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 Forum index » House Training » Beginners Help ( Start Here)
Can't create superfloppy USB for boot on older laptop
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Eric.Christenson

Joined: 09 Sep 2014
Posts: 10

PostPosted: Thu 11 Sep 2014, 01:18    Post subject:  Can't create superfloppy USB for boot on older laptop
Subject description: manually rebuild and load wakepup image with dd?(Slacko 5.7)
 

Situation:
I have an old laptop (256M RAM, win XP era) with a BIOS that won't boot from a USB HD. It's not so old the installed Win2K won't recognize my stick as a USB HD. Said old laptop offers boot from floppy disk, and I'd like to try booting from a USB stick that claims to be a floppy to the BIOS. I don't want to wear out the CD drive on the old machine, but it does run at least precise puppy.

Now, I am running Slacko 5.7 with devx installed on a much newer laptop from a USB drive. I want to set up a second 16 Gig USB drive with slacko5.7 (quite possibly unwise, I may need a lighter puppy for the old machine).

I can't seem to get the superfloppy options in the universal installer to work, nor does wakepup seem to work. The new USB stick (Sandisk Cruzer Glide) has been reformatted several times in several ways with gparted, and it doesn't seem to help.

What I think I want to do is put wakepup 2 on the USB stick (with no partitions) as the boot image, and have it find the rest of the stick as whatever sort of filesystem is appropriate with puppy linux on it.

Question: how do I tell wakepup and the driver (dev/sdX) about this rather odd partitioning of the flash drive block device? do I create filesystem images, and have wakepup use mount parameters (possibly compiled in as custom) to tell it where the start of the filesystem is or substitute for the partition table which was initially hidden from the BIOS?

This is obviously going to require command-line dd to put the image(s) on the memory stick.

Edit: Looks like superfloppy format combines MSDOS FD sector 0 format with MSDOS HD sector 0 format with partition table, so I want to start with GParted giving a small FAT16 partition and remainder as bootable FAT32, then modify sector 0 a bit to make it look like sector 0 is a floppy..
(read it in with dd, feed to disk dumper, modify bytes by hand on basis of wakepup 2 image. Or should I construct this out of Grub?
Formats at http://www.cis.gvsu.edu/~dulimarh/CS452/Labs/Lab12/
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mikeb


Joined: 23 Nov 2006
Posts: 11331

PostPosted: Thu 11 Sep 2014, 05:05    Post subject:  

Ok so if you want to avoid the selection of nice easy methods to boot using the hard drive then perhaps plop will work for you...made to boot usb from a floppy.
Don't think the superfloppy is a particularly well supported or even known about feature and seems like its becoming far far more complicated that a dual boot setup.

Mike
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rcrsn51


Joined: 05 Sep 2006
Posts: 13129
Location: Stratford, Ontario

PostPosted: Thu 11 Sep 2014, 08:10    Post subject:  

Or you can avoid floppies completely by making a boot CD that will load Puppy off USB. Read here.
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Les Kerf

Joined: 24 Jun 2012
Posts: 317

PostPosted: Thu 11 Sep 2014, 08:21    Post subject:  

When I first discovered Puppy Linux several years ago, I tried and tried to get the elusive "Superfloppy" to work on my older hardware.

Never did get it to boot up Evil or Very Mad

While searching the Puppy forums I stumbled upon the PloP bootloader; this solved all of those problems.

PloP can be used from a floppy, a CD, or installed to the MBR of your HDD. It can be easily removed should you wish to go back to a conventional MBR. PloP can be used in conjunction with other bootloaders as well.

Give it a try, you may be satisfied with it.
Les

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


Joined: 11 Oct 2009
Posts: 13981
Location: S.C. USA

PostPosted: Thu 11 Sep 2014, 16:37    Post subject:  

Grub4dos bootloader can be installed to a Floppy disc.

Just have everything plugged into computer you want to boot, when you run the Grub4dos Bootloader config to setup the boot menu.
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Eric.Christenson

Joined: 09 Sep 2014
Posts: 10

PostPosted: Thu 11 Sep 2014, 21:18    Post subject:  

Did some serious fooling around with GRUBfoorDOS stage 1 and floppy disk specs, spending way too much time (all night) at it. No luck with the old machine, plently of luck with the newer one proving to me that it was recognising and executng grub stage 1 (which I shortened to say "Hi There!" and stop.

I have come to the conclusion that my middle name must be quiixote....and my quest is mad and in vain.

It might be possible to upgrade the bios on that older machine, but I'm not in the mood to disassemble the non-free executable, make a minor mistake, and be stuck. Win2K is full of something crippling on the older machine, there's no data worth caring about on it, So I might as well boot from CD and install to the hard drive,and make it an exclusively puppy machine anyway! Burning down windmills is much easier than tilting at them!

Now,. the question is, if I want basic web/office/developer functionality out of the old machine, which has all of 256Meg of main memory, what's my best puppy and why? I want to keep tillting casually at the windmills, and tinkering.
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bigpup


Joined: 11 Oct 2009
Posts: 13981
Location: S.C. USA

PostPosted: Thu 11 Sep 2014, 23:17    Post subject:  

Quote:
I don't want to wear out the CD drive on the old machine, but it does run at least precise puppy.

