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USB booting: how to create a UFD that will boot on most machines.


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#1 LeMOGO

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Posted 22 January 2011 - 01:09 AM

This discussion is an attempt to understand the different formats that can be applied to UFDs.
Most people concern themselves with booting their UFDs on the machine that they have, but others such as small mom and pop repair shops need a UFD that would boot as many different brands and models as possible.
This is an attempt to help reason through the process of UFD preparation to achieve the best possible compatibility across brands and models.


  • What format should I use on my UFD to achieve maximum bootability?
  • What utility would be the most appropriate to boot most computers?
  • What file system should I use?
  • What boot manager should I use?
  • How do the above compare and how do they differ in methods?


Please share your experience, and provide information that will enable newcomers to make intelligent decisions based on their specific needs.

Thank you.

#2 steve6375

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Posted 22 January 2011 - 11:43 AM

How long is a piece of string! If there was one single way to make a universal UFD, a lot of these forum posts would not exist!
The problem is the BIOS. There is no full specification for BIOS UFD booting - specifically how does a BIOS identify a UFD as having been formatted as USB-FDD, USB-ZIP or USB-HDD. When you format a UFD in one of these different ways (and there are others like ISO image, etc.) the BIOS needs to decide how to map the UFD to the Int 13h BIOS interface (API). Different BIOSes have different ideas on this.

Some (old) BIOSes will refuse to even attempt to boot (read MBR/PBR into memory and execute the code) from any UFD with a physical size greater than 512MB. Some BIOSes do not support UFD booting at all. Some support USB-FDD booting and USB-CD booting (a UFD could appear as one of these) but not other UFDs. Some BIOSes have a BIOS menu setting which says - 'assume any UFD is formatted as xxx', others just do not support some types.

If you read RMPrepUSB.pdf (included in RMPrepUSB utility) it may help.

What type of device do you want to boot as (fixed hard disk, removable hard disk, 1.44MB floppy, LS-120, ZIP) and what OS/code do you want to boot to?

#3 LeMOGO

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Posted 22 January 2011 - 01:02 PM

@steve6375
Thank you for your reply.

The very reason for this attempt is the length of that piece of string and the learning curve that is involved. I learned by jumping around a lot of forums and I am not sure I have the "backbone" on which it all hooks.
My objective is to narrow it down to something readable that a noob can be comfortable with. I want to carve a path they can follow and branch off where they want.
Learning and using all the utilities that you all have created should not be confusing to anyone. Granted you need to have some background, but it would be preferable to have a document that will provide it in a succinct manner, thus this effort. I know I can help, so I started by asking questions, to fill in the blanks, and make it an interactive community project.
The end result should be a thinking process that is manageable by new comers.

I see from your post that you are a developer. I like to observe cooks in the kitchen, ask them how, understand what's in their minds, and write it down in steps that can be reproduced (recipes).

My question to you is:
  • When you sit in front of a computer and yo have a UFD in your hands, getting ready to format it in order to boot from it, how do you think, what do you consider?
Of these things, what is useful for users of all backgrounds and how can we put it in layman's terms?

That is the aim of this thread.

#4 steve6375

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Posted 22 January 2011 - 01:42 PM

Well, I don't have much experience of many other utilities, so I am not sure I am best qualified. e.g. Syslinux, linux in general, fbinst, bootice, etc. not really very experienced in at all!

There are many utilities designed to get round the 'noob' user like SARDU, XBoot, UnetBootin, etc. These are basically click, burn and go apps that require little knowledge from the user.


When you sit in front of a computer and yo have a UFD in your hands, getting ready to format it in order to boot from it, how do you think, what do you consider?

The first thing I ask is 'Do I need multiboot and if so what do I want in my menu?'

Because I have used grub4dos quite a bit and developed RMPrepUSB and as I know what it does, I tend to think about using these first.

For instance, ask 'How can I create a UFD which I can use to install any choice of OS to a system?' and you may end up with a completely different solution from someone who asks the question 'How can I boot and have lots of linux versions on the same UFD with persistence for each of them?'.

There are many choices - what partitioning, what filesystem, what boot loader, what bootmanager, how do I get each OS to work, How big will the files be, etc.

You cannot have a multi-partitioned USB drive with more than one Windows visible partition unless you do something special to the Windows OS. You cannot have files bigger than 4GB on a normal FAT32/16 volume. Some OS's don't support NTFS. etc.

