Set up and log on to Color 64 BBS

In this post we are going to set up Color 64 BBS, get it running and log in. We will be using Vice so if you don’t have it yet I suggest you get it and install it. Vice makes things easier on a modern machine and it makes screenshots much prettier. Plus we can image any disk image to an actual disk to use on a Commodore.

For these purposes I have transferred all of the Color 64 BBS installation files onto a 1581 .d81 image to give us lots of room for the password file and to play around. Eventually I will be moving everything to a Lt. Kernal hard drive when the site goes live and will simply copy the files from a 1581 drive to the Lt. Kernal. This may seem tangential but I feel it is best to get this out of the way up-front to address the “why”s.

Ok, let’s assume you have Vice C64 fired up and your Color 64 BBS disk in Drive 8. You should note that stuff is in different places on a Mac vs. on a Windows machine. I am developing on a Mac but will also provide Windows views.

Go to (Mac) Settings > Drive Emulation (Windows) Settings > Drive Settings > Drive Settings… and you will get a window similar to below. Make sure Drive 8 is set to the proper drive type. In this case it is 1581. Also be sure True Drive Emulation is checked or weird things can happen.

Drive options. Know what you’re doing.

load”$”,8 : list and make sure the disk is working.

Is it? Good. Load setup: load”setup”,8,1 and you will get this screen:

Loading BBS Setup. Exciting!

When it asks if your √bbs.parms disk is in Drive #8 just hit enter.

Remember you can have your √bbs.parms disk live on a completely separate disk from the BBS programs, especially if you are running from a RAM Expansion Unit!

So yeah, the first screen is a little intimidating.

But before we get into this I need to warn you to think 1985. This system is not advanced enough to know where a cursor is so you cannot move around nor tab ahead or back. Your options are the return key to go ahead and answer “n” at the bottom of the screen if you messed something up or want to go back.

Enter the values you expect to need. The important stuff is at the bottom. When asked for User bit = 32 High Speed answer “y”. Does your modem use AT commands? “n”

So many choices.


Drives? Everything is going on the Lt.K (for us) so no need to do anything fancy. All on 8!

A little bit here, a little bit there. If you have 2 or more hardware drives this screen is crucial to a smooth running BBS.

When it comes to Upload/Download directories it’s up to you. For your first time I suggest setting up 1. You can always add more.

Upload/Download Directories

Enter the access level where uploads do not require moderation. Since most everything that will be uploaded is now public domain you can set this as low as you want. Of course we want upload descriptions and we will most certainly have multiple directories per drive.

Set user’s time limits. Usually I give new users 20 minutes since they are restricted in what they can do. It’s up to you on how you want to structure it per-level.

Taste the power! Only 10 minutes for you, Level 2, you urchin.

If we were running a hugely popular board I would say set this up but since we are not we will give everyone 2.73 years to come back before we delete them.

Never Gonna Give You Up. Unless you don’t call back for 2.74 years.

Set up a couple of message categories at least. The number on the left is the access level required to access the category.

It’s like subreddits but with fewer memes and trolls. Well, fewer memes at least.

The menus! Fun stuff here. I do not recommend changing any menu commands unless you absolutely know what you are doing and are ready to edit every menu file.

Do this don’t do that can’t you read the… menu!

Same for screen 2. If you decide to add additional overlays or modules such as games you can add those commands here in the “Spare” slots.

You only think you will never use those spare slots.

The infamous rainbow string!

Here you can customize your color string for the site. Enter a number and then you must enter the corresponding key code on a Commodore keyboard to set the color. Black is not allowed. Your colors are:

   1   2   3     4      5     6     7     8
      WHT RED   CYN    PUR   GRN   BLU   YEL
 Orng Brn L.Red D.Gry M.Gry L.Grn L.Blu L.Gry

Your keys to select those colors are:

Top colors – Windows: TAB Key, Mac: Control Key
Bottom colors – Windows: Control Key, Mac: Option Key

When you are finished hit RETURN, go to the next screen and hit RETURN again.

This doesn’t really do anything since we don’t have a modem plugged in and we told it to ignore AT commands. It’s just one step between you and saving your stuff.

Setup will save your choices in the √bbs.parms file and will also create your √passwords file if it does not exist (it shouldn’t). You will then be asked if you want to load the BBS (hit return if you do) or if you want to go back and make some config changes or tinker with the colors some more just enter “n” and type “run” to run through setup again.

For this tutorial we are booting the BBS…

Send a nice postcard to Greg. He may appreciate it. Or find it creepy as hell.

There it is!

Since we saved the √bbs.parms file locally go ahead and hit return. Enter the current date and time. Believe it or not, Color 64 is Y2K compliant!

Hit “n” to not regenerate the message index. Enter the date in MM/DD/YY format and the time in military time. Next give it a few minutes to work and you will be brought to…

The infamous Waiting for Call screen!

Press any F-key and then F1 to log in.

Since it is your first time you can enter “2” and the password “SYSOP” (you can see and change this via F6 Password Maintenance)

We made it!! We’re signed in!

At this point you are 100% signed in and should be able to read and post (your own) messages and play around.

You have taken your first step into a larger world.

Post a message. The world’s loneliest message.


Just remember, DON’T BOTHER THE SYSOP! 😉

Color 64 is a Facebook/Google/Meme/Popup/Ad-Hijack-free environment. Use IDK LOL in a chat subject and lose an access level.

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