Thanks again, Dave!

Dave Dunfield dave04a at
Wed Jan 11 13:27:15 CST 2006

> My feeling on the matter is that when a computer is being used to
> image and/or salvage data off of non-native disks, it is being
> used as a piece of test equipment, not as a general purpose
> computer.

Regarding "not having room for multiple computers" (which I apparently
just deleted)....

Almost all of my machines here have drive carriers in them - this lets me
easily swap the hard drive - so the system can "become" whatever I want
it to at any time. I have winblows drives, Linux drives and DOS drives, and
often several flavors of each for a given machine.

My "ImageDisk" system has a standard 3.5" floppy mounted in the case,
and a cable I made up that gives me a 37-pin 'D' connector on the back
which allows me to connect anything I want as drive B: via a cable (I have
details of constructing this cable set on my web site) - Drive B: is not
even configured in the CMOS, so as far as all of the OS's are concerned,
only the internal 3.5" drive exists. Since ImageDisk doesn't refer to the
CMOS, and talks directly to the drive, it has no trouble with this arrangement.

The cable that plugs in to the 37-pin 'D' connector has a standard 5.25"
drive connector, and I have an adapter which I constructed to allow this
to connect to an 8" drive as well (details on the adapter are also on my
web site). Although I rarely use it, I also have an adapter which lets me
use this cable to connect a second 3.5" drive.

So - if I want this to be a standard Linix or Winblows machine, I just put
in the appropriate drive. When I want to do ImageIng, I stuff in a DOS
drive and connect whatever floppy type I need via the rear connector.
I built a little power-supply that gives me +5, +12 and +24v and the various
power cables, so I literally put the external drive and power supply "bare"
on the desk. (If you don't need to do 8" drives, you could also just bring
out an extension from a drive power cable in the system).

I have a DOS client which allows me to move the images from the DOS
boot to my server, and from there I can put them anywhere. You could
also use a USB key (I got the USB drivers working in DOS - thanks).

If you don't want to use multiple hard-drives, all you need is a very small
DOS partition (or even a DOS boot floppy with the USB or network

If you have only one machine, I HIGHLY recommend the use of drive
carriers to give you completely independant uses for that machine (I
recommend them even if you have multiple machines - I've just counted
12 PC's in this room alone, and 8 of them are outfitted with drive carriers.


dave04a (at)    Dave Dunfield
dunfield (dot)  Firmware development services & tools:
com             Collector of vintage computing equipment:

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