#5 LeMOGO

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Posted 22 January 2011 - 01:45 PM

@steve6375

Just so yo know, a few days ago, I started reading the document you mentioned. I like it. It probably was the most put together solution of the problem I have read so far. There may be others, and I will be glad to read them.

The fact that there is no specification is what makes the problem complex. Complex does not have to be difficult. Difficulties develop out of complex situations only when we do not have a good grasp of all the elements that integrate into a complex whole, and how they interact.

To answer your question

What type of device do you want to boot as (fixed hard disk, removable hard disk, 1.44MB floppy, LS-120, ZIP) and what OS/code do you want to boot to?

the reply is ALL.
If someone has a stick that they want to boot, there are things they need to know. We do not want them to make the mistake of thinking that just sticking it in the computer and running a utility is all it takes to boot their UFD, and let them find out later that it does not work like that.
For example, from reading your document and the above post, the first things you need to know when trying to boot a UFD is that
  • You need to know the specifics of how the BIOS treats UFDs on the computer you are trying to boot the UFD on. There is no one size fits all solution.
  • You need to prepare the BIOS and the UFD for collaboration.
  • You need to know the behavior of the OS you are trying to boot and what its expectations are
  • You need to decide on a set of software to boot/multiboot your UFD

Focussing on the first bullet
  • You need to know the specifics of how the BIOS treats UFDs on the computer you are trying to boot the UFD on.
We need to know how BIOSes behave in general regarding UFDs and form a matrix of the different possibilities in some graphical fashion that one can visually follow and branch off in logical steps. See wonko's attempt here (excel document) from this post. Excellent!
He's currently improving on it. Thank you wonko! You rock :unsure: !

Back to topic.
Having a clear map in hand help makes sense of the process and avoid some trial and error (maybe not all, but some, I understand that).
So, regardless of what BIOS you have, and what UFD you have, these steps will guide you through the process and help you get the most of the utilities:
  • ?
  • ??
  • ???
  • ???
Let's define them.

Thank you.

Edited by LeMOGO, 22 January 2011 - 01:48 PM.


#6 steve6375

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Posted 22 January 2011 - 03:16 PM

We need to know how BIOSes behave in general regarding UFDs


And here be dragons! I have been involved with computers for over 30 years. BIOSes evolve and change. Even BIOSes from the same BIOS vendor change from year to year, product to product. BIOS vendors have code 'modules' or 'cores'. They tend to compile these into a working BIOS. Each new chipset from the hardware vendors presents a new 'challenge' to the BIOS vendor/writer which results in new modules being written. The SATA interface required a re-write of the 'packet' handling functions of the BIOS and how it interfaced with the Int 13h calls. AHCI 'modes' were brought into play (Enhanced, Compatible or Legacy modes). UFDs required better boot support from BIOSes, Boot order menus, etc. all needed changing. USB floppy drives, USB CD-ROM drives, USB-DVD drives, USB LS-120, USB-ZIP, USB-Superfloppy, USB hard disks, UFDs, SSDs, etc. etc. Technology evolves and BIOSes evolve to keep up.

Some examples of BIOS writers 'reasoning' over the years:
If the USB storage device is more than 512MB then it can't be a bootable device.
If the USB storage device is more than 1GB then it is a hard disk, if less then it is a super-floppy.
Any USB storage device is a super-floppy.
If a valid MBR starts with 0x33 then it is a hard disk, otherwise it is a super-floppy.
Any USB storage device is a hard disk.
Any USB storage device is a floppy/superfloppydisk.
Any USB storage device is a ZIP device which i will treat as a floppy (int 13h DL=0).
Any USB storage device is a ZIP device which i will treat as a hard disk (int 13h DL=80h).
Any USB storage device is only accessible via extended int 13h calls not standard int 13h calls.
Any USB storage device is accessible using DL=0 via standard int 13h calls and DL=80 via extended int 13h calls.
Any USB storage device that has more than one partition will be treated as a hard disk.
Any USB storage device that has one partition will be treated as a zip disk.
Any USB storage device that has one partition entry in the fourth position will be treated as a zip disk (never personally seen by me).
Any MBR which does not have 0x80 at positions 1BE, 1CE,1DE or 1EE and has 55/aa at the end is a floppy device else it is a hard disk.
Use the MBR Ending HS values in the partition table to indicate heads per cyl and sectors per track values.
Assume 240 tracks per cylinder if no PBR partition tables found.
etc.



