Multi Depacker

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Multi Depacker
Author:Mug UK
Developer:The Source
Initial release:4th September 1992
Platform:Atari ST/STE
Use: Depacker
License:Public Domain


This program was written as an aide to the myriads of demo-breakers, nosey hackers and interested people of all levels and skills to save them from using a disassembler to unpack and save out data and executable files that have been packed using a selection of the best available packers in the Public Domain. There are other uses, including unpacking a program that you had previously packed with an outdated packer (eg. original file was packed with Automaion v2.4), and then repacking with the latest top-notch packer (eg. Atomic v3.5).

This is my second update and was mainly due to cries from contacts I know and some I didn't know, whom I now know (if you know what I mean !!) sending me new - and sometimes older and more obscure - packers asking (and sometimes demanding) that Multi Depacker v2.0 be released !! So for the people who have been crying, demanding, stamping their feet with anguish - I present my 'Multi Depacker v1.5' !!

Technical Stuff

The files required to be kept in the same folder are:-


Do not seperate these files or edit them. You can archive them for bulletin boards if you so wish. As usual, this program is Public Domain. It is my copyright, but you can stock it within a Public Domain Library or on a BBS with my full consent. Magazines that have Cover Disk mounts (ST Format, ST User & ST Review etc), CANNOT publish this program with my prior consent and appropriate payment.

Also for the myriads of disk-based magazines who are published via Budgie, or via any other means (Maggie, Ledgers, DBA, HP Source etc.), you can include this program on your current and any forthcoming issues with my full consent. Although I have most probably already sent 'Multi Depacker v2.0' to you on the day of release. Other groups who make up utility disks can also include this program (so long as all the files are kept together) if they see fit. After all, it is a very handy utility for most people to have in their collection, so why not SPREAD IT !!

More Technical Info

This program will allow you to depack ANY file that has been packed with any of the following packers:-

  • Atomic v3.1
    • Atomic v3.3
      • Atomic v3.5
  • Automation v2.3/2.4
    • Automation v2.51r
      • Automation v5.01
  • Ice Packer v1.13 (data ONLY at present)
    • Ice Packer v2.11
      • Ice Packer v2.12
        • Ice Packer v2.2
          • Ice Packer v2.31
            • Ice Packer v2.34
              • Ice Packer v2.40
  • Fire Packer v1.01 (data ONLY at present)
    • Fire Packer v2.01
  • JAM Packer v2.4
    • JAM Packer v3.0 (LZH/V2)
      • JAM Packer v4.0 (LZW/LZH/V2/Ice)
  • Pompey Pirates v1.9a (data ONLY at present)
  • Power Packer v2.0/v3.0/v4.0 (data ONLY at present - it's an Amiga Packer !!)
  • Speed Packer v2.0

Twenty-four different packers, which makes a total of 50 different file types that can be loaded in, depacked and saved out again !!

When I say 'any file' - I mean ANY file, either executable or data files. The only (obvious) exceptions are where I have been unable to fully incorporate a depack option for the executable files generated by some packers, without having bombs and other crashes occurring !!

I've Even Tested It !!

I've tested this program on both data & executable files packed with the above packers. The testing was done on a bog standard TOS v1.2, with 1Meg of RAM and a hard-drive. I have included enough error-traps to stop the depacking of 1 Meg files on a 512K system etc. The most common error on 512K machines, is that with the majority of the packers I am using, they depack from one address to another, therefore I require two buffers. If the file that is to be depacked is 100K and the unpacked length is 250K, then you will be unable to unpack this file on a bog-standard 512K machine.

For the next update (v2.0), I shall (probably) write a .TTP version, without any fancy dialog boxes etc. to enable the really BIG files to be depacked on any machine.

The majority of the packers recognized by this program were written by Axe of Delight/Superior. Depacking the packed files was (and still is !!) a much needed feature missing from these otherwise excellent packers. This is especially annoying if you had just packed your only copy of a much needed file !! If his next update does not provide a feature for depacking files, I will be writing an 'Ice Packer Shell' soon (with thanks for Mark Matts for Frontend¿ - buy this if you are a GFA utility programmer and you want a nice interface for your programs) which you will be able to do lots of things with !! I may even make it a multi-shell if I can find any more packers that have a command-line option.

