Reading a doublespace-compressed diskette in Windows XP..

Posted on 2006-05-09
Last Modified: 2008-01-09
13 years ago I compressed a  diskette, using  doublespace under DOS 6.0 and
Windows 3.1.

This is a 3.5"  750k diskette;  Memorex  2S/2D Microdisk, Double Sided 135 TP1,
which was compressed using the DOUBLESPACE compression tool that was a feature
first introduced in that version of MS DOS, and later named  DRVSPACE.

I no longer have any version of MS-DOS available to mount the floppy disk. Currently one file can
be seen on the drive, using the standard file tools; the file is called A:\READTHIS.TXT.

And the precise text of the file is the following:

   "This disk has been compressed by Microsoft DoubleSpace.
    To gain access to the contents of this disk, your computer must be
    running DoubleSpace.

    To make this disk's contents accessible, change to the drive that contains it,
    and then type the following at the command prompt:


     (If this file is located on a drive other than the drive that contains the
      compressed disk, then the disk has already been mounted)."

There is no  DBLSPACE or DRVSPACE  command in Windows XP, so  entering the command
DBLSPACE /MOUNT    in a windows cmd prompt does not have any effect.

I have searched for alternatives, to no avail, so far.

My question is: is there any feasible way, any tool available, or standard command, or other method
under XP which will enable me to read the contents of a drivespace/doublespace compressed disk volume,
without downgrading  to DOS 6.0?

A solution should allow me to extract the files I stored on this compressed diskette to my hard drive,
as easily as possible; Given that I really don't want to buy or install an old Operating System.  

A bootdisk would be acceptable, provided it can safely extract the contents of the diskette to my NTFS
file system,  ext3 filesystem,  OR to a second  1.44 Mb diskette.

I would prefer to have a method of getting data out of the compressed volume from inside Windows.

Question by:Mysidia
    LVL 14

    Expert Comment

    it cannot be done in winxp, but you can download old dos boot floppies that have drvspace or dblspace on them from

    this will allow you to boot to dos from the floppy, mount the compressed floppy and copy the files to an uncompressed disk or to a fat32 partition on your hard drive. OR, you can find a friend's system with an older version of windows and do the task there.
    LVL 23

    Author Comment

    Then which image would allow me to mount a floppy disk, how would I go about using that to extract
    anything  -- seeing as  placing the compressed volume in the drive would require removing the bootdisk
    from the drive.

    I looked at some of the bootdisks on , so far I haven't found one that even includes
    LVL 23

    Author Comment

    The bootdisks seemed to be no good.  I solved the problem: I installed VMware and then  Windows '98
    on a virtual machine, It turns out that '98 included drive space, and I was able to use that to mount the
    disks and dump the files to a shared folder.

    It wasn't pretty, but it worked, and it didn't messing up my system in the process by converting
    anything from NTFS to FAT32.

    Even though it involves a virtual machine, I can read the disks from within XP, without rebooting or
    changing my OS configuration these are the considerations that are most important.

    The only thing that would make me happier, would be to have a more elegant solution, that would allow
    me to access these volumes in XP natively..  That would allow me to read and write files to these
    compressed volumes.


    Accepted Solution

    Closed, 500 points refunded.

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