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Thread: PSA: Norton Ghost 6.0 (DOS disk w/ net) runs on a 386DX+387 with 8MB RAM - images MFM

  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2017
    San Jose, CA USA

    Thumbs up PSA: Norton Ghost 6.0 (DOS disk w/ net) runs on a 386DX+387 with 8MB RAM - images MFM

    Fun little task today. A friend had a clone Compaq Portable machine with a NEC V20 CPU + 8087 coprocessor, a bunch of RAM, and... a 20MB MFM hard drive (Teac SD-520-U). That was (mechanically) frozen. The system had a dual-boot with CP/M and DOS, and some interesting engineering/CAD software on it.

    My task: preserve it. I figured I'd try and make a DOSbox out of it.

    The hard drive was easy enough to recover. Warmed it up a bit in a toaster oven (preheated to about 125F) for about 10 minutes, then the motor - visible and accessible under the PCB without taking the cover off (!!!) - was able to be freed up by gently rocking it back and forth. Once it was free, the drive initialized just fine.

    I already had a 386DX system set up on my bench, that I'd been playing with (and which led me to this new project). I adapted it to work with this thing, by putting its HDD controller in there, and setting my multi I/O card's IDE controller to "disabled". The 20 MB HDD's controller had its own "option ROM" that auto-detected and initialized the drive, so I didn't even need to do anything to get it recognized. I set up a bootable disk with Ghost 2003, and tried booting it. It booted, but it threw an error, "SIGILL", "Invalid Opcode", which... means... it won't run on a 386, even with 387 coprocessor.

    I tried looking for other utilities that could do such a "1:1" clone, spanned across multiple floppies, but I couldn't find any. So, I dug deeper...

    Turns out, Ghost 6.0 works fine with the 386, and was able to read the drive, its two partitions (one unreadable in DOS, but Ghost understood it), and copy the entire hard drive to a Ghost image across multiple floppies. (I used an XP virtual machine to install Ghost 6 and create the floppies with a USB floppy drive attached "natively" using USB-passthru, using VMware Player and plugging the floppy drive in with the VM booted and "on top", which connects the USB device "directly" to the VM)

    2018-10-07 18_56_19-Window.jpg2018-10-07 18_55_52-Window.jpg

    The entire 20MB drive's data fit across just TWO 1.44mb floppies, compressed on "high" by Ghost. And now I have a permanent backup of this interesting data
    Attached Images Attached Images

  2. #2


    I used PowerQuest Drive Image to do something similar. PQDI is the predecessor of Ghost. I used an external SCSI drive to save the images onto. Long thread here.

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