Posts by mpaitchell

    My drive (with 3 of 4 heads working) had lots of files (probably a thousand) all over the place (I was able to use the DIR command. Unfortunately, the drive is now formatted again (wiped clean) and unfortunately won't boot, so these old files are now gone. I will buy a solid state drive replacement board for this XT. So, the mystery continues about the original driver......But thank's for the good tip!!!

    Thanks for finding out that information about the card! I saw the name TWINHEAD on some of the ROMS, but I could not find any more model numbers, and I never heard of this manufacturer. I have no documentation about anything on this PC. I do remember playing games on it 30 years ago, like Wheel of Fortune, Jeopardy, and some other games that were still on this PC's hard drive, but would not run anymore. One head of the 4 on this hard drive completely failed, so no programs would run anymore and it would not boot. However, all the files were still there, so I did see these and other games on there. There had to be some program that let these games think this was indeed some sort of EGA or CGA card, because I do remember seeing diffrernet gray levels (amber levels) when these games ran. This is a very frustrating problem. I plan to buy a modern replacement hard disk controller with a solid state drive replacement made for XT's soon, so I will at least have my hard drive back, but I need to solve this video problem. Nothing will run except text programs and one game - BLOCKOUT.

    Does anyone have the commands or instructions to be used for the MSHERC program that I think is supposed to let the Hercules graphics card run in CGA or EGA mode? I have this MSHERC program, and when I run it on the XT, it executes, but there is no change at all in the graphics that appear.

    I also have downloaded and run several programs from the internet, but none of them actually work with my existing Taiwanese Hercules graphics card to let any games run in grayscale, or fool the programs into thinking this card is a CGA or EGA card. I have tried SIMCGA from this site:

    and also some emulators from this site:

    but nothing actually works. The emulators above do make some change when I run them, but not a good one. They just appear to change the spacing between line on the monitor, games will not run. I hear the program running in the background (music plays) but no video appears, the graphics card is just locked up.

    This is my computer that I have had for 30 years, and 30 years ago, it did play lots of games in grayscale on the same original amber monochrome monitor as I have now, but when the hard drive malfunctioned, the PC would not boot from it, and no games will run now because whatever drivers existed for this video card are now lost. These games will no longer run. The only game that runs is BLOCKOUT which appear to have all it's own drivers built in and has no shades of gray, so it needs nothing special to run on this video card.

    Can anyone refer me to some simple Monochrome DOS games or programs that will run right off the floppy on a simple PC XT with DOS 3.3 installed? There is a Hercules graphic card Taiwanese copy installed.

    My PC XT has a Hercules Mono graphics card Clone (made in Taiwan, the only identifier on it is a printed "MG 132". Most games I have downloaded on it will not load properly, because I think there is a driver that lets CGA games run on mono (shades of Gray) that is missing.

    The BLOCKOUT game runs properly, because I received it on a floppy, and there is a CGA file of some sort among the program files.

    30 years ago many games would run on here, in mono mode, with shades of gray. So, I know this graphics card will do it, but there were probably settings and other programs installed to let it do this that I no longer remember.

    Until I get a Solid State drive installed, this hard drive will not boot, so adding a config sys file and other stuff is going to be a problem.

    I think I will leave the hard drive alone for a while and see if it runs properly (no corruption of files). I can live with a boot from a floppy. If the drive starts failing, I have big problems anyway. I see there is a company in the USA that make an IDE drive controller board that is supposed to work in the original XT ISA slots. I may have to look into that, because all the RLL drives from 30 years ago will probably be in the same condition as mine.

    After low level formatting the drive twice, and doing an FDISK partition, and then a high level format with /s system installation, twice, unfortunately, the drive will not do a full formatting (it says format failure at the end). However, the drive is accessible as the C drive, and I can write files to it. Only 3 of the 4 heads seem to be working, head 4 never appears during the format cycle. I can live with this, because the XT can be booted from the floppy drive, and then I can read files from the Hard Drive after I write new ones there.

    When I did the high level format, I was asked by DOS if I wanted a Virtual Format, I said Yes, then it asked how many cylinders for the format, I entered 615, but the formatting continued up until cylinder 902, where it finally ended by saying "Format Failure".

    Any comments or advice? I can live with this, but it would be nice to have a drive that would actually boot and run DOS.

