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Someone ever made USB mass storate to A:\ and (fd0)?


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#1 kcom

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Posted 04 May 2008 - 10:50 PM

Before spending even more hours with it... :lol: I hope you don`t mind if I ask if someone ever successfully turned an USB-mass storage device (either USB harddrive or USB flash drive, not USB floppy) into a device which looks after booting like A:\?

Then if you start grub4dos and chainload (fd0) you starting the same operating system again...

Just like a real floppy emulation, a full replacement for legacy floppy.

#2 was_jaclaz

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Posted 05 May 2008 - 10:43 AM

It all depends on the BIOS of the particular machine, and there are also particular USB devices with a switch, see here:
http://www.laptopvid.......=6637&st=20
http://www.laptopvid.......=6637&st=40

But rather obviously, if you emulate a 1.44 Mb floppy you get 1.44 Mb of space available. :lol:

jaclaz

#3 kcom

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Posted 05 May 2008 - 02:16 PM

But rather obviously, if you emulate a 1.44 Mb floppy you get 1.44 Mb of space available. :lol:

A nice solution would be to get two devices. 1.44 MB with floppy emulation and rest as harddisk.
OR even better a superfloppy just as A:\ in superfloppy emulation mode shoud also work very well.

I thought this can be also done with software only with any existing USB flash drives?

#4 Oleg_II

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Posted 05 May 2008 - 03:36 PM

Not exactly what you are looking for but...

There is a quote from The CD Forum (I can't find the link right now but it The CD Forum > Bart's PE Builder > General before):

I haven't extensively tested this, but it's worked on the few systems I've needed it on.
I got weary of wrestling with scsi/raid drivers on my disk.
The plus to having these drivers already on the disk is you can boot it (in theory) and always see the drives.
The negatives are:
If you have a newer driver on a floppy then the disk might refuse to use it saying it already has one.
It takes longer to boot.
You can run into 'out of memory' issues sometimes.

My new method is creating disk images of the f6 disks and using grub to mount them before starting setupldr.bin.
This way you can decide whether or not to use a driver, and you still can use a normal f6 disk.
I've heavily editted the txtsetup.oem files here, combining several controllers from one manufacturer into one image.
One drawback is that you can't access the real floppy drive (if there is one) or the image from your Live CD Windows.

Basically here's what you need to do:
1) Create a grub menu for the images
2) You need to have a way to start grldr, you can use bcdw or use grldr as your boot sector.
I actually use a separate menu for this and start it by doing
CODE
title F6
configfile /BOOT/GRUB/F6.LST

3) While your live cd is booting hit f6 and you should find your mounted floppy driver available.

The entries need to be formatted as such:
CODE
title Intel
find --set-root /WIN51IP map --mem /BOOT/F6/INTEL.GZ (fd0)
map --hook
chainloader --force /BCDW/LOADER.BIN

The last line can be changed to whatever you need, I simply restart bcdw and can use the mounted floppy image with both pebuilder and recovery console boots.

I figured my 2900th post ought to be something interesting.

Maybe this one can give you some idea :lol:

PS And sorry, I saved it for myself but didn't save the name of an author... He has Christmas Tree as an icon if I'm not mistaken.

#5 was_jaclaz

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Posted 05 May 2008 - 05:53 PM

Not exactly what you are looking for but...

There is a quote from The CD Forum (I can't find the link right now but it The CD Forum > Bart's PE Builder > General before):
Maybe this one can give you some idea :lol:

PS And sorry, I saved it for myself but didn't save the name of an author... He has Christmas Tree as an icon if I'm not mistaken.


No prob, here it is:
http://www.911cd.net...showtopic=20543

by d4vr0s :thumbup:

:thumbup:

jaclaz

#6 was_jaclaz

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Posted 05 May 2008 - 07:34 PM

I thought this can be also done with software only with any existing USB flash drives?

Not really, but some specific controllers can behave like that, or most probably all of them can but there is not the appropriate Manufacturer's Tool available.

Read these:
http://www.911cd.net...showtopic=14564
http://www.911cd.net...o...14564&st=10
http://www.911cd.net...t=20#entry99333
http://www.911cd.net...o...4181&st=378

The Oti production tool can actually divide the stick as two devices, and later versions of the controller appear to be able to have first of the two as CD instead of FAT.

jaclaz

#7 kcom

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Posted 06 May 2008 - 06:06 PM

Not really, but some specific controllers can behave like that, or most probably all of them can but there is not the appropriate Manufacturer's Tool available.

Read these:
http://www.911cd.net...showtopic=14564
http://www.911cd.net...o...14564&st=10
http://www.911cd.net...t=20#entry99333
http://www.911cd.net...o...4181&st=378

The Oti production tool can actually divide the stick as two devices, and later versions of the controller appear to be able to have first of the two as CD instead of FAT.

jaclaz

I don`t really understand all.

