As soon as the computer successfully matches a record with the search
paramaters entered, the screen will clear and the appropriate records
will be listed. If you are sending results to a printer then the
results will be printed out as opposed to being listed on screen.
Once output is complete you will be returned to the main menu.
3.9 Other Searching Features
The Searching Facilities option need not just be used to search for
individual programs. It can be used for a whole plethara of things
depending on the requirements of the individual concerned. For
example if you wanted to list all the UTILITIES on your database then
you would set the CATEGORY field to UTILITIES when entering search
data, and leave all the other fields blank. Likewise, you can even
obtain a catalogue of one of your slave discs just by entering it's
reference number. Another example would be the facility of listing
all the GAMES held on ADFS discs - the searching combinations are
endless, and all results can be printed if desired in an easy to
understand format. Indeed it is recommended you perhaps print out all
your UTILITIES, then GAMES, then TEXT FILES etc. etc., so you can then
refer more quickly to a hard copy of the database before using the
Loading Gateway to run your program.
So let us take an example:- Suppose we have all our UTILITIES discs
stored on a particular database, and we would like to print out the
catalogue of disc reference UTIL01. From the main menu select
SEARCHING FACILITIES, and complete the field entries as follows ...
PROGRAM : <leave blank>
CATEGORY : <leave blank> - select IGNORE FIELD
DISC : UTIL01
OPTION : <leave blank> - select IGNORE FIELD
SOURCE : <leave blank>
FILENAME : <leave blank>
DFS ADFS : <leave blank> - select IGNORE FIELD
Confirm these fields, then enter the following ...
START Rec : <leave Blank> - just press RETURN
SEARCH No : <leave Blank> - just press RETURN
Ne SEARCH : <leave Blank> - just press RETURN
To PRINTR : Enter Y or N depending on your own choice.
The above search information will dump all records on disc referenec
UTIL01 to screen or printer depending on the choices you made. This
is only a small example. The searching and printing possilities are
endless. It may well be worthwhile experimenting until you get the
hand of the searching facilities, as they will be the ones you will
use the most throughout the SYSTEMS server.
3.10 Deleting Facilities
As the name suggests, this option will enable you to remove records
you no longer require from the database. Many deleting facilities
provided by other programs will irrevocably delete the record(s) of
your choice and wait for your next command. You may have noticed that
the more professional programs either use a process known as "marking
records for deletion" or a more familiar "undelete" command is
SYSTEMS server employs the former method of "marking records for
deletion". Put very simply, when you delete one or more records via
the deleting facilities menu, the records themselves physically remain
on the database, but they are "flagged" or "marked" for deletion. The
physical deletion of such records does not take place until the
database is compacted.
So whenever you delete items from the database using the Deleting
Facilities options, you can be certain that you can always rescue a
record deleted in error.
3.10.1 Marking Records for Deletion
In order to mark a record for future removal from the database, you
should select the "Deleting Facilities" from the main menu and press
<return>. After a short pause, you will see a sub menu simalar to the
illustration below ..
Remove Single Record
Remove Range Records
Remove Entire Database
Remove Selected Records
Return to Previous Menu
Options are selected in exactly the same way as for the main menu - by
highlighting the appropriate menu option using the arrow keys, and
pressing <return> to select the option of your choice. Each option
behaves in a slightly different way, with some being more "final" than
others. An explanation of each option appears below.
3.10.2 Removing Single Records
This option is used when you wish to delete one single record from the
current signed-on database. Upon selecting this option, you will be
asked for a SINGLE record number. Enter the record number of your
choice, bearing in mind that it must already exist on the database,
and press <return>. The record chosen will then be marked for
3.10.3 Removing a Range of Records
This option is used when you wish to delete a "block" of records in
numerical order from the database. For example, your database might
consist of records numbering from 1-100, but you would like to delete
all records from numbers 20-35 inclusive. Upon selecting this option
you will be prompted for a "start record" (which would be 20 if using
our example), and a "stop record" (35 in our example). All records
between these numbers (and including the numbers entered themselves)
will be marked for deletion.
