VOGONS


First post, by Shponglefan

User metadata
Rank Member
Rank
Member

Has anyone here built a DOS based system without any external drives? Given the option to use CF cards for such systems, I'm wondering if it's possible to build and use a DOS based system without any reliance on CDs and/or floppy disks.

My YouTube channel (retro game music)

Reply 1 of 14, by red-ray

User metadata
Rank Oldbie
Rank
Oldbie
Shponglefan wrote on 2022-04-05, 12:54:

I'm wondering if it's possible to build and use a DOS based system without any reliance on CDs and/or floppy disks.

Once the system is installed then you don't need the floppy, but suspect it would be much easier to initially setup the system from a floppy.

As I recall I booted from a floppy, created a 2GB FAT16 C: partition, copied DOS onto the C:, removed the floppy drive and then booted DOS from C:

Having done this I installed the SD card into this W10 system, copied the W98SE CD to C:\98SE\, moved the SD card back to the target system and installed W98SE from DOS.

Once W98SE was running I used that to partition the rest of the SD card, put the 2003 CDs into D: and then ran the 2003 setup program from W98SE.

When a SD card if connected via USB this limits the partitioning options as it will be a removable drive, once partitioned and formatted all is OK, but partition and format the partitions on the target system

The main thing to avoid is partitioning/formatting the SD Card using anything later than Windows XP/2003 and to format C: using DOS.

file.php?id=134427

Note on the target system RAA-C is C:, etc..

Attachments

  • Filename
    SD Card.png
    File size
    6.38 KiB
    Downloads
    1 download
    File comment
    SD Card with DOS + W98SE + WFW311 + 2003 Sever
    File license
    Public domain

Reply 2 of 14, by Shponglefan

User metadata
Rank Member
Rank
Member
red-ray wrote on 2022-04-05, 14:57:

The main thing to avoid is partitioning/formatting the SD Card using anything later than Windows XP/2003 and to format C: using DOS.

Are there any issues using partition applications for this purpose though? I was hoping to use AOMEI Partition Assistant (under Win 10) since it does provide a lot of options to define partition types, etc.

My YouTube channel (retro game music)

Reply 3 of 14, by red-ray

User metadata
Rank Oldbie
Rank
Oldbie
Shponglefan wrote on 2022-04-05, 15:12:

Are there any issues using partition applications for this purpose though? I was hoping to use AOMEI Partition Assistant (under Win 10) since it does provide a lot of options to define partition types, etc.

I have no idea as I have never used it. What I did is simple and worked for me, I have done similar on several other systems.

I feel that if you do all the partitioning/formatting on the target system then things will "just work" and it will take the same time as if you did it on W10, probably less as it is likely to take to few attempts to select the correct options.

Reply 4 of 14, by javispedro1

User metadata
Rank Newbie
Rank
Newbie

You can also partition and install DOS on another machine (or a VM/PCem) then copy the image to the CF.
DOS does not really care when moving between different hardware, other than maybe CHS settings. (If the target machine is really old then PCem may be mandatory, to ensure similar CHS when partitioning the disk. )

Reply 6 of 14, by davidrg

User metadata
Rank Member
Rank
Member

Having at least a floppy drive will make getting the OS installed easier but if you're short on them you can always remove it once DOS is installed.

You might also find networking more convenient than shuffling the CF card around whenever you want to put something new on there. With mTCP you can upload files to the DOS machine from your modern PC via FTP and there are a number of solutions for giving you network drives on DOS.

Reply 7 of 14, by Warlord

User metadata
Rank l33t
Rank
l33t

I used DOS VM in vmware before and just mounted virtual disks to install DOS and various games that I downloaded. After I preped a CF with XP I just copied all the files from the VM to the CF and that worked fine. This probably will not work in every scenario but It can work.

Reply 8 of 14, by Shponglefan

User metadata
Rank Member
Rank
Member
red-ray wrote on 2022-04-05, 15:22:

I have no idea as I have never used it. What I did is simple and worked for me, I have done similar on several other systems.

I feel that if you do all the partitioning/formatting on the target system then things will "just work" and it will take the same time as if you did it on W10, probably less as it is likely to take to few attempts to select the correct options.

That's a good point, doing things on the source system is probably the most straightforward approach.

I only mentioned that program since I've used it for setting up partitions for Win 9x and XP systems (mainly for SSDs and partition alignments). Just wondering if anyone had experience using it for CF partitions as well.

My YouTube channel (retro game music)

Reply 9 of 14, by Shponglefan

User metadata
Rank Member
Rank
Member
davidrg wrote on 2022-04-05, 21:34:

Having at least a floppy drive will make getting the OS installed easier but if you're short on them you can always remove it once DOS is installed.

