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Reading QNX2 formatted floppies

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Reading QNX2 formatted floppies

Postby Smalldog » Mon Apr 05, 2010 11:10 pm

Does anyone know of a windows utility to read QNX2 formatted floppy disks?

We're running some version of QNX2 (maybe 2.21?) on a machine that's over 20 years old, and it does a backup of our user data from the hard drive to floppy drive.

We've literally got thousands of 5 1/4" floppy disks with this data on that, and I've been tasked with getting all of the data off of the floppies and into our windows environment.

I built a 486 based machine with two 5 1/4" floppy drives in the hopes of being able to move the data off of the floppies and into our server's hard drives.

Are there utilities to do this? I can build a Linux machine as a gateway to our windows network if I cannot do it directly in windows.

Will the QNX4 driver for Linux read QNX2 disks?

Thanks in advance.
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RE: Reading QNX2 formatted floppies

Postby maschoen » Tue Apr 06, 2010 4:55 pm

There are a few ways you could do this.

1) Use QNX 2 to copy floppy to floppy
QNX 2 has a DOS file system (dfs) so mount the 2nd floppy
# dfs start b=2
If you then put in a QNX diskette and a DOS formatted diskette you could do the following:
# backup 1:/ b:/ +a +v


2) Use QNX 2 to copy your floppies to a hard drive
The hard drive could be A) another partition on your hard drive, B) a 2nd EIDE drive, C) A Compact Flash, D) A Zip drive if you have the driver.
This method has a big advantage. If you copy floppy to floppy you have a bunch of DOS floppies that you will probably have to copy again.
Use the same method as above except:
# mount disk 4 (2nd hard drive, depends which disk)
# dfs start d=4
# backup 1:/ d:/disk###
Note that QNX 2 only supports FAT16 which I think limits you to a 512Meg HD. I'm not sure, but the number 32Meg sticks in my head but it seems too small.

3) Use QNX 4 to copy floppies to a floppy or a hard drive
QNX 4 has both a FAT32 file system and a read-only QNX 2 file system.
Start these up and copy using "cp -R".
QNX 4 doesn't have the limits that QNX 2 has for EIDE hard drives.

Once you get your data onto a DOS system it probably makes sense to make CD's or even data DVD's.

4) (Shameless commercial) Hire someone who has all the equipment and the experience with QNX2. Tell me how many diskettes and i'll give you a price.
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RE: Reading QNX2 formatted floppies

Postby Smalldog » Tue Apr 06, 2010 5:35 pm

Thanks for the response, but none of these are avenues I want to take.

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Re: RE: Reading QNX2 formatted floppies

Postby maschoen » Tue Apr 06, 2010 8:22 pm

Smalldog wrote:Thanks for the response, but none of these are avenues I want to take.

Smalldog


Well one more try. You could write a WIndows program that can read directories and files off of a QNX 2 diskette. Before QNX 4 had the QNX 2 file system I wrote such a program for QNX 4.

If that's no good, I really think you are SOL.
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RE: Re: RE: Reading QNX2 formatted floppies

Postby Smalldog » Tue Apr 06, 2010 10:14 pm

This I would entertain.. Are there specs somewhere that describe the format of the QNX2 format? Can I use your code as a starting point?

I am a very proficient windows programmer.

Thanks,
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RE: Re: RE: Reading QNX2 formatted floppies

Postby maschoen » Tue Apr 06, 2010 10:44 pm

The specs come with QNX 2. I'll look around for the source. It was written 15+ yrs ago.
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Re: RE: Re: RE: Reading QNX2 formatted floppies

Postby maschoen » Tue Apr 06, 2010 11:43 pm

Attached are the two files. q2files is a directory reader. If I recall you can to start by giving the program the sector of the root-block, which is probably 2 on a floppy. From there can work your way down the directory chain. When you see a file you want you can run q2read which will copy the data off to a file.

For your purposes I suppose you will want to adapt this.

