Let me start by saying I am not a QNX user and no essentially nothing about this OS. Apologies for the potentially long post, but hopefully there is a solution for what I am trying to do.
I have an SSD formatted in a QNX6 file system (believe it’s called power safe.) This SSD contains a lot of audio files and some other content which I would like to replace. The drive is used by a piece of hardware (musical instrument,) as its sound library, and there is software on Windows which I can (and have) used to set up replacement instrument audio sample files and corresponding metadata which the instrument needs in order to play the samples as designed. However, in order to make full use of the drive and all its space, I am wanting to remove the audio content that is already there and replace it. Naturally just plugging the drive into my Windows machine (the only OS I use!) doesn’t work, as the drive is formatted for use with QNX and must stay that way for use with the synthesizer.
What I have found so far:
The SSD has 2 partitions, one with the QNX OS itself (I assume? it’s around 200 MB) and the other is where the audio goes, which is partitioned at around 223GB.
I created a backup copy of the disk image and mounted that on Windows using some software to take a look at the existing content. If reformatting this disk to NTFS, I can recover the entire original audio sample pool, however the original file names and directory structure is discarded, which is unfortunate as I need to see the folder structure of the drive as it appears normally. I’m not really interested in retrieving the original audio data, just want to overwrite it! Obviously, I’ve not done anything like this to the SSD itself, just the backup image I made.
It may be possible, if I can at least view the folder / file structure of the SSD, to replace the samples from the instrument itself.
Is there any piece of software I can try running on Windows that will let me, at the very minimum, easily view the folder names on this QNX-formatted SSD, even if it’s just read-only?
If so, is there also a way to copy files formatted on Windows (NTFS) over to this SSD while converting them to the correct file system so that they work as expected?
If one or both of these applications do not exist, is there perhaps someone I can contact who might provide this service, if I sent them the SSD and the files I wanted to replace, with instructions of where they need to go once I know the folder structure?
I’ve searched all over the internet and found very little. There are companies making applications to convert file systems and such, but the only thing that seemed promising was designed to run on QNX and not Windows… I had also found a program called Linux Reader which appears to be able to load and read (but not write) QNX drives in its paid version, but when I contacted the company to confirm I received no response; the free version just gives an error when trying to open the drive though it will make a disk image of it.
BTW, in addition to a backup disk image I also have another untouched SSD which the keyboard manufacturer sent me, so I am quite comfortable experimenting as there are several copies of the original data here if something goes wrong…
I hope someone has some ideas; any help is certainly welcome!
Can you tell more about the musical instrument ?
Does it have a network connection ? If so, it might be possible to access the instrument drive through the network. Chances are slim but it’s worth trying.
There exists a QNX OS image running in a virtual machine. I have never used it so I don’t know exactly what it is capable of. It might be able to access QNX6 drives.
In case sending your drive to a QNX dev is the only solution, where are you located ?
The Paragon software option is for running on QNX only, that was what I looked at before, so even though it will do what I need, you still need a QNX OS to do it which I do not have.
The python script may work, trying to get that running now. The documentation does say it was only tested on Linux, but who knows. I only have a Windows computer.
Nicolas: No network connection, otherwise yes that would certainly help. I’m in the USA.
It looks like both VMWare and VirtualBox can run a QNX virtual machine.
One other potentially important detail: I am blind, so use a screen reader for all computer tasks. Naturally, because it’s text-based, Python works fine (assuming I know the right commands anyway!) In order to install a virtual machine, that requires me to get into the bios to change things, and since that is only available before the full OS loads, you can’t run any apps (I.E. screen reader) inside of it. So I am unable to change anything within there to allow the QNX machine to run. I had tried this with VMWare the other day as both it and the QNX VM are free for personal use. There’s not anyone living here who would have a clue about changing bios settings; one wrong edit in there can wreck a system…
Additionally there’s no guarantee whatsoever that I’d be able to use the windows screen reader to access the QNX VM directly once up and running, as far as I am aware.
