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 Post subject: need help with virtual floppy
PostPosted: Wed Jul 14, 2010 5:51 am 
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Hello,

I can't successfully use a virtual floppy under Windows Vista Home Basic x86, even with administrative permissions.

I tried VFD and ImDisk. I tried both, but not simultaneously. I can see the virtual floppy in Windows Explorer. Using Windows Explorer, I can copy files to the virtual floppy.

The problem starts when trying to use some program that needs a floppy to write on. Two examples of those programs are Ontrack Data Advisor and MemScope (floppy version). In the eyes of those programs, the floppy exists, but is not writable, even though I set it as writable in VFD or ImDisk.

MemScope's floppy creator actually uses a Winimage Self Extractor file. Data Advisor uses Ontrack Floppy Creator.

I want to find a virtual floppy program that actually works on Vista, or maybe someone knows how to make VFD or ImDisk to work under Vista, not only using Windows Explorer. Any suggestions?

Thank you in advance.


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 Post subject: Re: need help with virtual floppy
PostPosted: Wed Jul 14, 2010 1:27 pm 
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You can extract the floppy image from the MemScope executable with 7-zip.
For the version I downloaded, the extracted file was:
Code:
Memscope-110.IMA

You can boot this floppy image directly with MEMDISK. You can rename the file if you want (change the extension to .img and gzip it with 7-zip ==> so it looks consistent to other floppy images on UBCD).

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 Post subject: Re: need help with virtual floppy
PostPosted: Thu Jul 15, 2010 2:31 am 
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Thank you for your help. I'm still interested in some virtual floppy program that works under Vista, or how to make VFD or ImDisk to work, besides Windows Explorer. Any suggestions?

Thank you in advance.


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 Post subject: Re: need help with virtual floppy
PostPosted: Tue Aug 03, 2010 9:10 pm 
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http://chitchat.at.infoseek.co.jp/vmware/vfd.html


Does that program do the job? Doesn't require an installer either...you just run the program.

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 Post subject: Re: need help with virtual floppy
PostPosted: Wed Aug 04, 2010 3:00 pm 
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As I said, I tried VFD and ImDisk, not simultaneously.

With both, I can use Windows Explorer to copy files to the virtual floppy, but using a program (for example, Ontrack Advisor floppy creator), that wants to write to the virtual floppy, failed.

Any help is very welcome.


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 Post subject: Re: need help with virtual floppy
PostPosted: Wed Aug 04, 2010 9:55 pm 
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Location: California, USA
ady wrote:
As I said, I tried VFD and ImDisk, not simultaneously.

With both, I can use Windows Explorer to copy files to the virtual floppy, but using a program (for example, Ontrack Advisor floppy creator), that wants to write to the virtual floppy, failed.

Any help is very welcome.


Then its not the VFD program thats the problem. Find another floppy creator program as it seems to not be working that way it should.

Random question, have you tried making a ramdrive and seeing if it would work?

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 Post subject: Re: need help with virtual floppy
PostPosted: Thu Aug 05, 2010 6:24 am 
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First, I'm not sure what do you mean by "find another floppy creator program".

If I had a real floppy installed, the floppy creator would work. I don't choose a floppy creator. If that's the way a programmer wants to distribute its soft, and I want to use it, then I have to create the floppy.

To "find another floppy creator program" sounds like "use UBCD without having to boot anything". Simply put, that's the way the program works.

About trying a ramdisk, using VFD or ImDisk I tried it, but it didn't work either. There are tons of ramdisk software, but I have no idea which one could work as a virtual floppy.

While testing ImDisk, I also followed the directions about starting its service automatically for each boot, and checking that ImDisk device driver (at Windows device manager) was working.

For both VFD and ImDisk, I tried running them as administrator, and also in compatibility mode as XP, 2K and even Windows 98.

