Multibooter

Create a bootable CD/DVD from a set of floppies

39 posts in this topic

I have a set of 4 Dell Diagnostics floppies for my 10-year-old Inspiron 7500 laptop. The first floppy is bootable, and the diagnostics program is spread out on these 4 floppies. To run the Diagnostics, all 4 floppies have to be completely read in, only then can the hardware diagnostics be started. The boot floppy of the 4 floppies boots into Windows 95. [Version 4.00.950]

Because reading in 4 floppies is so time-consuming, the diagnostic floppies were hardly ever used. I have now repackaged/converted successfully these 4 floppies into both a bootable CD and a bootable DVD. The Dell Diagnostics now boot and load in about 40 seconds.

Creating a bootable CD/DVD from a single bootable floppy can be done quite easily with Nero Burning ROM. But creating a bootable CD from a set of floppies, one of of them being bootable, is a little more involved. Below are my notes on how I tackled this task, maybe these notes helps others facing a similar task, and there may be other better approaches. Of interest may be also the DOS DVD driver by Panasonic, which can be set to generic with the /C35 switch.

Here my notes on how to create a bootable CD from a set of floppies (i.e. from several floppies, 1 bootable floppy plus 1 or more other floppies).

1) create a folder "Application"

-> copy into this folder "Application" all the files and folders on the set of floppies ("Replace existing files?" -> No)

-> delete in the folder "Application" the boot files: command.com, io.sys and msdos.sys

2) create a folder "Startup_files"

if autoexec.bat or config.sys exist in folder "Application": -> copy these 2 files to folder "Startup_files"

-> edit in the folder "Startup_files" an existing autoexec.bat file (or add a new autoexec.bat file):

a) to create a bootable CD:

-> insert the following 2 lines before the application is called in autoexec.bat (e.g. before the line "delldiag.exe"):

A:\MSCDEX.EXE /D:oemcd001 /L:Y

Y:\

-> edit in the folder "Startup_files" an existing config.sys file (or add a new config.sys file):

-> add the following line at the end of config.sys: device=A:\oakcdrom.sys /D:oemcd001

-> copy the 2 files Oakcdrom.sys and Mscdex.exe into the folder "Startup_files"

b ) to create a bootable DVD:

-> insert in autoexec.bat in the folder "Startup_files" the following 2 lines before the application is called (e.g. before the line "delldiag.exe"):

A:\MSCDEX.EXE /D:MSCD000 /L:Y

Y:\

-> edit in the folder "Startup_files" an existing config.sys file (or create a new config.sys file):

-> add the following 2 lines at the end of config.sys:

DEVICE=A:\ATAPIMGR.SYS

DEVICE=A:\SR_ASPI.SYS /D:MSCD000 /C35

-> copy the 3 files ATAPIMGR.SYS, SR_ASPI.SYS and Mscdex.exe into the folder "Startup_files"

NOTE: I found the 2 files oakcdrom.sys and MSCDEX.EXE on other old bootable floppies

The possibly generic DOS DVD driver is by Panasonic and can be downloaded from: http://members.driverguide.com/driver/detail.php?driverid=42982 (log in/sign up first for a free account)

This DOS DVD driver is ancient (1997-1998), but works fine on my Mats***a UJ-815A (DVD-RAM burner) and older Samsung CDRW-DVD SN-324F in my 10-year-old Inspiron 7500 laptop

The switch "/C35" means "no check of vendor name"

NOTE: the application (e.g. delldiag.exe) will run from drive letter Y:, while the boot files are on A: (= the CD boot drive); the floppy drive has the drive letter B:

3) in the folder "Application": -> delete autoexec.bat and config.sys

4) run WinImage (e.g. v8.10.8100 under Win98) to create a bootable floppy disk image (e.g. "CD_boot_code.ima" or "DVD_boot_code.ima" )

from the bootable floppy disk (=floppy disk 1) plus autoexec.bat and config.sys, but not the application:

-> run WinImage:

-> insert bootable floppy disk #1 in floppy drive

-> Disk -> Read disk

in the image file window:

-> delete all files in the image except for the boot files command.com, io.sys and msdos.sys

NOTE: also delete autoexec.bat and config.sys in the image file window, their modified versions will be injected in the next step

