Making Files Available To DOS 6.22 VM

Discussions about using non Windows and Linux guests such as FreeBSD, DOS, OS/2, OpenBSD, etc.

Making Files Available To DOS 6.22 VM

Postby PJB » 27. Mar 2012, 21:45

Good Day!
I have what might be interpreted as the dumbest question ever asked here! I feel kind of moronic asking, but I'm stumped. I've spent several days trying to figure it out and I am quite certain the answer has been smack dab in front of my face. It appears I have a mental block. I've searched this forum, the manual as well as on line searches for any variation of words to bring up an answer.

So, what's this earth shaking question? How do I get my new MS-DOS 6.22 virtual machine to access files & programs?
In simpler terms- I can get to the "a" prompt & that's all I can do.

I have tried every scenario I can find. I can't get the VM to see ISO images, DMG images, plain files, shared folders, burned cds, not even actual 3 1/2" floppies in a USB floppy drive.

I have the command prompt a: & no others available. I can't seem to make a B:, C: or other drive available.
I even deleted the machine & started over a few times. I tried FreeDOS as well. Crazy, Huh?

To save space, I won't list every method, but the more prominent ones include adding shared folder, adding hard disk controllers, adding USB support.
The closest I came was a very well written & easily understood step-by-step in the How To section suggesting this:
File- Virtual Media Manager- Click "Floppy Images" - CLick "Add But, I don't have "Add" available. The only item that's available is "Refresh". So I refreshed. I moved a test iso image to various places & tried 'refresh' again. I tired with & without the VM running. I tried re-starting the machine between moves of the test image. I also tried using a plain file & a plain folder. No luck.

I am doing this with a MacBook Pro Model 3,1 2.2 gHz Core2Duo. OS X is 10.6.8 The VM is MS-DOS 6.22 I have attached the configuration page for the VM. VirtualBox is Version 4.10 r76795

I'm surprised I don't see it. Between the amazing manual & this forum's mountain of knowledge it is hard to believe I am missing the answer.

I know DOS isn't supported officially, but I'd like to make it 'go'. I've got some cool, old stuff to access.
I sure appreciate your advice & suggestions!
Paul
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Re: Making FIles Available To DOS 6.22 VM

Postby stefan.becker » 27. Mar 2012, 21:52

Two ways: Install a Samba Server on the host or use virtual cd images (mkisofs).
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Re: Making FIles Available To DOS 6.22 VM

Postby michaln » 27. Mar 2012, 23:33

stefan.becker wrote:Two ways: Install a Samba Server

...but don't expect that to do any good without appropriate networking software installed in the guest.

on the host or use virtual cd images (mkisofs).

...but don't expect that do do any good without CD-ROM drivers installed in the guest.
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Re: Making FIles Available To DOS 6.22 VM

Postby mpack » 28. Mar 2012, 12:05

PJB wrote:I have tried every scenario I can find. I can't get the VM to see ISO images, DMG images, plain files, shared folders, burned cds, not even actual 3 1/2" floppies in a USB floppy drive.

ISO images are virtual CDs. DOS predates CDs and can only use them if you install CD drivers. If you check out bootdisk.com I'm sure you'll find something.
DMG images - the guest doesn't know or care what virtual CD image format is used by VBox. The same problem will be had with all.
I'm not sure what you expected to do with "plain files".
VBox Shared folders requires guest additions - don't exist for DOS.
Network shared folders - see discussion in the Howto forum.
USB floppy drive: DOS predates USB by a long long way. USB drivers for DOS are allegedly available if you Google, but I wouldn't bet my house on them working well.

If you had imaged a floppy using the drive and mounted the image in the VM (you may need to add a floppy controller), then that would have worked without additional drivers. In fact that is probably how you would initially get CDROM drivers etc into the VM. Mapping the USB host floppy drive to the guest floppy might also work - I've never tried it tho.
Last edited by mpack on 20. Jan 2016, 11:37, edited 2 times in total.
Reason: Correct link
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Re: Making FIles Available To DOS 6.22 VM

Postby michaln » 28. Mar 2012, 12:14

mpack wrote:Mapping the USB host floppy drive to the guest floppy might also work - I've never tried it tho.