Finally, I tried installing Virtualbox, with my vista system as host, and installed XP w/SP3 as guest. In the guest, I used a virtual floppy image (originally created as an empty 1440 floppy in the Vista host, using ImDisk in the host). Then in the Virtualbox XP I ran the Ontrack floppy disk creator and it worked. I saved the floppy image, closed Virtualbox and then re-open the 1440 floppy image created, but this time using ImDisk in the original Vista host. The content of the floppy image was correctly created.

So, to sum up, I had to install Virtualbox and install XP as a guest, create an empty 1440 image, ran the ontrack floppy creator at the guest, save the modified floppy image, and check it at the host system. More than an hour of work for something that, supposedly, a virtual floppy like VFD or ImDisk should be enough to accomplish, and should take about 5 minutes.

Please, don't think "I'm done". I still want to find out what to do to make VFD, ImDisk or any other virtual floppy software to work as it should (not just to copy files with Windows Explorer, but to work as if I had a physical floppy drive).

Does anyone know if I am doing something wrongwith VFD or ImDisk?

Does anyone know any other virtual floppy software that works in Vista?

Does anyone know a ramdisk software that works in Vista as a floppy?

Sorry for the long post, but I wanted to explain exactly what I was doing, so maybe somebody could help.

Really, any help is very welcome. Thank you in advance.


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 Post subject: Re: need help with virtual floppy
PostPosted: Thu Aug 05, 2010 9:18 pm 
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ady wrote:
Finally, I tried installing Virtualbox, with my vista system as host, and installed XP w/SP3 as guest. In the guest, I used a virtual floppy image (originally created as an empty 1440 floppy in the Vista host, using ImDisk in the host). Then in the Virtualbox XP I ran the Ontrack floppy disk creator and it worked. I saved the floppy image, closed Virtualbox and then re-open the 1440 floppy image created, but this time using ImDisk in the original Vista host. The content of the floppy image was correctly created.


So then why don't you try running Ontrack in XP SP3 Compatibility mode? Right click on the programs shortcut, select properties, under the compatibility tab at the top check the box next to "run this program in compatibility mode for" and select XP SP3. click apply then ok, then run the program with admin rights.

It's worth a shot.

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 Post subject: Re: need help with virtual floppy
PostPosted: Fri Aug 06, 2010 7:34 am 
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StopSpazzing wrote:
So then why don't you try running Ontrack in XP SP3 Compatibility mode?

My post was long because I tried to explain everything I already did.
Quote:
For both VFD and ImDisk, I tried running them as administrator, and also in compatibility mode as XP, 2K and even Windows 98.


Any ideas why Virtualbox can successfully reproduce a floppy drive but VFD and ImDisk both failed in the task? If we can find what the problem is, or maybe what I did wrong, I could use VFD or ImDisk instead of the more time-consuming Virtualbox solution.

I'm still hoping to make them work for this task. Any help is welcome.

What about any suggestion about some other virtual floppy or ramdisk software that works on Vista (or DOS) and can emulate a floppy drive?

Thank you in advance.


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 Post subject: Re: need help with virtual floppy
PostPosted: Fri Aug 06, 2010 8:02 am 
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Maybe, your BIOS has a setting that allows disabling the floppy drive.
For example Gparted (a linux program) would hang when the floppy drive is enabled in the BIOS, but no real floppy drive is attached to the system.

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 Post subject: Re: need help with virtual floppy
PostPosted: Fri Aug 06, 2010 5:37 pm 
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When the floppy is enabled in the bios, Vista shows me a floppy (A:) in my computer (it is not physically there). I'm supposed to set the virtual floppy (either in VFD or ImDisk) to use A:, and when I do it, the virtual floppy "replaces" the original A: that "appeared / showed" on boot.

Running those floppy creator programs (like memscope or ontrack advisor, or even old disk managers created by ontrack and licensed to hard drive manufacturers) in this state, just behave as I already described.