NOTE: do NOT change the Label displayed by WinImage

-> drag and drop ("inject") all files from the folder "Startup_files" into the image file window

(autoexec.bat, config.sys, oakcdrom.sys [or ATAPIMGR.SYS and SR_ASPI.SYS], MSCDEX.EXE)

create a .ima image file of the floppy disk (i.e. without the files and directories of the application):

-> File -> Save As

-> change file type from .imz to .ima

-> enter file name (e.g. CD_boot_code.ima or DVD_boot_code.ima)

NOTE: this file CD_boot_code.ima or DVD_boot_code.ima has the size 1440 kB

-> exit WinImage

5) create with Nero Burning ROM the bootable CD/DVD:

-> insert blank CD or DVD

run Nero Burning ROM (e.g. v6.6.0.13 under Win98), in window New Compilation, in selector on the left:

-> select CD (or DVD) at the top

-> select CD-ROM (Boot) (or DVD-ROM (Boot)) (scroll down in selector at left, in the area with the icons)

a new tab Boot appears in window New Compilation, in tab Boot:

-> select Image file

-> enter path to the image file "CD_boot_code.ima" or "DVD_boot_code.ima" -> Browse -> Open

-> click on New button on left

-> drag and drop all files from folder "Application" to the burn window in Nero

-> change the CD/DVD label on left, e.g. to "DellDiag_1035"

-> Recorder -> Burn Compilation

in window Burn Compilation:

-> select Finalize CD/DVD

-> select lowest Write speed

-> select Buffer underrun protection [appears only when burning CD]

-> click on button Burn on right

This approach could possibly be also used to create a bootable rescue CD (=DOS version) from the 2 PartitionMagic v8.01.1312 rescue floppies.

Edited by Multibooter
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Interesting research, I wonder if it's possible to merge the contents of the two System Commander Utility Disks?

I looked at this briefly a few weeks ago, as I was doing some more work on my Windows DVD project (discussed and "debated" :whistle: in this thread).

My goal is to eventually build a DVD that I can use to install various Windows 9X versions and install all of my software that I use. It would be very helpful to have functional System Commander tools included on the DVD as well.

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Well, two floppies would fit into a single 2.88 MB diskette image. So you could image the 1st floppy with WinImage, then expand the image size to 2.88MB within WinImage, then inject the contents of the 2nd floppy into the image, save it as, say, SysCommBootDisk.IMA and use it as the standalone bootable floppy image for the creation of the CD/DVD, which would contain the installers. With some adjustments to the autoexec.bat and config.sys to add drivers for the CD/DVD, it should work, and be perhaps simpler than what Multibooter described, in that System Commander would be fully contained and launched directly from the el-Torito emulated floppy. Of course, if I were you, I'd use shsucdx, instead of mscdex... but I think this still is a matter where we agree to disagree. :D

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Of course, if I were you, I'd use shsucdx, instead of mscdex... but I think this still is a matter where we agree to disagree. :D

I disagree :ph34r: .

And I disagree totally. :w00t:

;)

Right now the best choice is to create a .ima or .img and use grub4dos (or memdisk) to map them to memory and have no "CD-like" device (and the need for MSCDEX or SHSUCDX).

EXPECIALLY if the program/whatever needs (or would be convenient to have) R/W access to the device.

I do presume that actual PC used do have enough RAM (me thinks 8 Mb enough, maybe 4 Mb :unsure:) :whistle:

jaclaz

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Excuse my ignorance, just out of curiosity, is it really a difference between CD and DVD or is it not between IDE and SATA optical drives?

