stevepedwards.com/DebianAdmin linux mint IT admin tips info

Creating DOS images for Virtualbox to install DOS for legacy games/education/nostalgia reasons.

Install DOS 6.22 in a Linux Mint Virtual Machine. Why? Youngsters can appreciate how far OS programming and hardware has come in 35 years! Play some old games for a larf etc...

Identify your real IDE/usb floppy drive (/dev/sdc) by hovering the pointer over your File Manager floppy if you have one:

sdc.png

I assume you have a set of 3 DOS install disks handy (yeah right!). If not, get them here:

Dos622.zip

The Disk 1 floppy is bootable so a 1.44MB image of that has to be taken as is from an original disk, using DD, so the image is also bootable for the VM.

The process then requires the input of disks 2 then 3 as part of the primitive install from the same floppy drive, so browsing to mount the next disk image in the same drive is required in Vbox - available via a floppy icon you can right click, then browse to the next image.

If you have an original DOS floppy set you can create a D1 image easy enough;

sudo dd if=/dev/sdc of=Disk1.img count=2880 bs=512

Mount the image and check its contents:

sudo mount -o loop Disk1.img mymount/

stevee@AMDA8 ~/mymount $ ls

ATTRIB.EXE DEFRAG.HL_ FDISK.EXE MSDOS.SYS SCANDISK.INI

AUTOEXEC.BAT DOSSETUP.INI FORMAT.COM NETWORKS.TXT SETUP.EXE

CHKDSK.EXE DRVSPACE.BIN IO.SYS NLSFUNC.EXE SETUP.MSG

COMMAND.COM EDIT.COM ISO.CP_ PACKING.LST SYS.COM

CONFIG.SYS EGA2.CP_ KEYB.COM QBASIC.EXE XCOPY.EX_

COUNTRY.SYS EGA3.CP_ KEYBOARD.SYS README.TXT

COUNTRY.TX_ EGA.CP_ KEYBRD2.SY_ REPLACE.EX_

DEBUG.EXE EMM386.EX_ MEM.EX_ RESTORE.EX_

DEFRAG.EXE EXPAND.EXE MSCDEX.EXE SCANDISK.EXE

Do this for Disks 2 and 3.

Install virtualbox and drivers:

sudo apt-get install linux-headers-generic build-essential dkms

sudo apt-get install virtualbox-dkms

Run Vbox from the Start button, New, and follow the prompts to create a DOS VM and VDI disk using “other” FS type using its defaults; 32M memory and a 500MB hardisk:

VBox.png

 

Now you need to add the floppy image to the VM in Settings/Storage:

sdc.png

Now you can start the VM and the install process. If you lose the mouse to the VM at any point, use RightCtrl to get it back.

DOS1.png

Keys.png

C.png

This is where you rclick the floppy icon and change to Disk2.img
D1.png

Then Disk3.img:

D2.png

Ha! It certainly didn't install in a few seconds on real hardware 20+ years back!

The problem I found here is that the virtual hardisk was not bootable, and the DOS install didn't do this either until I rebooted my laptop and deleted all old Vdisks and started over. Must have been the DKMS driver updates not loaded from above..?

This meant that after the installation, the reboot didn't read the virtual disk and so boot into the DOS environment.

D3.png

Now it does after a laptop reboot:

restart.png

DIR.png

Now you can try your DOS commands, and research loading other drivers for CDROMs, sound functions etc. or play those old DOS games you have on 5 ¼ inch floppy drive your old work mate had lying around in his loft! (Seriously!). I hope to get these going shortly at work.

http://www.dosgamesarchive.com/file/pac-pc-ii/pacpc2/

First you need to get the real externally connected floppy drives, CDROM drives etc. seen by the VM. How? Research…

When I get that far myself – trying with 2 real Epson 5 ¼ inch drives - I'll let you know…stay tuned over the next few days…

SCAN.png
ScanSurf.png

 

The less complex option for games is to install dosbox, download a game like pacman from the link, unzip into a folder, then mount the folder as a dos drive letter in dosbox e.g.:

dosbox.png

 

Z:\> mount p /home/stevee/Downloads/PACMAN

Z:\> p:

P:\> dir

pdir.png

The beauty of this is the sound is configured already and the game just runs - with tab auto complete to PACPC2.EXE!

P:\> p[TAB]

P:\>PACPC2.EXE

 

P2.png

A real old 233MHz tower circa 1998!

It took about 20 mins to format a 30GB drive and install DOS. Plenty of old dos games site still around, and Hirens has lots of old drivers.

http://www.hiren.info/downloads/dos-files

DSC_0016.jpg

Now to get the old 5.25" floppies working - looking good so far...lights at boot at least. Quality engineering for sure.

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