I've recently been trying to put DOS on an old HDD I've got lying around. Trouble is, it's already got Windows 98 on it. I resized the 98 partition down and made another for DOS. This is where I hit the problem: I'm using QEMU to run the DOS setup disks (The PC I'm planning on putting this into doesn't have a FDD) but it'll only accept the disk (/dev/sda) instead of the partition (/dev/sda2). If I pass the partition (qemu-system-i386 -hda /dev/sda2 -fda DOS-1.img) DOS installs fine but I can find no trace of the install - nothing on sda2 or sda1. I'd really like to make this work, but I'm stuck on how. I came up with some possible solutions but I have no idea how to actually do any of them. Anyway, they are:

  • Pass the disk (/dev/sda) to QEMU and tell DOS to install on the 2nd partition
  • Pass the partition (/dev/sda2) to QEMU, but this doesn't seem to work
  • Make the 98 partition secondary (sda2) so the DOS partition is first (sda1): Thus DOS can install as normal (Maybe?)
  • Install DOS to a .img file (which I can do easy) and copy that onto sda2 (would it be bootable? I think I tried it at one point to no avail - Not sure what I did though)
  • Put DOS on a CD and install it on the final machine (Not sure this would change anything, and would get awkward when I have to put in disk #2)

So, there's my problem, and some possible solutions. If it helps, I'm running QEMU under Ubuntu 12.04, Windows 98 SE is already on the disk, I'm trying to install MS-DOS 6.22, and I've got a boot manager in there somewhere (SyMon? I think?).

Thanks in advance!


The hda passes the device that will hold the entire disk for the QEMU VM. So when you passed /dev/sda2 it used /dev/sda2 as the entire disk for the VM.

So it would seem passing /dev/sda would be a good idea. But I assume your Ubuntu is running on /dev/sda.

And directly accessing a disk drive that your system depends on is a bad idea.

I would suggest you create a special bootable CD (you can't just put the file on the cd). Look at the "-b" option for mkisofs.

Or you can make a bootable USB stick.

  • Ubuntu, for whatever reason, decides it's actually on sda2 whenever I plug in this drive. My problem is more in the fact that I want DOS on a specific partition while DOS wants to be on the primary... I really don't want to lose what's currently on sda1, that's all. – Quark Oct 7 '14 at 5:32
  • sda2 is a partition on sda and I assume that Ubuntu is running on one of those partitions. The whole hard drive is sda – teambob Oct 7 '14 at 22:00
  • Ahh, typo. Meant to say Ubuntu was on sdB. Sorry about that. – Quark Oct 8 '14 at 5:23

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