+I laughed at way the vicious minded system censored your "Matsu_a". :D

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I wonder if it's possible to merge the contents of the two System Commander Utility Disks?
Possibly, but I haven't used the Boot Utility Disk or the Restart Disk in ages. When I have problems with System Commander, e.g. when some unruly software destroyed the System Commander boot code (i.e. when the menu for selecting operating systems doesn't come up anymore), I reboot with a plain DOS 6.22 or 7 boot floppy, then run c:\sc\scin.exe to restore System Commander. To access scin.exe in other situations, I reboot into a DOS opsys selection, then run scin.exe. What do you use these 2 floppies for?
... on my Windows DVD project (discussed and "debated" :whistle: in this thread).
I have seen your project, that's why I posted the info about the DOS DVD driver. Apparently the oakcdrom.sys driver only works with CD drives, not with DVD drives. The combo MSCDEX.EXE+oakcdrom.sys (for CDs) seems to work with the CD/DVD drives of all manufacturers. For accessing a DVD it looks like you need a manufacturer-specific DVD-drive driver. For example taisatap.sys works for Toshiba DVD drives, but not for other makes. In the absence of a generic DOS DVD-drive driver you would have to create a bootable DVD-ROM specifically for each DVD-drive; the bootable DVD-ROM would then work with brand A, but not with brand B. The possibly generic Panasonic driver may solve this problem in your project.

BTW, you can easily extract the floppy disk image (named "Arnes Boot Record.img" by Nero) inside the bootable CD/DVD with IsoBuster (e.g. v2.5.0.0 under Win98) and then inspect it with WinImage.

Edited by Multibooter
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is it really a difference between CD and DVD or is it not between IDE and SATA optical drives?
Very good question regarding IDE vs SATA.

I have just shoved the created bootable Dell Diagnostics DVD into my dual-core desktop, which has 2 DVD burners, one PATA (Liteon LH-20A1H186C), the other SATA (NEC ND3650A)

a) the created bootable DVD boots and runs fine on the Liteon PATA=IDE drive, i.e. the Panasonic DOS DVD driver also works with a Liteon

b ) the created bootable DVD booted Ok on the NEC SATA drive and the Panasonic DOS DVD drivers were processed Ok, but the Dell Diagnostics did NOT run on the SATA NEC drive:

Starting Windows 95...

loading the drivers Ok from A:

but then when the application part on the bootable DVD-ROM (Y:) was accessed for loading the Dell Diagnostics:

CDR101: Not ready reading drive Y

Abort, Retry, Fail?

So the Panasonic DOS DVD driver works Ok with IDE drives, but not with SATA drives. Maybe another little driver file is needed.

Addendum: I also booted in the NEC SATA drive from the bootable CD, the same error messages as with the bootable DVD. So there is definitely a SATA issue.

Edited by Multibooter
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two floppies would fit into a single 2.88 MB diskette image. So you could image the 1st floppy with WinImage, then expand the image size to 2.88MB within WinImage, then inject the contents of the 2nd floppy into the image
2.88 MB seem to be the limit. During my experimentation I had created a 5.76 MB custom image of the 4 floppies, then tried to have Nero swallow it. Nero actually burnt the CD, but it didn't work. When I then tried to create with Magic ISO a bootable CD image with this 5.76 MB custom image, Magic ISO crashed.
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Yes, but if you can use a 2.88 El-torito floppy emulation boot image as dencorso suggested, you don't need to access the "CD/DVD" part at all.

If the BIOS supports the device as bootable, it will work.

As well "my" "no limits" suggestion with memory mapping should work on most hardware (provided that BIOS correctly detects it).

There is even a "third" - still "no limits" way - using hard disk emulation at the CD, but a lot of oldish machines may have probelms with this kind of El-Torito emulation (and a few newish ones too).

For SATA you need gcdrom.sys:

http://www.911cd.net/forums//index.php?showtopic=18722

Still active site:

http://sourceforge.net/projects/cdromdosdrv/

@Multibooter

Yes, the 2.88 US the limit of the El-torito specifications, anything "bigger" goes as "Hard disk emulation".

And as suggested n times by now, both MagicISO and Nero are not the best choices available (mkisofs and imgburn are), with the first ones you don't really know WHAT they do, whilst with the second ones you have total control.

jaclaz

Edited by jaclaz
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Well, two floppies would fit into a single 2.88 MB diskette image. So you could image the 1st floppy with WinImage, then expand the image size to 2.88MB within WinImage, then inject the contents of the 2nd floppy into the image, save it as, say, SysCommBootDisk.IMA and use it as the standalone bootable floppy image for the creation of the CD/DVD, which would contain the installers. With some adjustments to the autoexec.bat and config.sys to add drivers for the CD/DVD, it should work, and be perhaps simpler than what Multibooter described, in that System Commander would be fully contained and launched directly from the el-Torito emulated floppy. Of course, if I were you, I'd use shsucdx, instead of mscdex... but I think this still is a matter where we agree to disagree. :D

Yep. :)

I'll give this a try whenever I get my test systems back up and running.

