DOS 6.22 on CF-to-IDE not loading programs

Getting old software/games running on older hardware.

DOS 6.22 on CF-to-IDE not loading programs

Postby assasincz » 2019-3-20 @ 22:39

Hi guys,

So I am in final steps of building my 486, latest step being swapping old an noisy 2GB HDD for CF-to-IDE disk.
I followed several guides for partitioning, formatting and installing DOS 6.22, eventually making it boot.
I was happy as a clam, with the computer being all fast and quiet - right up to a point when I tried running any program, other than Norton Commander - with most EXE, the computer freezes on startup, or goes to reboot straight away. Some are not locking up the computer but refuse to run with various error messages.
There are just handful of EXE files which could be run, majority do not, showing symptoms described above.
I tried reformatting and reinstalling DOS, but same issue follows.

First I though that my MB (HOT419 R2) or I/O controller has some issues with the CF-to-IDE disk, but same behavior follows in different setups (on-board IDE board, different CPU, RAM, BIOS version and settings). So I figured I am missing some important step in SW setup.

Can you help me get to the bottom of this?

My system:
CPU AMD 486DX4 100Mhz
MB HOT419 R2
64MB RAM (4x16MB SIMM 72pin)
SPEA V7 Mirage graphics card
Goldstar I/O controller
SB 16
FDD, CD-ROM (on slave)

For CF-to-IDE, I am using Delock bracket board.
I have desoldered the activity LED and soldered in some pins for connecting the case LED.
I have not messed with onboard jumpers on the Delock board in any way

Thanks, I appreciate any help,

Vojtech
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Re: DOS 6.22 on CF-to-IDE not loading programs

Postby agent_x007 » 2019-3-22 @ 12:56

Is it Compact Flash Industrial card ?
Does it work under Windows/Linux ?
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Re: DOS 6.22 on CF-to-IDE not loading programs

Postby weldum » 2019-3-22 @ 14:29

what compact flash are you using?
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Re: DOS 6.22 on CF-to-IDE not loading programs

Postby GigAHerZ » 2019-3-22 @ 14:57

Does your computer work correctly with HDD or with other CF cards?

Maybe it's not storage issue, but a ram/cache issue?
"640K ought to be enough for anybody." - And i intend to get every last bit out of it even after loading every damn driver!
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Re: DOS 6.22 on CF-to-IDE not loading programs

Postby assasincz » 2019-3-25 @ 20:06

So today I tried the following:
I hooked the following to a same setup - Pentium 166 computer:
1) Old seagate 2GB drive which was in the 486 originally, with DOS 6.22 and bunch of games and few programs (all works okay with exactly the same configuration (and BIOS settings)) - primary slave
2) New CF card in Delock adapter - secondary master
3) WD 10GB drive with Win 98 SE from the P166 - primary master

Then I did the following:
A) Booted into Windows 98 SE
B) formatted the CF card drive (format E: /s) - there was already a 2GB partition
C) xcopied contents of original 486 2GB driveto CF card (xcopy D:\*.* E:\*.* /s /e /r /v /k /f /c /h)
D) Put the CF card drive back itno my 486 - system did not boot :dead:
E) Booted DOS 6.22 disk 1 from A:\
F) Restored master bood record on C:\ (fdisk /mbr) - system again did not boot :angry:

The drive is visible in BIOS okay, and the xcopy thing convinced me that it is rather a HW issue
The CF card I am using is this: Transcend Compact Flash, 133x, UDMA 4, MLC, ECC, 4GB

What else do you suggest I do?
I am thinking maybe trying this o a different I/O controller ISA card, or a different OS - FreeDOS, or as has been suggested, Win95
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Re: DOS 6.22 on CF-to-IDE not loading programs

Postby Jo22 » 2019-3-30 @ 07:07

assasincz wrote:What else do you suggest I do?

Personally, I would clear the whole partition information, not just the MBR.. :)
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Track0

Several special tools can accomplish this task (fdisk is not enough), I like S0Kill.
I can't predict how your card will react to that, though. I never killed a CF card with such a program before, however.
If you're worried, just try a smaller, older card instead. Say 256, 512, 2048MB or so.
These sizes are closer to what was common in the 486 days. Maybe these old LBA translation algorithms will work better with these.

Alternatively, you can also use IDEDIAG to find out a good drive geometry and enter the settings manually in the CMOS Setup.
(In theory, you can use any fictional geometry on flash media, as long as the total capacity is not exceeded.
That even worked in the 286 days with real mechanical IDE drives. Please never do run a Low-Level Format from CMOS Setup, though.
That did kill one of my flash cards once.)
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Re: DOS 6.22 on CF-to-IDE not loading programs

Postby assasincz » 2019-3-30 @ 15:10

Hi all,

I do have an update - several of you hinted at using industrial grade CD card, which left me intrigued.
So I bought one, specifically Transcend CF200I 4GB cardhttps://uk.transcend-info.com/Embedded/Products/No-521
And it worked, now all programs and games I tried so far loaded and are working fine.
I still get an odd copy/delete error when suffling larger packets of data around, though.
So a solution it is, be it quite pricey - I could get a 480GB SSD drive for the price of Delock adapter and two 4GB CF cards.
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Re: DOS 6.22 on CF-to-IDE not loading programs

Postby Jo22 » 2019-3-31 @ 09:04

assasincz wrote:I still get an odd copy/delete error when suffling larger packets of data around, though.

Please check CMOS Setup and change PIO from PIO4 to PIO2 or PIO0. PIO4 is buggy.
Also try enabling/disabling block mode, 32-Bit Transfer etc. if you can.
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