VOGONS


Reply 20 of 57, by RandomStranger

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xfdisk worked fine so far, though the latest OS I've used it with is W2k.
Re: What retro activity did you get up to today?
XP should work too.

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Reply 21 of 57, by megatog615

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plop boot manager

It has a windows, dos, and linux utility to install/reinstall it and manage it while booted into an operating system just in case one of them decides to trash the MBR. I use plop on a retro laptop with a hdd that is very difficult to remove and also does not support booting to anything but a proprietary usb floppy drive or C:. I can use plop to boot to usb, pcmcia, cdrom, etc.

Reply 22 of 57, by Shponglefan

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megatog615 wrote on 2024-01-31, 20:12:

plop boot manager

I considered it but I couldn't get past the ugly interface. Hence why I want something that it's just a plain text menu with no attempts at being 'fancy'.

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Reply 23 of 57, by justin1985

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megatog615 wrote on 2024-01-31, 20:12:

plop boot manager

It has a windows, dos, and linux utility to install/reinstall it and manage it while booted into an operating system just in case one of them decides to trash the MBR. I use plop on a retro laptop with a hdd that is very difficult to remove and also does not support booting to anything but a proprietary usb floppy drive or C:. I can use plop to boot to usb, pcmcia, cdrom, etc.

This does sound like a really good solution. I've seen several off hand recommendations for this and Grub scattered through other threads...

But can anyone point to a clear tutorial for using Plop (and / or grub) for Windows and DOS etc?

Everything I've turned up via Google or YouTube either seems to be full on release note type documentation, or assumes you're using Linux as one of your installed OSes.

Seems like a rare gap in retro YouTuber coverage, to be honest! (The recent CRD video is fun as a takedown of System Commander, but the GRUB part seems to be assumed knowledge ...)

Reply 25 of 57, by appiah4

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(As far as I can remember) plop can be run in black & white text mode and is one of the most fully featured and user friendly boot managers out there, so I don't quite see why you excluded it in the OP. That said, if you really want text only, GRUB.

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Reply 26 of 57, by megatog615

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Shponglefan wrote on 2024-01-31, 20:34:
megatog615 wrote on 2024-01-31, 20:12:

plop boot manager

I considered it but I couldn't get past the ugly interface. Hence why I want something that it's just a plain text menu with no attempts at being 'fancy'.

You can turn off the fancy stuff, even run it in 80x25 text mode. The features on offer really outweigh any concerns about 'aesthetic' in my opinion. Most of the time it's on my screen for 3 seconds before booting to Windows 98. If I feel adventurous I interrupt the countdown and boot an OS from USB or something.

justin1985 wrote on 2024-02-01, 09:16:

But can anyone point to a clear tutorial for using Plop (and / or grub) for Windows and DOS etc?

You download plpbt-5.0.15.zip, extract it somewhere, copy the files to the destination PC, and run your preferred installer. If installing from DOS, run plpinst.com from the install\ directory.

Here's the readme:

Plop Boot Manager - written by Elmar Hanlhofer

Get the latest version and read the latest infos at http://www.plop.at

licence.txt Licence informations
doc/readme.txt Instructions english
doc/liesmich.txt Instructions german

plpbt.bin Boot manager binary
plpbt.img Boot manager floppy disk image
plpbt.iso Boot manager cd iso
plpbtrom.bin Boot manager rom file for the bios


Directory install:
==================

plpbtin.img Install with floppy disk image
plpbtin.iso Install with cd
plpinst.com Install program with backup function (runs not in Windows)
plpinstc.com Install program without backup function (runs not in Windows)

Other directories:
==================

doc Documentation
experimental Experimental versions
pcmcia PCMCIA version of the boot manager
Linux Linux related programs
Windows Windows related programs

Programs Linux and Windows:
===========================

plpcfgbt Configure plpbt.bin and plpbtrom.bin
plpbtrom Create rom file for your bios

Windows only:
=============

plpcfgbtGUI Graphical user interface for plpcfgbt
plpbt4win Add/remove the boot manager to the windows boot menu
InstallToBootMenu.bat Automatically adding the boot manager to the windows boot
menu
InstallToMBR.bat Automatically adding the installer to the windows boot
menu to install the boot manager to the mbr

Reply 27 of 57, by kingcake

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Plop doesn't natively support booting linux. You have to have two bootloaders for linux work. You have to use plop to then run grub/syslinux/etc.