The other packers were added bit by bit over a period of a week, and halfway through that week, I scrapped all the text-printing and opted for a much easier to use 'GEM' front-end. Depacking files is now much easier than in previous incarnations of this programs' predecessor - 'Fire & Ice Depacker', which was officially released on The Source Menu 79 (Hi! to the other comrades in this group:- Kalamazoo, Speed, Egon, JJF & IWWWTTI).

For this update, as well as adding a few(!) more recognized packers, I have fixed some bugs that were rearing their ugly heads in my source code. You might also notice that every dialog box now has a default option, so most redundant options (ie. no functions) can be exited by clicking on the relevant option (if you are a mouse-fanatic) or by pressing Return (if you are a lazy sod like me !!).

Using The Program

Seeing as I saw my original Multi Depacker v1.0 appear on countless menus and disk magazines, I guess people actually liked a MUG U.K¿ creation rather a lot (the last time that happened was way back in 1989 when a little known virus killer was born !!). I have therefore decided to release this version with a 'Spreading Credits' box detailing who originally had this copy sent to them direct.

The next dialog box is the main menu. From here, you can have another look at the information dialog box, depack files, see how much memory you've got left and finally quit back to the Desktop. I have also put in a greetings page to all my good contacts & friends (included are some of the ones who demanded this update - but you know who you are !!).

Seeing as this program is primarily a depacker, the major option to go for is the 'Depack And Save Files'. Click on the button and you will be presented with a file-selector which wants the filename of a packed file. Clicking on 'Cancel' or selecting a non-existent file will result in an alert box telling you of your mistake, and an option to try for another file or returning to the main menu.

I must state here and now that this program depacks files that have been singularly packed and not packed with an archiving program (eg. ARC, LZH, ZOO etc.) as the latter are well served with utilities and shells. My program is geared towards the singe-file packer. It packs one file on that files' merits and nothing else. There are a plethora of these packers in existence, so check out a PD Library, compact disk (eg. by The Source) or other dubious types of CD (!!) or disk magazine for these programs.

Once you've found a file that you know is packed, it will be loaded into memory and examined . After first checking whether the file is a program file or not, it will then check for the existance of the various packer headers (eg. 'LSD!', 'ICE!', 'FIRE', 'ATOM', 'LZH' etc.). In the case of some programs, there are no headers, I poke around (literally) and create these headers if I know that the file is a packed one !!

If any disk errors occur, you will will prompted by an alert box asking you to retry and get another file or cancel this operation and go back to the main menu. If the selected file is NOT recognized, then you will returned back to the main menu (after an alert box has told you that your selected file was not recognized - Idiot Proof Programming: Lesson 1).

If the file is packed, a dialog box will appear with the following information on it:-

  • Which packer was used
  • Executable or data file
  • The length of the file (in disk-space terms)
  • The length of the packed file (as the packer knew it as)
  • The length of the unpacked file (as it will be AFTER it is unpacked)

The reason for including both (iii) & (iv) on the screen, is that some files I found would be 20K in length, but the header would say it was only 18.5K in length !!! One explanation is that some programs contain two sections, hence the numbers displayed on the screen would be a bit odd. An example of this is 'Digi Composer v1.0' by Istari. It contains two programs, an intro and the actual tracker. The intro is depacked first, and then the tracker.

Another reason is that when you depack a program file, the file-length will differ from the actual length of the packed data because the program needs a depack routine to unpack itself, and relocate it to the original address! If you find that the lengths differ by around 1000 bytes on a program file, then you should be OK .......

There are two options on this dialog box, and they are pretty obvious to understand. One will depack the present file, and the other will return you to the main menu.

There is a third option, smack bang in-between the other two options entitled, 'Split File'. This option is not yet available until I can get it working with Pompey Packer files. In theory, if I cannot depack a file as a program, you will be told to split the file which will remove the program header and create a data file which makes my life a damn sight easier (lazy sod aren't I !!). So, until v2.0, you won't be able to depack any Pompey Pirates program files (v1.5 - v2.6 !!) or the eariler versions of Ice and Fire packers.

If you are depacking a Atomic v3.1/v3.3 data file, you are given the option to choose which depack routine. If you select the wrong one then this program will more than likely depack your file into complete garbage or even worse, it will bomb out !! The reason is that the header (ATOM) is the same for either version of these packers and the depack routine is not compatible with the other version (unlike the Ice Packers !!). In v2.0 of this depacker the situation will be made even worse when I add the 'Thunder' range of packers as these have an 'ATOM' header as well. So I will be leaving the guess work up to you !!

