Hi Bonnie,

I recommend to use a normal file, not /dev/fd0, to
save the mbr. Of course you should put a copy of the
file in a place where you can reach it if your Linux
cannot boot from harddisk. To backup the mbr of the
second harddisk, use /dev/hdb instead of /dev/hda,
and so on. a / b are primary ide master / slave, and
c / d are secondary ide master / slave. However, dd
is a dangerous command to use, so you should read
the docs and double-check for typos.

> > the freedos installation from the cd says soemthing about the
> > installation on a harddrive overwriting the os so i was very nervous

What exactly does it say? FreeDOS can only install to FAT
partitions, so all Linux and Windows-NTFS partitions are
ignored anyway. You should not use FDISK or similar tools
during install, unless you know very well what you are
doing. It is much better to use Linux or Windows tools
for that, as they are powerful and easy to use. If you
already have a (preferrably primary, otherwise the boot
loader config will be tricky) FAT partition, then there
is no need to change the partitioning at all.

So... if you have a FAT partition, and it should be a
FAT16 one (FAT12 are too small and FAT32 are sometimes
hard to make bootable, but you CAN use FAT32), a LBA
one if it is not entirely in the first 8 GB of the disk,
then the FreeDOS installer should automatically do the
rest. It will create a directory for FreeDOS, try to
find out if another DOS or Windows is already on the
partition, and try to set up a boot menu. If the boot
menu setup fails, it might happen that you can only
boot FreeDOS but not the other system afterwards. You
can usually fix this by using a boot disk of the other
system to make the other system bootable again, but
then FreeDOS will not be bootable any more... ;-).

> > i can just copy freedos from the standalone harddrive to the dos
> > partition. will that work if i can figure out  how then to use
> > chain load to have GRUB present the dos partition as a boot choice.

It is easier to use LILO instead of GRUB for that...
A sample GRUB config snippet from this list, plus comments:

title FreeDOS
# hd0,0 would be what Linux calls hda1, read the docs:
root (hd0,0)
# not needed:
#   makeactive
# to use a file:
chainloader /somedir/freedos.bss
# to just boot the main OS of that partition:
#   chainloader +1

Normally you can use whatever your Linux config center
creates when you select something like "add 'Windows'".

To make a partition boot FreeDOS INSTEAD of what it
booted before, just run FreeDOS SYS X: (to do that
with the X: partition). Check which partitions are
which drive letter for DOS first.

To only ADD FreeDOS to a boot menu instead, leaving
the old operating system unchanged, use something
like "SYS X: freedos.bss bootonly". Read the SYS /?
output for the exact syntax. This will only save a
boot sector to file freedos.bss, and you can tell
LiLo, Grub or the Windows NT/2000/XP/2003 boot menu
to use that file as chainloader. Note that bootonly
means that kernel,sys and command.com will NOT be
copied. Copy the kernel manually (with COPY) and
put command.com in the FreeDOS directory, so it
will not overwrite the command.com of your Windows.

If your other operating system also uses config and
autoexec, and you want a different configuration for
FreeDOS, create a fdconfig,sys file for FreeDOS and
fill it with whatever FreeDOS should use instead of
the config,sys contents. You can combine that with
a shell command like

SHELL=c:\fdos\bin\command.com c:\fdos\bin /e:512 /p=fdauto.

to also make FreeDOS use another file instead of the
normal autoexec. So you can keep all config separate
from your other DOS or Windows operating system.

Note that you will not normally have to do anything
of this manually, as the installer should do it for
you automatically. IF that fails, make sure to have
a boot disk of your other DOS / Windows operating
system around, for the repair described above.


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