You might also find networking more convenient than shuffling the CF card around whenever you want to put something new on there. With mTCP you can upload files to the DOS machine from your modern PC via FTP and there are a number of solutions for giving you network drives on DOS.

I do have drives, it's just I'm thinking about using a case that has no external drive bays. Setting up DOS I'm not too worried about, moreso about the ongoing usage of the system and whether I'll ultimately miss having a floppy or CD drive.

The point about networking and using that for file transfers is a good one. I do have a central server in my house where I keep a library of DOS programs, so rigging things up to transfer stuff to the DOS machine sounds like a good idea.

My YouTube channel (retro game music)

Reply 10 of 14, by davidrg

User metadata
Rank Member
Rank
Member

The machines I have setup at the moment all have CF cards installed but with the network working I think I've only ever put a CF card in a PC once to transfer files - and that was to get the WFW3.11 and network client installers on to it . Otherwise I've found its easier to just copy everything over the LAN. For the DOS PC I built recently I even installed DOS 6.22 over the network using a special boot disk that connects to the LAN and mounts the three DOS disk images using a floppy drive emulator. That same disk offers to copy the Windows (3.1/WFW31/WFW311) and network client installers over to C drive if it boots and finds DOS is already installed. So I can go from a blank hard disk to on the network with DOS 6.22 and Win 3.11 using a single floppy disk without even getting out of my chair.

I've been tempted to see if taking the next step is at all practical - do away with all local drives (hard disk/CF card included) and just boot and run the entire machine from the LAN. At the moment I don't really have the space to setup another machine to try it out properly though.

Reply 11 of 14, by Jura Tastatura

User metadata
Rank Newbie
Rank
Newbie

I've built my retro DOS PC without any of the mechanical drives and devices except the fans. No floppy, no mechanical hdd, no optical drives: they're all unrealiable by now or will be in the near future.
I am very happy with how it came and only type of device I am missing is some sort of IDE hardware CD/DVD-ROM emulator which could load .iso and .bin/cue images from integrated SD-card reader under DOS. Wish SERDACO could produce something like this. 😁

Reply 12 of 14, by AngryByDefault

User metadata
Rank Newbie
Rank
Newbie

Hi !

davidrg wrote on 2022-04-06, 21:04:

(...)and mounts the three DOS disk images using a floppy drive emulator.

Could you elaborate on what software are you using to mount floppy images as virtual floppy drives? (If I understand correctly)

Jura Tastatura wrote:

(...)only type of device I am missing is some sort of IDE hardware CD/DVD-ROM emulator which could load .iso and .bin/cue images from integrated SD-card reader under DOS.

I've been able to mount .iso files using SHSUCDX under pure DOS, maybe that would be useful for you? ...
Maybe it was only under FreeDOS, so not 100% shure it will work on MS-DOS too. And I haven't tried .bin/.cue files yet.

Regards.

Reply 13 of 14, by davidrg

User metadata
Rank Member
Rank
Member
AngryByDefault wrote on 2022-04-07, 22:38:

Hi !

davidrg wrote on 2022-04-06, 21:04:

(...)and mounts the three DOS disk images using a floppy drive emulator.

Could you elaborate on what software are you using to mount floppy images as virtual floppy drives? (If I understand correctly)

A program called e0x. I don't know what its limitations are but seems to work pretty well for this particular job. I just have the three disk images (disk1.img, disk2.img, disk3.img) in a directory on a mapped network drive and I run:

e0x.com A diskø1.img 0 0 A:\setup.exe

This mounts disk1.img to A drive and runs A:\setup.exe. Pressing F12 switches to the next disk (eg, disk1.img -> disk2.img), and F11 switches to the previous (disk2.img -> disk1.img). When setup exits the image is unmounted and A drive goes back to being a physical disk. The odd character in the e0x parameters (ø) IIRC tells it where the number it can increment/decrement to swap disks starts.

My boot disk (based on NwDsk) has 31 different NIC drivers on it with enough space to add a few more so I should be able to install DOS (and copy over everything else I need to install windows and get on the LAN) on pretty much anything I own using the one floppy disk. At some point I'll probably build similar disks for installing Windows 9x so no CD-ROM is required.

Reply 14 of 14, by Jura Tastatura

User metadata
Rank Newbie
Rank
Newbie
AngryByDefault wrote on 2022-04-07, 22:38:

I've been able to mount .iso files using SHSUCDX under pure DOS, maybe that would be useful for you? ...
Maybe it was only under FreeDOS, so not 100% shure it will work on MS-DOS too. And I haven't tried .bin/.cue files yet.

Not reliable solution, compatibility not the best, can't play audio cd data...
Probably gonna take a bite on this: https://youtu.be/NWBXxO2YHps
That is, unless Serdaco releases something similar in the future. A man can hope. 😁