What version of Precise and what is wrong with using it?

Need the complete specs of the computer to give a good recommendation.
Processor
Graphics hardware
Memory
etc...

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The things they do not tell you, are usually the clue to solving the problem.
When I was a kid I wanted to be older.... This is not what I expected Shocked
YaPI(any iso installer)
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bigpup


Joined: 11 Oct 2009
Posts: 13981
Location: S.C. USA

PostPosted: Thu 11 Sep 2014, 23:23    Post subject:  

Quote:
Did some serious fooling around with GRUBfoorDOS stage 1 and floppy disk specs, No luck with the old machine

This statement tells us nothing useful.

Specific details.
You do what?
You see what?

We only know what you tell use.
You may just be doing something wrong.

This is proven every day on this forum.
What you do not tell use is usually the clue to solving the problem! Shocked

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The things they do not tell you, are usually the clue to solving the problem.
When I was a kid I wanted to be older.... This is not what I expected Shocked
YaPI(any iso installer)
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Burn_IT


Joined: 12 Aug 2006
Posts: 3702
Location: Tamworth UK

PostPosted: Fri 12 Sep 2014, 15:30    Post subject:  

I think you have made a couple of incorrect assumptions to start with.

The first is that your old machine will boot from a USB stick, which it won't.

If the BIOS will boot from floppy and HD or CD/DVD then that is all it will boot from. No amount of fiddling (other than an updated BIOS) will make it boot (directly) from USB, however it is formatted.


The second is that you can change what a USB looks like if it is bootable and a machine will boot from it.

USB sticks have firmware in them that makes the stick either look like a superfloppy or a Hard disk. This cannot be changed (easily).
A superfloppy can only have a single partition.

Having said all this, there is, however, a Puppy utility which will adjust the normal boot process on a USB stick and simulate either or both methods.

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Les Kerf

Joined: 24 Jun 2012
Posts: 317

PostPosted: Fri 12 Sep 2014, 17:45    Post subject:  

[quote="Burn_IT"]...
The first is that your old machine will boot from a USB stick, which it won't.

If the BIOS will boot from floppy and HD or CD/DVD then that is all it will boot from. No amount of fiddling (other than an updated BIOS) will make it boot (directly) from USB, however it is formatted...quote]

Ummm... the Plop bootloader will allow older PC's to boot directly from a USB stick, I have done it many times on machines that did not normally have USB booting capabilities.
Les
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Burn_IT


Joined: 12 Aug 2006
Posts: 3702
Location: Tamworth UK

PostPosted: Fri 12 Sep 2014, 17:53    Post subject:  

I said BOOT DIRECTLY.
Plop will boot from one of the directly bootable media and RE_DIRECT the boot to media that IT has or can load the drivers for.

Plop has to be booted from one of the supported media first.

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Les Kerf

Joined: 24 Jun 2012
Posts: 317

PostPosted: Fri 12 Sep 2014, 22:36    Post subject:  

I stand corrected.

Does the Master Boot Record of the Hard Disk Drive count as "supported media"?
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Eric.Christenson

Joined: 09 Sep 2014
Posts: 10

PostPosted: Sat 13 Sep 2014, 00:18    Post subject:  

The operative word here is Don Quixote...

The objection to the CD/DVD boot is dust, wear, and time -- and it seems reliability, as a boot disk I made awhile back (Wary puppy 5.5, then current) gets stuck loading vmlinuz. Slacko 5.7 is very slow booting once it has finished loading vmlinuz and initrd..

What did I do? Rebuilt GrubforDos stage 1 boot image from the assembler, changed the assembler so the boot sector output a message and stopped (which it does fine on the newer machine), and ensured the jump instruction at the beginning and a nonzero vendor string were in place.

I used dd to copy it out, dd to pull it back in and od -Ax -x1 to look at the first 512 bytes from the device... I really think the machine won't boot DIRECTLY from USB...the windmill has delivered me a sound drubbing.

What did I see? Win2K's line of blocks across the bottom of the screen, indicating that the flash drive had been ignored. Many times.

The old machine is a 1200MHz Pentium M processor, 40 Gig HD, 256M of ram. Time to put a good puppy on the hard drive and kick out the old Windoze dog!

******
Slacko5.5 from CD gets temporarily stuck when recognizing optical input device, cat complains about not being able to get to /usr/local/bin/defaultbrowser, etc (I/O error), Xwindows complains it doesn't start, then starts anyway but takes minutes to load. The CD is reading sectors like mad, and it takes about a cup of coffee to complete any significant move (like running hardinfo). Wifi is Intel 2100 3B mini PCI adapter, and the driver is loaded. Sound works (I get barked at).

So, until I learn to make my own puppies, which should I use?
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ETP


Joined: 19 Oct 2010
Posts: 1202
Location: UK

PostPosted: Sat 13 Sep 2014, 03:08    Post subject:  

@ Eric.Christenson,
What is the exact make & model number of this old laptop?

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Burn_IT


Joined: 12 Aug 2006
Posts: 3702
Location: Tamworth UK

PostPosted: Sat 13 Sep 2014, 06:49    Post subject:  

Don't kick out Windows 2000.
There will be a time in the future when you will need a Windows system to access some site ans 2k was one of the better ones. I keep it around.

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