Closing the virtual floppy leaves no A: in Windows Explorer until the next boot (this is a known issue, since I read about this in VFD / ImDisk help)

So I'm not sure what to do next. Maybe I should have erased the floppy from device manager before starting ImDisk, but since the behavior was the same as before setting the bios with a floppy, it seems just like "blind-surfing" with no direction. If you have any clue or suggestion about this, I'll be happy to try it.

Since VFD needs no installation, and since Ontrack Advisor (free demo) is still available to download, maybe someone else could try to run the Ontrack Advisor Floppy creator using VFD? This test could help me find if I am the problem, or the virtual floppy, or the floppy creator program, or my Vista system has a particular configuration that prevents this combination from working correctly.

Please keep advising. I really appreciate any help. Thank you in advance.


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 Post subject: Re: need help with virtual floppy
PostPosted: Sat Aug 07, 2010 12:47 am 
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Did you try to disable the floppy in the BIOS?

Ontrack Data Advisor says:
Quote:
Emergency Boot Diskette creator requires Windows® 95, Windows 98, Windows Me, or Windows NT® operating system

So they don't list Windows XP or Vista or 7 as supported by their Boot Diskette creator.

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 Post subject: Re: need help with virtual floppy
PostPosted: Sun Aug 08, 2010 11:13 am 
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That make sense why it wouldn't run in newer OS's. Kinda why I was suggesting getting a new program, as it seems to be too old.

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 Post subject: Re: need help with virtual floppy
PostPosted: Mon Aug 09, 2010 7:32 am 
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Quote:
Did you try to disable the floppy in the BIOS?

I tried both options, Floppy enabled and disabled in the BIOS. Both options give me the same result.

Quote:
That make sense why it wouldn't run in newer OS's. Kinda why I was suggesting getting a new program, as it seems to be too old.


Several/Many programs included in UBCD are really old, with no update at all, for years now. Somebody could still find them useful, and most newer users wouldn't know which tool to use and which one would make more problems than solutions.

Old disk managers floppy creators, licensed by Ontrack to several Hard Disk Manufacturers, work also in Vista when the user has a real physical floppy (A:).

Samsung's Disk Manager Floppy Creator (not floppy image), running it under Vista using compatibility mode to XP or 2K, gives me:

Code:
Diskette write-protect tab must be closed.


That is, using VFD/ImDisk. But when using a real floppy drive, the program will create the floppy.

BTW, to download Samsung's Disk manager Floppy Creator:
http://www.samsung.com/global/business/ ... _disk.html

If those programs weren't running with a real floppy drive, I would agree with you about having to use an older OS's. But they work as described. That's why I would expect them to work with VFD/ImDisk, but all I get is that the floppy tab must be closed.

I appreciate all your tips. If you have the possibility to reproduce the same behavior I have in my system; or even better, to resolve it, I'm grateful.

Thank you in advance.


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 Post subject: Re: need help with virtual floppy
PostPosted: Mon Aug 09, 2010 9:26 am 
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What are the exact steps you take to create a floppy image with VDF (which options did you check/uncheck)?
Make sure that you didn't check "Write Protect". The programs you are trying to use, probably do a write protect check which isn't supported by VDF and/or imdisk.

The creators of the programs should just give the possibility to create the raw floppy image too. It would even be better if you didn't need to "create" it, but that you can just download the raw floppy image (so you don't need a platform specific program to create the image).

For you information:
You can open dm_creator.exe (Samsung's Disk Manager) with Resource Hacker (http://www.angusj.com/resourcehacker/) or another resource editor.

Save the resource file which has a filesize of 1 528 859:
Quote:
Go to: RCData ==> 1531 ==> 0
Action ==> Save Resource as a binary file ...

