[vcf-midatlantic] MS DOS/Win 95/IDE Help

W2HX w2hx at w2hx.com
Fri Jun 12 21:32:22 EDT 2020

Hi friends,

Sorry for the long email that follows:

I am working with an old military PC model SAIC V2LC. The PC is a 486 and is from around 1992 give or take a couple of years. Probably 1995 latest. The computer has one 3.5" floppy and a removable IDE hard drive in a removable carrier. It also seems to have a SCSI controller, but I would have to see what that is all about as the BIOS does not show anything about that so it may require a driver that I may be unlikely to find.

I am interested in getting this operational again, and I want to use it for RTTY (radio teletype) and will therefore need an audio card for it. But not much else. A few simple programs and that is all I need. I would love to get windows 95 running on this if possible. My understanding is they ran windows 95 originally.

Some picture:

IDE HD and carrier, the hard drive in the carrier is a Conner CFS540A:

The carrier and hard drive were NOT original to this PC. They were obtained a few years after I bought this PC but it is for this style computer and fits fine.
This computer has a nicad battery pack and it can also run on a crap-load of alkaline C-cells. I was able to figure out how to get power to it (28V military standard) and I  was able to power it up and got some information from the bios.


First attempt to boot in with the replacement HD installed I got the following:

I then went into the BIOS and realized that the number of cylinders in BIOS would not allow the 1050 that is called for on the Conner drive itself so I figured I would not be able to boot from this drive. I went on ebay and found someone selling "bootable" 3.5 inch drives and they arrived today.

The computer does boot on the floppy (whoo hoo!) and it boots says "Windows 95" but a dos prompt appears.

The only file on this floppy is command.com nothing else.  However, after booting on this floppy, I attempted a DIR C:\ and received this:

However, attempts to do much else on the C: drive met with Abort, Retry, Fail. After about 10 minutes, I could no longer do a directory on the drive either and is now pretty dead. This is ok, I don't think there was anything of value on it.

So why the email? I am looking for help. First of all, I am thinking I should replace the HD with one of those SD to IDE converters. Does anyone have experience with a particular model that has a decent chance of working with an old 486? I don't need a lot of space, and I realize I am probably limited to this 504 MB maximum partition size. Again, that is likely plenty for me so at first, I wouldn't worry about trying to bust through that with resident programs etc. at this time (maybe later).

With an SD card, I will be able to better transfer programs and files from my other windows machines (win 10) to this one. However, I don't have any way to sysgen (or whatever it was called back then) to create a bootable system.  Second question:

Is anyone out there willing to create for me an SD card (maybe two, one as a backup?) that will boot DOS and has windows 95 on it? I am happy to pay for licenses, hardware, SD card and effort involved to get this going. In the most ideal world, maybe someone with this kind of experience could acquire the SD-IDE adapter, connect to their own 486/win95 and then generate the SD card? Ship the whole mess to me for installation on my end? If not, just a bootable, configured SD card would be hugely helpful. I just figured that I should use the same SD-IDE device as the person who created the SD card to maximize my chances of success.

I haven't played with a 1995 computer since, well, 1995. But my DOS skills (if you can call it that) are sure to come back to me.  I will also mention that some other people have suggested I put a simple linux on it. And I think that will be a phase 2 of this project once I can get win95 working. I haven't done much with unix or derivatives since probably 1993-1994 (SCO iirc) and before that early 1980s.

Last question. I will need an audio card. I believe back then the "sound blaster" was sort of the industry standard. Does anyone know have a known working condition they would like to sell? If not, here is one that would probably work, but would prefer to support the delinquencies of list members:

Any and all help deeply appreciated. Thank you!

73 Eugene W2HX

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