    Looks like I will have to do a Low Level Format on this drive. I used the Norton Utilities (running from the floppy drive) to scan the drive, and also install the Norton Utilities on the Hard drive itself. Unfortunately, even reading the newly installed programs is not consistent - the drive still returns a message of "Drive Read Failure, Abort, Fail Retry". This tells me something is really wrong at a very low level, since this was a very freshly written file. Possibly a head not working. I tried to save the data on this drive, but it looks like it will not be recoverable, even with SpinRite (as I have been reading about what it can possibly do - and I appears it will never be able to fully fix the files).

    Any last advice before I try to run the DEBUG low level format routine - with Dynamic Formatting NOT SELECTED (maybe this one will work, since I do not know the parameters that the Dynamic Version is asking for.)

    I tried doing a high level format drive first, just doing the format c:/v/s.

    It started the process, showing heads and cylinders, but it stopped and gave a message about an error then stopped formatting. I think because there is a low level problem with the drive.

    Then I started the LLF process as per your instructions above, but it asked about "Dynamic Format Y/N". I said YES, but then it started asking lots of questions about many parameters. So, I powered down and stopped. Please see the attached photo showing the questions.

    What happens if I say NO to the Dynamic format?

    It looks like a Western Digital. The sticker says: WD1002A-27X,, F300 REV.X0, 10941872

    I remember installing this drive and board over 30 years ago when I bought that XT! I remember using the DEBUG routine at some Hex address to install it and do the original LLF on the drive. I have been reading about this, and I have heard good and bad about doing this LLF again. Some articles say if you do another LLF the drive will never run again - but I don't believe that. Some information says you have to enter the addresses of the bad sectors listed on the sticker of the drive itself (and I do see these bad sectors marked on the label on my drive.)

    I guess I should try the regular format with the /s first to see if that fixes everything and I can boot again?

    The drive is a Seagate ST-238R. I appears to still run after 30 years in storage! Unfortunately, it will not boot and seems to have many read errors now. Data bits must have evaporated - but after 30 years, can you blame them!!??

    I can read the directories on the drive (now that the system can be booted off the A drive) however when I try to run programs, the drive starts to go after the files, but returns the message "Read Error" after the programs will not run. I am able to actually copy some batch files to the floppy A drive, so the hard drive is basically working, but must be filled with corrupted sectors now.

    There is no way to save the drive data now, correct? I cannot just install a new boot track - I must format and then to do the /s to install the system.

    (Its a shame to loose all the good things on the drive - but there is no way to save them now, right?)

    My PC XT is now able to read the DOS 3.3 5-1/4 floppys (THANK YOU STEPHAN) on the 1.2 MB drive, and it runs DOS from the A drive.

    I am able to read the C drive (which is 30 years old) and I can see the file names and directories on it, but it will not boot from this C drive, and it has read errors (as told by DOS) when I try to enter directories and see the contents. (After 30 years, I guess this should be expected!!!)


    1. Should I delete the primary DOS partition, then create a new primary DOS partition, then Format C, to clean up the drive?

    2. How do I Install DOS onto the C Drive after Formatting it? I know you need to transfer the system files on so it is bootable, but I have no instructions.

    Later DOS versions had an install disk or install program built in, but this does not.

    Using the "diskcopy" program, running under DOS on a Win 98 PC with a 1.2 MB 5-1/4" floppy connected, I was able to get the Disk1.img file of DOS to be read and ready to be written, but the error message came back that the same size media was not in the floppy drive. I guess the program wants to see a 360 KB floppy in the drive!!! Has anyone actually written the DOS 3.1 img file back to a 5-1/4" floppy and tried installing it on a real PC XT to see if it actually works? I thought I would be able to find some original DOS 3.1 5-1/4" floppies on ebay and easily reinstall DOS, but I can find none, anywhere!!!

    I would be very grateful, and would be happy to pay for someone's time and postage to make me a set of 5-1/4" floppies with DOS 3.1 on it, or DR DOS 3.1, or 3.3, and mail them to me in the USA so I can get my PC XT going. (I cannot even seem to get a bootable floppy made and accepted by the XT. When I formatted a 5-1/4" floppy with a system track on it from the WIn 98 PC, it was not accepted by the said "invalid operating system or something like that". HELP!:fp:

    Does anyone know the installation procedure to install DOS 3.1 from 5-1/4 floppies to the hard drive of an original PC XT clone? I cannot seem to find the installation procedure anywhere on the internet. The procedure would start with inserting the floppy in the a: drive. Then what happens when the PC recognizes this is the first DOS disk. I see no install procedure on the files of this disk, so there must be some actions that happen automatically and prompt you. I know you have to do an Fdisk first and make the primary DOS partition, then I remember DOS tells you it's going to format the drive, but then how do you get the DOS OS on the drive and all the other files on the DOS floppies on there?