Have you ever tried to boot an old PC off a CD-ROM, and found out it wouldn't, because its BIOS does not support it, or it's faulty or for any other reason? Well, I have. So this page is an effort to solve this problem.
The only way to do it, is to boot of a floppy disk which will help me "load" whatever operation system I want from a CD. This means that I will have to write a boot loader to the floppy disk.
The software I will use is Smart Boot Manager, a small boot manager with a nice TUI (Text User Interface). Its floppy image, already accessible from the "Tools" menu, can be found in the bootdisk folder of the CD under the name sbm.img.
Writing the image to a floppy disk [^]
All you have to do is get to a PC equipped with a floppy drive, get a floppy disk which is in excellent condition (no bad sectors/blocks), and copy the image file to it.
1. From Linux [^]
You can either boot Clonezilla Live or SystemRescueCD, and when the system is fully up, execute the command:
dd if=/path/to/sbm.img of=/dev/fd0
where /path/to is
/live/image/bootdisk for Clonezilla Live
/mnt/livecd/bootdisk for SystemRescueCD
2. From DOS [^]
You can get into any DOS (boot FreeDOS from the CD, for example), and use any of the following programs found in the rawrite folder of the CD:
- rawrite.exe: is just here for completeness, as it may be needed for someone
- rawrite2.exe: should be the fastest
- rawrite3.com: should work if rawrite2 fails for some reason
- fdimage.exe: rawrite alternative
I found these programms at the FreeDOS web site, where the following info is included:
Basic Usage (Rawrite):
Depending on the exact version, the output and command line support may vary, i.e. not work
MS-DOS prompt> RAWRITE
and follow the prompts, -or-
MS-DOS prompt> RAWRITE [-f
-n - don't prompt for user to insert diskette
-h - print usage information to stdout
The diskette must be formatted or rawrite will not work.
The contents of the disk do not matter and will be overwritten.
When ran interactively (without command line options) you will be prompted for the disk image filename (you must remember this as there is no file chooser).
You will also be prompted for the target/destination drive, either A or B for A: or B: respectively.
Basic Usage (FDImage):
fdimage is an updated DOS program meant to replace rawrite. It does not require a pre-formatted floppy diskette.
FDIMAGE - Write disk image to floppy disk
Version 1.5 Copyright (c) 1996-7 Robert Nordier
Usage: fdimage [-dqsv] [-f size] [-r count] file drive
-d Debug mode
-f size Specify the floppy disk format by capacity, eg:
160K, 180K, 320K, 360K, 720K, 1.2M, 1.44M, 2.88M
-q Quick mode: don't format the disk
-r count Retry count for format/write operations
-s Single-sector I/O
In order to write the image file to a pre-formatted diskette, execute the commands:
rawrite2 -f X:bootdisksbm.img -d b:
In order to write the image file and format the diskette at the same time, execute the commands:
fdimage -f 1.44M X:bootdisksbm.img b:
where X: is the drive name in DOS
3. From Windows [^]
The final alternative is to use Windows program rawwritewin.exe (found in the utils\rawrite folder of the CD), as shown in the following image: