Putting Guide on a hard drive
Revised 7 Apr 1999
It is possible to put Guide 6.0 or later on one's hard drive, for use on a laptop that lacks a CD-ROM drive (or for use on an older PC that has been exiled to your observatory). It is a little tricky to do this right now; I expect to add a simpler user interface to handle the process.
One warning: If you expect to see a great speed improvement, think again. Guide has to do so much math and graphics that the time spent reading the CD-ROM is not a big problem. (This is partly because the data is highly compressed, so very few bytes actually need to be read from the CD.) However, it does mean less swapping of disks when using RealSky or A1.0/A2.0 data, and can extend battery usage on laptops.
Currently, I've tested two hard drive installations. The first involves a "full" installation, where absolutely everything is copied onto your CD-ROM drive. This does have the penalty of requiring about 670 MBytes. With a "full" installation, Guide runs much as it did before, except that its data comes from a hard drive instead of CD.
Also, you can run a "minimal" installation, that copies about 11 MBytes from the Guide CD-ROM to your hard drive. The result is much as with the "full" installation, except one doesn't bother to copy about 98% of the data. When running in this mode, Guide has asteroids for a limited period (about 150 days) surrounding the present; stars down to magnitude 7.0; low-precision (i.e., within about an arcsecond) planetary data; and all its variable stars, galaxies, open clusters, comets, satellites, and so forth. You can zoom in and out on this data, and click on the objects shown. All of the languages are supported, and functions such as animation, printing, and telescope control will work.
What you don't get, though, is most of the details about objects; when you click for "more info", little or no information will appear. Some of the "Go To..." functions will be broken, returning "Object not found" messages. Eclipse/occultation mode can provide a world map, but if you zoom in from that map, no details will be given. All the "user-added datasets" (such as quasars, Palomar plates, etc.) are omitted. The RealSky extraction is left out.
It is actually quite possible to selectively add some of these options back in. For example, copying over the file \HIPP\LG_TYCHO.LMP will increase the limiting star magnitude to about 11.0 (at a cost of 25 MBytes). Copying over the files in the GSC directory will provide the full Hubble GSC, giving you back the usual mag 14 or 15 limit (at a cost of about 200 MBytes). I will eventually document what files are needed for what purposes (or, more probably, create a utility where one can select desired items, see the amount of space required for them, and click "OK" to confirm that selection).
The steps to put Guide on your hard drive (for both minimal and full installations) are as follows.
For "full" installation, you could copy the entire CD doing a "drag and drop" in File Manager, or with the DOS XCOPY command as follows:
xcopy f:*.* c:\guide_cd /s
The '/s' tells XCOPY to copy all subdirectories from f: (your CD drive) into the GUIDE_CD directory.
For "minimal" installation, you should download this MINIMAL.BAT file to do the job. For a case such as the above, you should run it as follows:
minimal f: c:\guide_cd
At this point, you can now run Guide from the hard drive, without a CD.
Note for "full" installations: You can also, if you wish, delete many of the files you have just copied to the hard drive. For example, all files in and below the COMBINED, COMPRESS, ELP, IMAGE, NLTT, RADIO, TABLES, and VOYAGER directories can go without the slightest problems; that will save you about 50 MBytes. Removing almost anything else will have some small penalty. For example:
filename size purpose ALLDAT.TLE 1254183 Large satellite data (.TLE) file IHELP.TXT 479758 Italian help file DHELP.TXT 476229 German help file BHELP.TXT 437910 Dutch help file AAVSOMAP.UOV 286048 AAVSO map overlay GCVS.NOT 261718 Some notes for variable stars GEO.TLE 94299 Orbital data for geosynchronous satellites SUPERNOV.NAD 91247 Supernova data (German) SUPERNOV.NAI 73729 Supernova data (Italian)
Further deletions will take more effort without greatly reducing the space consumed.
Problems with editing STARTUP.MAR: Several people have found that, when they attempt to edit STARTUP.MAR, Microsoft Access starts up and tries to read it instead. Here's why that happens and how you can get around it:
When you click on a file to open it, Windows automatically figures out how to open it using "associations". Click on a file with extension .html, for example, and it knows that it should use your Web brower. Click on one with extension .jpg or .gif, and it knows the file is an image, and will start up whatever software you've got for viewing images.
If you happen to have Microsoft Access, then Windows will assume any file with extension .mar is a Microsoft Access Report file. You can evade this misbehavior by starting Notepad (or your text editor of choice) directly. Then use "File", "Open", and specify startup.mar.
At the very worst, if Notepad isn't on your desktop or in your program menus, you can click on "Start", then "Run...", and enter "notepad" in the resulting edit box.