I want to install Windows 3.1 on my MS-DOS 6.22 Machine. I have the 6 disk images. But I only have 1 or 2 spare Floppy disk that I can write the disk images onto. One way I can think of is to write the first disk image on one, and then when the next is requested, I make the next one. But of course this will take forever (and I have to repeat this if later I want to reinstall it for whatever reason). So is there a better way to do this or I am forced to write them one at a time?

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    As I remember, the word "burn" wasn't generally used with floppy disks. It's only with optical media (CDs, DVDs etc.) that the word came into use (as they involved essentially burning a pattern of 0s and 1s onto the medium). – ShreevatsaR May 21 '17 at 1:46
  • @ShreevatsaR fixed it – Tom Shen May 21 '17 at 3:20
  • "Burn" was used with EPROMs before, which were... ROMs, just like CD-ROMs.... – rackandboneman May 22 '17 at 11:39

If my memory serves well, Windows can be installed from a directory on hard disk. You need a means of reading all disks and storing its files on the same directory on the hard disk of your target machine. There may be files that are the same (DISK.ID or something). Just overwrite them. Then, invoke the INSTALL application from the copied directory. I think that's the way I did to install Windows 3.11 into a DosBox VM.

It may work if all the files are in a directory in a CD ROM as well.

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    Yep, tried that it works. I just mounted all the disk images, copied it to a folder in the machine's C: drive and it works. – Tom Shen May 20 '17 at 15:40
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    For what it's worth, this "put all the files in one directory" solution works for almost all software that comes on floppy disks. In particular, I've never found a piece of Microsoft software that it didn't work with. Not only is it now especially handy in these days of VMs, but it was even handy back in the days of old to have a copy on the hard disk when you wanted to add/remove features or repair the installation without having to hunt down the diskettes. – Cody Gray May 21 '17 at 7:50
  • Some uncooperative software (such as GEM) checks the volume labels on the floppies. Windows doesn't, though. – john_e May 22 '17 at 14:26
  • I installed in this way several times! When I work in a computer Factory, we have an slave HD with two ways of install: First, the original MS-DOS and Windows Disks and in the second way we have a copy of all files from and installed computer, then just "format c: /q/s" and "xcopy d:\image\. c:\ /s"...Good times! – Duefectu May 25 '17 at 20:54
  • "You can install it DIRECTLY FROM THE FLOPPIES??" <- 6 years old me. I xcopied a LOT when I was a child until I accidentally found out you could install from the floppies, which is slower, but a really small and tight HDD meant I needed to erase stuff to xcopy and install new stuff and then xcopy and reinstall the old stuff in descending size order... – xDaizu Mar 7 '18 at 16:35

You can get a floppy emulator that physically connects to the floppy controller in place of the floppy drive. To "load" a floppy disk, you simply choose the image file. Then you don't have to mess with floppy disks at all, and the computer doesn't notice any difference.

Some of these emulators mount in the floppy drive bay, then you load the images onto an SD card or USB stick and select the active image using buttons on the front of the emulator.

Other emulators connect via USB to another computer running software to choose the image file. Then you don't have to mess with SD cards or fiddle with buttons, but the downside of course is that it depends on a second computer sitting nearby.

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