The python script has the virtual environment installed, but I think the disk formats I have here are not what it needs (.dsk or .img.) I don’t know what formats it’s looking for but the window just closes when I try and run the script, pointing to the correct file and mountpoint. The only indication in the instructions is the test section which mentions .bin files, so I’m guessing that’s what it wants. Not giving up on this one yet as it is still highly likely I’m doing something wrong especially since the python commands on linux and windows are sometimes slightly different.
In reality I probably just need to find a developer who could access the SSD’s content and remove/replace files for me; seems that it would be a very quick task for someone who is experienced with QNX, no?
Being blind is a very important detail that you left out. No wonder you are limited in what you can and can not do.
Using a QNX virtual machine is probably impossible for you because the text to speech is not going to work as I am not aware of any tools for QNX in VMWare like there is for Windows and Linux.
You are correct that anyone with a QNX machine could easily access the SSD and remove and replace files for you if the file system is not password protected. 200 gigabytes is probably a bit too large of a file image to host online someplace as I am not aware of any hosting site that can accept files that large. But if you can locate one, and put the disk image up there it should be straight forward to download it, change the files and upload it again. The alternative is to mail off an SSD to someone and have them do the work of changing the files for you. If you want to go that route of mailing an SSD let me know and I may be able to help you.
As far as VMWare goes I think you’re right. The software itself is accessible, but that’s only the actual Windows application; QNX wouldn’t have any sort of screen reader support.
The file system should not be password protected, at least I was able to copy all the files from the SSD (albeit without their correct names and directories) by making an image locally and reformatting to NTFS. I would assume that wouldn’t work on a password-protected drive? Otherwise I have no idea of knowing for sure, but I would have thought if the drive (or copied image in this case) required a password I wouldn’t even be able to format it and access the data.
I am open to either uploading or mailing the SSD, whatever is easier. I am pretty sure some sites would allow for a file that large, though they are of course paid so I’d need to figure out how you’d be able to upload the adjusted version. Maybe mailing is the simpler way to go?
I’ve been following along here. First, may I assume your SSD is of the SATA interface type? It would be easy to put such a device in an enclosure and read/write it from a QNX system as a USB drive.
Next, let me say that having seen his postings over a number of years, I’m sure that Tim is an experienced and reliable person to do this work for you if he is willing.
If this does not work out, I too have a working 6.5 system capable of dealing with the file system you are using. I agree that mailing an SSD along with the replacement files would probably be the most efficient way to handle this, assuming you are in the states or Canada.
Yes, it’s a SATA SSD. I’ve been using a little SATA to USB adapter cable to hook it up externally to the Windows machine, though you could obviously use whatever works best for your system.
I’m in the USA, in Texas.
I am very thankful for all members willing to help out. That is definitely appreciated; sometimes it’s not so easy to find a single person who can assist.
This is likely to be really easy for Tim or me. I presume that this device of yours didn’t come with a method to update. If you will need to do this on a regular basis, a cheap QNX based computer could facilitate this operation.
I believe that once the original files are removed, I can update it from the device itself. The functionality is there, but there’s no way to remove the samples it comes with by default from the unit itself (at least not without knowing the directory structure on the SSD.) If there was, I could do it all on my own. So if all goes well this should be a one-time operation.
Unless the unit comes with a method to update it, it is unlikely you will be able to do it without a QNX machine. There have been drivers to read QNX file systems, but I doubt that there is foreign software to write to a QNX 6 file system.
It does have a method to update; it just doesn’t allow for overwriting or removal of the default sounds, as this could cause problems if someone didn’t know what they were doing and then wanted them back later. That was why they sent me an extra SSD. 150 gb out of the 200 that is recommended for samples is populated already by default, and I want all of that removed so that I can fill it with other content. It’s all on one partition, so once that space is freed up it is actually quite likely that I won’t even need to send the new files, the unit has an “update samples” function that allows you to copy new data if the space is already available. Just need to make that space available first, and that is the part the unit does not support directly. So this might actually be even easier and faster than originally thought.