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Write Protected Bootable USB Stick


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#101 Wonko the Sane

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Posted 11 April 2013 - 09:17 AM

As for boot loaders, some time ago, when many motherboards didn't have USB/(other) boot option yet, people were building their own loaders to make it possible. I guess that those progs are unavailable by now, but I am pretty sure that people use different techniques to make it work. Wikipedia has small list of boot loaders

 

http://en.wikipedia....of_boot_loaders

 

I might be checking some of them now, if there is any other lists with more of them, then I'll be pleased to get it.

No.

AFAIK (and I tend to be quite accurate when it comes to this ;)) PLoP is the only one that has it's own USB stack, Medevil is 100% correct on this.

 

:cheers:

Wonko



#102 MedEvil

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Posted 11 April 2013 - 12:58 PM

I just had this crazy idea.
Wouldn't it be possible to rip a good USB driver out of a BIOS and use it in a transportable fashion?
Sort of like a BIOS extension?

:cheers:

#103 Wonko the Sane

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Posted 11 April 2013 - 02:09 PM

I just had this crazy idea.
Wouldn't it be possible to rip a good USB driver out of a BIOS and use it in a transportable fashion?
Sort of like a BIOS extension?

EXACTLY! :thumbup:

More or less it is what PLoP does (only Elmar wrote his own USB stack instead of ripping it), but there is even a "better" IMHO approach which is the same used  in BCDL (and SmartBootManager - and later added to grub4dos) for CD's.

 

As often happens it is difficult to find kids (with enough knowledge) wanting to play  this game.

JFYI:

http://www.911cd.net...showtopic=18650

 

 

:cheers:

Wonko



#104 popov

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Posted 11 April 2013 - 05:48 PM

@MedEvil, I am just wondering what is "good" USB driver. Out of all computers that were tested, only one laptop was able to post some positive results, but as mentioned, there were other issues.

 

And while we are on BIOS thread, althro I never saw it in use, coreboot is really intersting, because it supports various payloads. This opens huge area for anything, including diagnostics.

 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Coreboot



#105 MedEvil

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Posted 11 April 2013 - 05:56 PM

The thread you point too is pretty useless, imo.

1. Noone ever tested if the beta at least works on USB-CD.
2. I don't know of any DOS drivers, which work better/faster than plop.

On all computers, i have tested Plop on, the BIOS driver always outperforms the Plop one.
The faster the BIOS one, the worst looks Plop in comparison.

Maybe Elmar could increase the MaximumTransferLength of his driver, just like M$ Turbo-Mode does? If he hasn't already.

:cheers:

#106 Wonko the Sane

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Posted 11 April 2013 - 06:28 PM

The thread you point too is pretty useless, imo.

1. Noone ever tested if the beta at least works on USB-CD.
2. I don't know of any DOS drivers, which work better/faster than plop.

Well, that doesn't mean at all that the thread is pointless, only, as said, no kids (or not the kids with the "right" kind of knowledge) want to play at it. :(
 
 
On all computers, i have tested Plop on, the BIOS driver always outperforms the Plop one.
We already had this exchange, and it still remains a fact that lots of people, myself included, had a different experience than yours.
In any case it would be IMHO "out of the main scopes" of PLoP, which AFAICR are/were:
  • ADD USB booting support to motherboard having it not (or having it "defective")
  • PROVIDE on motherboards having USB 2.00 chips BUT having BIOS booting only at 1.1 speeds
Exactly like BCDL and SBM added capabilities with booting from CD ROM have slowly faded into irrelevance, as soon as each and every motherboard (just like the ones you tested) will have "good" and "native" USB support for booting, PLoP will lose every relevance.
 
 
 
The faster the BIOS one, the worst looks Plop in comparison.
Really? :dubbio: Good mooorning, Mr. de La Palice! :)
http://en.wikipedia....es_de_la_Palice
:lol:
 
Maybe Elmar could increase the MaximumTransferLength of his driver, just like M$ Turbo-Mode does? If he hasn't already.
Cannot say, it is possible that BIOS (and PLoP's) implementation of the driver cannot be tweaked in the same way (because *something else* that is present in a "fully booted protected mode OS" is missing), think of the ol' good DOS copying files with and without SMARTDRV :unsure:.

