IDE to Compact Flash as MS-DOS boot drive.

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Re: IDE to Compact Flash as MS-DOS boot drive.

Postby goldeng » 2017-10-10 @ 21:09

Thanks! Will look into it. :)
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Re: IDE to Compact Flash as MS-DOS boot drive.

Postby Ozzuneoj » 2017-10-11 @ 04:25

This is somewhat OT, but I just made a DOS 6.22 boot drive out of a CF card (a Maxel 400x 8GB card) yesterday and it worked beautifully. It seems quite fast too. I loaded it with a bootable copy of DOS by mounting a .VHD image of a clean DOS 6.22 install in Windows 10, then using Minitool Partition Wizard to do a "Disk Copy" of the mounted virtual hard drive to my CF card. I resized the partition to just under 2GB, and it booted the first time with no problems at all.

To my astonishment, when I created a second partition on the drive with MiniTool, Windows 10 could see it! Apparently Windows 10 version 1703 added the ability to see multiple partitions on removable drives. Woohoo! That means I can create multiple partitions on this CF card without it being a pain in the butt to copy data to.
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Re: IDE to Compact Flash as MS-DOS boot drive.

Postby goldeng » 2017-10-11 @ 08:55

Hi @Ozzuneoj, thank for this info.

So let me get this stright - you installed DOS 6.22 in a virtual machine on your Win10 and then cloned the VHD image to the first partition on your CF card? Meaning that you didn't install the OS inside your retro PC at all?
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Re: IDE to Compact Flash as MS-DOS boot drive.

Postby Malvineous » 2017-10-11 @ 09:15

I've done the same thing with DOSBox before - mounted the CF card as a raw disk and then used floppy images to install DOS to the CF card, all within DOSBox, just pressing Ctrl+F4 to switch to the next floppy disk image. Moving the CF card to the retro PC then boots fine.
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Re: IDE to Compact Flash as MS-DOS boot drive.

Postby goldeng » 2017-10-11 @ 10:12

Thanks for the info. Just to know that CTRL+F4 actually refreshes the file structure in DOSBox was worth it. ;) Weren't aware of that feature.

Anyway, tried installing within DOSBox but had some troubles that require additional reading, and I don't have time for that at the current moment. So I just went with @Ozzuneoj's suggestion to install MS-DOS 6.22 in a virtual machine, and then to clone the disk to the CF card. At first when I tried booting to it in the Retro PC I got the letter "j" instead of "Starting MS-DOS..." that just hanged there. Went into the BIOS and changed the IDE setting of the hard drive from 'Auto' to 'User' and enabled 'LBA Mode Control':
LBA Mode Control.png

But then the original issue where "Starting MS-DOS..." just hangs there reappear.
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Re: IDE to Compact Flash as MS-DOS boot drive.

Postby Jo22 » 2017-10-11 @ 11:08

Ozzuneoj wrote:To my astonishment, when I created a second partition on the drive with MiniTool, Windows 10 could see it!

I'm curious - does Win10 think it's a removable media or a hard disk ?

goldeng wrote: Went into the BIOS and changed the IDE setting of the hard drive from 'Auto' to 'User' and enabled 'LBA Mode Control':
The attachment LBA Mode Control.png is no longer available

But then the original issue where "Starting MS-DOS..." just hangs there reappear.

I see. So it was in AUTO mode before. This could have cause the issues with the old CHS translation schemes.
Now that it is in LBA mode, I highly suggest to wipe track 0 on the retro PC, reboot, and run FDISK+FORMAT from DOS 6.22.
Also, I wouldn't use PIO4. It is (or was) considered faulty. PIO3 and lower should be okay, though.