Each depacker will flash a different colour, so as to differentiate between the different packers. If you have a monochrome monitor, you will probably end up with a bad headache after depacking a lot of files !! I suggest you don a pair of Bitmap Shades (Hi! Slasher !!) before you start depacking a lot of files (colour OR monochrome), unless you're into flashing colours - in which case you either like naff acid/rave music and I suggest you go take a trip (the walking kind !!) to your nearest GP, who will prescribe some decent music to listen to and counsel you on your weird behavior at these oddball sessions of manic arm-pushing and body-jerking (and I thought head-banging was detrimental to MY health !!).

Another file-selector will appear asking for the depacked file. You have the option of overwriting the packed file (not very wise !!) if you require, or simply enter a new filename as it is up to you !! After this operation, you will be returned to the main menu where you can carry on depacking more files, or quit and take a peek at the newly unpacked files.

That's all there is to my little program. It works with almost everything I've tried, with one or two exceptions - but I'll let you find them out for yourselves !! If you have any really major hassles then drop me a line at the address down below (oo-er !!). I am really a nice guy to write to if you have any problems .... so long as you do not sound like a prat when you write OR (even worse) you are a pirate !! See below for details.

End Bit

Since I was testing this program heavily I noticed a few things with the various packers. Here are some notes I made (bugs I discovered !!).

  • If you write (like I do) predominantly in GFA BASIC v3.5/v3.6, and you want to pack your program files, DO NOT use Ice Packer v2.2/v2.31 or Fire Packer v2.01, as your program file will not work at all (two bombs). You will have to use the Ice Packer v2.40 (ST News 6.2 edition).
  • If you use the Automation v5.01 and pack a lot of data files, beware of using it from a hard drive!! The problem is that your resultant files are filled with $00 & $FF ONLY!! Not even the header (AU5!) is included. This happens with the normal, buffer and chunk pack options and I do not know exactly why this occurs. My (bad) theory is that this update does not like my (or anyone elses ?) hard drive!!! The error does not occur when you run the program from a floppy, but only when it is run from a hard-drive partition ?? Well, EGB, work that one out if you can!! I use the Supra Software v3.11 driving a Megafile 60, if this is any use to you !!
  • This is not an error, but a bit of a pain. The Atomic packers will not output a packed file that is of an odd length !! No problem to 99% of files, except when it's NeoChrome Master which checks its length for link-virus infection!!
  • Atomic v3.5 does not work with a lot of programs that every other packed in the whole world will work on. This is especially annoying for me as it doesn't like GFA BASIC v3.6 programs !! So when you do an update, please make it compatible !!
  • Speed Packer v2.0 does not work if you have got GDOS present. I only found this out by accident, but it may throw some light on the subject if you load it and wonder why it exits back to the desktop immediately !!

If you can help me (or if you are the author of the packer in question, please write to me with your latest version), then write to the address near the end of this document file.

DO NOT send ANY form of pirated software, as I am NOT interested.

In the next version

The next version of this 'Multi-Depacker' will be released when I'm ready. I have another 10 or so packers that I will be including, plus the 'no-frills' version that will come with it so that 512K owners can depack large files.

The other main program will be a proper 'De-Chunker' for Automation v2.51 and v5.01 chunk packed files. I have finally written a routine to depack these files. The problems I am having at the moment are with the very last chunk in a file not being depacked and the occasional time when a chunk is not packed !! But never fear, I am not going to be beaten !! When it is released, you can un-chunk a 500K lump-file which has been chunk-packed on a standard 512K machine, without having to worry about a shortage of RAM in your machine.

My thanks go to JPM who replied to my plea and sent me some very nicely explained depack source which I have included in this version. Thanks once again. How about PP v2.6 this time – I've managed to work it out myself, but a nice documented/idiot proof version wouldn't go amiss !!

The following packers WILL be included in Multi Depacker v2.0:-

Bytestrangler (all versions) Powerpacker v2.0 - v4.0 (Amiga packer) Pompey Pirates (all versions - I hope !!) QPAC 3 by JMP Sentry Packer v2.01 - v2.05

(providing I don't come across any incompatibilities !!)

