RAM-- you get 1MB instead of 256kB. This is a very nice benefit. It means that a ROM 3 with a 4MB Mem Exp Board will have 5MB of fully accessible RAM whereas a ROM-01 can have 4.25MB of fully-accessible RAM. In effect, the ROM 3 owner gets a 'free' 800kB RAM disk.

     As Mitch Spector notes in his listing of ROM 3 features (in the "Hardware Hacking" FAQs), the newer GS offers a number of other nice pluses with the only significant minus being incompatibility with a few older GS programs and pre-System 5 versions of GS System. Chiefly, ROM 3 is a 1989 re- do of ROM-01 featuring more streamlined hardware and more built-in firmware.

     Since System 5, booting GS System applies in-RAM patches matched to ROM version 1 or 3. The patches, located in System/System.Setup/, are TS2 for ROM- 01 and TS3 for ROM 3. This achieves nearly identical operation.

     Very few ROM-01 owners felt any urge to move to ROM 3. Even today, the vast majority of installed GS's are ROM-01 machines.

     The 1990's saw wide adoption of four major GS enhancements:

OS- After years of foot dragging, Apple finally produced a decent 16-bit GS operating system with release of System 5.0. Within a few years this evolved into today's System 6 (System 6.0.1). System 6 has won wide acceptance as a relatively stable OS which, at last, allows GS users to access many of the features of GS computing promised back in 1986. Although any ROM-01 or ROM 3 IIgs with at least the 1MB Apple Expansion Memory card installed can boot a fairly decent install of System 6 from diskette, the f
act that it is likely to use at least 800kB of RAM somewhat limits the applications which can be run, especially on the ROM-01 GS.

Memory- Driven, in part, by the need for more memory to run System 6, 4MB became the standard size of installed Memory Expansions. Except for school GS's and GS's taken out of circulation and tucked away in closets, the old Apple 1MB Expansion Boards have long ago been replaced with boards adding 4MB- 8MB.

Hard Disk- As with memory, the size of newer versions of System supplied a strong push toward adding a hard disk. Software was becoming larger, too, and there was so much of it that making everything work from diskette became impossibly cumbersome. Lower HD prices, attractive SCSI interfaces such as RamFAST, and low-cost, easy single-card IDE solutions such as the Focus "Hard Card" and SHH Systeme "Turbo" cards have helped make the hard disk a standard, expected peripheral on today's GS.

Acceleration- Few commercial software offerings actually sought to push GS users to higher speeds; and, as a result, users went for years feeling no great need for Applied Engineering's expensive Transwarp accelerator. The arrival of Zip Technology's lower cost ZipGS board together with a clear need for more speed to handle System 6 sparked a nearly overnight 'acceleration revolution'. Today, an accelerator running at 8MHz or better is considered, very nearly, to be a necessary IIgs enhancement.

Recommended configuration: ROM-01 or ROM 3 with 4MB or 8MB Memory Expansion board-- i.e. at least 4.25MB (ROM-01) or 5MB (ROM 3) of total system RAM, RamFAST SCSI + 120MB or larger SCSI hard disk OR 120MB or larger HD-on-a-card IDE drive (e.g. Alltech's Focus Hard Card or SHH's Turbo IDE series) with System 6.0.1 installed, 8MHz/32k TransWarp or 9MHz/32k ZipGS or better accelerator board, Stereo Card, Imagewriter II printer, two 3.5" and two 5.25" diskette drives.

A minimum GS system that will run many older wares and still deliver a decent operating system is a ROM-01 GS with the Apple 1MB Memory Expansion board, two 3.5" drives, at least one 5.25" drive, and  Imagewriter II printer, which boots System 5.0.4 or System 6.0.1 from 3.5" diskette. --Dan DeMaggio, Rubywand, David Empson, Supertimer, Randy Shackelford, Hal Bouma


Related FAQs Resources (ref. FAQs Contents Csa21MAIN2): R028LCA2CARD.TXT (text file)

014- What is an Apple II: The Apple IIe Emulation Card

     This is a '//e on a card' plug-in which lets you run Apple II software. The card fits into Mac LC and some subsequent machines that have the LC Processor Direct Slot (PDS) and which support 24-bit memory addressing.