Edit: I recommend to run Spur0Kill ("track zero kill") to get away with any spurious MBR and paritition data.
And boot viruses, like LiLo. It was written by German(?) author Dirk Arnold in '93 and works very well under plain DOS.
As far as I know, all access is done solely via the BIOS. This makes it a nice little tool that works with about any int13h device.
It's one of "my" most precious tools I've got. Still useful for modern hardware, too. Why Phil hasn't have it on his page yet is a mystery to me. :neutral:

Anyway, S0KILL is Freeware, so I'll attach it right here for any fellow person which may needs it.
A fan site seems to also available (*link*), so there's a lot of information you can learn from.
Edit: Several edits, description added, typos fixed.
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spur0kill.png
spur0kill.png (4.58 KiB) Viewed 262 times
s0kill.zip
Spur0Kill v1.1 by Dirk Arnold. Freeware. Also known as S0KILL.
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Last edited by Jo22 on 2017-10-11 @ 11:52, edited 4 times in total.
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Re: IDE to Compact Flash as MS-DOS boot drive.

Postby goldeng » 2017-10-11 @ 11:10

I'm using Win7 and yes, the disk properties indicates "Removable Disk".
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Re: IDE to Compact Flash as MS-DOS boot drive.

Postby goldeng » 2017-10-11 @ 12:00

Jo22 wrote:Edit: I recommend to run Spur0Kill ("track zero kill"l to get away with any spurious MBR and paritition data.

Thanks. I'll look into this tool.
But first, what would you suggest to pick from the 'Transfer Mode' list: "FPIO 3 / DMA 1" or just "Fast PIO 3"?
Transfer Mode.png
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Re: IDE to Compact Flash as MS-DOS boot drive.

Postby Jo22 » 2017-10-11 @ 12:09

No problem, you're welcome. :) I'd go with Fast PIO 3 first.
The other one may use single-word/multi-word DMA, which was used before Ultra DMA (UDMA).
- And if the CF reader is not fully wired (some have no DMA lines), problems could occur.
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Re: IDE to Compact Flash as MS-DOS boot drive.

Postby goldeng » 2017-10-11 @ 12:10

Ok, thanks! I'll give it a go and update here further on. :)
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Re: IDE to Compact Flash as MS-DOS boot drive.

Postby bjwil1991 » 2017-10-11 @ 12:22

I have a 2GB CF Card installed in my Packard Bell Pack-Mate 28 Plus, but to be honest, it sometimes gets slower as molasses. I still have the 428.1MB HDD in storage the original owner upgraded from a 210MB HDD many years ago.

I'm planning on getting a bigger HDD for the system, but 2GB is the limit for MS-DOS 6.22 and Windows for Workgroups 3.11 as well. Maybe I can image the CF card and burn it to a bigger HDD, resize it, and do a smoke test to see if it'll work.
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Re: IDE to Compact Flash as MS-DOS boot drive.

Postby Ozzuneoj » 2017-10-11 @ 22:09

goldeng wrote:Hi @Ozzuneoj, thank for this info.

So let me get this stright - you installed DOS 6.22 in a virtual machine on your Win10 and then cloned the VHD image to the first partition on your CF card? Meaning that you didn't install the OS inside your retro PC at all?

Sort of... I don't want to promote anything questionable, but I obtained a clean install DOS 6.22 .VHD file from the internet to save all the hassle of having to install it from disks. So, no, I didn't install the OS on my retro PC. I will say though, it isn't going as perfectly as I'd imagined. Another somewhat later PC (P3 450, 440BX) I tried plugging my CF card into hangs at "Verifying DMI Pool Data..." and never boots to DOS. I've tried several things and can't get it past this point. I'm thinking its either a compatibility issue or maybe there is more going on in DOS than I thought and it saved some kind of configuration information from the K6 system which is now preventing DOS from loading on the P3. Does anyone know if DOS does that? If so, is there any easy fix that could be done per-system?

What I'd like to have is basically a non-system-specific DOS boot drive, like a boot floppy, but with tons of space (and enough speed) for games and benchmarks for testing different motherboards and configurations. Is this possible? Obviously a boot floppy just works, every time, and doesn't change with each system. I just want that with more space and no limitations on speed. Being able to write data to it for benchmark results is nice too.

Jo22 wrote:
Ozzuneoj wrote:To my astonishment, when I created a second partition on the drive with MiniTool, Windows 10 could see it!

I'm curious - does Win10 think it's a removable media or a hard disk ?