But from what I understand, 1) find out what controller your flash drive is using 2) try to find the manufacturers tool.

The manufacturers tool can either:
- format as (fake) floppy disk + mass storage
- format as (fake) CD RW + mass storage

The problem is that most of the linked websites are no longer working.

Could you create a wiki article about this theme?

#8 was_jaclaz

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Posted 06 May 2008 - 07:41 PM

I don`t really understand all.

But from what I understand, 1) find out what controller your flash drive is using 2) try to find the manufacturers tool.

Correct. :lol:


The manufacturers tool can either:
- format as (fake) floppy disk + mass storage
- format as (fake) CD RW + mass storage

Well, not exactly, maybe the linked info is not clear enough.

There is evidence and personal experience that lead to think:
1) some (not all) controllers can be, through a "Manufacturer Tool", be configured as two devices, or two "LUNs", as well as have a "security area"
2) some (not all) controllers can be, through a "Manufacturer Tool", be configured as two devices, with one being a "CD like" device and one being a "HD like one"
3) some other controllers may have more (or less) or different possibilities
4) some of the possibilities above are mutually exclusive between themselves and with USB booting

My direct experience is limited to a single brand, OTi, and actually to a single chip, the 2168, i.e. the make and model of two sticks that I bought some 2 1/2 years ago.
I was lucky (or clever :thumbup: ) enough to be able to find the needed Manufacturer Tool and also a "Recover" app, that has almost the same functions as the above.

The results of my findings are summed up in this docs:
http://home.graffiti...T/USBstick3.zip
(the link on 911CD was broken, just fixed it :thumbup: )


The problem is that most of the linked websites are no longer working.

The "production tools" are generally NOT easy to find, since most manufacturers are Chinese, with lots of patience, and luck, and hours of "blind" searching with baidu.com and google translations, sometimes it happens to find the right one.

From time to time, one is posted on a forum, here or there, and again you will need your time and google to maybe find the one you are looking for.

Most if not all of these links tend to be rather "volatile".

Documents are usually very scarce or not existing at all.


Could you create a wiki article about this theme?


Hmmm, I already try to share as much as I can what I know, which is very little, something I always wonder is the reason why some of the actual producers do not advertise their product features, and provide the tools. I think that a lot of us "geeks" would actually buy a certain product only because it has a certain feature. :thumbup:

jaclaz

#9 MedEvil

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Posted 06 May 2008 - 10:12 PM

There is evidence and personal experience that lead to think:
1) some (not all) controllers can be, through a "Manufacturer Tool", be configured as two devices, or two "LUNs", as well as have a "security area"

Could you elaborate on that? And what means a "security area" in this context?

2) some (not all) controllers can be, through a "Manufacturer Tool", be configured as two devices, with one being a "CD like" device and one being a "HD like one"

Let's say i want to get myself a new USB-stick and want to have this feature. How can i find out which stick has it or which don't?

:lol:

#10 was_jaclaz

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Posted 07 May 2008 - 06:53 PM

Could you elaborate on that? And what means a "security area" in this context?

A USB stick is made by three main parts, a USB interface, a mass storage controller and some flash memory.
First two parts are enclosed in a single chip, that can, through "firmware", be programmed for a number of parameters, like Vid/Pid, Fixed/Removable, Serial ID, etc.

Some (not all) chips have also different ways to access the flash memory, as an example as having two LUN's, i.e. behaving like a "normal" IDE adapter with two channels with two hard disks attached.

In other words the stick is "low-level partitioned" to behave as being two drives.

And often together with this comes a third "data area" security protected, i.e. you need to input a password to accept it.

Point is that these settings can only be changed by using a particular "low-level" program by the manufacturer that is usually offered not for download by the "final" user.

For some controllers these utilities are known and can be found, for others they are either unknown or never reported as found anywhere.

Let's say i want to get myself a new USB-stick and want to have this feature. How can i find out which stick has it or which don't?

Good question. :lol:

You cannot. :thumbup:

The ONLY possible way is to test the stick, check it's Vid/Pid and device name, hope that there are reports for matching Vids/Pids, search a lot to see if any of the infinite numbers of "re-branders" state somewhere on their site which chip is used, and so on.

There are a few, a little more than a handful, controller chip manufacturers.
There are several USB stick manufacturers, i.e. people that assemble the controller with some flash chips and a connector and enclose the lot in a plastic or metal case.
There are tens or hundreds of re-branders, i.e. people that buy from USB stick manufacturers sticks in bulk and sell them to shops branding the with their name.

Exactly the SAME USB stick can be sold with different brand/model name on it.

Exactly the same USB stick can have FOUR Vids
1) The original controller manufacturer one
2) The USB stick assembler one
3) The rebrander one
4) A "fake" or invalid or copied or simply "invented" one, hust

And the same happens for Pids.

And the same happens for device names.

