HOW-TO trasfer a file from PC to C64


There are several ways to trasfer a file from PC to C64. Some of these methods are based on a serial connection and use a terminal program.

The first way is very reliable, but the standard user of the C64 does not have the required software. If you do not have it you cannot trasfer anything !

If you are interested on these methods you can find any kind of informations you need simply querying for them on a search engine.


It is possible to connect DIRECTLY the 1541 or 1541 / II unit to the parallel port of every PC and use a program totally similar to DOS's Norton Commander (c).

This program is called STAR COMMANDER and it can show the files stored onto the C64 drive. It can copy, move, rename files as well as a standard DOS drive.

STAR COMMANDER is developed by ( Forster and it is freely downloadable at SC homepage:

The latest 0.82 beta version of the Commander is supposed to run quite well under Windows (3.1, '95 or '98) when transfer mode is set to to the new mode, 'Async'. Some people reported to have managed it more o less working under Linux DOSemu.

Try, transferring programs to/from C64 drive, all the different speeds available. Warp setting is the most reliable, but it need a fine tuning of the delay value.

NEVER set up the transfer mode to 'Parallel' even if you use (of course) the parallel port. The cable and Star Commander provides a SERIAL connection between the two units.

You need also a simple cable-interface. It do not use components (such as transistors, diodes o resistors), only 2 connectors and a shielded 4-wire cable, The connector of the C64 drive port is called DIN, the printer-port connector is a DB-25 male.

Of course you need a low-power soldering tool.

Here follows the pin numbering and how to connect them. The numbers are always printed on the plastic insulation of the connector. This cable is called X1541.

Drive 1541 Side---------> Parallel Port Side

2 (ground) -----------------> 18-25 (ground)

3 (ATN) --------------------> 1 (strobe)

4 (clock) -------------------> 14 (autofeed)

5 (data) --------------------> 17 (select)

6 (reset) -------------------> 16 (init)

Use a shielded cable, maximum length should not exceed one meter.

Now switch on your PC and set-up the parallel port for SPP mode. This setting is included in the BIOS setup. If your PC does not support this mode you cannot go ahead. If you want to continue you need another cheap parallel port. All the "old" cards should be ok. I found problems only using new generation built-in parallel ports.

Anyway it is possible to use a different cable, called XE1541, which differs from the above only for four diodes connected to other pins of the parallel connector. This cable should be compatible with any kind of PC (especially with new types) and do not requires the force of the parallel mode to SPP.

If you have a mimimum experience of soldering cables and electronic components build this cable. Refer to the following link to download the electrical connection of components:

Always connect cables to 1541 unit when it is off. Connect the cable to the connector normally used by C64. Remove any other cable, such as printer and so on.

Release 0.81 of STAR COMMANDER will work properly only in native DOS mode so, if necessary, restart your PC in DOS mode.

Switch on the drive and start STAR COMMANDER. if all is ok you will find local drives (A,C....) and also 8, 9, 10, 11. There are several options in the DRIVE OPTIONS menu, for the moment configure it for the slowest speed (there is an help menu inside the program).

With keys ALT+F1 or ALT+F2 select drive numer 8. The motor of the drive will run for few seconds and you will read the list of the files directly on the left (ALT+F1) or right (ALT+F2) side.

Now you can easily copy the compressed file of LUnix, after unzipping it. Select the right directory/file of your HD and copy it.

The copy option has two checkbox, do not select none of them and confirm copy operation.

Few minutes after the beginning of the copy process you will find exactly the selected files transferred to C64's drive. This method of transfer is good for any kind of C64's file. On internet you can find tons of games and programs for C64, now you are able to transfer it to a real C64.

Now it is possible to disconnect the drive unit from C64, reconnect it to C64 and use the program just dowloaded.

Be careful: always switch off C64 and drive BEFORE connect/disconnect any kind of cable... the risk of damage is high.

For these reasons I am not responsible of any kind of damage or data loss you can cause on your PC or C64.

That's all folks, do not forget to... HAVE FUN.

( Parmigiani, IW2FER.