3.10.4 Removing Selected Records
This option is used when you have a number of records to delete which
fall into no logical pattern or order. For example if I have a
database containing 150 records and I wanted to delete records 50, 12,
78, 23 and 132, then I would select this option to perform this.
Upon selection you will be given a list of 10 "Record No" fields.
Start entering the record numbers you wish to delete, making sure you
press <return> after each one. It is not necessary to fill ALL the
fields - just leave the ones you do not need blank by pressing
<return> until you reach the end. For example ...
Record No 50
Record No 12
Record No 78
Record No 23
Record No 132
When you get to the bottom, you will be asked to CONFIRM
REVISE your choices.
Confirming will proceed with the option, and all records stated will
be marked for deletion. Revising will blank all the current entries
you have made, and provide a fresh screen for entering your revised
record numbers. Abandoning will return you to the Deleting Facilities
3.10.5 Removing Entire Database
This is the most dangerous command on the whole of the SYSTEMS server
program. Selecting it will cause the WHOLE DATABASE currently
signed-on to be deleted IRREVOCABLY from the disc. Upon selecting you
will be required to confirm, which you can do by entering "YES" and
pressing the <return> key. BE WARNED! - This option is completely
3.10.6 General Points on "Marked" Records
Records marked for deletion will still remain on the database, and
will appear in all catalogues, with the exception of any screen lists
or hard copies. If a record that is marked for deletion happens to be
displayed on the screen, then a flashing "Deletion Pending" message
will appear next to the record details. Restoring a record marked for
deletion can be achieved by selecting the DELETE option from the sub
menu in "Revising Facilities" (see earlier in this manual).
3.11 Compacting your signed-on Database
As described above, compacting a database will remove all records
"marked for deletion" from the disc. That is the only purpose served
by this option. Compacting can take a long time, so be sure you have
the time to spare before attempting to compact your database.
To compact your currently signed-on database, you should select the
"Compact Current Database" option from the main menu. You will be
asked to confirm your choice, which you can do by entering "YES" at
the prompt and pressing <return>. Compacting will then commence, and
you will be returned to the main menu once the process is complete.
WARNING! - Never stop the computer whilst compacting is in progress.
Compacting can take a very long time. Stopping the computer during
compacting will wreck your database. Make a backup of your disc
before attempting to use the compact option.
3.12 Installing a new Database
The "Install Program Database" option is provided to enable you to
sign-on another existing database. For example you might have your
GAMES database signed on, and you may wish to transfer to your
UTILITIES database without having to press <Break> and restarting the
program. This option will effectively sign off your current database,
and re-load the sign-on screen for you to use.
3.13 Extending your Database (ADFS users only)
There may be an occasion when using SYSTEMS server, when you have used
up all the available records you reserved when creating the database.
This option will provide the means to add more blank records to the
disc for later use. This option should be used to get around the
"DATABASE FULL" rejection message when trying to add more data.
Upon selection you will be asked to enter the number of extra records
you would like to reserve. Enter this (ie. 50) and press <return>.
You should then confirm your choice by entering "YES" and pressing
<return>. Provided there is enough space on the disc, your database
will then be extended by the specified number of records. Should
there not be enough space on the disc, then the program will abort
with a "Can't Extend" error. Pressing return after this error message
will return you to the main menu.
NOTE - DFS users may not use the Extend Database option, as the filing
system is incompatible with the methods employed when extending
databases. It is therefore more advisable to use ADFS when using the
SYSTEMS program. If using DFS, then be sure to reserve the maximum
possible No of Records that disc space will allow when creating a new
3.14 Finishing the SYSTEMS program
Very simply, this option when selected will close all files, sign off
your database, and make the system "safe" for pressing the <break>
key. You will be advised when it is safe to press <break>.
4.1 Loading and Running Software from SYSTEMS Server
Whilst the SYSTEMS server acts primarily as a program database, the
added facility is provided to be able to LOAD and RUN programs
directly from SYSTEMS server without having to exit the program first.
