Stupid DOS/Windows problem

So I’m trying to work on DOS boot settings on my testbed. It’s running XP professional. I’ve got this boot floppy that I’m tweaking and making changes to, and I’ve got it archived at various stages.

The problem I’m running into is that upon putting the disk into the XP machine, the file attributes on all the root files get changed. Config.sys, for example, only has the Archive attribute set before I put the disk in, but once explorer looks at the disk, it magically is Read Only, Hidden, System! I change the attributes back, quickly eject the floppy, but to no avail - Windows has somehow modified the disk faster than I can eject it.

I fix the problem by going back to the dos machine and performing “sys a:”, but I’m getting tired of having to do that.

What is Windows doing to the DOS disk, and how do I stop it?

Why in Buddha’s name are you booting off a DOS floppy?

This is one of the questions where I start off by asking “what are you trying to do?”.

The answers are the funny part.

And why do you even care about the attributes of config.sys?

I’m setting up a POS terminal. It runs DOS 6.22. I’m booting off the floppy simply to get the proper boot settings worked out, and then the boot floppy’s settings will be copied back to the hard drive.

Anyways, the attributes of config.sys, io.sys, msdos.sys, command.com, drvspace.bin, and autoexec.bat (all of the root files, as mentioned) are my concern because after these attributes are altered (seemingly from simply viewing the files in explorer on the XP machine) the disk no longer is recognized as a valid bootable floppy by the DOS system. I guess I should’ve listed them all before.

I then boot off the DOS system’s hard drive, perform “sys a:” to the defective disk, and reboot.

Suddenly, the disk works again, because “sys a:” has replaced the altered files with the proper bootable ones.

If the floppy is inserted into the XP machine once again and viewed in explorer, voila, we’re back to having an unbootable disk.

Now, if I want to make a clone of the working partition on this DOS machine once it’s finally set up, I’m going to have a problem if I don’t have this attribute-changing problem handled, because I’ll end up fubaring the damn boot drive.

Why not make the floppy write-protected before you put it in for XP to read it?

That works, but only to the extent that it prevents me from making the changes to the floppy that I need to make.

I’m editing things on this floppy. I need to be able to have full read/write access without Windows doing whatever file system permissions fuckery it’s doing.

What happens if you start with a floppy that you format from inside XP to be a bootable disk? Granted, that’s not a DOS 6.22 boot, but aside from command.com and maybe drvspace.bin, the other files should work either way.

Why do you need to put the disk into the XP machine? Can’t you edit the files/settings on the floppy without needing XP?

Why don’t you download Microsoft Virtual PC or VMWare and do all your testing and editing with a floppy image rather than constantly rebooting your PC?

What happens if you start with a floppy that you format from inside XP to be a bootable disk? Granted, that’s not a DOS 6.22 boot, but aside from command.com and maybe drvspace.bin, the other files should work either way.

Why do you need to put the disk into the XP machine? Can’t you edit the files/settings on the floppy without needing XP?

Any floppy that is clean formatted from XP and has the identical files copied to it requires the “sys a:” procedure to properly do its thing on the DOS machine.

I’m working off of XP because that’s what my workbench system is. I’m not working on the actual DOS system because I’m working on some experimental settings and I don’t want to screw up the zeropoint config.

I’ve got half a dozen config files opened at any given time and I’m copying and pasting things between them. I can’t do that on the DOS machine itself, I can’t do that IN DOS period, thus the XP machine.

Why don’t you download Microsoft Virtual PC or VMWare and do all your testing and editing with a floppy image rather than constantly rebooting your PC?

Learning curve. I’m not familiar with either.

I know normally tech procedure is to makes sure there isn’t another method of doing something, but let me lay this out as simply as possible:

I need to put a floppy into a Windows machine and edit files WITHOUT CHANGING THE FILES THAT I DON’T EVEN OPEN. I need that floppy to be bootable when ejected from the XP machine.

I’m this close to cobbling together a Win95 workstation just to end this annoyance, but frankly, I’d love to fucking know why Windows is doing what it’s doing. If it does this for hard drives as well as floppies, then I can’t very well create a backup clone of the DOS station’s hard drive when I’m done for re-imaging purposes, which is another thing I may need to do once I’ve got it configured how I need it.

Define “do its thing”. You can format a floppy clean from XP and check the box so that the format will also make the disk bootable (maybe it’s doing a DOS 6.22 equivalent to ‘sys a:’ but I doubt it). Again, that may not generate a DOS 6.22 boot floppy, but it may generate a bootable floppy that XP doesn’t feel the need to “fix” when you insert it into an XP machine.

