Alan's Blog

"Yeah. I wrote a script that will do that."

Floppy Drive Settings for Virtual PC

Posted on November 16th, 2011

Earlier I wrote about using WinImage to preserve floppy disk data.  In my continuing adventure with Windows 7 x64, I found that DOS programs will not run under x64.  What DOS program do I like to use?  The WordPerfect Editor from the WordPefect Shell.  (Curious?  You can get it here).  Why?  Because it allows you to easily replace formatting codes like TAB and NewLine.  It also permits macros.

I figured I would be able to run the WP Editor from a floppy image.  WinImage works with FileDisk to allow you to mount floppy images so they are available as drive letters within the Windows OS.  So I made the bootable floppy, injected the files I wanted, and went into Virtual PC to map the floppy image to the VM.  What I failed to notice was that Microsoft no longer shows the floppy drive in the Virtual PC UI.  Howerver, a search of the internet found that floppy drive assignments were still available programatically with Virtual PC.

Being a scripting guy, I decided to write a script that sets and clears floppy drive settings.  The result is SetVPCFloppy.vbs.  Some odd things about this script.  First, do not run it as an administrator.  If you do, the activex control throws a permission denied error.  Instead, run it with the permissions of the owner of the virtual machines.  Also remember that you will need to change the boot order in the virtual BIOS if you want to boot from the floppy.  Use the DELete key to enter BIOS setup.

Unfortunately, I discovered after all this work that the DOS virtual machines do not have the Virtual Machine extensions available.  I found some instructions as to how to do this, but the extension failed to work on my system.  When the Virtual Machine Folder Sharing begins to load I get “Folder Sharing is not supported on this host”.  As a result, I am unable to cut and paste into the DOS window and cannot share data.  A disappointing result.  If you have been able to get the extensions working, please share your experience.

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