This adds a new dimension to the operation of SYSTEMS server, in the
fact that it can double as a comprehensive menu program as well as a
You may recall when entering information onto the database by using
the "Add New Program Record" option, you were required to enter the
Loading Method (or OPTION) of the program - ie. CHAIN, *RUN etc. This
is where that information becomes useful, as you have already told
SYSTEMS server how each program is loaded into memory and run. You
now have at your disposal a ready made "super menu" program
incorporated into SYSTEMS server, from which you can load and run any
program you choose (no matter what disc it may be kept on).
Before you can load and run a program from SYSTEMS server, you must
know it's corresponding program number on the database. It would be
advisable to print out your whole database on paper so you have an
easy reference to which program you choose.
4.2 Using the Loading Gateway
To use the menu facility, you should select the top option from the
main SYSTEMS menu (called "Loading Gateway"). You will be asked to
enter the corresponding record number of your chosen program. Enter
this and press <return>. Provided the record number you entered is
valid, the program details will be displayed.
Note the DISC field (third one down) which is the reference number of
the disc containing your chosen program. You should now look this
disc out, and insert it into your second drive (if using dual drives),
or your single drive after removing the SYSTEMS disc first. Having
done this, you have 3 options displayed on the screen.
If you ABANDON, you will be returned to the main menu. If you do
abandon, then be sure to replace the SYSTEMS disc back into your disc
drive if you removed it to load your program. If you PROCEED, then
the computer will attempt to LOAD and RUN your chosen program, using
the specifications you entered when adding the record to the database.
If loading is successful, you should have your chosen program up and
running within a few seconds.
The DRIVENO command enables you to override the currently selected
drive, and load your selected program from an alternative drive
surface. Upon selecting DRIVENO, you will then be offered a choice of
drive surfaces (number of surfaces varies depending on which filing
system was specified). Select your desired surface after making sure
the correct disc is present. After selecting, the computer will
switch drives as instructed, and proceed to LOAD and RUN the program
4.3 Loading Programs on DFS and ADFS
It is not important which format your programs are stored on, as the
computer will automatically select the necessary filing system by
using the information you entered when adding the program(s) to the
database. It is only recommended that the SYSTEMS source program is
stored on an ADFS disc. All other programs stored on your SLAVE discs
can be any format you choose and will not affect the operation of the
SYSTEMS server in any way.
4.4 What if a Program Fails to Load?
There are a few errors you can encounter when attempting to load
programs through the Loading Gateway. The first of these will be the
"File Not Found" or "Not Found" message which is caused by any one of
the following ...
a. Program to load is not on current disc resident in drive
b. Attempting to load from wrong drive (DFS or ADFS)
c. Specified Directory Path is incorrect
d. FILENAME on system does not match FILENAME on disc
Another possible error is a disc error. If you encounter a "disc
fault" or simalar message, then check firstly that you have specified
the correct disc format, and that the system is not attempting to load
a DFS format program in an ADFS environment (or vice/versa). If this
fails to allieviate the problem, then it is likely that you DO have a
disc error, and you should attempt to load the program from Basic in
order to confirm this.
The third possible error is when the computer just "hangs" after
loading is attempted. The only way out of this is to <break> the
program (no loss or damage to the SYSTEMS files will be done). This
kind of error would be caused by an incorrect loading OPTION (ie.
*RUNning and program instead of CHAINing). Check that the OPTION
field is correct by looking at the program record in question.
4.5 Points to Remember
The way in which the SYSTEMS program LOADs and RUNs programs,
including the filing system and drive surfaces employed, is TOTALLY
dependent on the information you entered when adding your program(s)
to the database in the first place. If you have ommitted or
incorrectly entered any of this information, then it is likely that
future attempts to load the program from SYSTEMS server will fail.
The rejection message "LOADING PROHIBITED" or simalar is displayed
when attempting to load a program that has been catagorised as a
REFERENCE program (see earlier in this manual). Should you wish to
override this, then you will have to amend the programs category by
means of the Revising Facilities option from the main menu first.
