usually my Pi 400 recognizes any USB-Stick, regardless of its size oder
fileformat. This is when I use Raspberry Pi OS.
DOSBIAN is a distribution that boots directly to DOSBOX and looks like a
1989 PC what I like.
But this distribution seems not able to recognize my USB-Sticks. I can
not see anything under /media/usb although the stick contains at least
20 files. All I see is /dev/disks/by-label/@MSDOS (The name of the stick
Does anybody know how I can enable any distribution to recognize
USB-Sticks after sticking it in the 400?
DOSBOX is an emulator that runs on top of (in this instance) Linux.
Therefore it's the Linux USB stack that's in play here - the emulated DOS
system doesn't know anything about USB.
Most emulators like this can patch through host devices - either as a
directory of files (allowing DOS to read, for example, ext4 filesystems that
it can't natively) or as a raw block device (for example, for images of DOS
Something is going wrong in the way that DOSBOX is detecting the host's
filesystems, which might be originally derived from USB, but USB is not
something DOS has anything to do with.
From what it says on the DOSBOX website, I'd expect to MOUNT USB memory
devices after plugging them in: the manual says thats how you assign a
drive letter to any storage you want DOSBOX to use as a drive. You can
also add that to the DOSBOX configuration. So:
- did you RTFM (Read The Fine Manual)?
- did you use the DOSBOX 'MOUNT' command after plugging the USB stick in?
You are, after all, trying to use something that emulates MS-DOS from
back before it grew a Windows graphical front-end, so you should expect
to use it like you would have done back in the day. The MOUNT command is
the equivalent of sticking a floppy into the floppy disk drive. Remember
that drive letters were hard wired to disk partitions and floppy drives
back then: Linux has no drive letters, so you have to use MOUNT to assign
them to storage devices.
Long story short: you have to configure the Linux side of your DOSBIAN
distribution to automount the USB media. /Then/ you can issue DOSBOX
"MOUNT" commands to "mount" the linux mountpoint directory as a DOS
As I understand it, nobody wants to emulate modern hardware but rather
emulate obsolete and unobtainable hardware on whatever the system offers
now. For many things USB has become the only way to access them
nowadays. Floppy drives, printers and modems come to mind, but there's
/ \ Mail | -- No unannounced, large, binary attachments, please! --
The good news is that you can still buy 3.5" floppy drives in nice
slimline plastic cases - from Amazon, so not hard to find. The bad news
is that they connect via USB, not a 34 wire ribbon.
Older disk formats, take a look at the GoTek floppy emulator. These are
popular with the vintage computer crowd because they connect via a 34
wire ribbon cable and all the old floppy interface chips will talk to
them. They access floppy disk images stored on SD cards and can be
configured to read and write almost any disk image you can imagine (8",
5.25", 3.5", single or double sided - for CP/M, MSDOS, Flex, OS-9,...).
About twice the price of a USB-connected 3.5" floppy
Why is it bad news that a modern 3.5" diskette drive connects by USB -
unless you are planning to boot from it (*), all that matters is that the
drive appears as a drive letter (eg A:) to Windows and hence a diskette in
the drive can be read / written to. Likewise for other legacy drives such as
5.25" or 8" floppy, or Zip drive. I've seen three different connections for
Zip drives over the years: parallel, IDE and USB. (**)
Having a floppy drive that connects by USB means that it can be connected to
a modern PC, since most/all recent PCs don't have a 34-wire floppy interface
on the motherboard.
(*) And if a PC's BIOS allows it to boot from a USB CD/DVD drive, then
presumably it will boot from USB diskette drive.
(**) It wasn't until I got a parallel-connect Zip drive that I discovered
that a PC's parallel port was even capable of reading as well as writing:
I'd thought the only inputs to the PC were for flow-control. I later got an
analogue-digitising box. This was used for editing camcorder footage to a
VHS recorder: it grabbed a low-res preview video by parallel that was used
for deciding on edit points, after which the required portions of the
full-res video were copied by composite video from camcorder to VHS. It
worked well as long as the segments to be copied were sufficiently close
together that the camcorder could wind between one and the next within the
time that a VHS recorder would stay in pause mode before it aborted to
prevent tape wear. And of course you got VHS-editing coloured stripes at
edit points. Definitely 1990s technology!
USB floppy drives can't read some disc formats. Floppy is a physical layer
protocol - the controller drives the motors, sensors and raw data stream
directly. USB floppy drives are block devices that are set up to read PC
floppies and PC floppies alone, hardcoding those decisions in the drive
Some vintage computers did things differently to DOS and their floppies
can't be read. Some formats (like Atari ST) are close enough to DOS that
they work, but others don't.
The GoTek style interfaces expose all the raw signalling to the PC and have
a PC driver implement formats like BBC Micro or Mac GCR or whatever in
software. But then they typically don't interface with emulators (etc) that
want to control the floppy themselves (beyond using the GoTek to make a disc
image and plugging that into the emulator).
Ah, right. I didn't know that. I'd assumed that any USB device had the same
capabilities as a legacy device with some other interface.
I remember having to use special software to make a DOS PC read a 5 1/4"
floppy that had been created by a CP/M 3 computer that I had. I think it was
called 22NICE. I imagine that was to send the relevant control signals to
the motor and head so it could access non-DOS-standard track and sector
count and spacing. I *think* the CP/M disk was 180 KB rather than 360 KB.
Somewhere I still have a 34-pin 3.5" (DD) drive. But I haven't got a PC that
I could connect it to... I suppose it's possible that an old Windows XP
that I keep for its analogue video capture card may have a floppy interface,
though I probably haven't got the correct ribbon cable. Have I even still
got a PC that can read IDE (as opposed to SATA) hard drives, I wonder? (*)
Fortunately AFAIK I copied anything I needed off diskette and ZIP disk to
HDD or CD when I knew my next PC would not have those drives. I wonder if
old copies of Harvard Graphics and Word Perfect (I think the DOS version)
would work on Windows 7 or 10, or even whether the diskettes would still be
How quickly old technology becomes obsolete...
My latest laptop does not have:
- parallel or RS-232 ports - no sad loss as I don't have my old dot-matrix
printer that used parallel
- separate sockets for mike and line-out (just a 4-pole composite socket);
no line-in capability (**)
- CD/DVD drive
- VGA socket (only HDMI) - no sad loss unless I want to connect an old 14"
flat-screen 1024x768 monitor (do I really need to keep that?)
(*) I know I still have my IDE/SATA to USB interface device for accessing
HDDs outside the PC that they came from.
(**) After a scare with the on-board sound card in a much older laptop, I
bought a USB to mike/line-in/line-out adaptor. That was after I took my
(battery-powered!) laptop into the bathroom to listen to music while I had a
bath, and the steam did something to it. It worked again after it dried out,
but by then I'd bought the external device.