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APE Plus: Apricot Emulator

This software is no longer being sold, developed or supported. Since occasional enquiries continue, we have made APE Plus (the full emulator) and Apedrive (disk copying kit only) available for free download with manuals supplied as HTML documents. You can read the full manuals here:

Terms of use: the download is free but Ansible Information retains copyright. The APE Plus and Apedrive software may not be resold commercially nor included in public domain/shareware compilations – though you are welcome to link to this page. No support is available; this includes any options and offers marked with strikeout below. If you find these programs useful, a donation is always welcome: send to Ansible, 94 London Road, Reading, RG1 5AU, or use PayPal here.

Please note that both packages have problems with Windows ME, XP and onward – see warning below.

What APE Plus Is ... And What It Can Do

APE Plus is a software package that runs on IBM PCs and compatibles. When active, it creates a temporary program environment very close to that of the 'generic' Apricot range: the PC/Xi/Xen, the 'F' Series, and the Apricot FP Portable. It therefore allows full use of most old Apricot software.

APE Plus is easy and safe to use, and is supplied with a manual written in plain English. It has been used by thousands of former Apricot owners.

APE Plus makes any IBM 3½ " disk drive capable of using Apricot-format disks. Programs and data can therefore simply be copied to your hard disk, or to other floppies. But note the warning about Windows ME and XP, below.

APE Plus will run most popular Apricot software packages seamlessly on an IBM: SuperWriter, SuperCalc, SuperPlanner, WordPerfect, Wordstar and Wordstar 2000, Delta, Cardbox 86 and Cardbox Plus, DataEase, Pegasus, dBase (though not the early, buggy versions that went awry with the coming of DOS 2.0), Turbo Pascal, most versions of Orchard Finax Gold Accounts. Also programs written in Pascal, compiled MSBASIC, etc.

APE Plus temporarily sets the IBM keyboard to mimic the Apricot default layout. The PC/Xi/Xen MicroScreen keys can be simulated ... and so, if you're really keen, can the LCD display. For some of the most popular Apricot programs (WordPerfect, SuperWriter, etc) APE Plus includes optional special keyboards, making the programs easier to use. An Apricot-style keyboard editing program is also included ... you can modify keyboard layouts to suit your specialist Apricot software, or create new ones from scratch.

APE Plus includes a keyboard calculator as on Apricots. Results may be sent to documents in the familiar way.

APE Plus includes a screen font editor, for use with EGA, VGA, SVGA etc video cards. You can use the sample fonts we include (based on the most familiar Apricot ones), design your own, or just leave the default PC font in place.

APE Plus lets you set screen colours corresponding to the old Apricot's different appearances for bold, underlined and bold-plus-underlined text. Monochrome computers can also be configured in a variety of display appearances. On IBM ATs and higher, the cursor repeat delay and rate can be modified.

APE Plus has been designed with ease of use in mind, and most users find it trouble-free. For the rare occasions when difficulties arise, we provide a year's support at no extra charge.

What APE Plus Will Not Do

In general, APE Plus will load and run most Apricot software. There are, however, a few programs we know cannot be run. Most of these are programs using Apricot graphics. They include the front ends ACTIVITY and GEM, the SKETCH doodling program, and all programs compiled in GWBASIC (which drives the screen in a graphics mode even when displaying text). In some cases like SuperCalc 3, the main program is usable but optional graphics presentations are disabled.

APE Plus will not work 'in reverse'. That is, it cannot be used to run IBM software on an Apricot. Please take special note of this, as it is the question we are most frequently asked. APE Plus is an emulator that runs Apricot software on IBMs.

The APE Plus (and Apedrivesee below) facility for handling Apricot disks in IBM drives will not work from Windows 95/98/etc 'DOS boxes'. Thank you, Microsoft, for another failure in backwards compatibility. You can still perform Apricot file transfers on such Windows systems by selecting 'Shut Down' and 'Restart the computer in MS-DOS mode' before running our programs. (Type EXIT to restart Windows when you've finished Apricot disk copying.) This option has been removed in Windows ME and XP – thank you again, Microsoft – and so we don't recommend APE for these versions of Windows. However, on request we will supply APE Plus on an old DOS for Windows 95 boot disk which provides a somewhat tiresome but usable workaround : start up with this disk, do your Apricot disk copying, and restart the PC with Windows ME. This also works for Windows XP if your hard disk has the old FAT32 file system, but since Microsoft now recommend the NTFS file system the chances are poor.

If you have software not mentioned on this page, and want to be sure before you buy that APE Plus will run it, we will gladly report on it in confidence.

Which Package Do You Need?

APE Plus

This is the full emulator package, as described above. (It includes all the facilities of Apedrive, below.) Everything is run from an easy-to-use 'front end', which is set up in advance to cope with most Apricot software.


This transfer utility is for people who wish to move data only from the Apricot. Apedrive safely and temporarily adapts a 3½" IBM disk drive so that it will detect the presence of Apricot-format disks, and read from or write to them appropriately. What this means in practice is that Apedrive lets you copy Apricot files to and from the IBM's hard disk (or to another floppy), after which the material may be used normally.

A typical use would be when a compatible IBM version of a program is already to hand, but data from the old machine is needed. Another is the common situation where a working Apricot with (say) SuperWriter still exists, and documents are to be transferred to a new PC Windows word processor: save them as plain text on the Apricot, move them to the PC with Apedrive, and read into Word or whatever. Apedrive also allows new data to be saved to Apricot disks, which can then be removed from the IBM, placed in the old machine, and used normally.

In the particular case of SuperWriter, we also provide conversion utilities that will bulk-convert SuperWriter documents – unreadable by almost all PC word processors – to WordPerfect 4.2 format for later versions of WordPerfect, or simple Rich Text Format for Word and other modern word processors.

Once again: please note that on Windows 95/98/etc systems it is necessary to select 'Shut Down' and 'Restart the computer in MS-DOS mode' before using Apedrive, and that this option isn't available in Windows ME, XP or later. However, on request we will supply Apedrive on an old DOS for Windows 95 boot disk which provides a somewhat tiresome but usable workaround: start up with this disk, do your Apricot disk copying, and restart the PC with Windows ME. This also works for Windows XP if your hard disk has the old FAT32 file system, but since Microsoft now recommend the NTFS file system the chances are poor.