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:
I assume you have a set of 3 DOS install disks handy (yeah right!). If not, get them here:
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:
Now you need to add the floppy image to the VM in Settings/Storage:
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.
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.
Now it does after a laptop reboot:
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.
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…
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.:
Z:\> mount p /home/stevee/Downloads/PACMAN
The beauty of this is the sound is configured already and the game just runs – with tab auto complete to PACPC2.EXE!
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.
Now to get the old 5.25" floppies working – looking good so far…lights at boot at least. Quality engineering for sure.