HAL Halnote
This page was last modified 09:53, 29 May 2023 by Gdx. Based on work by Mars2000you and Hamlet and others.



HAL Halnote is a graphical environment akin to early versions of Windows and the Macintosh. And it is the predecessor to MSX View.

The package, released in 1987 by HAL Laboratory, consists out of

  • a 1MB ROM cartridge with a non-standard Kanji-ROM Levels 1 and 2 (JIS1 + JIS2) and 16kB SRAM
  • one or two system disks including MSX-DOS 1 - in case of a second disk, it's exactly the same as the first disk and can be viewed as a security copy

The Halnote system needs to be launched from the provided floppy disks - AUTOEXEC.BAT or HN on the command line. The version 1.2 is MSX-DOS2 compatible but it is still not installable on HDD or flash card. Which is a shame because that would make it much faster.

The Kanji conversion is realized by continuous sentence conversion based on EGBRIDGE developed by Ergosoft using a 60,000 words dictionary installed in ROM. This was more efficient than Matsushita's standard Kanji / ASCII conversion system (based on VJE).

Official price: ¥29,800



HAL Halnote
HAL Halnote PCB
HAL Halnote


Disk write protected
HAL Halnote 1.png
HAL Halnote 2.png
HAL Halnote 3.png


Cartridge content

  • HALOS-14 512kB ROM for MSX-JE
  • Kanji-ROM level 1 and 2 (LH5321L7)
  • 256kB ROM (LH532122) for Halnote software
  • 16kB SRAM (AKM6264A x2)
  • Kanji-ROM, Kanji-Driver & SRAM mapper (M71LH003)

Floppy disk content

  • HAL Binder (Halnote GUI)
  • Japanese word processor
  • Plain Text editor
  • Draw software (graphic editor)
  • Desk accessories (calendar, memo paper, phone book, clock and a few utilities)

12 pixels characters location in the Kanji-ROM

2E000h~2E6BFh: 12x12, half-size, 20h~7Fh
2E6C0h~31CBFh: 12x12 full-size, sections 1~8
31CC0h~3213Fh: 12x12 half-size, A0h~DFh
32140h~327FFh: Blank (Zero Filled)
33800h~3FFFFh: 12x12 full-size, sections 16~47
F4000h~F447Fh: 12x8 half-size, 20h~7Fh
F4480h~F687Fh: 12x8 full-size, sections 1~8
F6880h~F6B7Fh: 12x8 half-size, A0h~DFh
F6B80h~F6FFFh: Blank (Zero Filled)
F7000h~FFFFFh: 12x8 full-size, sections 16~47


Halnote has a non-rechargeable battery, without it the SRAM will not keep the contents when the system is switched off. This coin cell battery can be replaced, you need to open the cartridge and replace the battery by soldering a new one (type: CR2325 or BR2330 Lithium 3V). Confirmation is needed about battery pins type. Be careful not to overheat the battery when soldering it, and put on safety glasses because of the risk of explosion with heat.


  • GCARD (business card database) (HAL)
  • GCALC (spreadsheet software) (HAL)
  • Hal Fax
  • Halnote Basis Set
  • Halnote Ghostwriter Processor - Naoko's Ghostwriter
  • Halnote Plus (that contains updates, etc. Free for Halnote customers)
  • Halnote Tools Collection (ASCII)
  • Lab Letter (Vol. 1, 2 and 3) (HAL)

MSX Scene Software