Apple II Serial Bootstrapping

If you already use the DOS version of ADT, or an earlier version of ADTPro, you can use it to transfer the virtual floppy containing ADTPro that comes with this project (ADTPRO-1.3.0.DSK) to your Apple. Reboot the Apple with the ADTPro floppy, and you're ready to go. Note that while DOS ADT runs in 48k, ProDOS ADTPro requires your Apple to have at least 64k of memory.

If you don't use ADT or ADTPro, or don't have any software for your Apple yet, more bootstrapping scenarios and configurations are detailed below.

If you still need to connect your host and Apple II computers through their serial ports, refer back to the "Connections" section:

If you'd rather have a pre-built ADTPro floppy disk arrive at your door than create one yourself, click here.

Bootstrapping Demonstration Video

Here is a 5-minute overview video of the bootstrapping process. It shows the bare-metal bootstrapping scenario of an Apple IIc compatible, all the way to making a bootable ADTPro floppy:

Starting from bare metal

  1. Connect the two computers through their serial ports.
  2. Start up your Apple; hit Ctrl-Reset before it reads anything from the disk drive. It's important that it not load any OS, even DOS 3.3.
  3. On the ADTPro server, push the "Serial" button. If this is the first time you've connected via the serial port, you will be presented with the serial configuration dialog box, where you'll need to choose which serial port to use.
  4. Click on the "Bootstrapping->ProDOS->Speediboot" menu item. A dialog box will come up instructing you to type a set of commands on the Apple:
    • IN#2 (The number will depend on which slot you have your Super Serial Card plugged into. An IIgs' modem port is always in "virtual" slot #2, and an IIc's serial port is always "virtual" slot #2 as well.)
    • <ctrl-A>14B (The number will depend on the speed you have chosen from the bootstrapping tab on the serial configuration dialog box. When you hit <ctrl-A>, the Apple Super Serial card will respond with "APPLE SSC:" and the IIgs and IIc will respond with a blinking "?". At that prompt, enter the number in your dialog box and the B key with no spaces. The Super Serial card will require you to hit the Return key, but the IIgs and IIc will not.)

      If you get any syntax errors or anything at the Apple II end, hit Return a bunch of times and start this step over again.

  5. Dismiss the ADTPro server dialog by clicking on the Ok button. You should start to see text flowing across the Apple screen now. The progress bar on the ADTPro server will show how far along the transfers are. There are three phases to the bootstrapping operation, and all should follow automatically.

    If at any point the bootstrapping process seems to stop working, or pauses for more than 10 seconds or so, press the "ESC" key on the Apple to attempt to re-start.

    The text that flows at first is a program that searches for compatible serial hardware, which then uses that connection to complete the bootstrapping operation. Once the bootstrapper is running, the block should be flashing random characters, signifying that the rest of the necessary code is loading. Some of the stages you will see the bootstrap operation go through:

  6. Once the transfers complete successfully, ADTPro will start.
  7. Use the ADTPro client's format function to format a diskette or two. Note that in the ProDOS world, formatting a diskette doesn't make it bootable - it just prepares the filesystem for writing. The next step of sending the ADTPro distribution diskette will create bootable diskette for you.
  8. You are now ready to receive the ADTPRO-1.3.0.DSK (5.25" version) or ADTPro-1.3.0.PO (3.5" version) disk image from the host. Once you've done that, you've got a bootable ADTPro diskette.

If Speediboot doesn't work for you

Before Speediboot was developed, the method of boostrapping Apple II computers over serial cables involved first sending ProDOS, then the ADTPro client completely in text mode. If Speediboot doesn't work for you, there is likely something wrong with the serial connection, or the hardware involved. But the older scheme is still available to try. Briefly, the steps are:

On the host side, select these menu items one at a time and follow the prompts:

  1. Bootstrapping->ProDOS->Send ProDOS
  2. Bootstrapping->ProDOS->Send ADTPro Serial Client

A 5-minute video showing the older bootstrapping scheme is available here:

If you already have ProDOS

  1. Connect the two computers through their serial ports.
  2. Start your Apple with ProDOS booted from floppy (or any bootable partition).
  3. On the ADTPro server, push the "Serial" button. If this is the first time you've connected via the serial port, you will be presented with the serial configuration dialog box, where you'll need to establish the port and speed for the serial connection. The defaults for speeds should be fine, but you will need to choose the appropriate port that will serve as the connection to the Apple.
  4. Decide which version of the client you wish to send, and click that menu option. You can send the audio version ("Bootstrapping->ProDOS->Send ADTPro Audio Client"), the serial version ("Bootstrapping->ProDOS->Send ADTPro Serial Client"), or the ethernet version ("Bootstrapping->ProDOS->Send ADTPro Ethernet Client"). You don't have to stick to the same method of communicating with your Apple once you've finished with the initial bootstrapping, but you certainly can if you want to.
  5. A dialog box will come up instructing you to type a set of commands on the Apple. They will be similar to the following:
    • IN#2 (The number will depend on which slot you have your Super Serial Card plugged into. An IIgs' modem port is always in "virtual" slot #2, and an IIc's serial port is always "virtual" slot #2 as well.)
    • <ctrl-A>14B (The number will depend on the speed you have chosen from the bootstrapping tab on the serial configuration dialog box. When you hit <ctrl-A>, the Apple Super Serial card will respond with "APPLE SSC:" and the IIgs and IIc will respond with a blinking "?". At that prompt, enter the number in your dialog box and the B key with no spaces. The Super Serial card will require you to hit the Return key, but the IIgs and IIc will not.)
    • Note: with some configurations, you will need to hit <ctrl-I> instead of <ctrl-A>. (Where I is the capital letter I.) If you hit <ctrl-A> and nothing happens, just hit the Return key and try <ctrl-I> instead. The one that greets you with the "APPLE SSC:" or "?" is the one that you want.

