Hi!

> http://www.novell.com/coolsolutions/feature/3612.html

This tutorial is from 2006... It describes how to use some Windows
tool for making a stick bootable with DOS after providing FreeDOS
files to use for that... Still a valid method to do, but does not
mean that a specific kernel version has some magic properties ;-)

> Q1: Would booting into ke386f32 indeed provide the functionality (mount a
> partition) I have been describing?

No. To also answer the previous mail: When you boot DOS from a
bootable RAMDISK, no USB access is needed while flashing. USB
is complicated for drivers so I think it is better like that.

If you want to access USB from DOS, you have two options: Let
the BIOS be the driver or load a driver in DOS. For the first,
it is often sufficient to boot from the USB stick with legacy
support enabled in the BIOS setup... For the latter, try the
http://bretjohnson.us/ drivers or http://www.dosusb.net/ but
note that the second driver is shareware: Without license, I
think the driver only demo-works for a while after each boot.

Note that loading USB drivers in DOS takes the USB chip out
of the hands of your BIOS! So if you were using BIOS legacy
support, the USB keyboard / mouse / stick support used for
booting will STOP working at the moment when you load a DOS
driver. Of course you can load a DOS USB keyboard / mouse /
stick driver next, but the switch can still cause troubles.

When you booted from a bootable RAMDISK via grub or similar,
you may get away with this: DOS has the driver on a ramdisk,
so it does not have to touch your stick at the moment when
the driver is loaded... I would still say that it is better
NOT to load USB drivers while booting from USB. Although it
is nice to load them after booting from harddisk etc. :-)

Talking about legacy support: The obvious thing to do is to
have a FAT32 partition on your stick. Or format the whole
stick (unpartitioned) as FAT32, although I believe it is a
bit better to use partitions. Use LBA, to avoid issues with
the CHS "geometry" that the stick does not really have and
about which DOS, BIOS and boot tools might disagree. Flag
the partition as bootable, of course...

You also need a DOS boot sector: You could boot DOS, then
use SYS on the stick. In some cases, you can also use SYS
of FreeDOS after booting Windows, if you already have that.
There are also dedicated Linux tools for that, such as the
Loadlin-based Makebootfat or my sys-freedos-linux script,
a Perl script which uses the NASM assembler and the source
code of some FreeDOS boot sectors. There are also several
Windows based tools for the same purpose. You should find
some explanations and discussions for all of them on the
web. I remember that you disliked the idea of having the
WHOLE stick formatted for DOS: Of course you can have the
stick split into multiple partitions and use a boot menu
(grub, grub2, loadlin, syslinux, grub4dos, ...) to make
the choice whether to boot the DOS partition or something
on one of the other partitions on the stick. Some of them
CAN directly boot FreeDOS kernels - read the manuals. In
the general case, just SYS the DOS partition and tell the
boot menu to boot the whole partition, not just a kernel.

I guess Bernd and Rugxulo can give more explanations :-)

Thanks! Regards, Eric



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