Windows 10, after one of the more recent major updates, now sees multiple partitions on removable media without any trickery as far as I can tell. It still says it is removable. Now if only someone at Microsoft could figure out how to make it so I can plug another card into the same card reader after doing the "safely remove" thing. As it is, I have to reboot after removing safely or it won't read the next card (since it is an internal card reader and cannot be disconnected).
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Re: IDE to Compact Flash as MS-DOS boot drive.

Postby goldeng » 2017-10-11 @ 23:49

Ozzuneoj wrote:What I'd like to have is basically a non-system-specific DOS boot drive, like a boot floppy...

I'm not sure that it will give you what you're looking for, but at the very beginning of MS-DOS 6.22 installation you have an option to hit F7 to install the operating system to a floppy disk
Install to a floppy disk.png
Install to a floppy disk.png (10.11 KiB) Viewed 222 times

Again, I'm not sure, but I think that you could just boot to DOS from this bootable floppy disk for your tests and to access your physical hard drive or CF card connected through a CF to IDE adapter.
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Re: IDE to Compact Flash as MS-DOS boot drive.

Postby Ozzuneoj » 2017-10-12 @ 00:35

goldeng wrote:
Ozzuneoj wrote:What I'd like to have is basically a non-system-specific DOS boot drive, like a boot floppy...

I'm not sure that it will give you what you're looking for, but at the very beginning of MS-DOS 6.22 installation you have an option to hit F7 to install the operating system to a floppy disk
Install to a floppy disk.png

Again, I'm not sure, but I think that you could just boot to DOS from this bootable floppy disk for your tests and to access your physical hard drive or CF card connected through a CF to IDE adapter.

Yeah, using a boot floppy then accessing the CF card or hard drive is my fall back plan if I can't get a portable DOS installation to function.

I'm considering using this method:
https://www.techwalla.com/articles/how- ... 2-on-a-usb

Except to put it on a CF card. Then I'll repartition the card so that has 2GB partitions, copy the additional DOS programs\external commands over (from a full DOS install) so I have all of the commands I'm used to having, load it with all the diagnostics and benchmarks, and hope that it just works.

Before I do that, I'm going to check my CF card to see if any files have been modified since I set it up yesterday. That should tell me if the K6 system modified anything that may have made it not work on the 440BX. If it didn't, I'm not sure why it doesn't boot on my 440BX system. Some incompatibility with my CF card or adapter most likely. I have another brand of CF card to try if that's the case (Sandisk 333x 8GB).

I will figure this out and post back here. :)
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Re: IDE to Compact Flash as MS-DOS boot drive.

Postby Ozzuneoj » 2017-10-12 @ 00:59

Okay, it doesn't look like any files have changed since I put DOS on this CF card. Is it true that DOS doesn't store any information about the system its being used on? Like, unless I update config.sys or autoexec.bat, nothing changes, even if I swap it from computer to computer? Obviously Windows reconfigures things, tries to identify hardware, installs drivers, adjusts sound\video settings to accommodate hardware, messes with IRQ\DMA settings, attempts to optimize the loading of the OS for next time... does DOS 6.22 really have no clue what its being told to run on? If so, that's awesome. I wish I could use DOS as my daily driver... :)
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Re: IDE to Compact Flash as MS-DOS boot drive.

Postby Jo22 » 2017-10-12 @ 01:20

^Yup, that pretty much sums it up. DOS is a read-only operating system most of the time.
It won't change any filesystem/partition data unless told to do so. It will boot just fine from a write-protected floppy also.

SmartDrive is about the only exception to this simplicity.
But since it uses the /X parameter by default, it won't cache disk writes in memory.

https://www.computerhope.com/smartdrv.htm
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Re: IDE to Compact Flash as MS-DOS boot drive.