Keep in mind that in this code an int and an unsigned are 2 bytes, not 4. The missing .h files should all be removable since the refer to QNX 4 routines, which you have to replace.



Good Luck.
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qnx2.zip
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RE: Re: RE: Re: RE: Reading QNX2 formatted floppies

Postby mario » Wed Apr 07, 2010 10:56 am

Note that there are tools that will allow you to make a raw copy of the floppy. That won't give you access to each individual files but at least you will be able to create backup and restore them easy.

If you write a tool that can read files off the floppy you have to also write a tool that will write them ;)
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RE: Re: RE: Re: RE: Reading QNX2 formatted floppies

Postby maschoen » Wed Apr 07, 2010 3:36 pm

Mario, I think he just wants to get the data off the QNX 2 file system.
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RE: Re: RE: Re: RE: Reading QNX2 formatted floppies

Postby mario » Wed Apr 07, 2010 4:51 pm

My understanding from the OP is that they wanted to get rid of the thousands of backup floppies they have. Didn`t sound like they needed to have access to individual files. As I said if it`s for backup purposes then they also need a mean of restoring the data, reading files is one thing but writing them is much more difficult. That is why I suggested doing an image backup of the floppy could solve their problem.
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RE: Re: RE: Re: RE: Reading QNX2 formatted floppies

Postby Smalldog » Sat Apr 10, 2010 6:31 am

We want to basically get off QNX and into a Microsoft environment. The QNX PC that we're using is probably (if not) at least 20 years old. It's a 286!! Everyone is afraid to do anything with it because if the hardware fails, we're in serious trouble.

I'm going to try to create images of the disks, then write a windows based program to "read" them and extract the data from them as if it were a physical drive.

What a PITA.. Everyone who originally wrote this stuff must be dead, or retired and sitting on a beach somewhere with a huge smile.

I'll post my results back, and certainly provide the source code for any work that I do. In the meantime, I have built a QNX 6 box in the hopes that I would be able to read the disks, but no such luck.

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Re: RE: Re: RE: Re: RE: Reading QNX2 formatted floppies

Postby Tim » Mon Apr 12, 2010 1:31 pm

Smalldog wrote:What a PITA.. Everyone who originally wrote this stuff must be dead, or retired and sitting on a beach somewhere with a huge smile.


LOL. Mario, Maschoen and myself have all worked with QNX2 and none of us are retired, dead or sitting on the beach (well, in truth I do sit on the beach as I live in Florida).

You might want to post which product/company this device came from because it's possible the original designers still read this forum on occasion.

As far as reading the disks go, QNX 6 can't do it. Only QNX 4 could read QNX 2 disks.

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RE: Re: RE: Re: RE: Re: RE: Reading QNX2 formatted floppies

Postby mario » Mon Apr 12, 2010 4:38 pm

I never developped for QNX2.
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Re: RE: Re: RE: Re: RE: Reading QNX2 formatted floppies

Postby Smalldog » Mon Apr 12, 2010 9:21 pm

Tim wrote:
Smalldog wrote:You might want to post which product/company this device came from because it's possible the original designers still read this forum on occasion.

As far as reading the disks go, QNX 6 can't do it. Only QNX 4 could read QNX 2 disks.

Tim



Actually, the "server" (as this company calls it) was developed by another division of the same company. Unfortunately, they subcontracted the work out for the software, and nobody knows anything about the software. I think there was a bad parting of ways way back in the late 80's between the subcontractors and the division that created the hardware (Compaq 286).

I guess I'll hunt for QNX4 or QNX2. I think they have the install disks for QNX2. Do you think it would run in a virtual machine since I cannot easily get my hands on any vintage hardware?

Thanks,
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RE: Re: RE: Re: RE: Re: RE: Reading QNX2 formatted floppies

Postby mario » Mon Apr 12, 2010 10:17 pm

Yes both QNX4 and QNX2 works in VMwARE. In fact if the system you are using is only using serial port (no arcnet) it might just work in VMware.
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