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Tips and Tricks for the BBC Micro

Keyboard shortcuts

Shortcut Description
ShiftBreak Boot disc (if bootable)
ShiftCtrl Pause scrolling

Make a disc bootable

If your disc doesn't boot with Shift Break and you'd like it to then:

  1. Type *CAT to see what's on the disc
  2. Figure out (through trial an error) which file you need to run. Typically it will either be a CHAIN "filename" or *RUN filename or maybe even a *EXEC filename or just *filename
  3. Type *BUILD !BOOT then Enter and you will see an editor
  4. Type the command you used to run the software
  5. Press Enter then Break
  6. Type *OPT 4,3 then Enter to make the disc *EXEC !BOOT when ShiftBreak is pressed

If you use *CAT (or *.) to see the contents again you will now notice the new !BOOT file and Option 3 (EXEC) to execute it. The whole process looks something like:

BBC Computer 32K

Acorn DFS


Format 2.23  (13)
Drive 0             Option 0 (off)
Dir. :0.$           Lib. :0.$

    FORMAMC  L          FORMATC  L
    STAMP    L
0001 CH. "FORMATC"
>*OPT 4,3
Format 2.23  (13)
Drive 0             Option 3 (EXEC)
Dir. :0.$           Lib. :0.$

    !BOOT               FORMAMC  L
    FORMATC  L          STAMP    L

Disc commands

These are basic Acorn DFS commands, other implementations and ADFS may vary.

Command Description
*CAT Show disc contents
*TYPE file Show text of file
*EXEC file Run text file
*TITLE name Set disc title
*DELETE file Delete file
*BUILD file Create text file
*DRIVE number Switch drive

Short commands

Command Description
*KEY10 "OLD || RUN" Restart program on Break
*FX 200,1 Disable Escape
*FX 200,3 Disable Escape and clear ram on Break