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Supporting a CD-ROM in DOS is generally a two-step process: you need to load a driver in your CONFIG.SYS, and you need to load an extender to bind the CD-ROM to a drive letter.
On a dedicated PC, you'll first need a CD-ROM drive. Note that most CD-ROM drives require specific drivers, so you'll need to install the drivers according to the instructions that came with your CD-ROM drive. There are a lot of drives out there, and I can't help you very much with your specific hardware.
However, Jeremy Davis is writing a general ATAPI driver that should work with any CD-ROM drive. Use at your own risk. You load it like any other CD-ROM driver, in your CONFIG.SYS file:
The most important option is to specify the device name of the CD-ROM. You'll need this later. For example, specifying device name of ATAPICDD:
Once you have the CD-ROM driver in your CONFIG.SYS file, you'll need to load an extender in AUTOEXEC.BAT that binds the device name to a drive letter. Under MS-DOS, you probably used MSCDEX. Under FreeDOS, SHSUCDX is a replacement for MSCDEX. It is considerably smaller than MSCDEX (only 6.5K for one drive) and it provides access to long ISO names.
The basic usage of SHSUCDX is:
Remember the device name we set when we loaded the CD-ROM driver in CONFIG.SYS? You'll need that here with SHSUCDX. For example, specifying device name of ATAPICDD, add this to your AUTOEXEC.BAT file:
And that should do it. Your CD-ROM should be bound to the next available DOS drive letter (usually D.
Inside a DOS emulator, things are a little easier. Most emulators will load a CD-ROM driver for you, so you should not need to load your own in CONFIG.SYS or AUTOEXEC.BAT. Check that your emulator provides this.
unix -s DOSDRIVE_D
SHSUCDX /d:mscd0001, d
if "%DOSDRIVE_D%" == "" goto nodrived
lredir d: linux\fs%DOSDRIVE_D%
unix -s DOSEMU_VERSION
echo "Welcome to dosemu %DOSEMU_VERSION%!"
# unix -e LC:\PCIAUD\SETAUDIO
SET BLASTER=A220 I5 D1 H5 T4
C:\PCIAUD\C3DMIX /MFF000 /FFF000 /WFF000 /L00100 /E00100 /A00100 /C00100 /P00000 /400000 /R0f0ff /D040ff
Same FAQ page 4) Why the shsucd CDROM file? Doesn't the dosemu CDROM support work?
I don't know that it doesn't work. dosemu has CDROM support. A person who operates this webpage provided the link to the file and partial instructions for getting shsucdx to work.
Here is the page for the shsucd module.
UPDATE: Install the SHSUCDX files in your dos or freedos directory.
ditto 5) Okay, I installed the CDROM support, but it can't find the CDROM. What gives?
Edit the config.sys file to add or uncomment the line: devicehigh=c:\dosemu\cdrom.sys. Also, my CDROM drive under freedos is drive B:
Please don't use atapicdd. It's still in Alpha, looks pretty buggy, and in my experience is about as reliable as an exploding penguin. That's why the FreeDOS team have it disabled by default. There are plenty of other good more reliable DOS cdrom drivers available for download.