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Creating a Dual-boot Linux and FreeDos machine


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#1 FDCurious

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Posted 3 weeks ago

Hi,

 

I already have a FreeDos laptop, and that's been going well.  It has only hdmi unfortunately, and not an older style monitor port.  I'm not sure if FreeDos 1.3 will have any hdmi support.

 

 

I also have Linux mint on a flash drive, and that works fine.

 

 

The plan is to have one laptop, with both Linus and FreeDos.

 

 

So, I'm getting an older laptop with a monitor port, and want to install both Linux Mint (or another, if it's advisable) and FreeDos on the hard drive.

 

What would be the simplest way to go about it? 

 

It doesn't have to be the quickest way.  This could take a day, if it has to.  I'm just looking for instructions that are relatively hassle-free, and easy to solve problems if they come up.

 

 

Does anyone have a link for creating a dual-boot Freedos and Linux laptop?

 

 

Thanks and regards,

 

 



#2 tinybit

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Posted 3 weeks ago

Samsung 500R3M newly developed this year (2018), could be a good choice. It has 4GB DDR4 RAM @ 2133, expandable to 8G or even more. It has 120GB SSD and also expandable. CPU is Intel Celeron 3865U @ 1.8GHz. The price is RMB ¥3000 ~ 3500 (according to your config), i.e., less than 500 USD. Yes, the laptop supports Win10, Win7, MS-DOS, Linux (debian 9.6). By using grub4dos, I can multiple boot Win7, Linux and MS-DOS. I think it could also run WinXP and FreeDOS.

The touchpad and WiFi work fine with debian 9.6 (you should download a build with non-free firmware support, or else the internal wireless network card would not work). You may try it first with a live CD, e.g.,

debian-live-9.6.0-amd64-gnome+nonfree.iso

from

http://cdimage.debia...d64/iso-hybrid/


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#3 FDCurious

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Posted 3 weeks ago

Thanks Tinybit,

 

But the Samsung doesn't have a monitor port.  I already know which laptop I'll be using, it's an older one.

 

The question was really about the installation process, and what's the best way to Dual Boot FreeDos and Linux.

 

Thanks, anyway.

 

 

Regards,

 

 


 

 



#4 tinybit

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Posted 3 weeks ago

The samsung has an HDMI port. I think DOS also works with HDMI. I will try it later and report the result. Emm... I remember last time I used another old laptop (lenovo) and connect my new display with HDMI. Both grub4dos and Linux worked ok with HDMI.

 

About "dual boot" issue, I think there is no need to install anything. Just use grub4dos, and it would boot up all the OSes installed.

 

You may install your OS(es) on local SSD drive or your USB Flash. Grub4dos can boot them up. Google for grub4dos.

 

-----------

 

You already have an old laptop with VGA port. I think there is no difficulty.

 

First, Install your DOS (can be any DOS, including FreeDOS) on local SSD or USB flash.

 

Then install your Linux on a partition of local SSD or USB flash.

 

At last, install grub4dos onto local SSD or USB flash, and use grub4dos to do multiboot work.


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#5 FDCurious

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Posted 3 weeks ago

Hi tinybit,

 

hdmi doesn't work with dos, or freedos.  I've tried several laptops, with a usb freedos, and it never works.  Even with an adapter, it doesn't work.

 

Yeah, I've heard about Grub.  Might go that route.



#6 Wonko the Sane

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Posted 3 weeks ago

Hi tinybit,

 

hdmi doesn't work with dos, or freedos.  I've tried several laptops, with a usb freedos, and it never works.  Even with an adapter, it doesn't work.

 

Yeah, I've heard about Grub.  Might go that route.

Only for the record, grub4dos is NOT GRUB and is NOT GRUB2.

 

Dos (and conversely freedos) do not use - normally - video drivers, they rely on BIOS calls (to video services) so IF the BIOS screen of your laptop can be replicated through hdmi then they should work just fine.

It depends on the specific make/model, but usually there is an hot-key allowing to forward the video output to the external port (be it VGA or HDMI), but specific make/models may need some additional trick or simply NOT provide the option, as always it is a mess :ph34r: , and with newer UEFI firmware (which may or may not have a complete CSM - please read as BIOS - available) make it worse.

