Fast Hack'em

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This advertisement for Fast Hack'em, published in the September 1985 issue of COMPUTE!'s Gazette, describes the many features of this popular nibbler.

Fast Hack'em was a Commodore 64 nibbler and disk editor written by Mike J. Henry and released in 1985. It was distributed in the U.S. via Henry's "Basement Boys Software", and in the U.K. via Datel Electronics. [1] In the U.S., it retailed for $29.95. ($70.84 in inflation-adjusted 2018 dollars)


The most popular feature of Fast Hack'em was its ability to produce copies of copy-protected commercial software. When using the nibbler, disk copying was done on a very low level, bit-by-bit rather than using standard Commodore DOS commands. This effectively nullified the efficacy of deliberate disk errors, non-standard track layouts, and related forms of copy prevention. Copying a protected disk took approximately 60 seconds if being copied directly to another disk drive, or 3 minutes (plus several disk swaps) if performed using a single disk drive.

Fast Hack'em also included a superfast disk copier that could copy unprotected disks at even higher speeds. Only 35 seconds were required for a direct drive-to-drive copy, or 2 minutes plus swapping time for a single-drive copy.

For all forms of copying, Fast Hack'em could verify the resulting disk copies to ensure that they were valid.

The MSD SD-2 dual drive was supported, with copies finished in 60 seconds, about twice as fast as without the software.[1]

Fast Hack'em was updated quite often, and later versions added even more copying options. The one feature that stood out from other copying programs was that these updates included "parameters". They included the methods of copy protection individual programs used so even a fast copy could then be artificially "re-protected" and give a working copy.

In later versions of Fast Hack'em, disk copying could be performed without the computer if two Commodore 1541 disk drives were available. The software would be loaded with a Commodore 64, the two drive option would be selected which transferred software to the drives' controller memory, and the serial cable could be disconnected from the computer. Any number of copies could be performed as long as neither drive was powered down.[1]


Ahoy! in October 1985 called Fast Hack'em "a must-needed utility for Commodore disk users" and "probably the fastest way to copy an entire 1541 formatted disk at the present time", joking that a disadvantage was the end of "leisurely coffee breaks or refrigerator raids" during copying.[1]


  1. ^ a b c Kevelson, Morton (October 1985). "Fast Hack'em". Ahoy!. pp. 70–71. Retrieved 27 June 2014.

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