Kenneth J. Davis wrote:

I haven't examined MS sys to see if it does anything special, but basically you need to install MS to a partition on a hard drive (any hd, any size more-or-less); once for FAT16 and once for FAT32; and extract that boot sector.

OK, that's not too difficult. Are you therefore saying a floppy boot sector is not the same as a hard drive boot sector?

The very 1st part of the boot sector contains a BPB which indicates the geometry of the drive (this will be wrong for all but identical drives), but that is ok. The key is for the new hard drive to format it (which will set up the proper BPB and unneeded boot code

Not sure what you mean by "The key is for the new hard drive to format it". How will this part work in reality?

-- which may do nothing, print the not bootable message, or try to boot something). Now run sys with the (to be added shortly) /UPDATEBS option and the boot sector you saved earlier (either the FAT16 or FAT32 one as appropriate) to write it to the drive,

This part sounds straightforward.

but keep the BPB information as set by the formatting (ie ignoring the BPB in the boot sector file extracted and using the one that matches the drive). [For FAT12 same thing, but a floppy image, and really why?]

This part, I don't really understand. I understand the part about matching the BPB to the drive geometry, but the rest of the sentence I'm not sure...

Mind you I haven't tested the above nor examined MS sys/bootsectors to verify; but I believe they behave similar to the FreeDOS ones, in that they are largely generic, with a few included in sys (and for MS, also in format) to accommodate FAT12/16/32; not sure if all are combined CHS/LBA or separate ones there, but I think combined. So you can extract it from those tools or more easily simply run the tool on each of the needed cases (FAT types).

This sounds fine, just need to examine them in detail... Am I right in thinking issues such as huge LBA addressing won't be an issue, because we're only creating partitions of 2Gb anyway?

FAT32 is a little more complicated, as for MS it is multiple sectors.

OK, let's not worry about it for now.

The other issue I am ignoring is licensing; to use a MS boot sector, I presume you need the license to the corresponding OS, but that is for the end user to ensure, as the options for FD sys can be used for any OS, not just MS.

I don't see this as an issue. Your tool merely offers the facility to import a file, that's all. Anyway, All Windows come with utilities to create boot disks and many Microsoft support documents recommend their use. On top of this, we're only using this boot sector for about 10 minutes (until Windows setup begins).

its all already written, I just need to add the glue logic to sys for a user supplied boot sector instead of using compiled in one (something I've been planning anyway).

OK, this sounds very nice!

Gerry Hickman (London UK)

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