I’m working off of XP because that’s what my workbench system is. I’m not working on the actual DOS system because I’m working on some experimental settings and I don’t want to screw up the zeropoint config.

Um, what’s so hard about putting the zeropoint config files into a directory called “backup” or copy them to a seperate floppy?

I’ve got half a dozen config files opened at any given time and I’m copying and pasting things between them. I can’t do that on the DOS machine itself, I can’t do that IN DOS period, thus the XP machine.

You’re mistaken.

http://homepage.sunrise.ch/mysunrise/gdm/edit.htm
ftp://ftp.cs.pdx.edu/pub/elvis/README.html

As just two quick DOS apps that allow you to have multiple files open and to copy/paste between them. I’m certain there are more.

Anyway, you don’t need a seperate XP machine. Why not build a bootable CD-ROM that has a GUI text editor you want on it (Notepad++ on UBCD4Win for example)? That would also have disk cloning tools once you get the DOS drive set up.

Learning curve. I’m not familiar with either.

The learning curve for getting a VM/Virtual HD created and DOS 6.22 installed is not anything approaching steep.

I know normally tech procedure is to makes sure there isn’t another method of doing something, but let me lay this out as simply as possible:

I need to put a floppy into a Windows machine and edit files WITHOUT CHANGING THE FILES THAT I DON’T EVEN OPEN. I need that floppy to be bootable when ejected from the XP machine.

Again, have you tried having XP format the floppy as bootable via Explorer, instead of trying to format a floppy and then being clever and using DOS to make it bootable?

Second, what you’ve laid out is incorrect. You THINK you need to it, but you probably (almost certainly) don’t.

I’m this close to cobbling together a Win95 workstation just to end this annoyance, but frankly, I’d love to fucking know why Windows is doing what it’s doing. If it does this for hard drives as well as floppies, then I can’t very well create a backup clone of the DOS station’s hard drive when I’m done for re-imaging purposes, which is another thing I may need to do once I’ve got it configured how I need it.

My guess is that the differences between DOS 6.22 and XP/DOS are sufficient enough that when you take a floppy and format it with XP and then hit it with the DOS 6.22 sys command, you get a different result than you would from an XP formatted bootable CD.

What filesystem is the XP workbench machine using?

Cobbling together a 95 box is going to take longer than “learning” Virtual PC, and with the latter you end up with some new knowledge that may have value later.

How were you planning to clone/image the drive anyway?

Define “do its thing”.

The floppy needs to boot into a DOS 6.22 environment.

A floppy formatted “bootable” by Windows XP (or 98, for that matter) will not possess a DOS 6.22 environment or DOS 6.22 version files. Executables that are designed for DOS 6.22 may not work on the pseudo-DOS that newer versions of Windows use to create boot floppies.

You’re mistaken.
Sunrise mail | Hilfe
ftp://ftp.cs.pdx.edu/pub/elvis/README.html

Just because I’m configuring a machine with a 90’s era OS doesn’t mean I should be restricted to a 90’s era level of functionality while I’m working on the thing. Those software programs aren’t nearly as efficient as a workstation that lets me have 10 times as much information up on the screen, websites for reference, etc.

What filesystem is the XP workbench machine using?

Cobbling together a 95 box is going to take longer than “learning” Virtual PC, and with the latter you end up with some new knowledge that may have value later.

How were you planning to clone/image the drive anyway?

The XP machine is NTFS. If the file system on the computer’s hard drive has any relevance on how it treats removable storage, I’d love to know how.

Cobbling together a Windows 95 box will take as long as it takes to install Windows 95. On top of that, what I’m trying to do isn’t something that I can accomplish with Virtual PC.

As far as cloning, I was going to do what I always do - Attach the drive to my workbench and use Acronis Trueimage to create a clone of the entire partition.

I appreciate that you are trying to find some hole in what I’m doing that allows for a simple solution, so with all due respect, stop. I’m not asking for some theoretically better way of doing this for a simple reason: You cannot supply one because you don’t have a full understanding about what I’m trying to accomplish, and I am already having a hard time trying to explain the problem that I really don’t feel like getting into my goddamned motivations.

I have the following parameters for a solution:

  1. It cannot involve making any changes to the hard drive of the DOS system until I have a successful replacement configured on the boot floppy.
  2. I cannot work off of the DOS system except to boot off the boot floppy to verify how my it’s liking my changes.
  3. I have to be able to edit the boot floppy on a computer with a proper GUI that lets me have multiple windows and websites open for the ease of working.
  4. I have to be able to change files on this floppy without Windows performing some sort of voodoo fuckery to the segment of the floppy that controls its ability to be recognized as a valid DOS 6.22 boot disk.

