Miracle on dos - No windows, back to basics

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Postby Neill » Tue Mar 11, 2008 12:45 pm

Okay, here's the whole story:

I started out wanting to install Miracle on my laptop running XP with a TurtleBeach USB-to-Midi cable attached to a Midi-capable Casio keyboard. The floppy didn't/doesn't work, and I struggled mightily to get Miracle installed before caving in and buying a USB floppy drive. It turns out this isn't such a bad thing to have around since the BIOS was modern enough to allow a straight boot from the USB floppy. However, my drive was NTFS and I wasn't able to install directly from DOS, so I created and used a NTFS4DOS boot disk (again, thankful that I could boot to the USB floppy). After struggling mightily to get my DOS Miracle to run under XP, I decided to go back to the basics and simply run it from DOS. I could not do this, however, with NTFS4DOS because it would take up too much memory and not leave enough for Miracle. I followed the instructions here (p. 14 of the NTFS4DOS manual) that would leave the maximum memory available for DOS programs after NTFS4DOS is running:
http://www.free-av.com/documen...._en.pdf
Following these instructions leaves 440 kB available, but Miracle errors out with a message saying it needs 500 kB to run.

So, I decided to repartition my laptop hard drive and made it dual boot with XP on NTFS and a 2GB FAT Win98 partition. Now, I wouldn't need NTFS4DOS anymore since the FAT partition would be directly accessible to DOS. Plus, I was able to find a Win98 driver for my TurtleBeach USB-midi cable (from their website) so I could try to get it to run in Win98 and XP. After much struggling, I could not get a sound from my keyboard, nor would Miracle recognize any keyboard input in either OS. As a control, I used Music Ace Deluxe and this program both recognized my keyboard input and played the output.

I decided to try to get it all working from DOS, as that is recommended course of action (from the PEP FAQ) for those having troubles getting DOS Miracle to run under Windows. However, I could not find any DOS drivers for my USB-to-Midi cable. Finally, I looked over at my desktop machine running Windows 2000 - which had a built-in joystick/Midi port (and I have the cables).

After creating a small FAT partition on my Win2K desktop, I was able to boot to DOS and get sound from Miracle to my keyboard :) but not the other way around :(. My BIOS settings indicate a MPU-401 (built-in to the motherboard) address of 300 and the Win2k audio drivers seem to indicate an IRQ of 5. I used these settings for the Miracle install but I cannot get Miracle to recognize input from the Casio keyboard. I'd been sticking to "General Midi" as the keyboard choice but, in desperation, have been trying other keyboard choices, as well as different IRQ and port numbers (and keeping the BLASTER variable consistent). However, I can't seem to get Miracle to "hear" my keyboard. I feel like I've made things as "simple" as possible by just sticking to DOS, but I still can't get it to work. As before, I've been using Music Ace Deluxe as a control to ensure that my cables and keyboard are set up correctly to send and receive MIDI data. I'm now starting to believe that the name "Miracle" best describes what is required to get the software running.

So, my question is: has anyone had difficulties getting the Miracle keyboard to "hear" a non-Miracle keyboard in DOS using Midi-to-joystick cables? I don't know what to try next. I'd like to get this software running for my 5 yr old but at this rate, he'll be off in college by the time this is working.
Neill
 
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Postby Dr. John Zeigler - PEP Ed » Wed Mar 12, 2008 8:42 am

Neill wrote:Okay, here's the whole story:

I started out wanting to install Miracle on my laptop running XP with a TurtleBeach USB-to-Midi cable attached to a Midi-capable Casio keyboard. The floppy didn't/doesn't work, and I struggled mightily to get Miracle installed before caving in and buying a USB floppy drive. It turns out this isn't such a bad thing to have around since the BIOS was modern enough to allow a straight boot from the USB floppy. However, my drive was NTFS and I wasn't able to install directly from DOS, so I created and used a NTFS4DOS boot disk (again, thankful that I could boot to the USB floppy). After struggling mightily to get my DOS Miracle to run under XP, I decided to go back to the basics and simply run it from DOS. I could not do this, however, with NTFS4DOS because it would take up too much memory and not leave enough for Miracle. I followed the instructions here (p. 14 of the NTFS4DOS manual) that would leave the maximum memory available for DOS programs after NTFS4DOS is running:
http://www.free-av.com/documen...._en.pdf
Following these instructions leaves 440 kB available, but Miracle errors out with a message saying it needs 500 kB to run.

