Can it make USB bootable when BIOS does not

Anonymous
2009-12-11
2013-02-08

  • Anonymous
    2009-12-11

    I have 2 'prehistoric' laptops which I could use to boot to different Linux distros, but most of them either need to burn media when I really prefer just to use the ISO on the hdd. Would gujin be able to make the USB accessible even if the BIOS does not? These are Thinkpads from IBM, and I've been forced to use a floppy image that loads the USB modules before I can proceed to use the USB itself :-(

     
  • If you just want to use the ISO in a partition on the HDD, I do not know why you need USB support: you can install Gujin on this HDD, either in another partition or in the B.E.E.R. area at the end of the HD.

    For USB support, you are not the first one to ask support in Gujin, but I do not have the time to code it (different chipset so different drivers), it would take more time to initialise now standard PCs (probing a hard drive connected by USB may take up to 30 seconds - the BIOS already probe for them and Linux too - so 3 complete probing cycles at startup), and if Gujin takes control of the USB it has to manage itself the USB keyboard and USB mouse.

    But if someone wants to write a patch for Gujin to support USB, I will obviously have a look at it. In your case, you probably only have USB1 hardware support and no USB2, so it will be very slow. For now the only way is to load DOS which loads USB DOS drivers and then use boot.exe, but Gujin do not allow to go to the BIOS boot method (simulating a CDROM BIOS) once in DOS.

    More generally, trying to support older configurations does not seems to be a winning game: Gujin supports old hard disks without LBA support, Gujin supports direct access to IDE interface because the BIOS was not able to deal with drives bigger than 133 Gb, Gujin supports video card with VESA version 1.x or even no VESA at all - and nobody really notice it now because those PC have disappeared; even I cannot regression test those 15 ISA video cards because I no more have a PC with an ISA bus… Fortunately most of these things are under compilation switch in the source so can be removed quite quickly.

     

  • Anonymous
    2009-12-11

    Oh no, I didn't mean to add a task, I thought it was one of those things that gujin could do out-of-the-box. Makes me wonder how come these manufacturers didn't provide a patch to boot from USB when their later models could do it anyway. Thank you for your reply; so I could just run the ISOs from the hard drive which is much better for me… jazz

     
  • PloP Boot Manager s a BIOS extender that can give you the possibility to boot from USB on a PC without BIOS support (or give you USB 2.0 speed if your BIOS only supports USB 1.1 speed, but your controllers support USB 2.0).

    http://www.plop.at/en/bootmanager.html

     
  • Thanks ghulselmans, I noticed PloP, but there isn't any sources and it isn't GPL or BSD - so I can't do anything.
    Note that it will not enable to make a USB key which would boot on any PC, the PC has to read the first sector of the bootloader in some place it can access alone.
    For me, the biggest problem for a USB driver in Gujin is that you have to disable the support currently provided by the BIOS (I am not sure there is an interface for that) and manage the keyboard/mouse if they are connected by USB.
    The other big advantage would be to have USB mouse support on every PC.

     
  • It is sad that PloP isn't open source. PloP doesn't support USB keyboards at the moment (even if your BIOS has USB keyboard support). plpbt.bin is a kernel image that in theory could be loaded from Gujin.

    There is also a very recent project that aims to make USB drivers for DOS (Plug and Play support). It has source code but it uses a custom 'license': page 6 of USBINTRO.DOC

    DOS USB Drivers (New as of July 1, 2009 - Last Update September 23, 2009)
    Website: http://bretjohnson.us/

    There are some special tools that can prepare an USB stick that possible can boot on strange BIOSes.

    193 is not the number of sectors per track, it's the number of boot sectors. Some bios skip the first few sectors. I make multiple copies of mbr so that it can boot from either one of them. Using this option won't cause regression on normal system.

    fbinst (home forum is chinese) has the most options.
    http://www.boot-land.net/forums/index.php?showtopic=7932&st=0&start=0

    http://www.boot-land.net/forums/index.php?showforum=95

     
  • It has source code but it uses a custom 'license': page 6 of USBINTRO.DOC

    Not compatible with GPL, non redistribuable inside Fedora… Well here is not a place to start license flamewar.
    Nice work anyway.

    There are some special tools that can prepare an USB stick that possible can boot on strange BIOSes.

    Every BIOS has its bugs, and those bugs slowly disappear with time.
    It would be nice for me to receive bug reports on which PC do not boot on a USB key reformated like:

    ./gujin /dev/sdg --disk=BIOS:0x80,auto
    

    Because all the PC I have do boot with that (but a 486DX4).

    I would also like to know if one PC do not boot a USB key initialised by:

    ./gujin eeebuntu-2.0-standard.iso && cat eeebuntu-2.0-standard.iso > /dev/sdg && sync
    
     
  • I only have PCs which boot my USB sticks and hard disks fine.

    Some BIOSes require a fat boot sector looking mbr (super floppy format, I guess).
    You can try to search on http://boot-land.net (in google: "site:http://boot-land.net keyword")

     
  • Benny
    Benny
    2010-01-21

    thanks to this thread !
    This week my laptop collapsed. My company IT gave me an old donkey not usb bootable in temporary replacement. I installed Plop and it fully matches with my USB 320GB Lacie bearing iso images as described on the other thread. The combination of the two bootloaders solved the situation.