The saved binary file is the compressed floppy image:
Code:
PKWARE Data Compression Library for Win32
Copyright 1989-1995 PKWARE Inc.  All Rights Reserved.
Patent No. 5,051,745
PKWARE Data Compression Library Reg. U.S. Pat. and Tm. Off.
Version 1.11

I don't know if there exist a program on Windows which supports extracting this format, but on Linux you can decompress it with dynamite:
Code:
$ dynamite dmfloppy.pkware dmfloppy.img

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 Post subject: Re: need help with virtual floppy
PostPosted: Tue Aug 10, 2010 3:50 am 
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Icecube wrote:
What are the exact steps you take to create a floppy image with VDF (which options did you check/uncheck)?

With VFD (properties -> compatibility tab -> as XP, as administrator) -> Driver tab -> Install (windows defender asks for permission to vfd.sys and I accepted) -> Start (manual start) -> Drive1 tab -> Create persistent A: ramdisk 3.5" 1440 (write protect checkbox unchecked ) -> format.

With ImDisk (properties -> compatibility tab -> as XP, as administrator) -> Windows Services (as administrator) -> ImDisk Service properties -> Automatic Startup type -> close and reboot -> Start ImDisk -> create some 1440 ramdisk -> unmount it -> Device Manager -> Show hidden devices -> Non Plug and Play devices -> ImDisk device properties -> Automatic Startup type -> close and reboot -> ImDisk Control panel -> mount new -> Drive letter "A" (without quotes) -> Size of virtual disk 1474560 b -> Floppy device type -> Removable Media checkbox checked -> Read-only media checkbox unchecked -> Format (fat 3.5" 1440)

Whichever virtual floppy I use (VFD or ImDisk, never simultaneously), after creating a formatted A: ramdisk, I run DM_Creator.exe (properties -> compatibility tab -> as XP, as administrator) -> I always get to the message:

Code:
Diskette write-protect tab must be closed.


Quote:
Make sure that you didn't check "Write Protect". The programs you are trying to use, probably do a write protect check which isn't supported by VDF and/or imdisk.


I even tried both ways, writable and read-only, removable media checked and unchecked, ramdisk or 1474560 empty .img.

Quote:
The creators of the programs should just give the possibility to create the raw floppy image too. It would even be better if you didn't need to "create" it, but that you can just download the raw floppy image (so you don't need a platform specific program to create the image).


I agree with you, but I have no influence on this matter. I tried:
creator_program.exe /help
creator_program.exe /?
creator_program.exe -help
creator_program.exe -?

hoping I could find some command-line parameter to create the image, but nothing happened and the program started as usual.

Quote:
For you information:
You can open dm_creator.exe (Samsung's Disk Manager) with Resource Hacker (http://www.angusj.com/resourcehacker/) or another resource editor.

Save the resource file which has a filesize of 1 528 859:
Quote:
Go to: RCData ==> 1531 ==> 0
Action ==> Save Resource as a binary file ...


I tried resourcehacker 3.4 and 3.5.2beta, and also Nirsoft's ResourcesExctract.

Quote:
The saved binary file is the compressed floppy image:
Code:
PKWARE Data Compression Library for Win32
Copyright 1989-1995 PKWARE Inc.  All Rights Reserved.
Patent No. 5,051,745
PKWARE Data Compression Library Reg. U.S. Pat. and Tm. Off.
Version 1.11

I don't know if there exist a program on Windows which supports extracting this format, but on Linux you can decompress it with dynamite:
Code:
$ dynamite dmfloppy.pkware dmfloppy.img


I couldn't find a windows compatible replacement for dynamite. I tried 7-zip, uniextract and IZArc but I couldn't extract it.
I don't understand how this PKware compressed image is bigger than 1474560 bytes.

I looked into http://www.pkware.com, but the only thing I can see about the particular format is some SDK. I'm not a programmer, just a simple user, so I don't know what to do next.

Is there any tool included in ubcd that could expand/extract this PKWARE compressed format? Or any DOS tool that maybe is not included in ubcd?