So, I decided to repartition my laptop hard drive and made it dual boot with XP on NTFS and a 2GB FAT Win98 partition. Now, I wouldn't need NTFS4DOS anymore since the FAT partition would be directly accessible to DOS. Plus, I was able to find a Win98 driver for my TurtleBeach USB-midi cable (from their website) so I could try to get it to run in Win98 and XP. After much struggling, I could not get a sound from my keyboard, nor would Miracle recognize any keyboard input in either OS. As a control, I used Music Ace Deluxe and this program both recognized my keyboard input and played the output.

I decided to try to get it all working from DOS, as that is recommended course of action (from the PEP FAQ) for those having troubles getting DOS Miracle to run under Windows. However, I could not find any DOS drivers for my USB-to-Midi cable. Finally, I looked over at my desktop machine running Windows 2000 - which had a built-in joystick/Midi port (and I have the cables).

After creating a small FAT partition on my Win2K desktop, I was able to boot to DOS and get sound from Miracle to my keyboard :) but not the other way around :(. My BIOS settings indicate a MPU-401 (built-in to the motherboard) address of 300 and the Win2k audio drivers seem to indicate an IRQ of 5. I used these settings for the Miracle install but I cannot get Miracle to recognize input from the Casio keyboard. I'd been sticking to "General Midi" as the keyboard choice but, in desperation, have been trying other keyboard choices, as well as different IRQ and port numbers (and keeping the BLASTER variable consistent). However, I can't seem to get Miracle to "hear" my keyboard. I feel like I've made things as "simple" as possible by just sticking to DOS, but I still can't get it to work. As before, I've been using Music Ace Deluxe as a control to ensure that my cables and keyboard are set up correctly to send and receive MIDI data. I'm now starting to believe that the name "Miracle" best describes what is required to get the software running.

So, my question is: has anyone had difficulties getting the Miracle keyboard to "hear" a non-Miracle keyboard in DOS using Midi-to-joystick cables? I don't know what to try next. I'd like to get this software running for my 5 yr old but at this rate, he'll be off in college by the time this is working.

Neill,

Welcome! Your experience points up the problems one encounters trying to use nearly 20 year old software with modern hardware and operating systems. You're clearly knowledgeable beyond the level of many people and have done a lot of the right things. Let me suggest some others:

First, regarding the need for 500K of memory for the Miracle. The problem is not in the amount of memory, per se, but, as you imply, the fact that all DOS applications must use memory in the first 640Kb of RAM address space (actually 1024, but that above 640 is used only for driver addresses in DOS). You need to edit your CONFIG.NT file to allow HIMEM.SYS and EMM.SYS to load, and, then, using the LOADHI (LH) command, load as many other drivers as you can in high memory above 640K. My Miracle FAQ that you mentioned describes how to do this.

HIMEM.SYS creates high memory above 640K. The EMM.SYS driver allows you to load some programs into paged memory above 640K, depending on what you have running. I looked at the PDF you mentioned, but it doesn't tell you how to do this. 15 years ago, this was all standard stuff, but is practically forgotten in these days of 32-bit operating systems running the microprocessor chips in protected mode, which can access relatively huge amounts (4 Gb) of memory directly.

