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Please read the Windows XP/Vista warning! Is your Amstrad a PcW16?
Please note: This software is no longer being sold, developed or supported. Since occasional enquiries continue, we have made the complete Ailink package available for free download. This includes full Help information as Ailink.chm. Just unzip the contents to a hard disk folder (C:\AIQ rather than C:\Program Files is recommended, owing problems with over-fussy security in Windows Vista, Windows 7, etc.) and run AIQWIN.exe. Best to ignore the Setup.exe program written long ago for installation from floppy disk. Feel free to make an optional donation if you find Ailink useful.
- Free download: Ailink software in Zip file
We now return you to our traditional sales pitch....
Do you have important documents stranded on Amstrad PCW 3½" disks and PCW Locoscript format? The IBM PC won't read the disks, and no modern Windows word processor will read Locoscript files.
Ailink is the simple solution for anyone whose PCW has or had a 3½" drive, or who can arrange transfer of documents to this disk size, perhaps with the help of a friend whose PCW has both types of drive. The package includes the full version of Ansible's CP/M Copier disk reader for reading CP/M disks (the format used by PCWs), which can be run from within Ailink or as a separate program, and will efficiently copy your documents to the PC hard disk. Once they're there ...
The main Ailink programme is a powerful but easy-to-use Windows 95/98/ME application (see below for Windows XP warnings) which makes it as simple as possible to convert the old documents. Just click the Convert toolbar button, select your documents from a standard Windows "Open File" dialogue box, and Ailink converts them at high speed. Any PCW version of Locoscript (1, 2, 3 or 4) can be handled. The output files are normally in MS Rich Text Format, readable by Word, WordPerfect and most other modern word processors. All your underline, italic, boldface, superscript and subscript type-styles are preserved, and all but the most exotic accented characters.
It's as simple as that, but Ailink has additional options for those who need them:
- Choose output directory ... have the files written to wherever you want them, to be easily distinguished from the old PCW-format documents.
- Automatic filename adjustment ... rather than lose information by converting CHAPTER.11 to CHAPTER.RTF or CHAPTER.DOC , Ailink takes advantage of Windows "long filenames" to produce the more usefully named output file CHAPTER_11.RTF or CHAPTER_11.DOC.
- Convert many files at once ... you can select all the files in a directory in one go, and leave Ailink to convert them all in turn without human intervention – at high speed.
- Other formats ... as well as Rich Text Format output; you can select HTML as used in web pages; plain Windows ANSI characters with underlines and italics marked _like this_; the old ASCII character set used by DOS word processors; and more. Further custom formats may be available on request.
- Upgrading from PCW Locoscript 4 to PC Locoscript Pro 2? ... Ailink can also bulk-convert LocoScript 4 documents (which Loco Pro 2 cannot read) to Loco 3 format, which can be read straight into Loco Pro 2.
- Log of files converted ... Ailink keeps a visible record of all files converted in the current session – you can cut and paste this to your word processor for a printed record if desired.
- Instant view of converted Word/RTF documents ... double-click on the document name in the Ailink log window to open the selected document with Word, Wordpad, Word Viewer, or whatever software is the default on your computer.
- Automatic warning of non-LocoScript files ... Ailink rejects documents which aren't in LocoScript format, and pauses with a warning – or carries silently on, as you prefer. You choose.
- Format, directory and other settings are "remembered" between sessions ... no need to pick your preferred settings from the menu every time.
- Detailed Help information ... with full instructions, and troubleshooting notes.
Some Limitations – Please Read This!
Windows XP and Vista
- The CP/M Disk Copier supplied with Ailink is NOT suitable for use with Windows XP, Vista or later versions. We have no idea why Microsoft has failed to provide backwards compatibility in this area. If you can transfer your files – or have them transferred – from PCW disks by some other route, Ailink can then convert them on your XP or Vista setup. (Perhaps a friend still runs a computer with an older operating system?)
- For a long time we warned that "The CP/M Disk Copier is not recommended for use with Windows ME." However, the latest version of the software has had good reports from ME users, and changes made for ME compatibility seem to have removed the need to restart in DOS mode on some Windows 95 and 98 systems. No guarantees, though.
- Ailink doesn't support the Cyrillic or Greek character sets available in Locoscript. But it does accurately convert all the "exotic" symbols and accented letters that are available in the standard Windows ANSI character set.
The Amstrad PcW16 and Pcw16.exe
- Ailink will not read or convert Amstrad PcW16 disks. This late-released machine is not, despite the confusing name, compatible with the standard PCW/PcW series and does not use Locoscript. You can actually read its disks in the usual way on your PC, even with Windows XP, although the documents (file extension .WPD) are unreadable by standard PC word processors. We have written a utility program subtly named Pcw16.exe to carry out rough conversion of these documents to Word/RTF format, but a little hand-editing is needed to remove PcW16 header information and occasional extra characters in the text.
Q. How can I confirm that a disk is from the PcW16 and not a standard Amstrad PCW?
A. Try to look at its contents with Windows Explorer or any PC software (other than CPM.EXE) that shows directories and their contents. A true PCW CP/M disk will be simply unreadable, giving an error report such as "The disk in drive A is not formatted". A PcW16 disk will be readable, containing folders (subdirectories) of documents with similar filenames: PCW000.WPD, PCW001.WPD, and so on. Windows word processors will see these documents as full of cryptic garbage: Pcw16.exe can clean them up.
- Ailink doesn't convert IBM PC LocoScript Pro documents. Ansible Information never had a real incentive to expend the considerable time and energy needed to write the equivalent software for Locoscript Pro, since few people used this word processor and a rudimentary "Export" option is already built into both version 1 and version 2 of Loco Pro.
Many people don't know that this Export feature exists: it can be found in the f9 pulldown menu of the Disk Manager screen. There is a choice of output formats, including plain ASCII text, WordStar, DCA, WordPerfect, and even PCW Locoscript 2 (in Loco Pro version 1) or 3 (in version 2). All word processors will accept ASCII – although this conversion loses italics, boldface, underline markings, etc.
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