It should work, but based on long personal experience I'd highly discourage using physical floppy media unless absolutely unavoidable. Floppy images are MUCH better (and way faster and more reliable).
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Re: Making FIles Available To DOS 6.22 VM

Postby PJB » 28. Mar 2012, 15:48

Thank you all very much! I appreciate your efforts & good ideas.

I will experiment with the options you all posted & report back which one(s) worked!.
Once I get the VM to 'see' & access any read-write drive other than the existing (apparently read-only) drive "a", I suspect I should be able to access & use my DOS only programs & files.

Another option I'm studying is to use the .hdd DOS image from when I had Parallels Version 3 to create a new VM, then add a second drive for making programs & files available to the VM in DOS.
I saw some information here & in the manual & will give that a try, too. (Unless you folks tell me that's a bad idea!)

Thanks again & I hope to report success very soon!
Paul

PS: In spite of the delays I'm having getting VIrtualBox working the way I want it, I absolutely think it is a far, far better & more user-friendly program than the Parallels I used to use. My XP-Pro rarely crashes and runs a billion times faster than when I used Parallels. The computer runs much cooler, too. Build & configure time for XP with VB was about one hour (if that). In Parallels, it was several hours over several days- Mostly trying to get the VM to communicate with the printer, external drives & network. Also, thanks to this forum, VirtualBox lets me learn as I go- Always welcome to someone like me who was done with school years before personal computers even existed. (When a 4-function calculator cost 4 days' pay.)
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Re: Making FIles Available To DOS 6.22 VM

Postby mpack » 28. Mar 2012, 15:58

If you see an A: prompt then you are booting from a floppy. Assuming you created a virtual hard disk along with the VM - which you hopefully didn't make too big, remembering DOS limitations (mine has a 512MB drive, probably still too big), then what you do next is boot from your DOS setup floppy, run fdisk to partition hard disk 0 (allocate the whole drive to the partition), make that partition the active partition. Next you format the partition using the command "format c: /s". That formats the boot partition with a FAT16 filesystem and installs a boot sector and command.com.

From there you can start building up a config.sys and autoexec.bat with appropriate drivers, e.g. for CDROM. You should also be able to unmount the virtual floppy and boot directly from the virtual C drive.
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Re: Making FIles Available To DOS 6.22 VM

Postby PJB » 28. Mar 2012, 22:50

I like what michain mentioned about images versus physical floppies. I used that drive today for something. I nearly fell asleep while it loaded a 360kb file! (I forgot how noisy they are, too)

Thanks for the idea of using fdisk, mpack. I'll certainly do it. I did make a hard drive of 512 when I built the machine. I just don't see it within DOS.
Your suggestion sounds like it should straighten stuff out very well. Especially the drive letter problem I''m having.
It is getting wacky now... Drive A is a CD/DVD one minute & a Floppy Image the next. It can also be Drive A & Drive B at the same time!

Huh? Really! I wrote details below. I tried to make my explanation clear & short. I don't think that worked-

I was positive I was booting via floppy because of the "a" prompt, just like mpack said. But how?- I had no floppy controller. And, why was it write protected? (Tried to edit in a rem line in autoexec.bat for a test)
I got lost in the other things I was trying to do to get the DOS VM usable & forgot about the Drive "a" mystery until you mentioned it. I still could not figure out how it would boot to "a" if I had no floppy controller.

Here's what I did next: (In Settings)
I un-checked every boot device except for "Floppy" The VM would not boot.
I did the same with only "Hard Disk" available- Same problem
Repeated with only "Network" checked- Same deal
Repeated with only CD/DVD ROM- It booted. (Still write protected, of course- Since it's a ROM device) But, still the prompt was "a" No other drive letters would give me a prompt. (Abort, Retry, Fail? Message)

Next I installed a floppy controller, made a floppy image- via OS X's terminal. I found a nice how-to at http://techatplay.wordpress.com/2011/08 ... e-in-os-x/
It had to be formatted to use in DOS from within DOS. No problem, as I now had a b: drive available.