So a BIOS written by AMI for one board could boot UFDs one way, a BIOS released by the same vendor a few months later could work in a different way. There is no 'in general' when it comes to BIOSes!

#7 LeMOGO

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Posted 22 January 2011 - 03:39 PM

Thanks Steve!
Very good. We're making progress in our reasoning!
If it is that complex for a developer, imagine how confusing for a user!
If you had not written this post, it would be difficult to understand the statement

You need to know the specifics of how the BIOS treats UFDs on the computer you are trying to boot the UFD on.

The above list is a good one.

Now, given the above list, what do I need to do to know how the specific BIOS I am working with behaves?

#8 Wonko the Sane

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Posted 22 January 2011 - 03:58 PM

Now, given the above list, what do I need to do to know how the specific BIOS I am working with behaves?

That's what we old dinosaurs call "experimenting". :cheers:

You try different USB devices and different settings on them until you can "map" your particular BIOS into a given "category" listing what it can do and what it cannot.

JFYI, read some early ;) work on the subject:
http://jaclaz.alterv...B/USBstick.html
and particularly, add/merge to steve6375's list :unsure: contents of FAQ #10 here:
http://jaclaz.alterv...SB/USBfaqs.html
AND, additionally, these TWO FOUR "generic" recommendations:
  • NEVER use an external USB hub
  • ALWAYS use ports on the back of the PC (those physically soldered to motherboard) on first attempt (I have seen many machines where "front" ports behaved differently from backports, the latter booting and the former not)
  • if the machine provides PS/2 ports, use PS/2 mouse and keyboard as USB mice and keyboards may prove being a problem for USB booting
  • in other words, have possibly the machine with NO USB devices connected BUT the one you want to boot from

Just for the record, an example of an unknown USB developer "countermeasure" for stoopid BIOSes:
http://reboot.pro/2246/
http://reboot.pro/2246/page__st__15

;)
Wonko

#9 LeMOGO

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Posted 22 January 2011 - 04:29 PM

Thanks wonko,

Yet another step forward.
I'll do the reading and post back. I started on the map as promised in the other post.
Links in my next post.

As astronomical as it looks, something can be done to help the situation.

To tell someone new to "experiment" is of no help (no offense) because it's like telling someone who can't read that the answers are "somewhere in the pages of the book". The aim here is to come up with a "thinking guide" that will walk them through. We are on the right track.

Your input,

You try different USB devices and different settings on them until you can "map" your particular BIOS into a given "category" listing what it can do and what it cannot.

is assuming that the given category listing exists. I hope we can come up with one that everyone can agree to and be satisfied with. (For those reading to learn, please see link to wonko's "map" in my previous post).
It is clear, from what you are saying, that you must have several devices in order to carry out the tests. That needed to be said. But it still needs to be defined a little more in order to be usable. From your experience, what should the "different USB devices" be?
  • A USB hard drive of any size
  • A UFD smaller than 512MB
  • Another UFD larger than 512MB but smaller than 8GB
  • ??
  • ???
  • ...
From there, we can set an approach to try

the "different settings on them until you can "map" your particular BIOS into a given "category" listing what it can do and what it cannot.


Edited by LeMOGO, 22 January 2011 - 04:31 PM.


#10 LeMOGO

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Posted 22 January 2011 - 05:20 PM

@steve,

Work in progress, but I have categorized your list here.
there is a zoom tool on the bottom right of the page, and you can click and hold your mouse on the page to "grab it" then move it to view what you want.
Please help filling the missing parts or correcting anything I misrepresented.

Edited by LeMOGO, 22 January 2011 - 05:22 PM.


#11 Wonko the Sane

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Posted 22 January 2011 - 05:21 PM

From your experience, what should the "different USB devices" be?

  • A USB hard drive of any size
  • A UFD smaller than 512MB
  • Another UFD larger than 512MB but smaller than 8GB
  • ??
  • ???
  • ...
From there, we can set an approach to try

Not really, to remain in the "USB stick ONLY" field, if you go into this level of detail, (which is good, BTW) you will have to consider MORE categories, some of which can be "extracted" from steve6375's post, to which you have to add
ALL the possible historical HD size barriers (quite a bit ):
http://www.pcguide.c...d/bios/size.htm
AND the particular controller the stick uses
AND the particular way it can be setup through it's "Manufacturer Mass Production Tool" or Utility.

this is what I intended in my "up to size set in BIOS (typically known HD size barriers, but not only)"
(the tree is growing more branches and leaves :unsure:)

:cheers:
Wonko

#12 LeMOGO

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Posted 22 January 2011 - 09:07 PM

wonko,

You probably did not see my post above. I actually saw that you were on at the time I was posting.

