VirtualBox and (not) reading disks and disk images [Solved]

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VirtualBox and (not) reading disks and disk images [Solved]

Postby SilverNexus on Fri Jan 04, 2013 11:55 am

I've found some strange occurrences with VirtualBox trying to read from mounted disks and disk images. It will usually read the disk, but things like CD verification to play games fail with the disk mounted to VirtualBox. This problem also prevented me from installing MS-DOS 5 in a virtual machine from real floppy disks and upgrading a Windows 3.1 virtual machine to Windows 3.11 for Workgroups.
I have no idea if the problem stems from VirtualBox, something in Linux Mint or Ubuntu, or something else entirely. Does anyone know how (or if) this can be fixed?

And no, VMWare is convinced it needs 64-bit extensions to run the 32-bit installer on my computer, so I can't just switch to VMWare like that.

<Using Linux Mint 14.1 MATE Desktop 32-bit on a single-core 2GHz processor with 2GB RAM.>
Last edited by SilverNexus on Sat Jan 05, 2013 7:03 pm, edited 1 time in total.
They say that a three-year old can use Windows 8. I say that's a bit of a regression. When I was three, I could use DOS.

A computer without Windows is like a fish without a bicycle.
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Re: VirtualBox and (not) reading disks and disk images

Postby billmc on Sat Jan 05, 2013 3:09 am

I just installed Mint 14 Cinamon, amd_64; so I don't know if it will act the same as the 32 bit version. I haven't had a 32 bit processor or a floppy drive for a long time. I've never tried using a floppy with VirtualBox.

I'd begin by making sure you are a member of the vboxusers group. Although it shouldn't be necessary, when accesing a raw hard disk, I've sometimes needed to add myself to the disk group as well.

What I've noticed, is that Virtualbox doesn't seem to be able to access the removable media all the time, unless its mounted in Linux first. I have seen Linux mount a CD, then attach the CD drive to Virtualbox, Virtualbox takes over and on the Linux desktop, I no longer see the CD. Disconnect the CD drive from Virtualbox and the CD will reappear on the desktop as Linux mounts it again.

I have never seen any of the *nixes automatically mount a floppy. I've always needed to mount them manually. Try mounting the floppy manually, then see if Virtualbox can find it.

(MS-DOS 5, a good version by the way, you must be as old as I am.)
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Re: VirtualBox and (not) reading disks and disk images

Postby SilverNexus on Sat Jan 05, 2013 2:45 pm

I added myself to the vboxusers group, and tried mounting the floppy disk. It still failed, so I added read priveleges universally to /dev/fd0. It still didn't work. (I tried with the floppy disk mounted and not mounted in the host OS, with the same result).

If it helps any, VirtualBox gives me this error output, saying it could not mount /dev/fd0 (VERR_ACCESS_DENIED):
Code: Select all
Result Code: NS_ERROR_FAILURE (0x80004005)
Component: Console
Interface: IConsole {1968b7d3-e3bf-4ceb-99e0-cb7c913317bb}
Callee: IMachine {5eaa9319-62fc-4b0a-843c-0cb1940f8a91}
They say that a three-year old can use Windows 8. I say that's a bit of a regression. When I was three, I could use DOS.

A computer without Windows is like a fish without a bicycle.
SilverNexus
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Re: VirtualBox and (not) reading disks and disk images

Postby billmc on Sat Jan 05, 2013 4:25 pm

Well, I don't think I'm going to be of much more use to you. What I already described is about the extent of my tricks for Virtualbox. I assume that after adding yourself to those other groups, you logged out and then back in. The new groups won't take affect untill you do so.

Just one other thing I can think of, along the lines of floppies, would be to make an image of them and point your Vbox floppy drive at the image, rather than the real floppy drive. You would use the dd comand to make the image. You wouldn't need the floppy mounted. Probably the easiset way, would be to issue the command from the directory you want the image to reside in. Don't shoot me if I get the command wrong, but I think something to the affect of (without quotes) "dd if=/dev/floppy of=./dos5-disk1.iso" would do it. Naturally you can use any name you want for the "of" output file. make sure you use the device name of your actual floppy drive if it is different than what I've listed here. Once you have the image files created, you could "load" the virtual floppy drive with the images as needed. I haven't experienced any problems when working with images, whereby the actual physical drives can sometimes be diecy.