I formatted it to make it bootable with the /s switch & dragged some files onto it including autoexec.bat and config.sys from the booting disk. I chose to only boot to it by un-checking my other boot options in settings. Guess what? I landed with an "a" prompt, just as it should.
The drive at the "a" prompt was, indeed this image of a floppy disk & not the CD or any other one. (Test Files on it)
Everything's proper now right? Ha!

I asked the computer to go to "b:" Guess what I found? This disk is also drive b: (Working double duty- Both a & b are the same floppy image when I booted with the floppy image.) The files are somehow write protected, too. I didn't check into that yet.

I then booted to the CD/DVD image. I landed at an "a:" prompt, as usual. It was the CD/DVD image. Like usual I went to drive "b:" Drive "b" was the floppy.

Just to confuse matters, I now have a Drive "R". I saw it go by during boot. If I go to "r", it has DOS files. Those files are write protected, too.
But, get this, none of the three disks have the same quantity of data. The floppy image has 1.4mb. The CD/DVD has 1.2mb if I did the math right (from a dir command) and R has 1.35mb with zero free
Zero Free Space makes me think it is the expanding hard disk I made at creation. I thik the proper next step is to follow mpack's advice & fdisk Drive R & make it bootable.

Crazy- But fun.
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Re: Making FIles Available To DOS 6.22 VM

Postby PJB » 29. Mar 2012, 01:28

I got so confused (especially after reading what I just wrote!) that I created a new VM to start over.
It is 32mb RAM, 500mb Hard Disk, 40% CPU use limit.
I used a file called DOS.iso to put the operating system on the new HD during the first start wizard.

Here's where I'm stuck:
The VM will boot only with the CD/DVD iso image. It lands at the "A" prompt. For some reason, I still have the "R" prompt available.
I looked in Virtual Media Manager for what is attached- At HArd Disks I have the newly built drive called "MS_DOS622.vdi" At CD/DVD I have DOS.iso
Nothing else is attached.
I have only an "A" & an "R" available. (I went through the whole alphabet)

I wanted to figure out which one is the new hard drive- A or R I can't figure it out.
A 'dir' request at "A" shows the name is "boot622"
At R, a 'dir' request gives the name of DOS6.22
The HD image shows as having 8kb used. Both A & R have higher numbers & lots of dos files.
I tried the command "format a/s & format r;/s to see if either would go through.
Drive "A" gave a write protect error & Drive "R" said I can not format a network drive.

I tried booting to hard disk- it did not boot, neither did booting to a network drive. Only booting to a cd image works.

I'd like to use fdisk, as mpack suggested, along with format c:/s to be able to use the hard disk image & boot to it.
But... How do I get to the hard disk and which one is it? Did I miss something when I set up the new VM?

Thanks VERY much!
Paul
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Re: Making FIles Available To DOS 6.22 VM

Postby mpack » 29. Mar 2012, 12:12

You can't install DOS from an ISO. As already mentioned, an ISO will appear to the VM as a (virtual) CD drive, which is useless for installing DOS because off the shelf DOS does not have CD support - so it certainly can't install itself from one!

DOS setup disks were floppies. You need the real setup floppies, not... whatever you have now. By "floppies" I am of course referring to floppy images.

Actually you don't need much: all you need is a bootable floppy image (which therefore includes command.com) with fdisk.exe and format.com on it. The first para of my last reply told you what to do with it.
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Re: Making FIles Available To DOS 6.22 VM

Postby Martin » 29. Mar 2012, 15:50

Looks like the "dos.iso" just contains (and boots to) a floppy image.
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Re: Making FIles Available To DOS 6.22 VM

Postby PJB » 29. Mar 2012, 15:57

Thank You Mpack, Michain, Stefan & Martin I guess it took time for my brain to go into MS-DOS mode.
I have the machine up & running well.
Drive A is now the floppy & it is finally Read/Write capable
Drive C is the new, bootable Hard Disk image
Drive R is the CD-ROM image.