I already created an extraction of the list Steve provided. Please click on the link in my previous post to see the result.
I would have to properly grasp your point in order to add it to the diagram. There already a size consideration under "BIOS > USB > size". I will weave the different size barriers in there somehow. Thank you.

Please explain what the issue is with the controllers.

As for your last entry, well, that's inside information. What's to know? Someone who does not play at that level will simply not know of these intricacies, so, write, wonko write!

#13 LeMOGO

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Posted 22 January 2011 - 09:49 PM

wonko/others (please contribute),

one of the questions above remains unanswered.

There is an exploratory stage during which one must must attempt to discover the workings of his/her BIOS in regards to usb devices. To explore the BIOS and come up with an educated guess/conclusion that will enable the user to boot from usb, several devices will be necessary.
Please make suggestions as to what devices should be at hand in the "tool bag" for use when testing the BIOS boot properties.

What do you personally use when exploring BIOS capabilities?
:confused1: :bounce8: :smart: :cheers: :dubbio: :dubbio: :dubbio: :dubbio: :confused1:

It is clear, from what you are saying, that you must have several devices in order to carry out the tests. That needed to be said. But it still needs to be defined a little more in order to be usable. From your experience, what should the "different USB devices" be?

  • A USB hard drive of any size
  • A UFD smaller than 512MB
  • Another UFD larger than 512MB but smaller than 8GB
  • ??
  • ???
  • ...
From there, we can set an approach to try


Edited by LeMOGO, 22 January 2011 - 09:53 PM.


#14 steve6375

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Posted 22 January 2011 - 10:46 PM

To decide if the BIOS thinks that your UFD is a ZIP-floppy or HDD, you can format it and install grub4dos with a menu.lst like this:

title who am I?
geometry
checkrange 0x80 read 0x8280 && pause --wait=10 I am Hard Disk 0
checkrange 0x81 read 0x8280 && pause --wait=10 I am Hard Disk 1
checkrange 0x82 read 0x8280 && pause --wait=10 I am Hard Disk 2
checkrange 0x00 read 0x8280 && pause --wait=10 I am Floppy Disk 0
checkrange 0x01 read 0x8280 && pause --wait=10 I am Floppy Disk 1
reboot

But if it says 'floppy' this will not tell you if the BIOS has mapped it as a zip disk (mapping CHS 011 to CHS 001/LBA0) a non-standard superfloppy (not translating sector addresses but LBA0 points to the MBR with a partition table) [or a real floppy (if there was no MBR on the UFD but just a PBR at LBA0)].

You can use grub4dos to the change int13 behaviour - for instance to boot to MSDOS as Drive A: on any (well nearly any!) computer:

title Always boot from USB to MS-DOS AS FLOPPY DRIVE A:
checkrange 0x80 read 0x8280 && map (hd0,0)+1 (fd0)
checkrange 0x80 read 0x8280 && map (hd1) (hd0)
checkrange 0x80 read 0x8280 && map --hook
ls (fd0)/io.sys && clear && pause --wait=1 /IO.SYS found on floppy disk
ls (fd0)/io.sys || pause --wait=3 /IO.SYS not found on floppy disk
ls (fd0)/io.sys && chainloader (fd0)/io.sys
ls (fd0)/io.sys && rootnoverify (fd0)
ls (fd0)/io.sys && map --floppies=1
ls (fd0)/io.sys && map --harddrives=1
clear
boot


Note to Wonko: the 'boot' IS necessary here, otherwise grub4dos menu item cannot be selected with cursor up/down keys (unless you use the menu number or the left/right cursor keys).

#15 LeMOGO

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Posted 22 January 2011 - 11:36 PM

:smart: :bounce8: Ah!
We're getting somewhere despite all the assumptions about the topic being covered. THIS is what we need to unearth. THANK YOU!

My friend Steve, you just described the new "Report BIOS functions" button of the next version of your software!

Now, we still have assumptions in there: grub4dos. Could you have a function in RMPrepUSB that will install grub4dos and run this to help users make their selection?