5.1 Problems Encountered?
I hope that this manual has been easy to understand, and informative,
and you are able to get the best possible use from SYSTEMS server.
However, if you have enountered a problem that you cannot overcome,
then please get in touch urgently, using the attached "problem report"
form. Please complete this form as fully as possible before sending
it, and a copy of your working systems disc to me at the address
below. Your disc and hopefully a solution to your problem will be
sent back to you by return post.
8-bit Software SYSTEMS SUPPORT
The same address applies to all other correspondence regarding the
SYSTEMS server program. Unfortunately, telephone enquiries cannot be
dealt with unless you are a registered member of 8-bit Software, and
have access to your User I.D.
5.2 Converting SYSTEMS server Version 4a
SYSTEMS server Version 5a (pilot) files to Version 6a.
*** NOTE ***
This procedure should only be used with an ADFS system.
Existing users of SYSTEMS server will currently be using older
versions of the program. Because of the significant changes applied
to this latest version of the program, it will be necessary to run a
conversion program in order to make your existing datafiles compatible
with Version 6a. This is an extremely straightforward procedure, and
can be automatically run using version 6a of SYSTEMS server. In order
to effect transfer, proceed as follows ...
1. Make 2 full backups of your Version 4a or Version 5a discs NOW
2. Copy the filename PROGFLE from your old Version 4a or 5a SYSTEMS
disc to your new version 6a disc. Havin done this your NEW disc
should contain the following filenames ...
SERVER1 SERVER2 SERVER3 SERVER9 PROGFLE !boot
If any of the above files are missing, then discontinue with the
transfer and contact 8-bit Software for further guidance.
3. Boot up your NEW server disc, and wait until the computer askes
you for a USERNAME.
4. If you were using the old Version 4a of SYSTEMS, then sign-on with
the username "TFR4" and press <return>.
If you were using the old Version 5a (pilot) of SYSTEMS, then
sign-on with the username "TFR5P" and press <return>.
Having done this you will see a screen simalar to the following ...
VERSION No <version to TFR> ie. 4
TRANSFER OF <csd>.PROGFLE
The older versions of SYSTEMS server did not allow multiple databases
as the latest version does, so you must now specify a new database
name under which to transfer your old datafiles. For Example, if you
have only stored games on the systems server so far, then you might
like to call your new database GAMES. If you have all sorts of files
on your old system, then you might well use a neutral name like DISCS
or DBASE etc. Decide upon a name - make sure the length of the name
is within current filing system limits (ie. Max. 7 characters for DFS
etc.). Enter this name into the 6a USERNAME field and press <return>.
5. You must now decide on a 6aFILENAME and 6aNOTEFILE name for your
new database. The choice of name is not important as you will not
refer directly to them again, but it is advisable to make them
simalar (but not identical) to the 6aUSERNAME.
For example, if you have entered "DISCS" in the 6aUSERNAME, then
it is recommended you call the 6aFILENAME "DISCS1" and the
6aNOTFILE "DISCS2" so as to aviod confusion between databases.
*** TAKE CARE NOT TO OVERWRITE ANY EXISTING FILES ON THE DISC ***
6. You will then be required to complete the No RECORDS field. Just
press <return> here for "All" records.
7. Finally, check you have entered all the information correctly
before entering "YES" at the CONFIRMED field to proceed.
Any other input will abort the transfer.
The computer will then attempt to transfer all your old data on
versions 4 and 5a of SYSTEMS server to a new database compatible with
version 6a under the database names you have just specified.
Providing transfer is successful, SYSTEMS server will organise all the
necessary database filenames, sign-on the transferred database
automatically, and proceed to load the main SYSTEMS program. All
being well, you should be presented with the main menu a short time
after transfer is complete.
You should now EXTEND your new database (see appropriate section in
this manual) as required in order to make additional entries as
Note that some of the referencing fields in version 6a differ from
that of versions 4 and 5a (pilot). The transfer procedure therefore
automatically re-references records when the need arises.
If you prefer, send your disc to 8-bit Software and the transfer
routine will be done for you and your discs sent back by return post.