IBM PC/XT Clone and 1.44MB FDD

From: Tony Duell <>
Date: Wed Mar 24 17:30:33 2004

> Hi,
> I've got a generic PC/XT 8088 clone (contains NEC processor) with no HDD
> and two 5.25" FDD. Needless to say that the media as well as the O/S (M$
> DOS) is not available in my local market. I was wondering if it's
> possible to:
> (1) Install a 3.5" 1.44MB FDD in it.

Not easily. The PC/XT controller only supports the 250kbps data rate,
while 1.44M drives use double that. You can add a 720K 3.5" drive, but
not all BIOSes will boot correctly from it.

There were HD (500kbps) controller cards for the XT with a BIOS extension
EPROM on them. These would let you use 1.2M 5.25" and 1.44M 3.5" drives,
but I have no idea where you'd find one these days.

> (2) Acquire FREEDOS and boot the machine

Should be possible.

> (3) Use some sort of DOS terminal program to connect to a Linux machine

I've run MS-DOS kermit on a true-blue PC/XT and used it as a terminal to
a VAX and a DEC unis box. No reason why it wouldn't work on a linux box.
You do have a serial port. I trust (this is normally a DB25P (male)
connector on PC/XT machines).

> Appreciate any help and guidance.

If you only want to use it as a terminal (or for a similarly limited
application) you might find it easier to get a few 5.25" disks (they are
not that rare yet) and put the necessary software on those, rather than
trying to add a 3.5" drive to the XT

Received on Wed Mar 24 2004 - 17:30:33 GMT

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