The Jukebox Utility Disk (JUD) for Archos JB Users
The Jukebox Utility Disk (JUD) is a bootable single-floppy utility OS originally designed to help owners of the Archos Jukebox products test and maintain their MP3 players. This disk may be useful to owners of other brands of portable USB accessable MP3 Jukeboxes as long as they interface to the host computer as a standard "USB Storage Device" (regular hard drive). Since it works independently of the operating system that is currently on the your computer, you should be able to quickly isolate problems between your JB and your computer's OS. Other useful functions are also provided, please read the features list below.
It is made from free, open source software which can be freely downloaded and distributed.
The entire system fits on a single bootable 1.44M floppy disk.
It is completely self-contained. This means it requires no inter-activity from your computer's normal OS.
Even though this utility uses the Linux kernel and other associated open source software, this disk is useful to people with no Unix/Linux knowledge. Most common functions are easily accessed using simple menus (see screen shots).
When it boots up, it will automatically detect your JB/R and allow you to perform various functions:
It provides lots of status information, including listings of currently detected hardware, partitions and file systems.
Allows you to partition, format and perform file system consistency checks on your JB. You can also apply custom options such as larger "allocation unit" sizes to help minimize file system fragmentation. Because Windows XP tries to limit formatting FAT32 to 2-Gigs these days, this utility can really rescue you since it has no such limitation.
You can "mount" the JB's file system and browse it using a simple clone of the classic DOS-mode "XTREE" program called "ytree". From this program you can perform common file functions such as file copy, delete and rename. You can also view and edit text files, as well as play MP3's and play-lists if you configure the optional sound driver (see below).
This disk can also be used to do some file system "snooping" to find corrupted/illegal directory entries that Windows either won't show, or won't let your access. This was a common problem with the original Archos Jukeboxes because dying batteries would sometimes cause the CPU to make errors before shutting down completely.
You can "mount" your host computer's file systems and copy files from it to your JB. You can also copy files from your JB to your computer as long as it isn't using the native NT/2K/XP NTFS file system (write support to NTFS is not complete and progress seems to be moving slowly).
As mentioned previously, it is possible to play files from your JB through your computer's sound system in most cases. Drivers for lots of common sound hardware been packaged, and more can be added (see the developer's page)
A lot of configuration options are stored in simple text files contained in a PK-ware compatible "ZIP" file on this DOS formatted floppy disk. This means that users can customize this system without requiring use of a GNU/Linux system. Simply make your change, "zip" it back up and copy it back to the floppy disk.
The system supports lots of add on modules that can contain device drivers or various software. Users can choose the options they wish to include on the disk, up to the limits of the disk capacity and increase the feature set of this system. Currently there exists modules to drive a few PC sound cards, CD-ROM drives, and some other types of computer file systems.
[April 2006] Okay so I've left this thing mostly unmaintained for a few years now. This is not necessarily a bad thing, since no serious problems have been reported from users using it either!
[April 2006] Although the Archos Jukebox that this disk was designed for has been out of production for many years now (even though mine is still going strong), I would like to stress that this disk might be useful for users of other USB MP3 Players or even other USB "storage devices".
[April 2006] There seems to be some issue about formatting larger (over 2 Gig) file systems on a USB storage device to FAT32 using Windows XP. The result on the old Archos players is that the player's own OS can no longer see the file system, while Windows can. This problem might begin with the user accidently formatting the USB device as the Windows-default NTFS file system instead. A known solution for this problem is to take the hard drive out of the Archos player, put it into a drive adapter that then allows them to put it into a desktop PC running Windows98 for reformatting. I think this utility disk should be able to solve the problem without the need of removing the disk from the player. If some portions of the disk (like the MBR) need to be "zeroed out", JUD can do this with a simple "dd" command from a command prompt. JUD also has no trouble re-partitioning and re-formatting USB drives to FAT32. If someone is experiencing this XP formatting problem (because I have not), and would like try to use JUD to solve it, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I would be happy to work with you. The result would be that I could add a user-friendly menu option for solving this problem.
Documentation might be lacking. People with Linux experience will do fine, those without may get lost or confused at in a few places.  ... But don't be intimidated. People who have tried this thing have reported that it worked perfectly for them and was easy to use. I just think it could be better than it is, but maybe it really doesn't need to be.
I've prepared driver "ZIP" archives for many sound chip-sets, but some commonly used models may still be missing. Fortunately the entire Linux kernel module tree is available for others to dig out the appropriate modules and produce similar sound driver "ZIP" archives. Support using the "ALSA" sound drivers has not been attempted.  It seems that most users don't need this playback feature anyway.
I've been able to play files from this system by both the "mpg123" program directly and through the "ytree" browser. There are still some minor quirks however, see the developer's page for more details.
I've mounted IDE drives (both FAT32 & XP/NTFS), some SCSI drives, A USB memory card reader, as will as IDE CDROMs with this system.  Some time ago I also upgraded my player's hard drive from a 6 Gig to a 30 Gig, and did the whole partitioning/formatting procedure using JUD just to prove to myself once again that it works. It did. No XP-FAT32 problems like reported above.
The user menu shell script (which makes extensive use of the ncurses based "dialog" program) could still use some refinement, so could the very configureable "ytree" browser. I am a novice at shell script and welcome any help.
There are other problems, bugs, and annoyances that I was going to work on, but never did. Further information is available on the Developer's Page.
|Downloads Page||Developer's Page|
This page was last updated on 4/03/06 by James Stewart: email@example.com