I appreciate all of your assistance & the helpful ideas. I also am grateful to all the prior posts that helped others (and now me) along the way. I learned a lot.

I tried to attach a Step-By-Step of how I did this, hoping it would help others along the way. When I clicked "Submit" the computer just hung. I received no error messages. I tried many file formats. If anyone is interested in the file let me know & I can try again. I apologize I couldn't get it to post.
Thanks Again,
Paul
PS: It's off to build WIndows 3.1 (Oh No!)
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Re: Making FIles Available To DOS 6.22 VM

Postby Danny Boy » 19. Jan 2016, 08:30

PJB wrote:Thank You Mpack, Michain, Stefan & Martin I guess it took time for my brain to go into MS-DOS mode.
I have the machine up & running well.
Drive A is now the floppy & it is finally Read/Write capable
Drive C is the new, bootable Hard Disk image
Drive R is the CD-ROM image.

I appreciate all of your assistance & the helpful ideas. I also am grateful to all the prior posts that helped others (and now me) along the way. I learned a lot.

I tried to attach a Step-By-Step of how I did this, hoping it would help others along the way. When I clicked "Submit" the computer just hung. I received no error messages. I tried many file formats. If anyone is interested in the file let me know & I can try again. I apologize I couldn't get it to post.
Thanks Again,
Paul
PS: It's off to build WIndows 3.1 (Oh No!)


PJB - I know this was a long time ago, but this is exactly what I am trying to accomplish now (in 2016). Can you send me some pointers on how to do it? Thanks!
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Re: Making FIles Available To DOS 6.22 VM

Postby PJB » 19. Jan 2016, 23:44

Hi Danny

Below, I'll try to explain how I made the DOS Virtual Machine, with the help of the people who replied to my first post in this thread.
AND:
Also, I will try to attach my Step-By-Step of creating the virtual floppy and attaching it to the DOS virtual machine. There is a very helpful link at the top pointing to an article with better details.
In my attachment, ignore the references to drive names, such as Fallout Shelter. That is a volume on my Mac that I use for experimenting. If I mess it up to the Mushroom Cloud point, I erase it & begin again.
(Hopefully I'll be able to attach my step by step, if not perhaps I can send it to you in a Private Message, if I can figure out how to do PM...)

My instructions are by no means excellent and might actually prove confusing.
You may be better off reading the replies that people were kind enough to post in this thread. Those are what got me through the installation problems. Check the replies from MPACK carefully, as these were ultra helpful to me in understanding what I was doing & why my grand plans didn't work.

This is a brief explanation of how I got a DOS virtual machine up and running:

A) I made a bootable floppy image of DOS 6.22
Note that is it an image, not a physical floppy, per MICHAIN's recommendation.
1) To get the actual DOS onto my 'modern' computer for imaging, I bought an el-cheapo USB floppy disk drive.
I got Samsung & it is pretty much junk (super slow & stops spinning often until given a gentle tap with a brick). But, it cost about $15.00 on line.
2) I made sure to make the image bootable, using normal DOS methods. (Similar to DOS's format a:/s command)
3) I added these files to the new floppy image: format.com, fdisk.exe & mscd.exe
B) I made a new Virtual Box Virtual Machine with 32 Mb RAM, a 500 Mb Hard Disc and 40% CPU usage limit
(For some reason DOS used all of my RAM, even while 'on' but idle, until I limited it.)
C) The Virtual Machine was told to to boot from the virtual floppy image (not the physical floppy drive), per MICHAIN's good recommendation.
D) I followed the instructions MPACK gave in the reply that is 6 entries above your post. This made it so I could boot from the virtual hard drive.
(That virtual hard drive is Drive C on my virtual DOS machine.)
E) It has a virtual CD-ROM drive.
I gave the virtual DOS CD-ROM a drive letter by making this autoexec.bat file: LH mscdex /D:USBCD0001
See below for how to make a virtual CD-ROM image with Mac OS X
E) I made an empty floppy disk image and called it Drive A I use it for Stuff-And-Junk and for moving files in & out of the virtual machine.
(See 'Drive A Usage', below for how I use Drive A)
F) Drive R is the virtual CD-ROM
G) When I turn on the Virtual Machine, it boots from Virtual C, as planned. (Thanks to MPACK's help!)

