License agreement:
By running the cpcload.exe file you, the user, agree to the following terms and conditions as layed out by me, the author:
1) Copying the software: The software, as freeware, may be reproduced, copied, uploaded, e-mailed and redistributed for non-commercial purposes.
2) Warranty: This software comes with no warranty of any kind and is provided as is. In the unlikely event of any damage caused to either software or hardware the author cannot claim any responsibility nor is he obliged to provide any support in the case of such an incident.

Runs on all Win32 variants: Microsoft Windows® 95/98/Me/NT/2000/XP+.
(Win95 note: Requires comctl32.dll version 4.71 or later).

CPC Loader User guide


This is the 'welcome' screen. You specify a program (in Drive A), select your emulator of choice and press the Next button...

(Click here to see the Setup dialog)


If you selected a CPC Loader Collection you'll be presented with this list. Select a program and press the Next button...
If you selected anything else (DSK or Classic), you won't get this page, but go straight on to the following page (below).


CPC Loader now informs you on how to get the program running once the emulator is fired up. Press Go and CPC Loader will hide, and start the emulator you selected. Once you exit the emulator CPC Loader will return, and show the list (above) once again.
Have fun!

If you are using the Internal emulator (Arnold), you won't get this screen, but the one below.

The Internal emulator (Arnold) takes an initial command string. This feature is utilized by CPC Loader:
You can type in whatever Startup command you like, like mode 2:cat, or simple use the very sensible command suggested by CPC Loader (RUN"xxx).
Finally, the emulator window...


If you want to do anything more than just run a CPC program or two, you want to go to the Tools page. Select Run tool on the first page.

- Extract DSK file: Move the contents of a DSK to your harddisk

- Create DSK file: Move files from your harddisk into a new DSK file

- NVG/pub/cpc/games *.ZIP -> CPC Loader Collection: Create CPC Loader Collection from files downloaded from NVG. Check Folders if you want the 'new' Collection format, uncheck if you prefer the old Collection format. Set output to filename.zip if you want the whole thing zipped, or to cpcload.dbf if prefer not zipped.

- Explore file: Text mode command prompt where you can examine DSK-files using familiar commands like dir. Incidentally you can also examine zip-files here, and your local harddisk. You can even examine a DSK-file inside a zipfile inside another zipfile, using the open command.

CPC Explorer User guide


This is how CPC Explorer presents itself initially - when properly configured!
(Run cpcload.exe with the explorer parameter: "cpcload.exe -explorer")


When you choose to run a program, you get information on how to get the program running when the emulator fires up. When you press the Go button, CPC Explorer hides and a CPC emulator appears.


I case you wondered about the other tabs in the dialog box shown above, here they are:


You must direct CPC Loader to the right place:


CPC Explorer file profile

cpcload.ini enables you to predefine some sensible defaults - so the end user needn't bother with the dialog box shown above. You can use relative or absolute paths.
(The actual/current folder selections are stored in HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Freeware\CPC Loader\V01.00.00\Settings\Run)

Last but not least, CPC Explorer must know where to find all some CPC programs. You can specify a unzipped CPC Loader Collection folder:
Or, if you specify some other folder, it walks it over, looking for zipped CPC Loader Collections:

You can also specify a default screenshot folder here. The program will look for png files here - and also search in SnapPath\snap.zip, if you provide it)

CPC Explorer also facilitates CD-ROM authoring, using cpcload.ini like this:
0=CPC Explorer,cpcexplorer
1=CPC Loader,cpcloader
2=Multi Emulator (MESS),..\MESS\messgui.exe


If your autorun.inf looks like this...
OPEN=cpcload\cpcload.exe -menu
...this is what will appear:



Windows Linux Mac MSDOS



Kevin Thacker, Andreas Micklei, Richard Bannister


http://www.cpc-emu.org  http://www.benchmarko.de

Marco Vieth, Rainer Loritz



http://caprice32.cybercube.com Ulrich Doewich



http://cpce.emuunlim.com César Nicolás González



http://winape.emuunlim.com Richard Wilson

Other links:
CPC Loader pages Spanish tutorial by Miguel Skywalker (translation)
CPC software

NVG   CPC Game Reviews

Fan pages

CPC Oxygen  Amstrad.dk  CPC Zone  WACCI

Newsgroup comp.sys.amstrad.8bit



In case you forgot all things CPC:

Q: What's inside these .DSK files?
A: Normally regular files. It's a disk image of a CP/M disk, which can hold a number of files. No folders.
Q: These .DSK files all seems to be 194816 bytes. Are all CPC programs the same size???
A: No. A typical 'vintage' CPC game is 30-40K, as this is what a 64K CPC can hold in memory.
Q: With one game per disk that leaves a lot of surplus?
A: Zipping fortunately makes up for that.
Q: If you can get rid of the surplus zip results will get even better?
A: Just a little bit. Anyway, distributing full disks rather that files is somewhat unnatural.
CPC Loades makes it possible to distribute regular files by providing a quick and simple way of turning the files into a DSK image. It also enables you to peek inside .DSK images, get the files inside, and create new .DSK images containing any files of your choice.

The file formats


The original CPC disk image file format, by Marco Vieth.



Zipped DSK file(s), as found on NVG

Also includes file_id.diz text file that contains information on the program in question.

CPC Loader

Zipped CPC files, extracted from DSK images (above).
This only works for file based programs. Disk based programs that somehow uses disk track information should not be converted to this format.

Also includes file_id.diz, like Classic does.

CPC Loader Collection

A collection of (many) CPC Loader files (see above). Only here they're not zipped.
The programs are organized in folders, by type.

Also includes a database file (cpcload.dbf), containing information taken from all file_id.diz-files, and then some.

CPC Loader Collection

A collection of (many) CPC Loader files (see above).

Also includes a database file (cpcload.dbf), containing information taken from all file_id.diz-files, and then some.


Version History:

Burn all .gifs

  • It is recommended to install the Protext suite (the Arnor ROMs), as it greatly enhances the CPC. In the emulator window, type |help,1 and |help,2 to see the commands provided by these ROMs. Some games won't run with these ROMs installed, but they are few and far between.
  • Why did I write this program? I used CPCEMU in the mid-nineties. Recently I noticed with delight that the 'new' crop of Win32-based emulators apparently were catching up with old DOS-based CPCEMU, in terms of features and compatibility. But meanwhile I had forgotten how to run a program on the CPC, and hence became novice user - for a day. And I noticed that the novice, or forgetful, user received little help from the emulator UIs. Windowing environments such as Windows® do/should offer a few things along the lines of user-friendliness, so I went ahead and wrote this thing...

Known problems:
  • I'm told that CPC Explorer has a scrolling problem on Win98+WinMe.
  • Some games don't like all files having the read-only attribute, when running off CDROM (CPC Loader format only, eg. Steve McQueens Westphaser)

This page © Troels K. Updated June 5th 2008