Peter's z80.eu site blog
Extracting floppy drivers out of Windows 7 (for using them with Windows 10) 
Saturday, August 8, 2015, 11:30 AM
Posted by Administrator
May be some of you still using (USB) floppy drives with Windows 7 ?

You want to upgrade to Windows 10 ?
May be this is interesting for you ...

Two driver files are necessary for it:
\windows\system32\drivers\sfloppy.sys and
\windows\system32\drivers\flpydisk.sys
extracted out of an existing/working Windows 7 installation (may work with Windows 8 also).

Additionally you need the description/installation files located in \windows\inf:
fdc.inf and
flpydisk.inf
(and perhaps also fdc.pnf and flpydisk.pnf).

These .inf files can be used to reinstall the fdc and floppy driver again, e.g. for a Windows 10 installation. At the moment I am not aware of offerings from Microsoft itself regarding the subject "floppy drive support". I've read they said only, go to your drive manufacturers pages and look for drivers.... good luck anyway for it.

Added a bit later: There is also a sample driver for a "super floppy", see https://github.com/Microsoft/Windows-driver-samples/tree/master/storage/sfloppy
To compile the driver, you need the Visual Studio Community 2015 and Windows Driver Kit (WDK) 10, offered at https://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/hardware/dn913721.aspx, also.
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Don't miss "Classic Computing 2015" - THE vintage computer exhibition and festival in Thionville 
Monday, August 3, 2015, 08:02 PM
Posted by Administrator

Don't miss it. You will see a lot of vintage computers and video game consoles from the eighties and beyond, many computer enthusiasts and lover of old but gold home computer equipment, starting with Amstrad, and stopping with Zenith.
Thionville is located in France, but it's really nearby Saarlouis in Germany, so enthusiasts from germany can visit it without conquering long distances too. See related link for more infos.

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Very interesting project - a microbee emulated in (almost) one FPGA 
Monday, June 29, 2015, 09:00 PM
Posted by Administrator
The Microbee was an Australian made Z80 based computer that was able to run CP/M 2.2 and 3.0 - and it even had already some pixel graphics capabilities.

Getting such a computer isn't simple, and I do not live in Australia (btw. wonderful country).
But working with real hardware and not "emulated on PC" is still a great idea.
On fpgabee.toptensoftware.com you will be able to read all about using a FPGA development board or even a selfmade pcb for it.
With it's version 2, even harddisk access and color graphics is implemented.
And it's working with a standard VGA monitor, a PS/2 keyboard and a SD card. That's all.

It looks like this (photo taken from the above mentioned web site):


So just go on and visit the web site above mentioned (or see related link also below).

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Windows 10 - why it can be the wrong update ... 
Tuesday, June 9, 2015, 10:00 PM
Posted by Administrator
Yes, almost every Windows user is talking about Microsoft's "gift" to all humans. Windows 10.
It's totally free for legal Windows 7 and later users, you get a total renewed, modern Windows version. That's not the whole story.

Why it can be the wrong choice:

If you are a vintage computer collector, you will still using floppy drives (even USB driven ones).
This is what you see if you connect a (USB) floppy drive to a Windows 7 computer:

(sorry for the german, but I'm sure you still guess what it means)

And this is what you see if you connect a (USB) floppy drive to a Windows 10 computer:

<nothing>

Also, if you hate Solitaire and other Windows games, Windows 10 is your choice too. Because the games are missing now. But you can get some in their shop.

More sophisticated authentication and encryption methods in Windows 10 needs a TPM 2.0 chip.
Also, in some cases you need a newer UEFI BIOS version, older PCs don't have such a BIOS.

Cloud integration is now omnipresent. You don't have really a choice.
Windows 10 will even force you to use the cloud in some cases.

You hate to have control over your own Windows Update adjustments ? Then Windows 10 is good for you. You will not have the choice, Updates are always forced, not only notified.

You want to look a movie on DVD ? Playback is not anymore integrated in Windows 10. Use third party software or wait for a Windows 10 extension for extra money.

There will be no installation media anymore. You have to download it always. License is tight to a specific hardware. You will not able to install it on other hardware anymore.

And last but not least don't believe Microsoft is not interested in making money. You ever got in touch with micro payment and DLCs ? That's your future.
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Difficult to try "imaging" an old hard disk drive with a 486 PC (on DOS 6.2) 
Thursday, June 4, 2015, 06:00 PM
Posted by Administrator
Many of you will tell me, that "imaging" (or "cloning") a hard disk drive is not really a difficult task. But did you ever tried this running old hardware and just with DOS ?

The first idea was to use Norton Ghost. But that was not really a good idea, because with older Ghost Versions (before 8.0) you cannot compress the target image file. There is a "spanning" option, but I had only a ZIP drive (100MB) with parallel port interface, and for a 420 MB HDD this will be no pleasure. The later, newer Ghost Version 8.0 and above always created an error message with a lot of register and address info, it seems these newer versions are not compatible with my 486 and MS-DOS 6.20.
So I had a long "Google" session until I found "savepart", written by Damien Guibouret - download see "related link" below. This program runs on my 486 and it can create a compressed image file.
So I was quite happy to found it, believe me.
Start screen looks like this:

Choose "save element" to go on imaging your HDD, it's quite self explanated.

Edit later:
Meanwhile I was also able to convert it back to a raw hdd file (with the help of "spartw64.exe", which is savepart for 64bit Windows).
After having it back as a raw image on my modern i7-PC, I created a vdmk file (with raw2vmdk, launch it with "java -jar raw2vmdk.jar raw-image-filename newfile.vdmk").

Now I started VMPLAYER and used the already prepared vdmk file as "hard drive".
The result look like that:


P.S.: raw2vdmk.jar can be downloaded here: http://sourceforge.net/projects/raw2vmdk/
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