In the mean time, off I go creating a BIOS test UFD with an old 128MB stick and grub4dos to use the above menu to probe the BIOS.

This input brings us this:
  • In your toolbox, you need to have a small (up to 512MB) Usb Flash Drive (UFD). Format it with fat16 and use grub4dos as the boot manager with the above menu. It will help you understand the inner workings of your BIOS.
For those who are not familiar with grub4dos, you can use Steve's utility RMPrepUSB to install it to your UFD.

Thank you Steve!

#16 LeMOGO

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Posted 22 January 2011 - 11:40 PM

We're still in the kitchen. The pot is getting warm. We're still watching the cooks. Don't they look great?
I love great cooks and enjoy good food!

But if it says 'floppy' this will not tell you if the BIOS has mapped it as a zip disk (mapping CHS 011 to CHS 001/LBA0) a non-standard superfloppy (not translating sector addresses but LBA0 points to the MBR with a partition table) [or a real floppy (if there was no MBR on the UFD but just a PBR at LBA0)].

Any way to make the distinction? Does anyone know? How can we test this?

For the purpose of booting, does it matter? What difference does it make in deciding what format to apply to the UFD?

Edited by LeMOGO, 22 January 2011 - 11:44 PM.


#17 steve6375

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Posted 23 January 2011 - 10:31 AM

That is nothing new - in fact the geometry command built into grub4dos tells you much more. Besides it has to boot to grub4dos in the first place to run the command. RMPrepUSB has a TESTMBR code which is designed to tell people what kind of BIOS they have, but it is hard to understand the results - maybe this is what you are looking for. TESTMBR does have some failings though - there is no PBR - so if a BIOS looks at the PBR at all to decide what type of UFD it has, then TESTMBR will show incorrect results.

So you can find out how your BIOS sees a particular UFD formatted in a particular way and of a particular size - so what?
You still have all these variables in just ONE BIOS:
1. Settings in BIOS menu
2. Cold boot or warm boot
3. Physical size of UFD
4. Does UFD identify itself as removable or fixed media (RMB)
5. Some other factor unknown (another post showed some difference in controller affects booting as data contents and size of two different makes of UFD were identical yet the UFDs behaved differently)
6. MBD code
7. MBR ptn table
8. PBR boot code
9. PBR tables

@Wonko - any more???


and what about the next system with the next BIOS? Start all over again?

#18 Wonko the Sane

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Posted 23 January 2011 - 11:23 AM

I quickly glanced at the map , and it is - as I see it - not clear at all :w00t:, and in some parts - again, as I see it - mis-leading :ph34r:.

The "graphic" part is very nice :thumbsup: , but the contents are most confusing (when not plainly "random"). :confused1:

Let's say that my "mental map" has a completely different arrangement. :whistling:

Having in it a link to EasyBCD and neogrub is in my view the worst possible choice available. :(

Sambul61 introduced Multiboot links that are outside the original scope.


I fear that noone that will approach that map will ever be able to understand it, right now, and mind you already knowing most if not all parts of it, I cannot :blink: .

Maybe :confused1:, removing most of the "left hand" tree (BTW, the two links I gave you are two very dated pages, one is the "How to" and the other are the "FAQ's") and putting somewhere a "fork" like "Contents of first sector of device" pointing to "Is it a MBR?" and "Is it a PBR?" may help. :dubbio:
All the "optical" devices are missing. :unsure:

What is the intended scope of the map?

On one side there is "everything" (even something completely unrelated or deemed to be a later phase, like the whole concept of "multibooting") on the other one a large sector (optical drives and their emulation) is completely missing.

You cannot (shouldn't) send people all over the internet pointing to whole pages that contain only partial info, the idea (at least mine) was that you were trying to gather all these info and re-write them in a co-ordinated and "smooth" way.

Please don't take this as a critic to the work you have done, but maybe you should better "focus" on the intended result.

If it is something that should help people to understand at a glance very complex and partially UNverified/UNdocumented and VERY experiemntal things, it is - again IMHO - failing completely.

If it is intended as a one place to gather all info and links ever available on the internet in no apparent order, it is working, though still misses a lot of them.