     Many of these cards are sold today without documentation. In case you've just plugged one into your Mac Color Classic, etc., it will help to know that pressing Command-Control-Escape gets you to the Preferences panel.

     The Apple IIe Emulation Card is actually more like a //c because the card is not an expandable machine like a //e. There is a place on the back of the card to plug in a Y-cable to which you can attach a Unidisk 3.5" disk drive (white, A2M2053) and/or an Apple 5.25" disk drive (platinum, A9M0107) and a joystick.

     Because the graphics are handled by the Mac, animation may be slow if you don't have a decent Mac. For more information, see FAQs resource file R028LCA2CARD.TXT. --Dan DeMaggio, David Empson, Owen Aaland, Edward Floden, Liam Busey, Phil Beesley, Joan Sander


Related FAQs Resources (ref. FAQs Contents Csa21MAIN2): R022TRKSTAR.TXT (text file)

015- What is an Apple II: The Trackstar Apple II Emulation Card

     A TrackStar is a single board Apple 2 computer that plugs into a PC Clone with at least one ISA slot or into an IBM PS/2 computer. The most advanced models, Trackstar E and Trackstar Plus, work like an enhanced 128k //e.

     Trackstar can run Apple II software from virtual "trackstore" disk images, virtual hard disk, and, with Apple II disk drive plugged, Apple II diskettes. (With the correct cables, it can use some Apple II diskettes in compatible PC 5.25" drives.)

     For more about Trackstar boards, software, and setup, see FAQs Resource file R022TRKSTAR.TXT.) --Bill Whitson, Michael Kelsey, Mike "Moose" O'Malley, Rubywand, Wayne Stewart


016- What is an Apple II: Emulators

     An Apple II emulator-- also called an "emu"-- is a program which lets a PC, Mac, etc. work like an Apple II and run Apple II software. Usually, the Apple II software is in the form of a "disk image" file-- a kind of virtual diskette. For more about Apple II emulators and where to get them see Q&A 003 in Csa2APPLICS. --Rubywand


017- Apple "][", "Apple II", "Apple //"-- which is correct?

    "][", "II", and "//" tend to be used pretty much interchangeably for any model of Apple II computer, although, practically speaking, there are a few usages which may provoke a correction.

    "][" is the original Apple II symbol. It appears on all early II's and II+'s as well as on the Disk ][ drive. It is, easily, the most attractive and distinctive II symbol; but, it is also associated with _old_ Apple II 's. The "//" usage is associated with the c and newer e models.

    "II" is widely accepted as  'okay' for all Apple II models. (And "II" and "A2" are commonly used for referring to series-wide products, etc. as in "II software", "A2 programmers", ... .)

     The generally preferred machine designations are ...

Apple ][   or  Apple II for pre-II+ models
Apple ][+  or  Apple II+
Apple IIe  for non-enhanced IIe computers
Apple //e  for 128k enhanced //e computers
Apple //c
Apple IIc+
Apple IIgs or  GS  or best (if you have the fonts for a small "GS")  IIGS



018- What is "8 bit" and "16 bit"?

     Number of bits usually indicates how big a chunk of data a computer's main microprocessor can manipulate. The Apple IIgs is based on the 65C816 microprocessor and is considered to be a 16-bit machine. Previous Apple ]['s are based upon pure 8-bit microprocessors such as the 6502 and 65C02. These are considered to be 8-bit machines. Sometimes II+ or IIe or IIc software is called "8-bit software".

     The 65C816 is a member of the 6502 family which includes expanded registers and adds many new commands while retaining the ability to go into 8- bit mode. So; the GS can run most 8-bit wares designed for older Apple II machines as well as newer 16-bit wares. Meanwhile, 8-bit machines are pretty well limited to 8-bit wares. --Rubywand


019- How can I tell what version my computer is?

Apple II

     Upon Reset, the original Apple II starts you in the system monitor looking at the "*" prompt. It allows step execution of machine code and has Integer BASIC in ROM. The major division between kinds of Apple II is Revision 0 and Revision 1. The Revision 1 motherboard adds a number of features including a few which are easily observed:

Power-On Reset: The computer automatically does a Reset when turned On.