Cut out the middle man and just use grub in the first plate imo.

Last edited by kingcake on 2024-02-02, 02:31. Edited 1 time in total.

Reply 28 of 57, by Shponglefan

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megatog615 wrote on 2024-02-01, 19:46:

You can turn off the fancy stuff, even run it in 80x25 text mode.

That's good to hear at least. Are there any screenshots of what it looks like in basic text mode?

When I researched Plop I just keep seeing screenshots of its 90s video game style interface.

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Reply 29 of 57, by appiah4

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kingcake wrote on 2024-02-02, 01:44:

Plop doesn't natively support booting linux. You have to have two bootloaders for linux work. You have to use plop to then run grub/syslinux/etc.

Cut out the middle man and just use grub in the first plate imo.

On the other hand I don't think GRUB supports booting from USB? So plop gives you that option when you wouldn't otherwise have it..

Retronautics: A digital gallery of my retro computers, hardware and projects.

Reply 30 of 57, by MERCURY127

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https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ranish_Partition_Manager
i use it many years, with DOS/9x/nt/Linux multiboot. use as boot manager in 512 byte mode only, not as part manager 😁
even make own tiny patch, for using with nt6+ oses. if you have interest, i can attach both original and patched version here.

Reply 31 of 57, by Shponglefan

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Still researching boot managers (boy, there are a *lot* of them) and I stumbled across BootIt Bare Metal.

One thing that intrigued me about this boot manager is its inclusion of a partition manager and ability to have move than 4 primary partitions to a disk via an extended master boot record. In theory, it sounds like I could go with my original plan of 4 primary partitions and an extended partitions for additional 2GB DOS drives.

Digging through forum posts, it seems like at least a few on Vogons have experience with that boot manager.

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Reply 33 of 57, by Shponglefan

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wierd_w wrote on 2024-02-20, 15:38:

Have you tried xfdisk?

Sounds like exactly what you want.

Thanks, I'll check it out!

I have not committed to any boot managers yet. I'm still mulling the options and different partition configuration possibilities.

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486 DX-33 with 5 sound cards

Reply 34 of 57, by Shponglefan

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Updated on choosing a boot manager and trying to get this setup going.

System specs are:

  • ASUS P4S533-E motherboard
  • 2.8GHz Pentium 4
  • 512 MB of RAM
  • 1 TB Samsung EVO 860 SSD (using a SATA-to-IDE adapter)
  • 4 GB Verbatim Compact Flash (using CF-to-IDE adapter)

I decided to try BootIt Bare Metal based on its feature set, available documentation, and apparent ease-of-use.

I started by installing onto the 1TB SSD (it auto creates a small partition for this). I then created an additional 16GB FAT32 partition for Windows 95 and a ~100GB FAT32 partition for Windows 98 SE.

One weird quirk of BootIt is that after formatting these partitions, it automatically starts a surface scan. I canceled the scan, but it reported the clusters to that point it scanned as being "bad". I'm assuming this is erroneous reporting and maybe it's not designed for scanning SSDs?

I then hooked up the drive to my Windows 10 machine and copied over the set up files for Windows 95 and 98 SE to each respective partition.

Re-installed the SSD into the Pentium 4 and booted from a boot disk to attempt to install each OS. After scandisk completed and Windows setup started to initialize, I received a "General failure reading drive C" error. This was followed by a "memory allocation error" and the system halted.

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The exact same errors occurred with setup programs for both Windows 95 and Windows 98 SE.

