Adapting ASUS Z87 - Plus Motherboard to use a floppy drive

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Jay Freedman
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Re: Adapting ASUS Z87 - Plus Motherboard to use a floppy drive

Post by Jay Freedman »

It's been a few decades since I did anything with MS DOS other than writing a few batch files, so memory has faded a bit.

This article seems to be very thorough: https://www.legroom.net/howto/msdos

If you read through it and notice something you haven't taken care of, it may help you to get a prompt on screen.

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Re: Adapting ASUS Z87 - Plus Motherboard to use a floppy drive

Post by hlewton »

Jay Freedman wrote:
31 Jan 2023, 22:18
It's been a few decades since I did anything with MS DOS other than writing a few batch files, so memory has faded a bit.

This article seems to be very thorough: https://www.legroom.net/howto/msdos

If you read through it and notice something you haven't taken care of, it may help you to get a prompt on screen.
OK, I will read it and thank you very much for the help.
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hlewton

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Re: Adapting ASUS Z87 - Plus Motherboard to use a floppy drive

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Sorry but I need to ask, after reading everything in the article about the DOS installation itself just to the point where DOS is up and running, there is a line that says, "Note: MS-DOS 6.x can only recognize FAT16 partitions, which are limited to 2 GB in size." I do not know about how the "fdisk" command works but I found this, "FDISK 1/PRI:100" which says, "Creates a 100 MB DOS partition on the hard drive." As far as I am concerned, the remainder of the 500 GB drive can be ignored or rendered useless for me to play around with DOS. Would that be a problem or would I have to do something else with the remainder of the disk?
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StuartR
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Re: Adapting ASUS Z87 - Plus Motherboard to use a floppy drive

Post by StuartR »

I am pretty sure you can ignore the rest of the disk
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Re: Adapting ASUS Z87 - Plus Motherboard to use a floppy drive

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StuartR wrote:
01 Feb 2023, 13:51
I am pretty sure you can ignore the rest of the disk
OK, thank you. I'll go try it and see if I can still boot to the MS DOS 6.22 installation disk.
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Re: Adapting ASUS Z87 - Plus Motherboard to use a floppy drive

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Giving up. This is way above my pay grade. I used the fdisk 1/pri:100 command and reinstalled DOS. No screen but black. I reformatted C: drive, ran fdisk 1/pri:100 again, reinstalled DOS again, and still no C: prompt. I have come to the conclusion it just ain't worth the effort to become even more frustrated trying to re-learn Lotus 123 just for the heck of it.

I just don't understand why the C: prompt would not show up. The only thing I can think of is the computer just has too modern of hardware to work with it.
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Re: Adapting ASUS Z87 - Plus Motherboard to use a floppy drive

Post by DaveA »

Are you saying that there is no flashing small bar in the lower left corner?

If so, type any DOS command, such as"Dir" and you shoud see a listing of files.
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Re: Adapting ASUS Z87 - Plus Motherboard to use a floppy drive

Post by hlewton »

DaveA wrote:
01 Feb 2023, 15:43
Are you saying that there is no flashing small bar in the lower left corner?

If so, type any DOS command, such as"Dir" and you shoud see a listing of files.
Yes there is nothing. I thought perhaps that may be the case and I typed dir and nothing appeared. I know that command works because I tried it on the A: that had the DOS installation disk in it before my 3 rd installation of it.

Thanks
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Re: Adapting ASUS Z87 - Plus Motherboard to use a floppy drive

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I also tried CD C:\DOS - still nothing but I am not sure about that command being proper. I think it is but I haven't looked up the DOS commands yet.
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Re: Adapting ASUS Z87 - Plus Motherboard to use a floppy drive

Post by StuartR »

hlewton wrote:
01 Feb 2023, 16:16
I also tried CD C:\DOS - still nothing but I am not sure about that command being proper. I think it is but I haven't looked up the DOS commands yet.
The correct syntax for that would be

Code: Select all

C:
CD \DOS
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Re: Adapting ASUS Z87 - Plus Motherboard to use a floppy drive

Post by hlewton »

StuartR wrote:
01 Feb 2023, 16:20
hlewton wrote:
01 Feb 2023, 16:16
I also tried CD C:\DOS - still nothing but I am not sure about that command being proper. I think it is but I haven't looked up the DOS commands yet.
The correct syntax for that would be

Code: Select all

C:
CD \DOS
OK, thanks. I'll turn it back on and try that.
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hlewton

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Re: Adapting ASUS Z87 - Plus Motherboard to use a floppy drive

Post by hlewton »

No that did not show anything either.