      If you get any syntax errors or anything, hit Return a bunch of times and start this step over again.

  6. Dismiss the ADTPro server dialog by clicking on the Ok button. You should start to see text flowing across the Apple screen now. After a few minutes, it will finish and automatically start the ADTPro client program.
  7. Now that the client is running, you can use it to tansfer more disks (like the bootable ADTPro distribution diskette - 5.25" or 3.5" versions are included), or format new diskettes.
  8. Start transferring 5.25", 3.5", RAM drive, or hard drive images to your heart's content!

Bootstrapping DOS

If you don't need or want the extra features the ADTPro client provides beyond the original DOS ADT client, you may only need to get started with the DOS ADT program. The ADTPro server is compatible with both the older DOS ADT and the newer ADTPro client.

  1. Connect the two computers through their serial ports.
  2. Boot your Apple; hit Ctrl-Reset before it reads anything from the disk drive. It's important that it not load any OS, even DOS 3.3. Put a double sided, double density diskette in the drive and close the door. It doesn't matter if it's formatted or not.
  3. On the ADTPro server, push the "Serial" button. if this is the first time you've connected via the serial port, you will be presented with the serial configuration dialog box, where you'll need to choose which serial port to use.
  4. If the dialog box doesn't come up on it own, click on Bootstrapping->Serial Pacing. You should be able to run with 150ms pacing and 9600 baud on an unaccelerated Apple:
    • Click on Ok with these values.

  5. Click on the "Bootstrapping->EsDOS ][->Send EsDOS ][ Part 1" menu item. (Serial bootstrapping doesn't require EsDOS ][ Part 2.)
  6. A dialog box will come up instructing you to type a set of commands on the Apple. They will be similar to the following:
    • IN#2 (The number will depend on which slot you have your Super Serial Card plugged into. An IIgs' modem port is always in "virtual" slot #2, and an IIc's serial port is always "virtual" slot #2 as well.)
    • <ctrl-A>14B (The number will depend on the speed you have chosen from the bootstrapping tab on the serial configuration dialog box. When you hit <ctrl-A>, the Apple Super Serial card will respond with "APPLE SSC:" and the IIgs and IIc will respond with a blinking "?". At that prompt, enter the number in your dialog box and the B key with no spaces. The Super Serial card will require you to hit the Return key, but the IIgs and IIc will not.)
    • Note: with some configurations, you will need to hit <ctrl-I> instead of <ctrl-A>. (Where I is the capital letter I.) If you hit <ctrl-A> and nothing happens, just hit the Return key and try <ctrl-I> instead. The one that greets you with the "APPLE SSC:" or "?" is the one that you want.

      If you get any syntax errors or anything, hit Return a bunch of times and start this step over again.

  7. Dismiss the ADTPro server dialog by clicking on the Ok button. You should start to see text flowing across the Apple screen now. The progress bar on the ADTPro server will show how far along the transfer is.
  8. Once the transfer completes successfully, EsDOS ][ will be running on your Apple in memory only. Instructions will be left on the Apple screen for initializing the floppy disk in your drive. You may wish to format (INIT) one or more now.
  9. Reboot your newly formatted floppy with the PR#6 command (where 6 is the slot number of the slot your Disk ][ card is in).
  10. Now that DOS is running, it will be necessary to slow down the serial pacing and speed for the next step. Click on the ADTPro menu item Bootstrapping->Serial Pacing and set the pacing to 250, and speed down to 2400 to be safe:
    • Click on Ok with these values.

  11. Put a freshly formatted disk in the Apple drive and close the drive door.
  12. Click on the "Bootstrapping->EsDOS ][->Send DOS ADT Client" menu item.
  13. A dialog box will come up instructing you to type a set of commands on the Apple. They will be similar to the following:
    • IN#2 (The number will depend on which slot you have your Super Serial Card plugged into. An IIgs' modem port is always in "virtual" slot #2, and an IIc's serial port is always "virtual" slot #2 as well.)
    • <ctrl-A>10B (The number will depend on the speed you have chosen from the bootstrapping tab on the serial configuration dialog box. If it still says 14B, you haven't re-set the transfer speed to slow down yet. Go back and do that first. When you hit <ctrl-A>, the Apple Super Serial card will respond with "APPLE SSC:" and the IIgs will respond with "?". At that prompt, enter the number in your dialog box and the B key with no spaces. The Super Serial card will require you to hit the Return key, but the IIgs and IIc will not.)
    • Note: with some configurations, you will need to hit <ctrl-I> instead of <ctrl-A>. (Where I is the capital letter I.) If you hit <ctrl-A> and nothing happens, just hit the Return key and try <ctrl-I> instead. The one that greets you with the "APPLE SSC:" or "?" is the one that you want.

