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How to read old HP86 floppy on Windows XP ?

Posted on 2006-11-20
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Last Modified: 2010-05-18
I have this old legacy floppy from HP86 machine. I think it has LIF file formatting. I need to read this under Windows XP. When I am in Windows 98 there is no problem. I can use the tool HPCOPY or LIFUTIL to access the floppy. In Windows XP this is not possible probably because Windows XP (like also WinNT and Win2000) does not allow direct hardware access. The LIF file format can only be accessed through low level hardware routines which Windows XP apparently does not allow. How can I do it in WinXP? Dual boot is not an option. IT department here for some reason will no longer allow dual boot setups. I tried both Virtual PC and VMWare workstation with a FREEDos OS but still floppy is still not readable. I am not sure if Virtual PC or VMWare can bypass WinXP direct access protection by virtualizing it with a driver or Maybe FreeDos is just unable. I also tried Direct I/O without success. This is some tool to provice direct hardware support but I think it only works with things like serial and parallel ports. Haven't found a way to bypass the floppy using Direct I/O. Any other suggestions, solutions?
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Question by:IgnaceLamine
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Expert Comment

by:rindi
ID: 17979555
Why do you need to access it with XP? I was thinking you could try a live Linux Boot CD like knoppix, which supports more filesystems than M$.

http://knoppix.net
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Author Comment

by:IgnaceLamine
ID: 17979645
On our PCs we are not allowed to make boot order changes. BIOS is locked.
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Author Comment

by:IgnaceLamine
ID: 17979670
I have to add that the reading of the floppy is not something that has to be done once. We have to get data from HP86 machine to WinXP machine periodically. Now we do it on a Win98 machine, but that machine has to be removed some day. We need to find a way to make it happen on Windows XP.
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rindi earned 250 total points
ID: 17979716
I don't think this can be done on XP. Since you have a machine for that now, why not get another if the knoppix solution works, and install knoppix or another linux flavour on it? You could probably even use the w98 box you are using now for that!
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Author Comment

by:IgnaceLamine
ID: 17979770
Sorry guys, another OS is not an option for me.
Solution for XP = solution accepted.
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Expert Comment

by:btassure
ID: 17979812
Try running knoppix within a VMware session and accessing it that way.

How is the HP86 drive connected to the host?
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Author Comment

by:IgnaceLamine
ID: 17979856
HP86 drive is completely separate. We use HPCOPY tool to copy some files from Win98 machine to floppy, then we take floppy to the HP86 machine at the production site.

DOS in a VMWare should work also work if knoppix works. Remember I have to read and write files to that disk and that I tuse the program HPCOPY to do that. HPCOPY in a pure DOS environment can access the floppy.
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Expert Comment

by:btassure
ID: 17979950
Have you tried compatibility mode under windows?
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Author Comment

by:IgnaceLamine
ID: 17980042
Yes, I tried compatibility mode. The program HPCOPY can run under WinXP. It's just when I press the key to read the floppy that it fails.
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Expert Comment

by:btassure
ID: 17980063
I'm stuck I'm afraid. Without another PC or some way to get into Win98 on your PC I don't know where else to go. I will think about it anyway though.
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Assisted Solution

by:btassure
btassure earned 250 total points
ID: 17980104
Do you know what the boot order actually is on your PC? Is local HDD the very first boot option? If not it should be possible to use some form of image to get it to boot to DOS or something else. IT support must have a way to get into a different boot without messing around in the BIOS every time.
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Author Comment

by:IgnaceLamine
ID: 17980232
I think it supports booting from some network location.
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Author Comment

by:IgnaceLamine
ID: 17980272
Actually, I am more waiting for someone who knows some dirty hack using some tool to do it in XP.
Finding a way to boot to Linux is not what I had in mind for this topic.
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