I have a thought. Do you suppose it could be because of the screen resolution and that it is attached to a monitor using an HDMI connection could cause this?

I left the Windows 10 hard drive in the computer. I am thinking that maybe I should fire that back up, hopefully it will load Win 10 with no problems. I could then set the screen resolution at its lowest setting, which is still probably still a lot higher than DOS used but lower than it is set at now.

Any thoughts?
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Re: Adapting ASUS Z87 - Plus Motherboard to use a floppy drive

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I got to thinking that the HDMI connection is probably not the reason for the black screen and lack of the command prompt. So I did a little experimenting and I have no idea what it means.

I booted to the DOS installation disk and paid attention to what drive it said it was in. It did not give a drive letter. I typed C: to change it to C: Drive. Again it did not list a drive letter but I did a DIR and it listed the contents of, I guess, C: Drive. To be sure I changed it to DOS directory using CD \DOS and it said it was in \DOS directory and listed the contents of that directory when I did another DIR.

Like I said, I have no idea what this means other than it did install DOS but it won't tell you what drive it is in. Also, it still will not boot up to a screen that is DOS with a command line.

This is crazy but it makes me wonder if I would be able to start up to a bootable floppy using the external floppy drive, change to C: Drive, and run DOS that way. I think I would need to know the drive letter of that floppy drive to install any program though. I suppose I could keep typing drive letters until that floppy drive was recognized.
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Re: Adapting ASUS Z87 - Plus Motherboard to use a floppy drive

Post by Jay Freedman »

If memory serves, MSDOS always reserved letters A: and B: for floppy drives (B: can't be assigned elsewhere if there's only one floppy drive connected). That's why the first hard drive is C:.

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Re: Adapting ASUS Z87 - Plus Motherboard to use a floppy drive

Post by hlewton »

Jay Freedman wrote:
01 Feb 2023, 22:44
If memory serves, MSDOS always reserved letters A: and B: for floppy drives (B: can't be assigned elsewhere if there's only one floppy drive connected). That's why the first hard drive is C:.
Thank you. I believe I just found out what is going on with my computer. It seems it can run DOS but only if it is booted to a boot disk in A: drive first. I cannot test it right now because I must have ordered a very poor quality external 3 1/2" floppy drive. It broke already. Luckily, I can return it for a full refund and I have a new, hopefully better quality, one on order. I just hope my DOS installation disk #1 was not ruined when this cheap drive tried to access it a few minutes ago.
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Re: Adapting ASUS Z87 - Plus Motherboard to use a floppy drive

Post by PJ_in_FL »

Are you seeing the standard DOS prompt "A:>" when you boot up? If so, then perhaps there's hope!

Can you list the results if, after booting up to MSDOS using the floppy drive, you issue these commands:

Code: Select all

C:
cd \
dir /a 
IIRC you should see a list of all files and directories in the root folder of the C: (hard disk) drive. The "cd \" is to make sure you're in the root directory of the C: drive. The "/a" should instruct the DIR command to show all files regardless of their attributes, like hidden or system, which are usually excluded from directory lists.

If that produces a list of files, look for the very basic start-up files needed:

Code: Select all

command.com
io.sys
msdos.sys 
If not there, that is the cause of the PC not booting up.

If needed, copy those from the A:\ drive to the C:\ drive and directory.

Some editing might be necessary. Anyone remember how EDLIN works? :scratch:
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Re: Adapting ASUS Z87 - Plus Motherboard to use a floppy drive

Post by PJ_in_FL »

Also, did you mention your goal is to run LOTUS 1-2-3?

If so, then we're going to need a bigger ship! I.E. there's a whole lot more that will be needed to get the C: drive configured to actually run LOTUS 1-2-3, like creating an AUTOEXEC.BAT with PATH statements, etc.
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Re: Adapting ASUS Z87 - Plus Motherboard to use a floppy drive

Post by hlewton »

PJ_in_FL wrote:
02 Feb 2023, 20:40
Also, did you mention your goal is to run LOTUS 1-2-3?

