I'm working on an old PC XT, just for grins. Though old and slow I find it enjoyable to play with older technology that was around before I got into computers.

The system I'm working with is the (at the time) very popular Leading Edge Model D. I've got an 8088 Mk2, 8087Mk2, and full 640K RAM in the system, along with an 8 bit ISA SCSI card for the 545Mb hard drive and CD-ROM. For floppy access, I have a 3.5"/5.25" "DuoDrive" (has both drives in one 5.25" bay). On the way is an 8 bit NE1000 network adapter too.

Anyways, I've been trying to get FreeDOS installed on one of the 128Mb partitions on the drive. I've also got Minix installed and working, but I really think this thing needs DOS on it too if for nothing else but Zork :)

So, the question I pose to the mailing list is how can this be done using only 720K floppy disks? My drive is 1.44Mb of course, but the BIOS on the XT only understands 720K floppies. I've tried a 16 bit SuperIO card with all but the floppy port disabled, but it didn't work; so I don't think I can in any way gain access to a 1.44Mb drive.

In the process of just trying to make sure FreeDOS would boot, I installed freedos from the cdrom iso into a virtual machine, then made a boot floppy image and wrote it to disk. It does boot and read the hard drive ok, but I have yet to figure out how to make the SCSI CD-ROM work. Is there a generic driver for SCSI cd-rom?

The alternative to all this (which I may end up doing, though it seems like cheating) would be to put a SCSI card in my main PC, and install to the hard drive there, then move the hard drive back to the XT. I'd really like to do it all on the XT though, just for the sake of doing it :)

Thanks for your time reading this, and firing up the way-back machine to think about it :)

- Nick Bright

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