This information is based on http://theinstructionlimit.com/installing-ms-dos-6-22-on-a-486-without-a-floppy-drive-using-a-cf-to-ide-adapter and is more of a note to self. Anyway, as a retrocomputer enthusiast I often find myself in the following situation:
!Make sure to run Virtual Box in administrator mode! Also, the syntax is different in Virtual Box 6 and 7. This guide is based on v. 6.x!
I have a compact flash to IDE adapter with a suitable CF-card. However, I do not have a floppy drive on the retrocomputer that I want to install MS DOS to. Furthermore, I also need to install Ontrack Disk Manager to utilize larger partitions on older computers. The proposed solution is to perform the install by using a Virtual Machine.
- Download MS DOS from https://archive.org/details/002962-MsDos62
- Download Ontrack Disk Manager from https://www.philscomputerlab.com/ontrack-disk-manager.html
- Install Virtual Box on modern Windows PC https://www.virtualbox.org/
- Connect CF card to modern Windows PC
- Remove all partitions from the CF card in Windows Disk Management
- Open a command prompt as administrator
Now, I follow this procedure to install Ontrack Disk Manager and MS DOS 6.22 on the CF-card.
Step 1: Type:
wmic diskdrive list brief
to identify your cf-card’s DeviceID (it should look something like \.\PHYSICALDRIVE1)
Step 2: Change to the VirtualBox directory (usually c:\Program Files\Oracle\VirtualBox). Type the following to create a raw virtual machine (.vmdk) (replace N in \.\PHYSICALDRIVE1 with DeviceID).
vboxmanage internalcommands createrawvmdk -filename CompactFlashCard.vmdk -rawdisk \\.\PhysicalDriveN
Step 3: Start VirtualBox with administrator rights.
Create a DOS virtual machine (other -> DOS), default settings, except for hard disk, where you choose “Use an existing virtual disk file”, where you assign the CompactFlashCard.vmdk-file that you created earlier.
From here, you can add your Ontrack Disk Manager and MS DOS disk images to the floppy drive of the virtual machine, and install MS DOS. Ontrack Disk Manager usually divides your CF-card to partitions of 2 gb each. If Virtualbox has problems accessing your cf-card, open disk management in Windows 10, and remove any volumes associated with the card.
If you want to add additional files (games, drivers etc) to the cf card using your modern PC, you can just unplug and plugin the cf card in Windows and drag n drop software onto it.