+I laughed at way the vicious minded system censored your "Matsu_a". :D

Yes, that was great. :lol:

What do you use these 2 floppies for?

Actually I don't use them either, it was just an idea. I've always just used the bootable CD if I had problems. The reason I took interest in the disks is I wanted to be able to add the System Commander DOS tools to my DVD project without actually sacrificing my current boot image. I was trying to figure out what files were needed from the disks to be able to run System Commander from the DVD, sort of like how the required files for running Partition Magic and Drive Image in DOS are listed here.

I did some experimenting with taking files from the disks, but ended up with a lot of errors. I have devised a temporary workaround by extracting the boot image of the bootable CD, extracting the files from it to a folder on my DVD and calling the tools from inside it manually. Still has a few bugs, I will elaborate further when I have recovered all of my work. (Hard drive problems on my main testing machine.)

I have seen your project, that's why I posted the info about the DOS DVD driver. Apparently the oakcdrom.sys driver only works with CD drives, not with DVD drives. The combo MSCDEX.EXE+oakcdrom.sys (for CDs) seems to work with the CD/DVD drives of all manufacturers. For accessing a DVD it looks like you need a manufacturer-specific DVD-drive driver. For example taisatap.sys works for Toshiba DVD drives, but not for other makes. In the absence of a generic DOS DVD-drive driver you would have to create a bootable DVD-ROM specifically for each DVD-drive; the bootable DVD-ROM would then work with brand A, but not with brand B. The possibly generic Panasonic driver may solve this problem in your project.

:unsure:

I have never had a problem accessing a DVD with MSCDEX.EXE or OAKCDROM.SYS, no matter what brand of DVD drive I used. I have LiteOn, TDK, and Sony drives and I've used my DVD in all three. Unless a different driver is being loaded... (I think there are some other *CDROM.SYS files on my disk, but they were all on the standard Windows 98 SE Boot Disk that I started with, I haven't added any other drivers.)

2.88 MB seem to be the limit. During my experimentation I had created a 5.76 MB custom image of the 4 floppies, then tried to have Nero swallow it. Nero actually burnt the CD, but it didn't work. When I then tried to create with Magic ISO a bootable CD image with this 5.76 MB custom image, Magic ISO crashed.

I like MagicISO, and I still use it for editing pre-created ISO's, but after my previous experience I no longer trust it to create a bootable ISO on it's own. I use ImgBurn for this.

In my FIX95CPU thread, RLoew mentioned that it was possible to create a 36MB Bootable Floppy Image on CD/DVD. I don't know what tools he used for this, maybe he can elaborate on it for us.

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For SATA you need gcdrom.sys... http://sourceforge.net/projects/cdromdosdrv/

gcdrom.sys is inside ODD DOS driver v2.4 in the above link

I have created another bootable Dell Diagnostics DVD-ROM with gcdrom.sys instead of the Panasonic driver. Unfortunately it didn't work, neither on my old Inspiron laptop (old IDE burners) nor on my dual-core desktop (more recent IDE and SATA burners). When booting I always got the msg:

Starting Windows 95...

GCDROM DOS Driver v2.4, 2-6-2007

Driver name is "MSCD000".

No CD-ROM drive to use; GCDROM not loaded!

MSCDEX.EXE /D:MSCD000 /D:MSCD001 /L:Y

Device driver not found: 'MSCD000'

No idea why gcdrom.sys doesn't work. Perhaps it doesn't work with the Win95 command.com or io.sys of 11-Jul-1995 9:50 AM

The description of ODD DOS driver at http://sourceforge.net/projects/cdromdosdrv/ states:

Operating System: 32-bit MS Windows (NT/2000/XP)

So the Panasonic driver still seems to be the best choice, even if it doesn't work properly with SATA DVD drives.

Edited by Multibooter
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In my FIX95CPU thread, RLoew mentioned that it was possible to create a 36MB Bootable Floppy Image on CD/DVD. I don't know what tools he used for this, maybe he can elaborate on it for us.