There are only 4 files that matter here:
io.sys
msdos.sys
command.com
drvspace.bin

If I take a disk that boot successfully in DOS, put the disk into the windows machine, and view the root, and put it back in the DOS machine, it no longer boots successfully.

I need to change this core behavior of Windows because it is seriously pissing me off. This happens on two different machines running XP, so I know it’s a XP problem and not some weird shit problem with my workstation.

It amuses me how people box themselves into a little corner and then cry and scream for a way out, despite the fact that people try to help them, and then you say that you don’t know anything about VirtualPC, but of course, it can’t work for you.

Get Virtual PC.
Get Winimage.

Stop, step back, install them.

Virtual PC can book off of disk images created by Winimage. You see where this is going?

Besides, you’ve probably got something else goofy that you’re not telling us and don’t know about – some sort of horrible antivirus program that stops disks from booting so as not not to serve as an infection vector, because the things you say about Windows XP have never happened to me despite the fact that I made bootable DOS disks for year with Windows XP.

Sheesh dude, do you work with DeepT?

VirtualPC will do me no good because the DOS machine has network hardware that I somehow doubt VirtualPC can emulate.

There is obviously something wrong with my Windows XP machine, but then that means there is something wrong with ALL my Windows XP machines, because each one performs this black magic on DOS bootable floppies.

And the testbed system that I’m working off of doesn’t have anti-virus software. It’s a pretty clean installation of Windows XP with the requisite disk imaging and diagnostic tools. Resident processes on it are pretty minimal.

VMWare emulates network hardware, so I expect Virtual PC to do the same. Just stop and go try it out now.

Alright, I’ll give Virtual PC a shot. I’d still like to know why Windows is doing this attribute altering shit just from viewing a damn floppy.

Yes, I made this very point in my suggestion. Of course, those executeables may work on that pseudo-DOS, too. You don’t know, because you refuse to try.

The XP machine is NTFS. If the file system on the computer’s hard drive has any relevance on how it treats removable storage, I’d love to know how.

Cobbling together a Windows 95 box will take as long as it takes to install Windows 95. On top of that, what I’m trying to do isn’t something that I can accomplish with Virtual PC.

You know this, yet you’re so unfamiliar with Virtual PC that you refused to consider it. Your giant brain throbs visibly with intimidating power.

I appreciate that you are trying to find some hole in what I’m doing that allows for a simple solution, so with all due respect, stop. I’m not asking for some theoretically better way of doing this for a simple reason: You cannot supply one because you don’t have a full understanding about what I’m trying to accomplish, and I am already having a hard time trying to explain the problem that I really don’t feel like getting into my goddamned motivations.

Then don’t ask for help on a forum with sensible people who will often suggest that if the sidewalk is closed on your usualy route to Starbucks, that you cross the street for a block instead of crying and swearing that you HAVE TO go the way you went yesterday. I don’t need to understand the magical reasons behind pimping out rides to know that using the point of a knife to unscrew a flathead screw is a bad idea and there’s a better way to do it. Shouting “But that’s how I have to do it!” doesn’t make it true, regardless of how many times or how loudly you say it.

There are PLENTY of holes in what you’re doing that allow for simpler solutions. If you want people to stop finding them, STOP RESPONDING. You don’t want to get into your motivations because it might mean learning what you were doing wasn’t the best way to do it, and maybe your brain shouldn’t be throbbing with power as visibly as you thought it was.

I have the following parameters for a solution:

  1. It cannot involve making any changes to the hard drive of the DOS system until I have a successful replacement configured on the boot floppy.
  2. I cannot work off of the DOS system except to boot off the boot floppy to verify how my it’s liking my changes.
  3. I have to be able to edit the boot floppy on a computer with a proper GUI that lets me have multiple windows and websites open for the ease of working.
  4. I have to be able to change files on this floppy without Windows performing some sort of voodoo fuckery to the segment of the floppy that controls its ability to be recognized as a valid DOS 6.22 boot disk.
  1. You’re a dope
  2. With his head buried in the sand
  3. That somehow can’t separate the web searching from the text editing despite having at least two machines
  4. And doesn’t want to consider a bootable CD (which would address all of 3) and possibly 4) if the problem is specific to the XP machine “causing” the problem) or any other possible solution that isn’t properly in awe of your l33t skllz.

[B]

I need to change this core behavior of Windows because it is seriously pissing me off.
[/B]
This happens on two different machines running XP, so I know it’s a XP problem and not some weird shit problem with my workstations.
(fixed)

You might want to use that machine with the web access to visit dictionary.com, since you don’t seem to understand the word “need”.

Have fun with the windmill tilting. I hear it worked out great for Quixote.