I am trying to understand about virtual floppy / ramdisk programs, to find out what's wrong, by reading some of the boot-land topics, but being a user, not a programmer, I couldn't follow most of the issues (like, for example, when they talk about NT miniport driver and VFD/ImDisk or something similar). Too technical for me to understand what to do next.

Thank you for your help. I hope you can keep helping me to find out what I am doing wrong using VFD/ImDisk, or to find some other virtual floppy or ramdisk tool to create the floppy images from those Floppy-Creator programs.

Thank you in advance.


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 Post subject: Re: need help with virtual floppy
PostPosted: Tue Aug 10, 2010 8:05 am 
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Can you try to see if the dm_creator.exe can create a floppy image when you install VFD or imdisk in your XP VM (non't attach a floppy drive to your XP VM, jsut to make sure if the dm_creator.exe does even work with VDF/imdisk.

Quote:
Is there any tool included in ubcd that could expand/extract this PKWARE compressed format? Or any DOS tool that maybe is not included in ubcd?

You can try old dos versions of pkzip/pkunzip. I am not sure if they can extract it, but it might be.

Quote:
I don't understand how this PKware compressed image is bigger than 1474560 bytes.

Good call. Compressed archives contain a header which makes the archive bigger than the original file, when the file is not (or almost not compressable). If you where lucky, they just included the raw floppy image, so you could just extract that.
Zipping the extracted file image, makes it at least smaller, so PKware compression size seems not to be very good.

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 Post subject: Re: need help with virtual floppy
PostPosted: Tue Aug 10, 2010 6:44 pm 
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Icecube wrote:
Can you try to see if the dm_creator.exe can create a floppy image when you install VFD or imdisk in your XP VM (non't attach a floppy drive to your XP VM, jsut to make sure if the dm_creator.exe does even work with VDF/imdisk.


Using your suggestion/request, I successfully made these floppy images:

-Based on Ontrack Floppy Creator:
IBM Disk manager 9.57
Ontrack Advisor 5.00 Trial
Ontrack Disk Manager 10.46 (2 floppy disks)
Samsung Disk Manager 10.42
Seagate Disk Manager 9.56a
Seagate Disk Wizard Standard Edition 10.45.06 (2 floppy disks)
Western Digital DataLifeGuard 5.04f

-Based on Winimage Self Extractor
Micro2000 memscope 1.10

-Based on Towodo (formerly rundegren) Floppy Self-Extractor
Seagate Seatools 2.20

There are several points worth mentioning.

-I only tried VFD under the guest OS, not ImDisk.
-VFD was ran as Administrator
-The floppy creator programs were ran as "User", which has administrator privileges (permissions), but not as the "Administrator" user.
-Seagate Seatools 2.20 (based on Towodo Floppy Self-Extractor) also successfully creates the floppy under Vista.
-Under Vista, all Ontrack Floppy Creators stop at the same message "Diskette write-protect tab must be closed", even in compatibility mode (XPwSP2, 2k, NT...).
-Under Vista, Ontrack Floppy Creators work with a real physical floppy, but not with a VFD/ImDisk.

Moreover, under Vista, memscope 1.10 (based on Winimage Self Extractor) stops at the message:
Code:
Windows Error N. 5
Access is denied

and then the following message is displayed:
Code:
Disk error n° 69 on track 0, head 0
Access Is denied

with 3 options in the same dialog:
Code:
Abort, Retry, Ignore


Looking at the content of the virtual floppy after running memscope 1.10 floppy creator, there are several folders written to it, so the error is different from not being able to write to the virtual floppy at all.

So Winimage Self-Extractor (version 8.00) also fails with a virtual floppy (VFD/ImDisk) under Vista.

Additionally, I have 1 Futjitsu Disk Manager 9.52 Floppy Creator (which apparently is NOT based on Ontrack Floppy Creator), which failed under VirtualBox guest OS - XPwSP3 - , but the reason could be something else so I don't worry about this one.


So, in general, VFD running as Administrator under XP with SP3 as the VirtualBox guest OS and Vista as the host OS, worked successfully.