Good luck.
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Re: VirtualBox and (not) reading disks and disk images

Postby SilverNexus on Sat Jan 05, 2013 7:03 pm

Well, after restarting, I can get VirtualBox to read floppy disks. The error has vanished, as well. However, disk images still don't appear to want to cooperate (unless Windows 3.11 for Workgroups does not have a bootable installer).
I wondered if I should restart, but didn't, for whatever reason; I guess I would have figured that part out by tomorrow either way.

Now I just have to find those MS-DOS 5 disks and set up the virtual machine for that (then I'll have one with Windows 3.1 and one with only DOS :mrgreen: )

Thanks for your help, billmc.
They say that a three-year old can use Windows 8. I say that's a bit of a regression. When I was three, I could use DOS.

A computer without Windows is like a fish without a bicycle.
SilverNexus
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Re: VirtualBox and (not) reading disks and disk images [Solv

Postby billmc on Sat Jan 05, 2013 8:10 pm

Its been a looooooooong time since I worked with Windows 3.1(1). If I remember right, there were something like 23 floppies to install windows, wasn't there? Windows worked like a giant shell program if I remember right. I don't think you could install it directly, I think you needed to install DOS first.

If you don't absolutely need MS-DOS, there is a version out there that you can download, its called FreeDOS. A lot of companies use it, they don't need to pay M$ that way. I know Seagate uses it for their disk utility programs.

After reading your post yesterday, I treid to remember my exposure to DOS. First time I came across it, was in an IBM-XT machine, it had 2 360K floppy drives. I don't know if it was DOS 1 or DOS 2. I had never heard of DOS before and couldn't quit figure out what kind of programming language it was, I gave up. The next version I remember and actually used was DOS 3.2. I really liked the editor program when it came out in DOS 5, made life so much easier.

Aside from an old TI machine (that Bill Cosby used to advertise) my first personal machine was a 486, 33 MHz. It had a 20 MB hard drive and really screamed after I upgraded from 640KB of ram to 1 M of ram. My friends and coworkers were extremely jealous. Somebody said to me "you know, you're not supposed to be going out and getting a machine that's better than the boss's"
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Re: VirtualBox and (not) reading disks and disk images [Solv

Postby SilverNexus on Sun Jan 06, 2013 7:17 pm

Unless I'm missing some disks, I think there are 8 disks for 3.11 for Workgroups.
I have a virtual machine that has Windows 3.1 (I was trying to upgrade it to 3.11 for Workgroups), and wanted to install DOS 5 in a seperate virtual machine both for experience and extra space (I did not make the 3.1 VM, and it has a rather small virtual hard disk).
I have the DOS 5 disks (somewhere), but with VirtualBox actually reading disks, I may be able to install it when I get the chance. I could get FreeDOS and use that in the meantime, though.
The Win3.1 VM has DOS (like any pre-Win95 Windows would need as a seperate install), but I could too easily fill that up with the DOS games I remember both myself and my brothers playing when I was growing up. Thus I wanted an alternate for programs that did not need Windows to run.
I think part of what I wanted was the nostalgia of using floppies and DOS games. It's not like I haven't upgraded my computer to an old AT "clicky" keyboard already (except the down and right arrows are not working right, sadly enough), so nostalgia has me upgrading to older hardware as it is.

billmc wrote:...[the IBM-XT machine] had 2 360K floppy drives.

Aren't those the 5 1/4" floppies?
They say that a three-year old can use Windows 8. I say that's a bit of a regression. When I was three, I could use DOS.

A computer without Windows is like a fish without a bicycle.
SilverNexus
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Posts: 106
Joined: Thu Jan 03, 2013 1:46 pm
Location: Somewhere between reality and my own mind's fantasy.

Re: VirtualBox and (not) reading disks and disk images [Solv

Postby billmc on Sun Jan 06, 2013 10:34 pm

billmc wrote:...[the IBM-XT machine] had 2 360K floppy drives.


Aren't those the 5 1/4" floppies?


Yup.
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