:cheers:
Wonko

#107 MedEvil

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Posted 11 April 2013 - 06:48 PM

@MedEvil, I am just wondering what is "good" USB driver. Out of all computers that were tested, only one laptop was able to post some positive results,
A good USB driver to me is one, which gives a good throughput.
This has nothing to do with the ability or non-ability of the BIOS to recognize a USB device correctly.

I removed Network boot from the BIOS of my computer some years ago and replaced it with USB boot support.
Later i switched the USB module again to get a better bootspeed .

:cheers:

#108 mikeserv

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Posted 05 May 2013 - 01:59 AM

In case any one else comes here with a genuine interest in write-protecting boot media against possible firmware-based malware, reads the first few posts about a USB stick and skips to the end to find mention of replacing BIOS USB drivers and even open-sourced BIOS replacement project CoreBoot, please don't waste your time (as I did) reading the rest this thread trying to discover how they might relate, because, for all practical purposes, they don't. The most interesting information (in my opinion) within was actually when the thread was temporarily derailed into a somewhat off-topic discussion on the efficacy (and apparent lack thereof) of SD card write-protect switches. You can find most of that on page 2, I believe. But from the point that Popov redirects the discussion into troubleshooting his own 4GB USB flash stick write-protected boot issues this summary should do:

 

1) By means of various (and later exhaustive) imaging tests, it's established pretty early on that Popov's USB stick is either a flawed model or is individually defective in that his write-protect switch also fundamentally changes the read mode of the device to (apparently imperfectly) emulate a floppy. Time and again regardless of hardware or software platform Popov doggedly returns test results to indicate that his USB stick a ) successfully boots with the switch set to off but b ) fails to boot with the switch set to on.

 

2) Possibly motivated by some combination of sadomasochism and/or scholarly interest, Wonko and MedEvil continue to encourage Popov in his misguided efforts by suggesting test after redundant imaging test until they finally devolve into what appears to be the the tail-end of an argument (probably begun elsewhere) between themselves on the merits of the plop bootloader USB driver. While Wonko is apparently for it and MedEvil against, neither offers any especially supportive evidence to back their positions.  

 

3) After plainly and repeatedly demonstrating a fundamental lack of subject-matter understanding, in the course of testing Popov finally mistakenly destroys his hard-disk partition table and expresses very understandable concerns over valuable personal data loss. Nevertheless undaunted and evidently equipped with much more free time than purchasing power (or common sense), when we last hear from Popov he is considering replacing his laptop's BIOS firmware with the extremely experimental and almost certainly unsupported open-source CoreBoot project.

 

4) Considering Popov's boundless (and witless) determination up to that point, we can assume that we haven't heard from Popov for three weeks now because he actually did attempt to replace his manufacturer's BIOS with CoreBoot, failed miserably in said attempt, and can therefore no longer boot at all let-alone access the internet to apprise us of the situation regardless of his 4GB USB flash drive's write-protect switch setting.

 

Wow.

 

Still, just in case I'm not too late and Popov still is out there somewhere, I have this advice to offer him:

 

Troubleshooting should result in an economical solution, not more problems. Remember Occam's razor and always start your troubleshooting with evaluating and/or replacing those components that are most obviously related to your issue and that are cheapest/easiest to replace/evaluate.

 

Popov, don't flash over your BIOS with CoreBoot to solve a problem with your USB stick. Instead, consider booting with the switch set to "off," or even, just maybe, try another USB stick. Seriously, I'm astounded that throughout 5 pages of forum posts and test after redundant test, no one once suggested this. At some point, Popov, you've just gotta cut your losses; know when to fold 'em, as it were. 

 

Happy Hunting!


Edited by mikeserv, 05 May 2013 - 02:01 AM.





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