The settings on your Win2K desktop seem fine. However, the Miracle installs a driver called VAPI82.SYS (or something like that) that you'll want to use for keyboard output. This will have to be installed in your CONFIG.NT file (as described above), like all other DOS device drivers in Windows versions 2000 and later. Again, this is described in a slightly different context in my Miracle FAQ, near the bottom.

The Miracle ran fine under Windows 9x, but, because much of the 16-bit, real-mode code in the kernel has been eliminated from Windows XP and later (with much greater stability as a result), you have to jump through some hoops to get DOS programs and drivers to work. There is nothing wrong with the Miracle software, per se; it was simply written for an operating system environment that no longer exists.

By the way, another thread in this Forum talks about the fact that the video drivers for Windows Vista won't allow you to run Miracle DOS at all. You must install XP video drivers if you want to run the Miracle software under Vista. At some point, it begins to become more trouble than it's worth. You may feel you're already there! :D
All religions, arts and sciences are branches of the same tree. All these aspirations are directed toward ennobling man's life, lifting it from the sphere of mere physical existence and leading the individual towards freedom. - Albert Einstein
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Postby Neill » Thu Mar 13, 2008 11:18 am

Dr. John Zeigler - PEP Editor wrote:The settings on your Win2K desktop seem fine. However, the Miracle installs a driver called VAPI82.SYS (or something like that) that you'll want to use for keyboard output. This will have to be installed in your CONFIG.NT file (as described above), like all other DOS device drivers in Windows versions 2000 and later. Again, this is described in a slightly different context in my Miracle FAQ, near the bottom.

Thank you so much for your reply.

I'm unable to find the file VAPI82.SYS. I'm using Miracle for DOS ver. 2.0.0. Where does Miracle install this file?

I'm installing onto a blank FAT partition and booting with a DOS ver. 6.22 floppy so I don't have config.nt and autoexec.nt but rather config.sys and autoexec.bat. I'm trying to take the "NT/XP" equation out of it and simply pretend I have a DOS machine. Thanks for your help.
Neill
 
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Joined: Mon Mar 10, 2008 3:06 pm
Location: Encinitas, CA

Postby Dr. John Zeigler - PEP Ed » Thu Mar 13, 2008 1:52 pm

Neill wrote:Thank you so much for your reply.

I'm unable to find the file VAPI82.SYS. I'm using Miracle for DOS ver. 2.0.0. Where does Miracle install this file?

I'm installing onto a blank FAT partition and booting with a DOS ver. 6.22 floppy so I don't have config.nt and autoexec.nt but rather config.sys and autoexec.bat. I'm trying to take the "NT/XP" equation out of it and simply pretend I have a DOS machine. Thanks for your help.

My memory was partially incorrect. The Windows version of the Miracle software installs a file called VAPI82.DRV that it uses as the keyboard input driver. The DOS version doesn't use it. Sorry for the mistake.

CONFIG.NT and AUTOEXEC.NT are the Windows counterparts to the DOS versions. I gave you those names, since I sensed you would like to get the Miracle running in Windows. If you're running in pure DOS, then you would use the DOS counterparts that you mentioned. The edits required are the same.

In earlier versions of Windows, one could get the Miracle DOS to run properly just by "playing" with different drivers under Windows. If you haven't already done so and don't have the Miracle manuals, you might want to download them for free from our FAQ page. One question: does your sound card have DOS drivers? Most modern computers don't have them, and, without Windows running, there are no drivers to provide connectivity. Since you've gone to the trouble of installing DOS and a FAT partition, you might try using the supplied serial cable, if you have it. Normally, the serial port is harder to deal with, but that isn't the case in a pure DOS environment. In that case, you don't need DOS drivers for your sound card. You'll have to rerun the setup program in order to choose the serial port for keyboard communication.
All religions, arts and sciences are branches of the same tree. All these aspirations are directed toward ennobling man's life, lifting it from the sphere of mere physical existence and leading the individual towards freedom. - Albert Einstein
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Dr. John Zeigler - PEP Ed
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