If you are wondering why I am going to include an Amiga packer, the reason is simple. For those people who are lucky enough to own both machines, or they know someone who owns an Amiga (the normal kind, not the games-playing nose-in-the-air-bigot type) and they want to transfer text-files, IFF pictures or Protracker modules across to the ST, they will find the majority of them will of been packed with Powerpacker. I had hoped to include a working version of a Powerpacker decruncher in this version, but after MSD had played around with the source code, it would leave the first 20 bytes of a file blank!! This may of sufficed on text files, but with an IFF picture, this would make the file totally useless. If 'Maverick' of The Light (or anyone else) could send me a working Powerpacker depack routine for the ST, I would be very happy.

I am also after anyone who can get a packed file, work out the depacking loader (ie. crack it) and send the source code to me. You will have to be pretty adept at 68000 and conversant in GFA BASIC. I am especially after depack routines for 'PFXPACK', 'PROPACK' & 'PAMPUK' - the one-file RAMdisk packer - for inclusion in a further update - plus any others that you might of 'cracked'. If you are able to help, please write to me at the address below.

And for all those who asked for it (ie. Prophecy PD & Spiff of Orion), there will be a wildcard feature in the next version (I promise). Either it will be a straight 'select the source & destination directories and leave me to it' type of program OR 'make up a script file containing the source and destination files' type of program. The latter is much easier to program and will probably be implemented. The former, whilst it is a nice feature, is a waste of memory - especially if you want to unpack a whole disk to another (or even worse depack a partition to another partition !!) as I will have to hold all the filenames for the source & destination disks in memory !!

Of course, if you think there are any features that could be added, you know where to direct your replies/suggestions - workable from GFA v3.6 - please !!

End Bit

Have fun depacking, hacking, poking about and generally being very nosey with other peoples (previously) packed files !!

If you really find this program useful, saves your life with packed programs not depacking on your version of TOS etc. etc., spare a thought for me, toiling away at unsociable hours (8.30am - 5.30pm), having to listen to 'Radio 1' all day long (and you know what the music they play is like !!) - except maybe for Jackie Brambles & Steve Wright (and The Posse) whose shows keep me going through the day (do you know how boring mending hydraulic pipes is ??). I then come home and start work on my many programs (including my 'Professional Virus Killer' - plug !!) answering letters and God knows what else that I shouldn't be doing too much off (oo-er) - just so you lot out there can benefit ....... SO SEND ME SOME MONEY YOU TIGHT WADS !!

MUG U.K¿ - 14/06/1992

Depacker Credits

  • Depacker Program
  • RSC Design
  • Documents
  • Coffee Drinking: MUG U.K¿ - v1.0 = 29/11/1991 v1.5 = 14/06/1992
  • Background Music: Metallicas' new album "Metallica", Extremes' "Pornograffitti", Iron Maidens' "Fear Of The Dark", Black Crowes' "Southern Harmony ...", W.A.S.P's "Crimson Idol"
  • Testing: Bob Clowes (as always !!)

Packers' Authors Credits:

Atomic Packers v3.1/3.3/3.5: ALTAIR of VMAX/MCS

Automation v2.3/2.4: OZZ of LSD Automation v2.51: EGB of SHiT (Sub Humans in Turkey) Automation v5.01: EGB of SHiT

Fire/Ice Packers: Axe of Delight/Superior

JAM Packers v2.4/3.0/4.0: Jek and Moose (JAM)

Pompey Packer v1.9a: JPM

Speed Packer v2.0 Spiral of The Firehawks

Contact Address:

MUG U.K¿ c/o Broadsword Computers, 141 High Street Rhyl CLWYD LL18 1UF

Any problems, queries, questions etc. should be sent to the above address, and don't even think of writing if you want pirated software !! I get extremely FED UP with people who write to me wanting the addresses of the various pirate groups. I DON'T KNOW THEM - SO *ISS OFF !!!

I will keep all the disks & burn the letters from these idiots. If you want a game that desperately, go out and buy it !! It could be worse and I send your letters directly to a nice Mr. Hays at FAST, but seeing as they are only interested in people selling pirated software, it would be a waste of time on my behalf (and stamps too !!).

One last thing, if you are a kind generous person who has got a spare bit of money lying idly about, don't send me a cheque made payable to 'MUG U.K¿' as I get strange looks from the staff at my building society !! If you really must send a cheque, make it payable to 'Mike Mee' (stop sniggering at the back - I can't help my surname !!).

If any sysops of a BBS see any comments directed to me regards this version of the 'Multi Depacker v1.5', please send them to me at the above address. I do not own a modem so I cannot access BBS's to read the comments.

Bye for now !!

MUG U.K¿ (of The Source)

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