If so, then we're going to need a bigger ship! I.E. there's a whole lot more that will be needed to get the C: drive configured to actually run LOTUS 1-2-3, like creating an AUTOEXEC.BAT with PATH statements, etc.
Thanks for the reply.

I was getting the A: drive when booting from the DOS disk #1 installation disk and I could then type C: and reach the hard drive where DOS is installed. I was about to use "sys c: to create a DOS boot disk when my external floppy drive destroyed itself and it did so when that disk #1 was in it. I purchased a new external floppy drive with the hopes the installation disk was not destroyed. It seemed to be booting from it and came up to the screen prompt that said Starting DOS, or something like that. It stopped there so I can no longer get the A: drive prompt.

I looked into creating a MS-DOS boot disk using a program called Rufus. Once running it was supposed to recognize that floppy drive and offer me the choice of how I wanted to format it. It did not find the drive. So now I'm not sure what to do. I may look for another cheap MS-DOS 3 disk installation set again or I may just stop all together.

As far as Lotus 123 is concerned, I know it's been many, many moons ago that I used it but I don't recall needing anything else but the program itself to load and run it once DOS is working properly. Am I forgetting something?
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Re: Adapting ASUS Z87 - Plus Motherboard to use a floppy drive

Post by PJ_in_FL »

You might want to step back and consider installing FreeDOS. If the older PC has a CDROM drive then perhaps a FREEDOS installation LiveCD will get this older hardware up and running.

There's a very active community that supports this free DOS substitute operating system, so getting up and running should be much easier than trying to install an original MS DOS OS from scratch, kind of like letting the baker worry about creating the birthday cake instead of heading to the store for flour, sugar, eggs, etc., assuming anyone can afford eggs these days. :groan:

Once installed, Lotus 1-2-3 should run "out of the box", since the FREEDOS installation will set up the system files, path, etc. that a normal PC installation of DOS would accomplish without all the manual manipulation we've been attempting.

This also bypasses the problem with self-destructing floppy drives. :flee:

P.S. - With great effort I've avoided going down Memory Lane with my own Lotus 1-2-3 experiences, back when I was a real engineer researching and designing servo systems. <sigh>
PJ in (usually sunny) FL

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Re: Adapting ASUS Z87 - Plus Motherboard to use a floppy drive

Post by hlewton »

PJ_in_FL wrote:
03 Feb 2023, 15:11
You might want to step back and consider installing FreeDOS. If the older PC has a CDROM drive then perhaps a FREEDOS installation LiveCD will get this older hardware up and running.

There's a very active community that supports this free DOS substitute operating system, so getting up and running should be much easier than trying to install an original MS DOS OS from scratch, kind of like letting the baker worry about creating the birthday cake instead of heading to the store for flour, sugar, eggs, etc., assuming anyone can afford eggs these days. :groan:

Once installed, Lotus 1-2-3 should run "out of the box", since the FREEDOS installation will set up the system files, path, etc. that a normal PC installation of DOS would accomplish without all the manual manipulation we've been attempting.

This also bypasses the problem with self-destructing floppy drives. :flee:

P.S. - With great effort I've avoided going down Memory Lane with my own Lotus 1-2-3 experiences, back when I was a real engineer researching and designing servo systems. <sigh>
I would love to do this. I have tried to understand exactly what FreeDOS is. First off, I believe it is installed on a Windows computer? I am not wanting DOS to play games. As you know, I want it for Lotus 123 and I have that program on 3 1/2" disks. I also have all my worksheets form Lotus on the same kind of disks. I would need to be able to access that external floppy drive to get Lotus installed and retrieve my worksheets. The computer I am using does not recognize the external floppy drive in Windows File Explorer. So I don't see any way, if FreeDOS is installed on a Windows machine, to access the files I need. But, I just don't really know or understand what FreeDOS is. So here is what I really need to know and would like to ask: If while in FreeDOS, could I access A: by typing that drive and hitting enter? Would FreeDOS give me the capability of reaching A: drive even though Windows File Explorer doesn't recognize it?
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