Tuesday, March 07, 2006

VMWare Floppy Images via Cygwin and WinImage

I needed a break from ASM articles, and I was in the process of installing Turbo C 2.01, Turbo C++ 1.1, and Turbo Pascal 5.5 (all free from the Borland Museum) onto a DOS 6.22 virtual machine under VMWare. The problem I ran into is that I am using an old Toshiba Tecra 8100 laptop, and have misplaced the floppy drive for it (or rather, I just don’t carry it with me). Since this is a stock DOS 6.22 install, I do not have the CDROM drivers installed either, so I needed a quick way to create floppy images to mount from within VMWare. Fortunately, with the help of Cygwin and WinImage, I was able to do this without a problem.

First, I created the 1.44 MB disk images using the DD utility in Cygwin. I didn’t use Winimage for this since I needed this as a DOS based disk image formatted using FAT. To create the image files, I ran the following command:

dd if=/dev/zero of=./tcd1.img bs=1k count=144

The tcd1.img stands for Turbo C Disk 1 just for clarification. I repeat this process 3 times to create 3 floppy disk images. Next, I open the floppy disk images from VMWare so they are visible to DOS. This is necessary since Cygwin does not appear to be able to mount floppy images, nor does it come with the MKDOSFS utility (or else I don't have either option installed, which is possible). I already have DOS started at this time from within VMWare, so to mount the floppy image, I go up to “VM”, “Removable Devices”, “Floppy 1”, and “Edit”. Once the file dialog pops up, I point it to tcd1.img.

Inside of DOS, I simple issue the following command to format the disk:

format a:

I repeat the same process for all 3 floppy disks. Now that these images are formatted, I can open them up with WinImage, copy the files I need, save the image, remount them in VMWare, and install the program. WinImage definitly is a decent tool that makes up for the inability to mount floppy images from Cygwin.

This is great since I can create disk images for my DOS setup and not actually have to carry around floppy disks. WinImage also creates CD-ROM ISO’s, so this might be a useful utility to keep around.

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