More hires colors: To the Black, White, Violet, and Green available on a Rev0 machine, Rev1 adds Blue and Orange.

Color Killer added: Full-text displays are black&white without the color fringing and tinting you see on Rev0 machines.

Apple II+

     All Apple II+ machines have the Revision 1 or higher motherboard and the Autostart ROM. On power-up the Apple II+ does a Reset and displays "APPLE ][" at the top of the screen. If a disk drive is connected, the II+ will try to boot a diskette. The Apple II+ loses some monitor features (like instruction stepping) and in-ROM Integer BASIC found in the earlier Apple II; but, it gains the more powerful Applesoft BASIC in ROM. A II+ Reset normally leaves you in BASIC looking at the "]" Applesoft BASIC prom

Apple IIe

     You can usually tell a IIe from a II or II+ by the nameplate. On models with the classic Apple II case but no nameplate, you can check the keyboard. IIe models include a key embossed with the outline of an apple called the "OpenApple" key located near the bottom left corner of the keyboard. (All later Apple II's have this key, too; but, they do not look anything like a II, II+, or IIe).  A few IIe models produced for third parties may have some other special-logo key in place of OpenApple.

     Within the IIe series, the major division is between Enhanced and unenhanced IIe models. Look at your computer while booting.  If it says "Apple ][", it is not enhanced. The enhanced computers will say "Apple //e".

     Today, "Enhanced IIe", "//e", and "128k Apple IIe" are used interchangeably because nearly every Enhanced IIe has an Extended 80-Column Card plugged into the 60-pin Aux Slot (which adds 64kB of RAM).  Technically, an Enhanced IIe is defined by the presence of three or four IC's: the 65C02 microprocessor (replaces the 6502), new Character (or "Video") ROM which includes MouseText characters, and new monitor firmware in ROM.

     If a IIe has the 65C02 microprocessor, it is probably an Enhanced IIe. If your IIe is not enhanced, you can do the enhancement yourself with an "enhancement kit" consisting of the four chips you need to swap in.

     The last significant upgrade to the IIe series came in 1987 with the release of the Extended Keyboard //e. This model is a 128k Enhanced IIe-- it comes with an Extended 80-Column Card plugged into the Aux Slot-- which adds an 18-key 'numeric keypad'. It also replaces the eight on-motherboard RAM chips with two 64kx4 IC's; and, it replaces the two BASIC/monitor ROMs with a single large ROM.

     Quite a lot of later 80's 8-bit software, including all double-hires software, requires a 128k Enhanced IIe. (If you have a //c, IIc+, IIgs, Laser 128, or Franklin Ace 2000-2200, you have good to at least decent Enhanced IIe compatibility.)  Unfortunately, a small number of early-release IIe's can not be upgraded to handle double-hires. Check the serial number on the motherboard (in the back, by the power-on led). If it is 820-0064-A, you must change the motherboard to upgrade (unless you have the PAL
 video output version).

     The IIe was produced in very large numbers and sold around the world in countries with different power systems using different video standards. So, it is not all that unlikely that you may need to check a bargain IIe to make sure it will work in your home using your monitor. The two major video output formats you may run into are NTSC (used in the US, Canada, Japan, and most countries with 60Hz power, except Brazil) and PAL (used in Australia, most of Europe, and most countries with 50Hz power). One w
ay to tell which video standard a IIe uses is the location of the Aux Slot. If it is on the side of the motherboard near the power supply, you have an NTSC model. If it is in line with Slot 3, you have a PAL model.

Apple //c and Apple IIc+

     Go into Basic and type "PRINT PEEK (64447)" and press return.  If it says 255, you have a very old //c. This model is known to have problems producing accurate baud rates for serial communications. It's been many years since the //c was released; but, some long-time Apple dealers may still perform the upgrade for a nominal fee. (Tell the dealer that the Apple authorization number is ODL660.)

