Dump PCMCIA Card Information Structure from DOS! Yes, in 2019.

pushedAt 2 years ago


DUMPCIS- Dump PCMCIA Card Information Structure

dumpcis is a 8088-Compatible DOS program for detecting the existence of Intel 82365SL compatible controllers on your old hardware and dumping out the Card Information Structure (CIS) that is required to be present on any inserted PCMCIA cards.

Why did I write this? I was asked to, and not having written DOS code in a while, I thought it would be fun. So I agreed.


dumpcis requires the Open Watcom C Compiler 1.9 and either GNU Make or wmake (provided with the Watcom C Compiler) to build.

If using GNU Make, make sure to use a maximum of 1 job, like as follows: make -j1. Unfortunately, wcl writes its output to temporary files and it is possible that there will be a naming conflict if running in parallel; wmake chokes on GNU Make's .NOTPARALLEL directive.

If using wmake, make sure to invoke wmake in Unix-compatibility mode, as follows: wmake -u. Only the all and wmake-clean targets are supported if using wmake.


At present, dumpcis takes no parameters and is invoked by typing its name as the DOS command line: dumpcis.exe.

Theory Of Operation

The utility will scan for any existing Intel 82365SL PCMCIA controllers or compatibles. If a controller and inserted cards are found, dumpcis will use a nominally-free region (e000:0000) of Upper Memory to query the PCMCIA's Attribute Memory for the CIS.

Like all good DOS utilities, dumpcis directly talks to the hardware, and does not require Card Services (a BIOS-like API that some PCMCIA utilies use) to function. dumpcis makes an effort to leave the controller's registers unmodified after it has completed its tasks. This works because, as far as I know, register writes to PCMCIA controllers are idempotent.


  • Some Intel 82365SL clones, like the Vadem VG-469, contain additional features such as ISA Plug-n-Pray. Detection of controllers utilizing Plug-n-Pray should not be difficult to add, but I don't have hardware on which to test.
  • Add option to dump CIS to a formatted text file or a raw dump.
  • Add option to change Upper Memory Area used for scanning.
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