This makes for about 4^3=64 possibilities in the worst case, and although some combination are more frequent than other ones, and device names are not really important (though sometimes useful to get to the manufacturer) due to the semi-random nature of 4) above, it is sometimes overly difficult if not impossible to understand what is really inside a stick.

And you still have to try and find the appropriate tool....:thumbup:

See this for some reference/ideas:
http://www.911cd.net...showtopic=15776

You may want to note that, notwithstanding the over 32,000 thousands view of the referenced thread, just a couple of dozens (maybe) of sticks data have been reported/documented.

Also check this:
http://www.boot-land...?showtopic=1659

:thumbup:

jaclaz

#11 kcom

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Posted 07 May 2008 - 10:47 PM

I wonder why no one reports success for what I originally asked. And I don`t think I will be the first one who can invent it.

Some manufacture of USB drives should decide now to produce Open Source chips to stop all this childish kidding.

Or at least someone should illegally leak their production tools or their source codes so some geek can provide us tools with great features.

#12 was_jaclaz

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Posted 08 May 2008 - 08:08 AM

I wonder why no one reports success for what I originally asked.


You still missing a step IMO.

There are reports of success and I can tell you that some (but not ALL) VIA Epia motherboards CAN boot off sticks based on OTi controller as "superfloppy" (but they won't get the A:\ letter).

But this happens ONLY "by chance", same or similar motherboards with different BIOS simply do not work.

So it is not only a problem on the USB stick side, but also (and maybe mainly) a problem on the motherboard/BIOS side.

So you need both an "Open Bios" compatible with your motherboard and an "Open firmware" for the USB controller in your device, and the two must work together, something that may happen but the probabilities of this happening soon and particularly to work for the couple motherboard/USB controller you own are pretty remote.

jaclaz

#13 kcom

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Posted 12 May 2008 - 07:59 PM

I have a new idea.

(1) boot UBB directly with BIOS OR use plop on cd
(2) start grub4dos
(3) load memdisk with freeusb.img
(4) load USB drivers
(5) now load everything else form USB

But currently I have stability problems and guess it could be because I first start grub4dos directly and then chainload FreeDOS`s kernel.sys. I try this later.

In meanwhile anyone may comment about my new idea to get an USB drive not to become c:\, but the right device.

#14 was_jaclaz

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Posted 13 May 2008 - 07:46 AM

I have a new idea.


With all due respect, not "new".

(5) now load everything else form USB



Problem might rely on what is the everything else.

Can you explain what you actually want to achieve, defining the "everything else"?

That will work for DOS based systems, for Linux we have now kexec-loader:
http://www.boot-land...?showtopic=4636

but it won't work for a NT based system, unless you use the "Kansas City Shuffle" :lol::
http://www.911cd.net...showtopic=21242
Check (new?) idea 2) here:
http://www.911cd.net...o...21242&st=89

jaclaz

#15 was_jaclaz

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Posted 13 May 2008 - 05:56 PM

There is a (Chinese) app that seems VERY interesting:
http://www.boot-land...?showtopic=4661

jaclaz

#16 kcom

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Posted 15 May 2008 - 07:34 PM

With all due respect, not "new".

Thanks for respect. :lol:

Where there really people trying something like I did describe? :thumbup:
Seams it was only my new idea. But no one else mentioned it here.

Problem might rely on what is the everything else.

Can you explain what you actually want to achieve, defining the "everything else"?

Oh well. Since it`s the FreeDos and Dos subforum it`s just about FreeDOS. Everthing else means all config stuff and applications (FreeDOS only) stuff you need.

Sure it doesn`t work for NT like systems.

Dos has another drive management. You can`t just change any drive letters with some nice gui like you have on windows the manager for logical volumes. Dos is also a system which was desinged to boot from floppy.

NT was never made to be run from floppy A:\ and there wouldn`t be also no point, as far I don`t see any. Linux doesn`t use drive letters at all but getting fd0 could be useful for linux.

:thumbup:

#17 steve6375

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Posted 18 April 2009 - 03:55 PM

re. booting to A:

See my USB formatting utility RMPrepUSB on Bootland RMPrepUSB

Just choose the ZIP and use FAT16 (default) and Freedos to make a freedos bootable stick. The BIOS USB boot option must be set to 'Removable drive' not "fixed drive'. Now copy all boot files over - Simples!

Alternativley - get a Netac U207 1GB memory stick. This has a small switch on the side. Pos1= 1.44 Teac floppy drive, Pos2=1GB UFD.

In position 1 you can format it just like a floppy under XP. To make it boot to FreeDos, rename Kernel.sys to IO.sys.

If you format the U207 as USB-ZIP with RMPARTUSB and the 1.44MB side with XP floppy (or simply use Disk A: to B: copy feature in XP with right-click), then you have a UFD that will boot to A: on many systems.
Netac U207 (called NTU208 by RM)


HTH
Steve




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