Installing DOS from 3.5" Floppies

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Installing DOS from 3.5" Floppies

Postby Tempest » Thu Mar 05, 2015 8:19 am

Ok I've got a bit of an issue. I found the Compaq DOS 3.31 disks I needed, but they're on 3.5" floppies. I do have a backpack 3.5" drive for my PCjr, but I'm not sure if I can install things from it. At the moment I have the autoexec.bat file assign B: to the 3.5" drive and that seems to work for most things (some games seem to think that only A: can be the 3.5" drive). If I were to make a boot disk from my current DOS 3.3 install and have it load the JRConfig drivers and the Backpack driver and then assign the 3.5" drive to either A or B (depending on what the DOS disks expect), do you think it would be possible to install DOS 3.31 from the 3.5" drive? Personally I can't see why this wouldn't work, but I just wanted to check what everyone else thought. I think I'll try and install it on my new 2GB DOM module.

Assuming it would work, what files do I need to do to make a boot disk? Is there a 'make boot disk' command from DOS 3.3?
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Re: Installing DOS from 3.5" Floppies

Postby Brutman » Thu Mar 05, 2015 8:36 am

You need to be booted with the version of DOS that you are going to create a diskette for. Unless you want to try to do some really nasty hand placement of the two hidden files. That is error prone and tedious at best.

An easier alternative is to get disk images of the DOS that you need already created from somebody else. And of course, the longer term solution is to have a mothership/tweener system to do this kind of work for you.
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Re: Installing DOS from 3.5" Floppies

Postby Tempest » Thu Mar 05, 2015 9:25 am

So basically I need one of the following:

1. A DOS 3.31 bootdisk (would 3.3 work? 3.31 is a hack of 3.3)
2. A way to boot from the 3.5" floppy (not likely)
3. DOS 3.31 on 5.25" floppies so I can boot from them (not sure this exists on 5.25" floppies)
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Re: Installing DOS from 3.5" Floppies

Postby Trixter » Thu Mar 05, 2015 10:13 am

Tempest wrote:1. A DOS 3.31 bootdisk (would 3.3 work? 3.31 is a hack of 3.3)


3.3 would not work. 3.31 is not really a hack of 3.3, the numbering is misleading. It adds support for FAT16 and all the tools/utils were adjusted for FAT16 in addition to FAT12; that's a major feature addition, not a hack.

I have images of Compaq DOS 3.31 in 5.25"... in German. So if you don't mind your boot messages in DE then that would work, let me know if you want them.

2. A way to boot from the 3.5" floppy (not likely)


Actually, I thought this was possible -- just hook up the drive and DSDD disks should work. Mike, am I mistaken?
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Re: Installing DOS from 3.5" Floppies

Postby Tempest » Thu Mar 05, 2015 10:59 am

My 3.5" drive is a parallel port backpack drive so it needs a special driver to be loaded before it's usable. So I doubt you can boot from it.

I was going to go for DOS 3.31 for compatibility sake, but if DOS 5 is just as good I might as well go for that (and for EDIT).
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Re: Installing DOS from 3.5" Floppies

Postby jmetal88 » Thu Mar 05, 2015 11:51 pm

Trixter wrote:
Tempest wrote:
2. A way to boot from the 3.5" floppy (not likely)


Actually, I thought this was possible -- just hook up the drive and DSDD disks should work. Mike, am I mistaken?


I remember reading somewhere that, while you can boot off your 3.5" drive, the floppy you put in it has to be formatted as if it were only 360k.

Anyway, I have Compaq DOS 3.31 on my PCjr and I got it done by using a virtual machine. I think it must have been Bochs, because that's the only one I can think of that has flexible enough configuration for this. But I was also using VirtualBox and VMWare Player at the time, so maybe I figured out a way to do it in one of those two and just forgot how since. I installed from 3.5" disk images to the virtual machine hard drive then created new 360k system disk images from there and eventually wrote them to real floppies to boot with.
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