OS/2 on a Dell Dimension 4100 rant

Ok so I was going to do something involving OS/2 and MS-DOS on this p3 I scored recently.  Now of course trying to boot my OS/2 2.0 diskettes just leave me with a black screen of nothingness so a straight install is out.

So I get this crazy idea to backup an OS/2 VM with OS/2 backup, booted off a floppy, and just copy/restore it, right? simple?


So I figure I can make a bootable CD with an OS/2 2.1 boot diskette I found, rawrite that to physical media, and do a restore of a backup.  Well I find out most of my disks are bad, and the OS/2 2.1 boot diskette… freaks with either clock01 or country.sys errors..  ARGH!

So, I go ahead and figure, what the hell, maybe I can backup the OS/2 install from a VM with MS-DOS backup, and restore it on the real pc right? Well testing in a VM reveals massive EA corruption (Extended Attributes..).

Pushing further, I figure I can modify the config.sys to set my shell from pmwin to cmd.exe, and then xcopy c:\os2 into say c:\xxx, then alter the config.sys to point to c:\xxx finally letting me boot OS/2 cmd from the hard disk, and not in the OS/2 directory I could *FINALLY* restore an OS/2 backup and almost get a working system, but for some reason command.com & cmd.exe were omitted from the backup…

So now I’ve fixed that issue, the desktop won’t let me do a shutdown (the option is just GONE!) but CAD works fine.  And now I’m dualbooting from MS-DOS to OS/2.  I’d originally hoped to boot from HPFS but that is out now.  Just be happy it’s booting right?


8 thoughts on “OS/2 on a Dell Dimension 4100 rant

  1. I don’t think a bootable CD with OS/2 2.x floppy images has any chance of working. Once the kernel is initialized and a few drivers are loaded (all using the BIOS), OS/2 switches to the native floppy driver. If there’s no real floppy drive, the boot will fail. The message will be something about missing COUNTRY.SYS.

    • I had hoped the int13 driver could bypass that, but I guess its too smart for its own good….

      So instead I’m resorting to using MS-DOS to restore a partial OS/2 install that used CMD.exe as a shell, dual boot into that, then restore my OS/2 install and reboot into that…

      My Netware 4.11 on OS/2 thing went south real quick.. so I may just install TCP/IP and use it for quake or shove it into the closet and forget about it, I dont know yet…. A citrix multiuser version of OS/2 would be cool, but the odds of scoring that seem pretty slim, but then again that is what I thought about the October 1991 Windows NT pre-release..

  2. The INT13 driver is only intended for hard disks, not floppies. So that won’t do any good. The only really was one floppy hardware interface, unlike the situation with hard disks, so IBM didn’t expect they’d ever need to use the BIOS to access floppies.

    MS-DOS won’t be able to restore EAs, probably doing all kinds of bad things to the desktop. But you may be able to boot OS/2 into command line and then re-restore the backup with EAs or something.

    • thats exactly what happens, OS/2 boots and recovers 5MB worth of junk EA’s I delete them, then restore a real OS/2 on OS/2 backup, and it works 7/8 times…

      It’d be easier to boot from floppy but it’s a major pita when you can’t.

      Oh that reminds me, ages ago there was also HD emulation as part of the CD-ROM boot…. I’ll have to see if that is still possible…..

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.