Supporting antique media



Hi,

I have to rescue a photoplot of a board I designed many
years ago off of an oddball machine.

Long story short: (ha!)

The file is on an old (i.e., small) hard drive in a
Compaq Portable 386.

THIS IS AN OLD MACHINE -- *386*, ISA BUS, etc.

THIS IS AN OLD MACHINE.

THIS IS AN OLD MACHINE. ;-)

The drive uses an oddball partition format -- so, even
if I wanted to cannabilize the machine to get the drive
out, it would be some effort to get a new machine to
recognize the partition format (I have no idea what it
is, off hand).

That assumes a modern BIOS can still cope with a 300MB
drive (I think that's what is in there -- that's part of
the problem -- note MB not GB!).

I can't boot the machine because the CMOS battery failed
and the disk type parameter is no longer valid (nor are
any of the other BIOS settings).

Of course, Compaq, in their infinite cleverness, opted to
put the "setup" utility on a *floppy* instead of in ROM.
Of course, I have not *kept* those floppies -- keeping their
*images*, instead.

But, having an image without a drive to write it is about
as useful as !


I found another simialr machine (Portable III) with a 5"
drive. And, with an assortment of antique software and
peripherals, I was able to get the image onto that drive.

But, keeping with their infinite wisdom, Compaq's utility
to *write* that image expects the drive to be 360K -- whereas
it is a 1.2M drive! (gee, guys, why don't you just *warn*
me that the media is "bigger than necessary" and let me write
the image anyway???)

And, I never (historically) have had any luck writing 360K
images onto 1.2M media (when I *had* those drives available)
so I question whether this is even a prudent approach...

I'm currently looking through my goodie box for a DOS tool that
will let me write an image on the Portable III that I can then
move to the Portable 386....

Anyway, the point of this is to solicit suggestions on how
to support antique media and obscure media *formats* on
modern hardware? I.e., even saving drives is no guarantee
that you can *write* them when the time comes... (when I
need to access 8" media, I have to do it via a serial port :< )
.


Quantcast