> From what time are your 6 PCs?

distributed over last 15 years

> Any 2004+ mainstream PC I've seen contains
> a BIOS version which I know supports booting from USB

2 attempted but didn't work ...

> no 2004+ mainstream PC I've seen (except x86 Macs) contains EFI.

yet ...

> Some of the BIOSes require the boot media to be formatted with MBR (as
> that HP bootable flash format tool creates) but some require
> "super-floppy" format instead (no MBR, a single partition). Or exactly:
> Current DOS versions require this, the BIOS just provides the storage as
> either Int13 disk *below* 80h (floppy) or *above*(/equal) 80h (hard disk
> with MBR), and since now I've seen no DOS version to provide any kind of
> auto-detection, or a manual override to disable/enable the partition table
> parsing for the boot drive no matter which Int13 unit it is

This is interesting but I didn't test that thoroughly ...
my access to those 2 "promising" PC's is somewhat "limited"

> Guess to what DOS version I'll add at least the override option

Great :-)

~~~ wow ~~~

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