You could assume that now I have some floppy images created successfully, and the issue is resolved. Well, not exactly.

I still want VFD (or ImDisk or some other virtual floppy / ramdisk tool) to work under Vista.
Since ImDisk specifies it works under Vista, I would like to find out what I am doing wrong, or to find out how to make it work successfully.

Just compare time and resources. Using a virtual floppy / ramdisk tool under Vista should take less than 5 minutes and several few MB.

Downloading VirtualBox (about 75 MB download), install it, install XP as guest and configure it (about an hour or more in my particular system, and several GB's of hard disk space), copying the programs to the guest OS, so to finally run VFD and create the floppy images, and then copying the resulting floppy images back to the Vista host OS.

So now I have those floppy images created. If I want to create a new one a year from now (or others I didn't tried in VirtualBox yet), I would have to do the VirtualBox method again, since I don't use it for anything else, and leaving it there just for some future floppy image doesn't seem to be wise. Still, I'll leave VirtualBox installed for now.

So, if you are so kind, please keep advising and helping to make VFD/ImDisk/other virtual floppy tool/other ramdisk tool to work under Vista (besides copying files from Windows Explorer).

Maybe, finding another ramdisk tool capable of 1440K virtual disks and compatible with Vista would be easier, but I don't know any.

Thank you in advance.


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 Post subject: Re: need help with virtual floppy
PostPosted: Wed Aug 11, 2010 12:12 pm 
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I found a compiled dynamite program for you (uses cygwin):
http://pagesperso-orange.fr/jotd/softwa ... unpack.zip

  • Extract /bitmap_bros_pc_unpack/dynamite_dcl_unpacker/src/dynamite.exe
  • Extract /bitmap_bros_pc_unpack/dynamite_dcl_unpacker/src/cygwin1.dll
  • Place them in the same folder

Dynamite official site is http://www.synce.org/
The dynamite source code can be downloaded from (so you eventually can compile it yourself in a cygwin environment):
http://sourceforge.net/projects/synce/files/

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 Post subject: Re: need help with virtual floppy
PostPosted: Wed Aug 11, 2010 1:34 pm 
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Posts: 735
First of all, thank you for your help. I really appreciate it.

I'm sorry my previous post was so long. I just wanted to provide all the info you requested.

As I said before, I'm not a programer, so cygwin, compiling... I think that would be too much to learn for a simple user like me, just to extract only one file. I'm more interested in finding a virtual floppy / ramdisk tool that works under Vista, not so much about one particular file.

Moreover, as you can read in my previous post, I already have that specific floppy image by using your previous suggestion/request (XP in VirtualBox).

I'm reading a lot about ramdisks, and testing some tools under Vista. From what I learned, several ramdisk tools don't work under Vista/Seven, only under 2K/XP.

For example, Dataram and QSoft have tools that work under XP, but not under Vista/Seven. They had to make changes, and then they release new separate tools.

The problem with those ramdisk tools that do work under Vista, is that they do not support a ramdisk as a 1440K virtual floppy.

On the other hand, Gavotte's ramdisk seems to support a ramdisk as a virtual floppy, but it has at least 2 problems. First, creating a ramdisk of 1440K with Gavotte doesn't match a 1474560 bytes fat12 ramdisk. Using Windows Explorer format function I manage to overcome this first problem.

But then Gavotte's ramdisk gets to the same point as VFD/ImDisk:

Code:
Diskette write-protect tab must be closed


So now I'm inclined to think there has to be something to change in ImDisk so to be really compatible with Vista/Seven, while floppy-creator executables based on Ontrack Floppy Creator actually work under Vista when using a real physical floppy.

If you know some other ramdisk tool that works under Vista and supports a ramdisk of 1474560 bytes as A:, please let me know. In the meantime, I'll keep searching for the appropriate tool. Please keep advising.

Thank you in advance.


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