What the heck of classification is "links by"? :w00t:

:cheers:
Wonko

P.S.:Note to Steve6375: Thanks for the note.
JFYI, an interesting app you may want to test is the non-booting version of NTDETECT.COM, usbntd.chk, part of XP embedded (it is in Feature Pack 2007 Evaluation):
http://www.microsoft...&displaylang=en
rename to NTDETECT.COM and replace with it the "real" NTDETECT.COM
How would that compare with the NTDETECT.CHK in XP SP2 support tools?
http://www.microsoft...&displaylang=en

#19 LeMOGO

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Posted 23 January 2011 - 05:13 PM

Thank you Steve & wonko.

You are looking at things from an angle that MOST people CAN NOT. The level of understanding that you have is what makes you able to help ALL the people that consume the advice you provide on the different forums.
I am looking at things from the angle of someone approaching the subject with no or very little knowledge of the subject. From where I stand, THERE HAS TO BE A LOGIC in the matter. The problem up to now is the that logic is UNDOCUMENTED FOR LAY PEOPLE. You deal with this subject constantly and follow a logic that you implement in the form of software. The software works! I do not think it is by mistake, but rather by design. The challenge at hand is to provide a simple to follow "and" simple to read "and" easy to follow guide that can make sense of the things without requiring years of experience and schooling in very peak of the technology methods.

The objectives are clearly stated in the first post, and this being a discussion that is approaching them in parts, we can not have a good view of things without some help, hence the map. It is where we stand in the discussion so far and grows as things are added. It is a mere reflection of the discussion. It will be turned into the final result. What you have there, is the sum of the inputs in the posts.

wonko,

You probably did not see my post above. I actually saw that you were on at the time I was posting.

I already created an extraction of the list Steve provided. Please click on the link in my previous post to see the result.
I would have to properly grasp your point in order to add it to the diagram. There already a size consideration under "BIOS > USB > size". I will weave the different size barriers in there somehow. Thank you.

At this point, all it is is exactly what's stated.
And it is obviously growing. Any branch can be added at any point and any new category can be created and added anywhere. So, no sweat if it's not there yet. Just check back.

I fear that noone that will approach that map will ever be able to understand it, right now, and mind you already knowing most if not all parts of it, I cannot

This map is only linked form HERE. It is a companion to the threads. As you read, you can follow the map a long, and it will make plenty of sense.
I have purposefully marked the reference to the original discussion in bold+red+largest font of the page! And it clearly says "follow the topic on reboot.pro", and the words link back here.
Maybe you're misunderstanding?

If it is something that should help people to understand at a glance very complex and partially UNverified/UNdocumented and VERY experiemntal things, it is - again IMHO - failing completely.

That like saying
If the raw vegetabes you just put in the warm pot 

are meant to provide a cooked meal for people, 

well, let me tell you, you are failing! 

They are RAW!
:dubbio: Hmmm!!!!??


Like I said before,

@wonko
Concepts like this that are multidimensional are best illustrated through mindmaps because they are exactly the tree that you are referring to, but inverted.
I will make one of the whole concept once I feel I have the needed components.

and

I would have to properly grasp your point in order to add it to the diagram. There already a size consideration under "BIOS > USB > size". I will weave the different size barriers in there somehow. Thank you.

Please explain what the issue is with the controllers.

As for your last entry, well, that's inside information. What's to know? Someone who does not play at that level will simply not know of these intricacies, so, write, wonko write!

Wait! Do you expect me to put things on there that I don't know or don't understand where to place? :confused1:
My friend, it's a work in progress and it just started a few hours ago. Your excel document has not even been punched in yet, though it is referred to and linked so people who follow along do have access to it. To demand anything else at this stage is simply unfair and very unrealistic. If you reread the thread and follow carefully, you will find that questions are still unanswered.

It's a community project, we are just starting, please be patient.

Edited by LeMOGO, 23 January 2011 - 05:22 PM.


#20 LeMOGO

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Posted 23 January 2011 - 05:39 PM

So you can find out how your BIOS sees a particular UFD formatted in a particular way and of a particular size - so what?

So now, I can. That's a BIG DEAL for someone new.

It answers the problem at hand

Focussing on the first bullet

* You need to know the specifics of how the BIOS treats UFDs on the computer you are trying to boot the UFD on.

And we are making progress.

I understand it is not a complete suggestion and any other addition would be welcome, but is a solution to part of the puzzle. It does help complete the picture.

As for the other variables, that is what we are tackling in the other subject: The boot process: a step by step approach to booting

Having a clear map in hand help makes sense of the process and avoid some trial and error (maybe not all, but some, I understand that).
So, regardless of what BIOS you have, and what UFD you have, these steps will guide you through the process and help you get the most of the utilities:

* ?
* ??
* ???
* ???