      If you get any syntax errors or anything, hit Return a bunch of times and start this step over again.

  14. Dismiss the ADTPro server dialog by clicking on the Ok button. You should start to see text flowing across the Apple screen now. The progress bar on the ADTPro server will show how far along the transfer is.
  15. Once the DOS ADT client transfer is done, it will automatically start the DOS ADT client program. The first thing you should do is go to the Configuration menu by pressing the C key, press the spacebar enough times to move the cursor down to the SAVE CONFIG menu item, and press the right-arrow key. That should change the value from NO to YES. When you press the Enter key, it will save the ADT program on your floppy disk:
  16. Now boot your DOS ADT floppy. The Apple command BRUN ADT will start the DOS ADT client up once the disk is done booting. You may want to go one extra step and use ADT now to transfer the full DOS ADT .dsk image that comes as part of the ADTPro distribution to a new floppy, as it has a HELLO program already set up to autostart ADT upon booting.

Starting with Virtual Serial Drive

If you have no disk drives at all, the virtual serial drive is a way you can use your Apple and have persistent storage back on your host computer.

  1. Connect the two computers through their serial ports.
  2. Start up your Apple; hit Ctrl-Reset to get to the AppleSoft prompt.
  3. On the ADTPro server, push the "Serial" button. If this is the first time you've connected via the serial port, you will be presented with the serial configuration dialog box, where you'll need to choose which serial port to use.
  4. Click on the "Bootstrapping->ProDOS->VSDrive + Speediboot" menu item. A dialog box will come up instructing you to type a set of commands on the Apple:
    • IN#2 (The number will depend on which slot you have your Super Serial Card plugged into. An IIgs' modem port is always in "virtual" slot #2, and an IIc's serial port is always "virtual" slot #2 as well.)
    • <ctrl-A>14B (The number will depend on the speed you have chosen from the bootstrapping tab on the serial configuration dialog box. When you hit <ctrl-A>, the Apple Super Serial card will respond with "APPLE SSC:" and the IIgs and IIc will respond with a blinking "?". At that prompt, enter the number in your dialog box and the B key with no spaces. The Super Serial card will require you to hit the Return key, but the IIgs and IIc will not.)

      If you get any syntax errors or anything at the Apple II end, hit Return a bunch of times and start this step over again.

  5. Dismiss the ADTPro server dialog by clicking on the Ok button. You should start to see text flowing across the Apple screen now. The progress bar on the ADTPro server will show how far along the transfers are. There are four phases to the virtual serial drive bootstrapping operation, and all should follow automatically.

    If at any point the bootstrapping process seems to stop working, or pauses for more than 10 seconds or so, press the "ESC" key on the Apple to attempt to re-start.

    The text that flows at first is a program that searches for compatible serial hardware, which then uses that connection to complete the bootstrapping operation. Once the bootstrapper is running, the block should be flashing random characters, signifying that the rest of the necessary code is loading. Some of the stages you will see the bootstrap operation go through:

  6. Once the transfers complete successfully, You will be left in the BASIC AppleSoft envrionment with ADTPro's Virtual.po image being served as slot 2, drive 1:
  7. You are now ready to use your Apple, loading and saving programs and files on slot 2, drive 1. Note that the virtual serial driver booted this way takes the place of the Disk II driver, so Disk II drives will be unusable in your system if you have them.

A Note About Speed

Historically, the entire bootstrapping operation has happened at 300 baud because that's the fastest the Apple could handle without some measure of line pacing or flow control. Having DOS or ProDOS booted substantially slows down the pace at which the Apple can respond to data, so it's important to leave the Apple un-booted (i.e. hit reset before any disk loads after turning the machine on).

The defaults now are to send initial bootstrapping data at 9600 baud, with a 150 millisecond delay after each line. The first few lines slow down much more than that because they rely on the BASIC interpreter, which takes extra time to process. After the Speediboot process takes over, everything else happens even faster than that.

The net result is substantially faster bootstrapping than before. Using the serial configuration dialog box, bootstrapping tab (Bootstrapping->Serial Pacing) lets you control line pacing specifically for the bootstrapping operations, but you should not need to change it:

The defaults for pacing and speed should work fine for communications to any Apple. If you have trouble with these bootstrapping operations, you may find it necessary to slow down the baud rate, increase the pacing interval, or both. Again, the important thing is to not have DOS or ProDOS loaded when going through bootstrapping operations.

Once you've gotten everything transferred and are using the ADTPro client program down on the Apple, the speed set on the port tab of the serial configuration dialog box takes over. It should in general be left at 115200 baud - the fastest and somewhat paradoxically, most reliable, speed:

And if you are using an Imagewriter I cable with an Apple IIc, don't forget to check the "Apple IIc Serial" box on the Port tab.