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LIF File Types: HP 41, 71, 75, series 80
09-26-2014, 06:22 PM
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LIF File Types: HP 41, 71, 75, series 80
Many of you might still use DOS tools like LIFUTIL to manipulate LIF images or physical LIF disks, the file system used by our beloved IL controllers HP 41C, 71B and 75C, as well as by the series 80 workstations.

Since today we have the PIL box and windows tools for it, I'd prefer a modern version of LIFUTILS to add or extract single files to/from a LIF image, or to rename or delete a file. In fact such a tool for the windows platform already exists, although it seems to be relatively unknown. I am talking about HPDir, together with its plug-ins for the Total Commander file system explorer ( Shareware ).
See HPDir.

There is one drawback with this tool: It has been developped by Ansgar Kückes with focus on the HP 9845 machine. In the LIF file system directory entries there is a two-bytes-field "file type". Until now HPDir translates file types to meaningful text only for a few HP 9845 file types, the software knows nothing about HP calculators' file types. Therefore, if you look at a listing of HP 71b lex files in Total Commander, you'll see (in column "extension") "#e208", the hex-repesentation of the HP 71b lex file type, instead of "LEX", or even better, "LEX71", in order to differentiate from "LEX75".
I asked Ansgar Kückes whether he could upgrade his software by adding a means of defining one's own extensions - for example, by providing a simple user-editable and expandable .ini file that lists file types in hex representation along with the corresponding file type name.
Fortunately he is planning to upgrade HPDir anyway, and he is willing to extend the tool to meet the needs of us calculator enthusiasts.
What he would like to have is an initial version of such a file type data base.

So please, dear HP 41, 71b 75 and series 80 specialists: Please collect and contribute all file types and let us build the ultimate LIF file type list!

I am aware that there are some ( small ) lists around on the web, but they are all far from complete. Many software modules defined their own file types. One example: the W&W Rambox operating system for the HP 41 defines a Page dump file type (#e070).
I took this example from Jürgen Keller's article about the HP 41CY on his site "calculator nostalgia" (HP 41 CY .
This example shows that there is another problem with LIF files:
When adding a file from the DOS environment to a LIF image, you must provide not only the correct file type, but also ( in some cases ) additional information that has to be inserted in the "General Purpose" field of the LIF directory entry( 4 bytes, even six bytes when combined with the "Volume" field, see descriptions of LIF file structure ).
Jürgen Keller mentions that the page dump file would not be recognized by the calculator if the "General Purpose" field in the directory entry did not contain the right "magic bytes", the correct file type woudn't be sufficient.

So please provide us the necessary additional information "General Purpose" directory entry ) along with the file types, if applicable!

By the way, Ansgar Kückes seems to be very helpful. If you come across other deficiencies of HPDir from our calculator-affine perspective - please leave your comments, we might have a chance that suggested improvements turn into reality.
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LIF File Types: HP 41, 71, 75, series 80 - Michael Fehlhammer - 09-26-2014 06:22 PM

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