     If PRINT PEEK (64447) displays 0, you can use 3.5" drives, but you don't have the memory expansion connector. If it says 3, you have the memory expansion connector and can plug in extra memory. If it says 4, you have the latest model of the //c with the memory expansion connector and other upgrades.

     If PRINT PEEK (64447) displays 5, you have an Apple IIc+. The IIc+ also has "IIc Plus" silk-screened in dark gray onto the upper right corner of the case.

Apple IIgs

     There are 3 major versions of the GS: Check the initial power-up screen. It will probably say ROM-01 or ROM 3. If it does not say either, you have a ROM-00 model. You must upgrade a ROM-00 machine in order to run current system software. The ROM-01 has 256K on the motherboard, while the ROM 3 has 1 MB on the motherboard. Most of the enhancements of the ROM 3 are added to the ROM-01 simply by booting up with current system software. --Dan DeMaggio, CreatSltn, Steve Leahy, Nathan Mates, Bevis King, Davi
d Empson, Jeff Blakeney, David Wilson, Rubywand


020- Suppose I just want to start using my Apple II Now!?

     Okay; suppose you have zilch info, do not feel like looking through the FAQs, and want to start Now. The following _may_ be all you need to get going with some game or utility from diskette:

o The Disk Controller Card for Apple ][, ][+, and IIe goes into Slot 6 (next to last Slot on the right when viewed from the front). Drive 1 plugs into the top connector with the ribbon side of the cable plug facing out. Plug in the cable(s) before plugging in the card so that you are sure the connector and plug line up correctly.

o On the IIgs, the 3.5" drive(s) plug in first, then, the 5.25" drive(s).

o Unless a hard disk is installed, most Apple II's try to boot a diskette and start DOS 3.3, ProDOS, or GS/OS when turned ON. (On the old Apple ][ you can type in 6 Control-P RETURN to boot from the Monitor, assuming your Controller Card is in Slot 6. To press Control-P, press and hold Control, then P, then release both keys.)

o Most, but not all, diskettes are bootable. If one diskette doesn't boot, try another. If no diskettes boot, use a Radio Shack Head Cleaner diskette to clean the drive head(s).

o If the prompt you see is ], you are in Applesoft BASIC; > indicates Integer BASIC; and * indicates the Monitor. If both Integer BASIC and Applesoft are in memory, you can enter FP to switch from Integer to Applesoft and INT to switch from Applesoft to Integer. To go from either BASIC to the Monitor, enter CALL- 151. To start the current BASIC from the Monitor, enter Control-B. To go back to BASIC with program and variables in tact from the Monitor, enter Control-C.

o Except for the ][ and most ][+'s, you must press Control-RESET to do a Reset.

o To boot a diskette when viewing a BASIC prompt, you can enter PR#6 to boot a drive associated with Slot 6-- usually a 5.25" drive-- and PR#5 to boot a drive associated with Slot 5-- usually a 3.5" drive. --Rubywand, David Empson


021- Where do I find out about Apple II Users' Groups?

     Especially for beginners, a user group is an absolute golden of software, information, and bargain hardware.

     Several Apple II users groups continue to meet, especially in major cities and on university campi. If a local group listing is 'missing' from your phone book, check for a Mac users group-- a number of Apple II groups have merged with their Mac counterparts. 

     For more info and links, see Csa2USERGRP.txt or see the links at .


022- How can I find out more about using and programming my Apple II?

     You can peruse the newsgroup FAQs Q&A Contents page. You can also check out the Apple II Major Sites page (Csa21MAIN3.txt).

     All Apple II's come with some version of BASIC installed in-ROM on the motherboard. The original Apple II's have Integer BASIC. Starting with the II+ model, all Apple II's have floating-point Applesoft BASIC in ROM. Owners of early Apple II's can load in Applesoft or plug in a card with Applesoft ROMs.

     There are several good places to find out about Apple II BASIC programming:

Apple II Textfiles

Byte Works (new IIgs GSoft BASIC)


The comp.sys.apple2.programmer newsgroup and Csa2P FAQs
  for programming Q&A plus more links

     Besides BASIC, you can load and use many languages including Fortran, Pascal, Modula, C, Logo, Forth, Assembly, and others. The Apple II "Monitor" included in-ROM lets you enter 6502 and (on a IIgs) 65816 machine language programs. IIgs owners can also create Hyperstudio and HyperCard stacks. For more information and links go to the comp.sys.apple2.programmer FAQs (see URL above).

