Thursday, December 04, 2008

Ever used a boot floppy?

I don't believe a lot of people use boot floppies these days but I found a need for one today. I was trying to boot to BeOS R5 on the Dell and found I needed a boot floppy for the initial boot which would then lead to an install and no further need for the floppy.
To create to floppy was surprisingly easy given that it must be at least 6 years since I even touched a floppy disk.
I found a few old used disks lying around the house and inserted one into the floppy drive on the Dell (only two of our seven computers have floppy drives and I really don't think I've ever used the Dell floppy drive before).
After that I got the floppy.img from the unzipped BeOS4Linux and dd'ed to the floppy drive using

dd if=floppy.img of=/dev/fd0 bs=512 conv=sync; sync

so, then I set up the BIOS to boot first from the floppy drive and rebooted. A very nice boot screen for BeOS showed up that proceeded until I got a boot failure message saying that no BeOS image was found. this was despite having installed in /dev/sda12
I then saw some comments mentioning that BeOS can't deal with high RAM ( apparently high is anything over 256 MB.
So, maybe I'll try and install BeOS on the very old Dell with 2x10GB HDDs and 256 MB of RAM. Usefully, it also has a floppy drive.

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