I finall flashed my XTIDE rev 1, now what?

Fred Cisin cisin at xenosoft.com
Fri Jan 27 20:13:20 CST 2017

On Sat, 28 Jan 2017, Randy Dawson wrote:
> I have a Compact Flash adapter and card, while I wait for the soldering 
> iron to heat up and make the power cable for it, I wanted to ask, what 
> are the next steps?

It is not clear what you are attempting to do.

If you have a drive that looks like an XT drive with controller to the 
computer, and it has not been used before, then
MS-DOS would normally want a low-level-format, which presumably does not 
need to be done in this case, and for which FORMAT.COM is absolutely no 
help, anyway.   Low-level-format was done by IBM's "Advanced Diagnostics", 
or by third party programs, or by doing a jump to code in the ROM of the 

If it doesn't need low-level-format, then the next step is partitioning 
(or do you already have a FAT16 partition on it?), for which you use 
FDISK.  NOT FDISK /MBR.   FDISK when it creates the partition, will create 
the partition table and Master Boot Record in the first sector.

MS-DOS from V2.00 to V3.30 is limited to 32MB.
Compaq MS-DOS 3.31, and any MS-DOS 5.00 and above supports up to 2GB 

FAT16 in NTFS and other systems that support it can go to 4GB.  But, 
MS-DOS uses a SIGNED long 32 bit int, permitting drive sizes from 
-2147483648 to 2147483647.  Yes, there are some parts of MS-DOS that 
support negative file sizes and drive sizes

If it is already low-level-format'ed and partitioned, then FDISK /MBR 
(which was not always documented) will rewrite the partition table and 
Master Boot Record.

THEN you want to FORMAT x: /S   where x: is the drive letter.
/S of FORMAT tells it to also put the 3 OS files on it:
IO.SYS   (hidden file that must be in specific location)
MSDOS.SYS   (hidden file that must be in specific location)
COMMAND.COM  reasonably "normal" file that can be copied with a "normal" 
file copy.

At that point, it should be fully bootable!
Although some hardware might require specific content in root directory 

You should still create a DOS directory, and copy all of the other DOS 
files into there, such as FORMAT.COM, FDISK.COM, DEBUG.COM, etc.
Putting all of those in the root directory will work, but is a bad idea.
In early versions of MS-DOS, just about all of the DOS executable programs 
were .COM    Later, as they started to exceed 54K, they started using 
.EXE, but NAMING them .COM "for compatability".  Now, they are probably 
all .EXE since MICROS~1 can not do a "Hello, World" in less than 64K.

> What is the recommended way to initialize the CF flash and put a system on it?

no idea.  I just laid out the MS-DOS steps to prepare a hard disk.

Find your copies of LINK.EXE and EXE2BIN.EXE , which you will need for 
assembler and compilers.  Originally, they came with MS-DOS.  Then for a 
while MS-DOS said that they came with the compiler, and the compiler said 
that they came with MS-DOS.
The MS-DOS executables (including LINK and EXE2BIN) will balk at running 
on a version of DOS other than what they came with.  For THAT, V5.00 
includes SETVER , which lets MS-DOS lie about its version for such 

> Anything special to do, so that I can use the whole 2GB of the flash?
Need to use DOS V3.31 or above to get past 32MB, other than that, it would 
be a function of the adapter?   and, of course FDISK, . . . 
Prior to V3.31, the work around was to break up a drive into multiple 32MB 

(BTW, MB to FDISK is 2^20 (1048576), NOT the silly numbers used by drive 
peddlers, such as 1000 * 1024.)

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