I was able to create 36MB Floppy Images (1024 Cylinders, 2 Heads, 36 Sectors per track) and make Bootable CDs/DVDs.

I created a Hard Disk Partition of this size, filled it with the files I wanted and then Imaged it.

I wrote my own CD/DVD Burner that allowed me to specify 2.88MB Floppy Emulation instead of Hard Disk Emulation.

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I was trying to figure out what files were needed from the disks to be able to run System Commander from the DVD... I did some experimenting with taking files from the disks, but ended up with a lot of errors
I doubt you'll get it to work. The people at V-Communications were obsessed with copy-protection and created a hard-to-pierce black box. The installation CD of v9 has directory levels nested to the maximum to make it harder to create an installation source. Old v5 (2000) came on a floppy, and the original floppy was modified during installation with the boot record of the HDD, so after installation your original floppy was not a virgin anymore. I always installed from a dcf copy of the original floppy. Who knows what traps they built into the installation source. Nevertheless, System Commander is great, it works fine for me.
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I was able to create 36MB Floppy Images (1024 Cylinders, 2 Heads, 36 Sectors per track) and make Bootable CDs/DVDs. I created a Hard Disk Partition of this size, filled it with the files I wanted and then Imaged it. I wrote my own CD/DVD Burner that allowed me to specify 2.88MB Floppy Emulation instead of Hard Disk Emulation.
I just created with GRDuw v4.1.17 (excellent software, Italy's best, only for Win98, not for WinXP) an 86.0MB floppy disk image .ima (176186 sectors, setting: skip empty tracks) of a 100MB zip disk (Windows and Mac zip 100 tools disk) in the removable left-bay ATAPI module of my 10-year-old Inspiron 7500 laptop, seen by My Computer as "Zip 100" A: 3 1/2 Floppy Disk. When I de-selected the setting "Skip empty tracks" the created .ima image file was 95.9MB [100.646.400 bytes, 196.575 sectors].

WinImage could not create a .ima file of the 100MB zip disk. No idea how good or useful this .ima image created by GRDuw is. When I double-click on this huge .ima file, WinImage comes up (after having set in tab Image the Size limit for image loaded in memory to 100.000 kB)) with the msg: "Error. You are trying to open a hard disk image without a FAT or FAT32 partition".

GRDuw looks like a potential tool for archiving my zip disks, but that's another topic. Eureka! MagicISO can extract files Ok from this huge .ima file via drag and drop, UltraISO only via extract. So GRDuw and Magic ISO look like a good combo for archiving zip disks. GRDuw can read and write .ima files to the physical zip drive, MagicISO can display the content of the created .ima file and add, delete and extract files in the .ima image. Is GRDuw the only software which can create an image file of a zip disk?

No idea of what settings one would have to enter in Nero to create a bootable CD/DVD from the 86.0MB .ima file.

Edited by Multibooter
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[No idea of what settings one would have to enter in Nero to create a bootable CD/DVD from the 86.0MB .ima file.

Again, the problem is with El-Torito standards.

There are three of them:

  1. El-Torito floppy emulation (ONLY accepts floppy images, and ONLY 1.2, 1.55 and 2.88 in size)
  2. El-Torito no-emulation
  3. El-Torito hard disk emulation (ONLY accepts HD images)

Whether a motherboard BIOS would actually support booting from all of them is debatable, #1 is the usual "DOS" way, #2 is the usual MS WIndown NT way, so they are largely supported.

#3 is the less used and may fail in BIOS (but this can be normally overcome by good ol' BCDL), see here:

http://www.boot-land.net/forums/index.php?showtopic=3890&st=9

http://www.boot-land.net/forums/index.php?showtopic=3890&st=46

AND there is always the hybrid CD methods.

See here for some reference:

http://www.boot-land.net/forums/index.php?showtopic=9916&hl=

IOMEGA ZIP formats is another problem, there are actually TWO of them, HD-like and "superfloppy".

See here for some reference:

http://www.boot-land.net/forums/index.php?showtopic=12436&hl=

I cannot see why it shouldn't be possible to burn a HD-like ZIP as HD-emulation CD.

Using superfloppies needs to be tested AFAIK. :unsure: (unless the rloew tool is available)

jaclaz

Edited by jaclaz
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