     There is really no substitute for having the technical manual for your particular Apple II or clone. The manual for the ][ and ][+ is the Apple ][ Reference Manual. For the IIe and IIc you want Apple's Technical Reference Manual for your machine. For the IIgs you will want, at least, the IIgs Hardware Reference and IIgs Firmware Reference.

     Naturally, you will want to get manuals and materials covering DOS, ProDOS, BASIC, and many other areas relating to your Apple II. Below is a decent 'getting started' sampling:

General Apple II

Apple II Reference Manual  from Apple
Apple II User's Guide by Poole, Martin, and Cook
  Note: Third Edition, 1985 (Apple II User's Guide for APPLE II Plus
  and APPLE IIe) is completely revised to include ProDOS coverage
Beagle Bros "Peeks, Pokes, and Pointers" (poster)  by Beagle Bros
The Apple II Circuit Description  by Winston D. Gayler
Understanding the Apple ][  by Jim Sather
What's Where in the Apple II?  by William F. Luebbert

Applesoft BASIC and Assembly Language

Assembly Lines: The Book  by Roger Wagner
BASIC Programming Reference Manual  from Apple
Programming the 65816 Including the 6502, 65C02, and 65802
  by David Eyes and Ron Lichty
65816/65802 Assembly Language Programming by Michael Fischer

DOS, ProDOS, and GS/OS

Apple IIgs GS/OS Technical Reference (Apple/ Addison-Wesley)
Beneath Apple DOS  by Worth & Lechner
Beneath Apple ProDOS  by Worth & Lechner
Exploring Apple GS/OS and ProDOS 8  by Little
ProDOS Inside and Out  by Doms and Weishaar
ProDOS Technical Reference Manual (Apple/ Addison-Wesley)
The DOS Manual  from Apple

     Some technical manuals and other materials can be obtained in original or reprint form from Byte Works and Kula Soft. Major book sellers, such as Amazon list many Apple II books. For current Kula Soft, Byte Works, and other seller links, see Vendors Q&A in Csa21MAIN2.txt or go to ... .

Though most Apple II books are out of print, many sellers will search for and, with luck, locate the book you want.

     Apple II manuals and other books also turn up for sale on Csa2 newsgroups like comp.sys.apple2.marketplace, at used book shops, and at local Users Group swap meets. Some manuals and other items, such as Reference Cards and posters (usually in Text or HTML form) are available for downloading at the major Apple II archives and other support sites. (See Q&A 005 above.)

     You may be able to find a local Apple II users' group or a group on-line that you like. Besides knowledgeable users, you will often find a software library stocked with useful software. (See Csa2USERGRP.txt.)

     Another good resource is a subscription to an Apple II newsletter or magazine; and, don't overlook collections of major Apple II magazines published through the 1980's (e.g. inCider, Nibble, Computist, etc.). They are virtual encyclopedias covering many areas of II computing. For current publishers and net sites which offer on-line copies of back issues see Q&A 005 above.

     Often, the easiest, quickest way to an answer for some Apple II question is to 'just ask it' on comp.sys.apple2 and/or another Csa2 family newsgroup. There are no Csa2 rules about posting to just a newsgroup which deals with a particular topic or making sure your question is hard enough or reading the FAQs first. Supplying information is the main purpose of the newsgroups. -- Rubywand, David Wilson, Tony Cianfaglione, Steve Sanders, Terence J. Boldt, Wayne Stewart


023- Where can I find out about developers of Apple II and II-related products?

     For current information on developers and software/hardware products see ...

GS WorldView's "Developers at Work" pages

Postings on Csa2 newsgroups

A.P.P.L.E. 'zine news, including "A2 News and Notes" 'zine 

     For information on classic A2 game developers see ...

The Giant List


Postings on Csa2 newsgroups

     For information on classic A2 game developers see ...

The Giant List


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Last Update March 27 2014 @ 02:11 PM