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Re: Rescuing ancient laptops into emulation.

On 06/09/11 02:31, Hendrik Boom wrote:
The ancient laptop in question has about 24M main memory, a 2G hard
drive, a plug-in floppy drive, a CD drive, and a 10Mhz coaxial ethernet
PCMCIA card.  (Remember those?)
The hard drive will probably fail one of these years.  I'm surprised it
hasn't already.
It runs an ancient Windows system, probably Windows 95.

I can probably rig up enough hardware on another machine to talk to its

I can probably find a small enough Linux Live CD system to boot on it and
use the sshfs or NFS o copy the entire hard drive over the ethernet
connection.  But recommendations would be very welcome.

Getting the bits is only the first problem, though.  Quite a few of those
files are in file formats that can only be understood by the Windows
software that also resides on that machine.

Oh, the machine also contains one of my favourite legacy video games.

I'd like to run all that in emulation (or otherwise (any suggestions?))
on one of my new. shiny Debian boxes.

Yes. It is possible, and usually fairly simple.
The process is called P2V (Physical 2 Virtual) - there are a number of Virtualisation choices, and ways to do that.

In your circumstances I'd suggest VirtualBox using a virtual hard-drive.
NOTE: I can't guarantee your game will function.

First you need to change the drivers being used by Windoof for your hard drive so that Windoof doesn't get too confused by a virtual environment. Disclaimer: I am not a lawyer. Assuredly any process not involving sending more money to North America is some sort of breach of a Faustian contract. Bear in mind that you are delusion if you believe you "bought" anything when you purchased your Windoof licence - MS only grant you liabilities. (sigh)

1. Download:-

2. Install MergeIDE on your Windoof box. NOTE: I have managed this without changing the Windoof HDD driver, your mileage will vary, likewise AGP drivers.

3. Shutdown Windoof

4. Image the Windoof drive using dd, see Bob's suggestion:-
or do it across the network using Tom's Root Boot, either the floppy disk or CD version:-
on Debian where you have free space:-
# ifconfig | grep eth0
note the IP address
# netcat -l -p 2222 | dd of=hda_windoof.img
on the Windoof box running Tom's Root boot
# dd if=/dev/hda bs=512 | netcat IP_of_Debian 2222

5. Install VirtualBox:-
There are two versions - I suspect you'll need the closed source one for your game, in which case add the following to your sources.list
# wget -q http://download.virtualbox.org/virtualbox/debian/oracle_vbox.asc -O- | apt-key add - deb http://download.virtualbox.org/virtualbox/debian squeeze contrib non-free
Download and install the key, then install Virtualbox
# apt-get install virtualbox-4.0

6. Convert the dd image to a Virtualbox hard drive
$ VBoxManage convertfromraw hda_windoof.img Windoof.vdi

If you followed Bob's suggestion:-
# fdisk -l /dev/Windoof_drive
Note the size of the drive in bytes
$ cat /dev/$Windoof_drive | VBoxManage convertfromraw stdin Windoof.vdi Drive_Bytes

7. Create a new Virtual Machine using Windoof.vdi
Read The Fabulous Manuals in the VirtualBox help ;-p

NOTE: if you have problems on first boot of the VirtualWindoof try Recovery Mode from an Install CD.



"It's always funny until someone gets hurt. Then it's just hilarious."
— Bill Hicks

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