 

http://www.tomsguide...al-monitor.html

 

:duff:

Wonko


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#7 FDCurious

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Posted 3 weeks ago

Hey Wonko,

 

Yes, of course I know the difference between the grubs.  It's just a lazy abbreviation.

 

Sure, maybe it's possible to use hdmi with freedos with some settings or some pcs.  But I've no idea how to attack that, and would rather spend the time setting up a machine with the monitor port.

 

 

Just out of curiosity, I tried setting up a Windows 10 laptop with VirtualBox, and installing Freedos.  It's possible that the hdmi problem is bypassed, because the host OS has access to it.

 

Unfortunately, I had problems with that, and will open up a separate thread.



#8 tinybit

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Posted 3 weeks ago

Though not needed, I report back. The new samsung BIOS does not support HDMI.

 

Entering Windows and/or Linux, then HDMI works well.


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#9 FDCurious

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Posted 3 weeks ago

Makes sense.  Thanks for taking a look and providing feedback, tinybit.  It should help future FreeDos explorers.

 

Maybe we should all start collecting old laptops, in case Dos finds some unexpected niche and has a revival.

 

 

Though not needed, I report back. The new samsung BIOS does not support HDMI.

 

Entering Windows and/or Linux, then HDMI works well.



#10 FDCurious

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Posted 2 weeks ago

Conclusion:

 

I'm going to wait for 1.3.  Nothing works, to try to install Freedos 1.2 on a Lenovo Think Pad T410s.

 

After burning FD12FULL.zip to a USB drive, and selecting the USB from the Boot list, there's just a blinking cursor when it tries to boot up on that usb drive.

 

If I use the official CD burned from http://www.freedos.o...load/FD12CD.iso, there's the infinite Invalid Opcode messages.

 

I I use the Legacy CD, burned from http://www.freedos.o...ad/FD12LGCY.iso, it seems to create the partiton and does the formatting, but then it complains that 

 

   Unable to locate the installation packages

 

, and suggests a reboot, which I perform.

 

 

I didn't have this problem, on another laptop.  The problem is, that other laptop doesn't have a VGA monitor port, it has HDMI only.  Standalone FreeDos doesn't seem to have HDMI support. 

 

Foiled at every turn.

 

 

Note that it will boot up on a bootable USB, so it isn't related to uefi vs bios.   So I tried booting up via USB, then using Dos Navigator to copy from the USB drive to the hard drive, but it copies only the folders and no files, not even the files in the root directory.  And after a few minutes, the keyboard is unresponsive and just beeps.

 

So - I ran 4Dos off the USB.  That COPY command allows you to specify directories, so I copied everything over from the Bootable Flash Drive to the Dos Partition.  But when I try to boot up from that hard drive (ata hdd0 toshiba mk2529gsg), it's just a blank screen with a blinking cursor.  

 

I might just install Linux on this one, and just use an old XP machine running Dos, whenever a monitor is needed.  And wait for 1.3.

 

If any suggestions, let me know, thanks.  I suspect that it will be necessary to clear the laptop, and start from scratch.



#11 Wonko the Sane

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Posted 2 weeks ago

The "blinking" cursor is not "specific" to Freedos install, it is common on many  OS/installs when for *some reasons* there is a mismatch in the MBR and PBR (usually, but not always related to a "wrong" detected geometry of the hard disk).

 

You should check that the partitioning is valid and that the PBR is actually where it should be.

 

A simple way to do so is to use (it should run just fine under Freedos) the good ol' RPM (Ranish Parition Manager):

http://ranish.sourceforge.net/

you  want to get the 2.44 (Beta) version.

 

Otherwise, you can still run from the USB the Freedos FDISK, then "install" manually.

 

:duff:

Wonko



#12 FDCurious

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Posted 2 weeks ago

"The "blinking" cursor is not "specific" to Freedos install, it is common on many  OS/installs when for *some reasons* there is a mismatch in the MBR and PBR (usually, but not always related to a "wrong" detected geometry of the hard disk)."

