Hi Pierre :-)

> 1> How can I use my USB flash drives in FDOS?  I checked my CMOS
> settings. 'Legacy USB' support is enabled, but when I tried accessing
> the flash drive in FDOS, it wasn't available.  I'm assuming, once
> working, I would  be able to use it as a floppy?  This would allow me
> to put files on my modern PC.

As somebody already replied, you could make a bootable USB stick
with DOS. Then the BIOS will play the driver for DOS. Note that
you cannot plug the stick in or out after booting in that case.

Sometimes the BIOS even makes USB disks visible as harddisks if
you do NOT boot from them. But you still have to reboot whenever
you plug another stick, I think.

The other option is to use USB drivers for DOS. At the moment,
the Bret Johnson drivers ( http://bretjohnson.us/ ) are a common
choice, as they are free and open.  There are also shareware DOS
drivers, even with USB 3.0 high speed support, by Georg Potthast
( http://www.georgpotthast.de/usb/ ) which only work for a while
after each boot until you register them. Both drivers have the
limitation that not all mainboards / chipsets are supported. You
can also download a number of older, commercial drivers, which
usually came with some hardware but often also work with other.

> 2> I'd also like to be able to burn files to my optical drive as
> opposed to only reading from it. Is there an app to burn files to CD
> from FDOS?  This also would allow me to put files to my modern PC.

Burning files to CD / DVD / BluRay is hard in DOS, because you
need "stronger" drivers for your (e.g. ATAPI or SATA) drive.
Some people have collected commercial drivers which you could
use with DOSCDROAST or similar toolkits, with the same problem
as using old commercial DOS USB disk drivers.

If you find a safe way of using USB sticks, that is probably
the solution with less headache. Memory cards such as SD in
USB readers also count as USB stick in that sense, and might
actually respect the write-protect tab on the card for you.
Built-in card readers may or may not behave as USB readers.

Note that you can even plug CF memory cards to IDE connectors
with simple mechanical adapters. Every operating system and
BIOS should accept them as harddisk replacement that way, of
course again without the ability to plug them in or out while
DOS is running.

Note that speed of all sorts of flash sticks or cards is bad
in typical DOS use, because DOS does not pool writes and does
not usually read-ahead. The latter can be fixed by loading
lbacache with the tickle tool. Or you can load uide which is
a very big cache. Both only work for BIOS supported drives,
they will not notice drives connected with separate drivers.

Neither will pool writes, though. Because flash storage is
often low in "writes per second", you get slow writes with
DOS. Other operating systems do few-but-big writes. If your
disk is SSD, you can forget most of those "but" items, SSD
are flash disks which are very fast even with bad drivers.

Regards, Eric

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