Drive A Usage:
There is NO USB support in this particular DOS virtual DOS machine (yet- see next section).
Virtual A is, as mentioned, for moving stuff in and out. I am able to get things from the physical floppy to the virtual DOS by moving the files from outside of Virtual Box.
I use simple file copying from within OS X 10.6.8 from the physical USB drive to the virtual Drive A image. (Cheater!) I can also move stuff from my 8088 machine to a physical floppy and then to the virtual DOS machine, via virtual Drive A.

USB and DOS Virtual Machine:
I also have another DOS virtual machine that I titled "DOS with Motto Hariu Experiments". It is for adding a USB connection method for DOS machines.
When working, it will allow one's DOS environment (virtual or 'real') to 'see' USB mass storage devices.
More information is available on line. A quick article is at: http://www.freedos.org/technotes/newsitem/149.html
I actually wrote to Panasonic (the owner of the Motto Hairu drivers) to ask if I may have their permission to use it.
They said I could if I had at least one Panasonic mass storage device connected by USB. I had, at the time, a Panasonic labeled USB CD-R/RW drive, so yay!
I can't remember if I ever got the Motto Hairu driver working properly on the VM or not. My Samsung USB floppy drive isn't working today (where's my hammer?), so I can't test my Virtual Machine with Motto Hariu to let you know the status. (it has been quite a while since I used that virtual Motto Hairu DOS machine.)

Quick Note About Virtual CD ROM Creation:
To make a virtual CD-ROM that the virtual DOS machine can read, I made it in OS X as a 'hybrid' image and changed the extension to ISO (after the image is made by Disk Utility). To change it, simply delete the extension & type in iso. No magic required!

PROBLEM THAT REMAINS-
One lingering problem I have is shutting off the virtual machine. I have to click the X box in the upper left side of the DOS machine's window (not Virtual Box's window), thus doing an improper shut down.
One is given the option to save the machine's state (Phew!).
And, there is always Snapshot- A lifesaver for people like me who experiment and/or mess things up to the point of hearing air raid sirens coming from the computer!

NEXT TRICK-
Now that you have me thinking about DOS, I wonder if I can get my printer to work with that DOS virtual machine?

OTHER CRAZY VIRTUAL MACHINE ATTEMPTS:
I actually was successful in getting Windows 98SE to work fairly well as a virtual machine with Virtual Box. (Ha! Try that Parallels! It never worked with that program)
It has a hard drive (boot drive), a virtual floppy and a virtual CD-ROM. It sees the USB drive, too. It will not print to my networked printer, but will print if I connect via USB.
Windows 98SE as my VM doesn't (yet) have any network support, but someday when I'm bored & adventurous...

I gave up on making a working Windows 3.1 VM, but I don't know how hard I actually tried. I think it was just for fun & learning.

I hope all of my ramblings help you get your DOS virtual machine up and running. Virtual Box is amazing.
If you're still stuck, ask on this forum. These people are very generous with their expertise. (And downright nice about it, too)

Enjoy Today!
Paul

PS: Don't Give Up! The good people here will help you out.
They all know way more about computing & Virtual Box than I ever will (Old Guy plus Computing equals Yikes!
And, for sure, don't give up on Virtual Box for Parallels. It doesn't even come close to Virtual Box for simplicity, reliability, features and help (thanks to the generous people here.)
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Re: Making FIles Available To DOS 6.22 VM

Postby juanmpd » 16. May 2021, 09:27

Alternative way:
- Add CDROM support to MSDOS using a prebuild floppy image with the needed drivers (search for "Floppy image for mouse and CD-ROM support in MS-DOS virtual machines")
- Create a ISO CDROM image with any utility for Windows 10, with the files you need. Tell VirtualBox to make that iso image available to the VM.
- For retrieving files from the MSDOS VM, save them to a floppy image. Then, in Windows 10, uncompress that floppy image with 7zip.
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