Let's define them.


Edited by LeMOGO, 23 January 2011 - 05:47 PM.


#21 Wonko the Sane

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Posted 24 January 2011 - 10:49 AM

Sorry :cheers:, I assumed that to make a vegetable soup the procedure was:
  • get a recipe (or get as many known, good recipes as you can and make out of them the "perfect" one)
  • buy/procure the needed vegetables ONLY
  • put them into a boiling pot in a given order (the one take more time to cook first)
  • stir
  • wait until cooked
  • serve

And that your attempt is:
  • find anything vegetable existing on earth
  • put all them together in a boiling pot at the same time
  • serve before it is cooked
  • since it tastes awful, remove some of the unneeded/bad tasting vegetables
  • loop to #3 until decent
  • write the recipe
  • buy/procure the needed vegetables ONLY
  • put them into a boiling pot in a given order (the one take more time to cook first)
  • stir
  • wait until cooked
  • serve
  • if not "perfect", loop to #2 after having re-touched the recipe

As opposed to :whistling::
  • get as many known, good recipes as you can and try making out of them the "perfect" one
  • buy/procure the needed vegetables ONLY
  • put them into a boiling pot in a given order (the one take more time to cook first)
  • stir
  • wait until cooked
  • serve
  • if not "perfect", loop to #2 after having re-touched the recipe

:rolleyes:
Wonko

#22 LeMOGO

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Posted 24 January 2011 - 12:39 PM

How did
If the raw vegetabes you just put in the warm pot

are meant to provide a cooked meal for people,
turn into

Sorry :whistling:, I assumed that to make a vegetable soup the procedure was:

No wonder you are thinking:

  • find anything vegetable existing on earth
  • put all them together in a boiling pot at the same time
  • serve before it is cooked
  • since it tastes awful, remove some of the unneeded/bad tasting vegetables
  • loop to #3 until decent
  • write the recipe
  • buy/procure the needed vegetables ONLY
  • put them into a boiling pot in a given order (the one take more time to cook first)
  • stir
  • wait until cooked
  • serve
  • if not "perfect", loop to #2 after having re-touched the recipe


The objectives in the very first post clearly state
This discussion is an attempt to understand
and
This is an attempt to help reason through the process of UFD preparation
then
Please share your experience, and provide information 

that will enable newcomers to make intelligent decisions 

based on their specific needs.
and
Did you read my signature?

and for the record:

The very reason for this attempt is the length of that piece of string and the learning curve that is involved. I learned by jumping around a lot of forums and I am not sure I have the "backbone" on which it all hooks.
My objective is to narrow it down to something readable that a noob can be comfortable with. I want to carve a path they can follow and branch off where they want.
Learning and using all the utilities that you all have created should not be confusing to anyone. Granted you need to have some background, but it would be preferable to have a document that will provide it in a succinct manner, thus this effort. I know I can help, so I started by asking questions, to fill in the blanks, and make it an interactive community project.
The end result should be a thinking process that is manageable by new comers.

and

You are looking at things from an angle that MOST people CAN NOT. The level of understanding that you have is what makes you able to help ALL the people that consume the advice you provide on the different forums.
I am looking at things from the angle of someone approaching the subject with no or very little knowledge of the subject. From where I stand, THERE HAS TO BE A LOGIC in the matter. The problem up to now is the that logic is UNDOCUMENTED FOR LAY PEOPLE.


and

The fact that there is no specification is what makes the problem complex. Complex does not have to be difficult. Difficulties develop out of complex situations only when we do not have a good grasp of all the elements that integrate into a complex whole, and how they interact.


Therefore,

Please share your experience, and provide information that will enable newcomers to make intelligent decisions based on their specific needs.

and

My question to you is:

  • When you sit in front of a computer and you have a UFD in your hands, getting ready to format it in order to boot from it, how do you think, what do you consider?
Of these things, what is useful for users of all backgrounds and how can we put it in layman's terms?


Edited by LeMOGO, 24 January 2011 - 12:49 PM.


#23 Wonko the Sane

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Posted 24 January 2011 - 01:43 PM

The objectives in the very first post clearly state

This discussion is an attempt to understand


and

This is an attempt to help reason through the process of UFD preparation

Sure :w00t:, that's what the discussion is :cheers: , I was referring to the "map".