 

Yep, of course.  But it was a solid Windows 7 Professional drive, and I created the disk as an Fat32 partition.  Not sure what else I could have done.  The partition and format was created as part of the DosFree Install.

 

 

"Otherwise, you can still run from the USB the Freedos FDISK, then "install" manually."

 

Not sure what you mean by install manually.  After the files from the USB Freedos were copied, and it was obvious that the FreeDos install didn't work, I went ahead and performed a Sys D: on the hard drive (C: was the USB boot disk, and D: was the hard drive).  Then, after taking the USB out and rebooting on the hard drive, there was a little more information, but it still wouldn't boot.

 

I might use the tool that you mentioned, but for now I'll wait until FreeDos 1.3 and start from scratch there.  Aside from a Jemm386 06 memory error when it runs Btrieve.exe, the HDMI laptop runs fine.  And my XP laptop seems to run everything, including Btrieve.

 

Thanks for the suggestions,



#13 Wonko the Sane

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Posted 2 weeks ago

You see, the "booting chain" is as follows:

0.BIOS->

1.MBR (both code and data needs to be consistent/valid)->
2.PBR of active partition  (both code and data needs to be consistent/valid) ->

3.OS loader ot System file (in the case of FreeDos it is KERNEL.SYS)->

4.Actual OS

 

The "blinking sector" is typical of an issue in #0 or more probably in #1 above.

The SYS command /which is the main command of a "manual" install) operates on parts on "level" (and can correct only issues related to) #2, so you can SYS all the times you want  but that won't correct issues in #0 or #1.

 

All DOSes (not only FreeDOS) are particularly problematic with "order"of drives so, unless you use a tool like grub4dos to reset the disk drive order, it is likely that the install program gets confused if booted from a USB stick that (since you booted from it) has altered disk drive order.

 

:duff:

Wonko



#14 FDCurious

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Posted 2 weeks ago

Wonko,

 

Roger on the sections and consistency.  Although there wasn't any evidence of problems when it had Windows 7 loaded, I suppose there might have been errors.

 

 

But why should it matter, whether we use grub4dos, to change the boot order?  I changed it in the bios, and specifically selected the boot device regardless, every time I booted up.

 

Anyway, I'll still wait until 1.3, and start from scratch, maybe using Ranish or whatever Partition manager seems most approachable.

 

Thanks,

 

FDCurious.



#15 Wonko the Sane

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Posted 2 weeks ago

JFYI, a number of BIOS's may act differently.
 
If you booted from the USB stick, that disk, at the time of booting, was Disk 0 (first disk), hence you did a "SYS D:", but nothing really nothing, guarantees you that the SYS was successful for booting purposes as it might (example) write the disk drive number as 129 (0x81) in the PBR.
 
DOS (and conversely FreeDOS) wants to boot from (active) primary partition on first disk (128 or 0x80), and different versions of DOS (or FreeDOS)and/or their install routines may use (or use not) the disk drive number.
 
The SYS command of FreeDOS has a couple related parameters to set the "proper" disk drive number and use it:
 
http://www.fdos.org/kernel/sys/sys.htm
 

/B btdrv
Sets the BIOS boot drive # (in hex) stored within the boot sector.

/FORCE:BSDRV
Causes the boot sector to only use the btdrv indicated in
boot sector. NOPs the code that normally uses BIOS provided
drive # passed at boot time in the DL register.


Besides there are some configuration settings via SYS CONFIG:
https://github.com/j...37/docs/sys.txt

Using grub4dos (or other method) to exchange the disk drives number and/or (what I would personally do) run the SYS from a floppy image after having made sure that the disk drive order is correct is just a relatively simple way to do things "normally".

Mind you , the above is nothing but a guess on my part, an example to show you what could have possibly gone wrong, not necessarily applies to your case.

BUT what I can tell you with a certain level of confidence is that it is extremely unlikely that version 1.3 will change anything in the installing/device numbering part, so, while you may want to wait for 1.3 for other reasons, you shouldn't IMHO for the belief it will solve this booting problem.

:duff:
Wonko




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