Postby BitWrangler » 2017-10-12 @ 01:30

Jo22 wrote:
Edit: I recommend to run Spur0Kill ("track zero kill") to get away with any spurious MBR and paritition data.
And boot viruses, like LiLo. It was written by German(?) author Dirk Arnold in '93 and works very well under plain DOS.
As far as I know, all access is done solely via the BIOS. This makes it a nice little tool that works with about any int13h device.
It's one of "my" most precious tools I've got. Still useful for modern hardware, too. Why Phil hasn't have it on his page yet is a mystery to me. :neutral:

Anyway, S0KILL is Freeware, so I'll attach it right here for any fellow person which may needs it.
A fan site seems to also available (*link*), so there's a lot of information you can learn from.
Edit: Several edits, description added, typos fixed.


Curious as to what that does, that fdisk /mbr doesn't.
Basement full of ancient PC stuff, starting to go through it. Most recently toyed with DOS era stuff 15 years ago, so memory might be rusty. So what's this BitWrangler guy's deal ??? >>> http://www.vogons.org/viewtopic.php?f=25&t=56382
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Re: IDE to Compact Flash as MS-DOS boot drive.

Postby goldeng » 2017-10-12 @ 09:06

As @Jo22 has mentioned @Ozzuneoj, DOS is a read-only operating system and what I as well like very much about it. Unlike Windows that changes/updates files according to the hardware you're using. In my opinion there's a possibility that there are parameters in your 440BX BIOS that need to be changed in order to 'eat' the CF card and boot normally. You may also want to try to disassemble your CF adapter from the computer that it works on and to assemble it temporarily in your 440BX in order to verify whether the card is tied to a specific CF adapter model or not, which may cause it to not boot correctly on a different system that it wasn't installed on in advanced.

By the way, now that I think of it, you mentioned that you aren't able to boot from the CF card on a 440BX motherboard. Are you by any chance using the same motherboard (Intel SE440BX-2) that I'm having the same issue with?
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Re: IDE to Compact Flash as MS-DOS boot drive.

Postby Jo22 » 2017-10-12 @ 11:45

Curious as to what that does, that fdisk /mbr doesn't.

Well, FDISK /MBR rebuilds the master boot record under certain circumstances.
http://thestarman.pcministry.com/asm/mbr/FDISK.htm

S0Kill on the other hand does display data in track 0, and offers you to wipe it completely for you.
If you decide to do so, O.S. installers will think the HDD is a new, pristine model (please don't bother me with HDDs' SMART feature.. ;-) )
And if you wish, the program will also allow you to wipe the entire disk for you, as well.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Track0
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Re: IDE to Compact Flash as MS-DOS boot drive.

Postby olivil » 2017-10-12 @ 18:01

I recently replaced a 10GB (4 FAT16 partitions) IDE drive with an IDE->CF adapter. I have no other computers with IDE interfaces and wasn't too keen on buying an adapter for that simple job. Also, my floppy drive is dead on my DOS machine so I couldn't boot from it, but I still managed to move everything over without too much trouble.

My machine is a Pentium 200MMX with DOS 6.22. My drive was partitioned as 4 primary partitions formated in FAT16.

You'll need a USB CF reader. I'm running Linux elsewhere so I used Gparted but you can use any partitioning tools I would guess.

1. Using the USB CF reader on my modern PC, I created a partition table of the MBR (msdos) type. I then partitioned/formated the CF card with the same setup as my HDD, that is 4 primary partitions in FAT16, With a partition size of <2048MB. Then I set the boot argument on my first partition. That will be the one with MS-DOS itself.
2. I installed the IDE->CF adapter with the HDD still connected.
3. In my BIOS, I ran the automatic IDE identification thing so it would recognize the drive. It did, using LBA.
4. I booted the PC from the HDD, making sure both the HDD and the CF were recognized (watch out for that LASTDRIVE= in config.sys!)
5. From MS-DOS itself I copied everything over, partition by partition (in my case it was C: to G:, D: to H:, ...)
6. Shut down the PC. You can now disconnect the HDD. From the BIOS, remove the hard drive settings for the old HDD, or run the auto HDD identification again.
7. The PC should now boot from the CF! No boot floppy, no fdisk /mbr, no secondary PC to copy files over. All you need is another PC to format the CF (that could potentialy be done on the DOS PC itself using Partition Magic or else, but in my case I had no way to boot from a floppy. :) )

In the end the process was painless and the CF seems to be running as fast as my old HDD.
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