The All In One Boot Floppy

“The Only Boot Floppy You Ever Need”
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Why yet another boot floppy?

There are several reasons why I created this floppy:

What will never be on this floppy

There will never be a "linux live system" like tomsrtbt on it. Those floppies all have a fundamental flaw: there is too much software needed to fit on a single floppy. Either there is no command completion, or no NTFS/SMB/ReiserFS/putyourfavouritefilesystemhere support, or there is no network driver for the PC you have to save your data from, ad infinitum. When you need a linux live system, use a CDROM based one like Knoppix or grml, and use this floppy to boot from your CDROM if your BIOS does not support it.

There will be no commercial software on this floppy (like MSCDEX.EXE from Microsoft) since putting it on would make distribution of the disk much harder, if not impossible. If you need those, customize the disk yourself (it uses a FAT12 filesystem that can be read by virtually every operating system). Proprietary freeware tools are no problem though.

Where can I download this floppy

Download the floppy image (1440 KB).

Download grub patch (1 KB) and all config files (11 KB, kind of source code).

Download the previous version

On Windows, use RawWriteWin to write it to a floppy. Linux users will know themselves how to use dd :-)

What is new in Version 1.0?

The following programs were removed:

The following programs were added:

The following programs were updated:

What does the floppy currently contain?

The current version (Version 1.0) contains the following:

How was this floppy created?

For creating floppies like this, it is very useful to have an I386 emulator like VirtualBox handy. This enables you to build floppy images on hard disk and test them without having to write them to slow floppies (and without having to reboot a lot).

If you don't have a physical floppy drive and are on a Windows system, having VFD is very useful since it allows you to create a virtual floppy drive that stores its data either in an image file.

For patching GRUB you will need a GNU/Linux or similar system, however if you don't need the eye candy on the splash screen, it should work with an unpatched GRUB as well.

Let's start with the 0.9 version of the floppy, and copy the latest version of the tools mentioned above to it. Everything except Smart Boot Manager and GRUB2 is available in precompiled form (for gPXE look at Rom-o-matic).

Download the sourcecode of Smart Boot Manager and the four patches from jhess in SourceForge's Patches forum and apply them. Also download apply my patch from the same location (numbered 5). For compilation on a Debian system you will need nasm and libucl-dev. When it is compiled, insert any scratch floppy (where there is nothing on it you still need) into the (virtual) floppy drive and run:
release/sbminst -l -f sbootmgr.lkr

You can discard the installed SBM on the floppy, just use the generated sbootmgr.lkr file.

Download Grub2 1.96 and compile it (./configure && make && make install, you know the drill. Note that make install will only install the helper binaries, not the boot loader). Then run:
grub-mkimage -p /boot/grub2 -o core.img biosdisk fat

Now just copy all the files in $PREFIX/lib/grub/i386-pc and core.img to /boot/grub2 on the floppy and add an entry to GRUB for loading GRUB2.

That's it for this version of the all in one boot floppy!

Contact me

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Michael Schierl, Ignaz-Baldauf-Str. 5, D-86551 Aichach, Germany