I tried re-creating the partitions and then formatting in DOS. With a Windows 95 boot disk, I could format the 16GB partition to the correct size. However, re-running setup resulted in the same error.

With the ~100 GB partition, using a Windows 98 boot disk, both FORMAT and FDISK only report a ~40GB partition size, not the full 100GB.

I checked the BIOS and it is reporting a full 1TB drive. The manual for the motherboard does mention using 28-bit LBA. I'm not sure if the manual is completely accurate since I know ASUS tends to re-use the same text in various motherboard manuals. I'm assuming if it was only 28-bit LBA, the BIOS shouldn't report the full 1TB or would it?

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For further testing, I then installed Windows 98 SE on a 4GB Compact Flash card. This set up went smoothly with no issues.

Booting into Windows 98 from the CF card, but with the SSD hooked up, I can see its partitions. Windows reports the correct partition size. I was able to install and launch programs from the SSD, read files, copy things, etc. No errors or other issues were noted.

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I assume there is something else needed to get the respective Windows setup programs to work properly with the SSD? I started looking at the Rlowe patches, but I'm not completely sure as to what is needed.

I'm also wondering if this is a BIOS related issue and if it's worth trying to update the BIOS?

Another option I am considering is attempting these installs on a smaller 250GB drive instead of the 1TB.

Pentium 4 Multi-OS Build
486 DX4-100 with 6 sound cards
486 DX-33 with 5 sound cards

Reply 35 of 57, by analog_programmer

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wierd_w wrote on 2024-02-20, 15:38:

Have you tried xfdisk?

Is this same as the one for Free DOS?

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Reply 36 of 57, by Joseph_Joestar

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Shponglefan wrote on 2024-02-24, 16:41:

1 TB Samsung EVO 860 SSD (using a SATA-to-IDE adapter)

By default, Win9x cannot use disks larger than 127 GB. Partition size doesn't matter, it's the actual disk that must not be larger than that.

I think there may be some third-party patches which can bypass this, but I never used them myself, since I always go for 120 GB SSDs which are cheap and readily available. And no, nothing special needs to be done when you're using an 127 GB SSD (or smaller).

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Reply 37 of 57, by Shponglefan

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Joseph_Joestar wrote on 2024-02-24, 17:06:

By default, Win9x cannot use disks larger than 127 GB. Partition size doesn't matter, it's the actual disk that must not be larger than that.

I think there may be some third-party patches which can bypass this, but I never used them myself, since I always go for 120 GB SSDs which are cheap and readily available. And no, nothing special needs to be done when you're using an 127 GB SSD (or smaller).

I've been reading up on those Win98 limits. I do have some 128 GB SSD drives which I assume should work within that limit. As I understand it the limit is based on 28-bit LBA which has an upper limit of 137,438,953,472 bytes (or 128GB using a 1024^3 conversion).

Curiously my current Windows 98 SE setup uses a 250GB SSD drive. It's partitioned into a ~20GB partition (for the OS itself) and an additional ~120GB partition for software.

I didn't run into the same issues installing Windows 98 on that system, nor have it run into any drive related issues running software or games on it.

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486 DX-33 with 5 sound cards

Reply 38 of 57, by Joseph_Joestar

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Shponglefan wrote on 2024-02-24, 19:23:

I didn't run into the same issues installing Windows 98 on that system, nor have it run into any drive related issues running software or games on it.

Give it time.

Data corruption isn't always immediately apparent.

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PC#3: Athlon64 3400+ / Asus K8V-MX / 5900XT / Audigy2
PC#4: i5-3570K / MSI Z77A-G43 / GTX 970 / X-Fi

Reply 39 of 57, by Shponglefan

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Did some more testing with the 1TB SSD.

I ran Checkdisk under Windows 98 and it did report errors on both partitions including an issue with backup copies of the file allocation table, and invalid file locations.

This re-affirms this is not a stable partition/drive setup.

Out of curiosity, I did the same on my 250GB Windows 98 system and it reported no such similar errors. Not sure if the 1TB drive is triggering more issues?

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