My question to you is:
When you sit in front of a computer and you have a UFD in your hands, getting ready to format it in order to boot from it, how do you think, what do you consider?

I usually cheat :w00t:.

I search (and usually find :rolleyes:) the appropriate manufacturer tool for it, flip the "removable bit" of it, and I have in my hands a small "USB HD", that will boot, say, 97.42% of PC's. :whistling:

Then I have a USB floppy (yes a "real" floppy in a USB enclosure) AND a USB CD/DVD drive (yes, a "real" CD/DVD drive in a USB enclosure) AND a 128 Mb USB UFD AND a 512 Mb UFD.

And, as you can imagine I do know enough to boot with the above tools, one way or the other, almost anything, but pragmatically, I see USB booting as something that:
  • technicians/support personnel may find useful in order to attempt troubleshooting or recovering a dead machine (or data)
  • that otherwise it is a nice alternative for "final users" to boot off a single (or a very small number of machines they own) in case of troubles

In other words, personally, I do not understand WHY a "normal" or casual user would actually need to boot a given stick from USB *ANY* machine, sometimes it is simply not possible, and I have learned to live with that :cheers:.

Of course finding tools/ways to boot the most machines is fun :) and right now we have fbinst that does help with a lot of the more "pesky" machines even with a "removable" device.

As well finding all the possible ways one can use to boot is also fun :rolleyes:, and much work has been done in both RMPREPUSB and in FBINST to better the chances of booting successfully.

Of these things, what is useful for users of all backgrounds and how can we put it in layman's terms?

I am afraid nothing, or next to nothing.

The recommendation for "users of all backgrounds" is:
  • use RMPREPUSB
  • try using more than one option, follow the troubleshooting procedure given in FAQ #10:
    http://jaclaz.alterv...SB/USBfaqs.html
    with the mentioned additions
  • if it doesn't boot, try again using FBINST

In order ot put things in layman's terms, we need an "advanced layman" (you) :unsure:.

If you take a little time on the respective threads, listed here:
http://reboot.pro/9460/
you may be able to understand which "tricks", "workarounds" or "whatever" they use, as they were (partially) developed in an "open" way here on boot-land reboot.pro with quite a bit of user feedback, bug reports, etc.
Another app you should have a look at is fuwi's utility:
http://www.911cd.net...showtopic=21702
as in it's development, quite a number of things about the topic have been discussed.


:cheers:
Wonko

#24 LeMOGO

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Posted 24 January 2011 - 02:58 PM

My oh my!
You're still on that map?
Poor map :rolleyes: :cheers: !
It's just a new born baby in diapers (2 days old). At this point, there is nothing on it other than Steve's list.

Like I said before,and
Wait! Do you expect me to put things on there that I don't know or don't understand where to place? :whistling:
My friend, it's a work in progress and it just started a few hours ago. Your excel document has not even been punched in yet, though it is referred to and linked so people who follow along do have access to it. To demand anything else at this stage is simply unfair and very unrealistic. If you reread the thread and follow carefully, you will find that questions are still unanswered.

It's a community project, we are just starting, please be patient.

I am adding to it.
By the time you mention it (hours after it being changed), please realize that the one you would be referring too is the old one :rolleyes:
I even added some notes to it just because of you, so you can't complain, but ...
Oh well, that's wonko!

I will read the contents of the links and make the additions. I will however post any question here, not everywhere else on the net. Maybe later I will engage other places (don't want to have too many locations about the subject and wait in too many forums - impractical). Not that I do not value other inputs, but I only have the time to watch this one thread for now. :unsure:

Edited by LeMOGO, 24 January 2011 - 03:41 PM.


#25 Wonko the Sane

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Posted 24 January 2011 - 03:19 PM

I even added some notes to it just because of you, so you can't complain, but ...
Oh well, that's wonko!

You joking right? I can and will complain.

Posted Image


I will read the contents of the links and make the additions. I will however post any question here, not everywhere else on the net. Maybe later I will engage other places (don't want to have too many locations about the subject and wait in too many forums - impractical). Not that I do not value other inputs, but I only have the time to watch this one thread for now.

This sounds logical. :thumbsup:

The map still isn't - the fact that it was born two days ago, doesn't mean anything, it was a premature birth.
Let's hope that by staying enough time in the incubator it grows and evolves in something understandable. :thumbsup:


:cheers:
Wonko