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Copyright 2019, Southern California OS/2 User Group. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

SCOUG, Warp Expo West, and Warpfest are trademarks of the Southern California OS/2 User Group. OS/2, Workplace Shell, and IBM are registered trademarks of International Business Machines Corporation. All other trademarks remain the property of their respective owners.

The Southern California OS/2 User Group
P.O. Box 26904
Santa Ana, CA 92799-6904, USA

May 2006


Using bootAble

As Presented in April 2006 at SCOUG

by Harry Chris Motin

For your convenience, Using bootAble is also available as multiple pages of html, especially good for use as a presentation. You can download the zip file, unzip it in its own directory, and start by opening the page index_content.html in your browser.

Introduction: What Is bootAble?

bootAble is an REXX script to create a bootable CD/DVD or a maintenance partition for OS/2 and eCS:

  • Prompt-driven script, enabling you to configure everything to your tastes and needs
  • Can save results to a configuration file, eliminating need to respond to prompts for the next CD/DVD or partition

CD/DVD or partition has sufficient facilities to:

  • Manage your system
  • Recover your system

Highlights and capability:

  • Interactive (prompt-driven) build of configuration files
  • Floppy-emulation and no-floppy-emulation boot methods
  • Boot to the Workplace Shell (WPS) or the commandline
  • Support for FAT, FAT32, HPFS, HPFS386, NTFS, JFS, CDFS, UDF and LVM
  • Support for IDE, SCSI, USB, mouse, serial and parallel ports
  • Support for REXX and Object REXX
  • Support for TCP/IP networking and DHCP
  • Support for NETBIOS, NETBIOS over TCP/IP and Peer
  • Support for several, native OS/2 (eCS) programs:
    • 4OS/2 command shell
    • Acrobat Reader, version 3
    • Back Again/2000
    • Dfsee
    • DOIP
    • DragText, version 3.8
    • eCS Archive Viewer
    • EMX runtime
    • Extra OS/2 utilities
    • Firefox
    • Injoy, versions 2.3 and 3.0 (firewall not included)
    • Java 1.31
    • Mozilla
    • Norman Anti Virus
    • PMdll
    • PMView
    • SPF (a look-alike IBM mainframe editor)
    • TCP/IP 4.1 + firewall
    • Unimaint
    • USB resource tool
    • XWorkplace

Downloading bootAble and Associated Files

Go to http://www.xs4all.nl/~hrbaan/ and view the documentation. Then, download the appropriate files:

  • Latest bootAble distribution (now at version 4.3):
  • SIO2K patch, if desired (patch for UART or SIO driver trap)
  • Memdisk files, if desired (support for no floppy emulation boot method)
  • Other files or distributions, if desired

Recommend unzipping each of the above into separate folders:

  • Easier to update your bootAble system as different parts of the distribution are separately changed
  • Use the "ADDTOSEARCHPATH" variable to inform bootAble where to find these separate folders (the script will prompt you for this)
  • See example of folder layout, immediately below

    C:\bootAble\ (unzip the bootAble distribution here)

    • Archives\
      • bootAble\ (store the bootAble zip file here)
      • bos2rexx\ (store the bootos2 zip file here)
      • Memdisk\ (store the Memdisk zip file here)
      • Unicode_and_HPFS386\ (store the loaddll, tar and untar zip files here)
    • bos2rexx\ (unzip the bootos2 zip file here)
    • Memdisk\ (unzip the Memdisk zip file here)
    • Unicode_and_HPFS386\ (unzip the loaddll, tar and untar zip files here)

Creating a bootAble CD/DVD or Maintenance Partition

Two (2) basic ways to run bootAble:

  1. First time run:
    • Using a new bootAble distribution
    • Creating a new bootAble configuration file:
      • A configuration file is your saved responses to the prompts
      • Therefore, you do not have to respond to prompts the next time you run bootAble
      • Instead, run it with your configuration file as a parameter
      • File can contain other desirable things, such as commands to copy personalized programs, scripts and the like to the CD/DVD or partition
      • Question: why create more than one (1) configuration file; Answer: to boot your system up differently, perhaps as a hedge against future system configuration problems:
        • Boot to WPS with Object REXX, networking and Peer
        • Boot to WPS with Object REXX, no networking or Peer
        • Boot to a commandline with Object REXX
        • Boot to a commandline without Object REXX
  2. Using an existing bootAble configuration file:
    • Place updated programs on the CD/DVD or partition
    • Place updated drivers there
    • Configuration file manually modified to add more functionality

First time run:

  • Open a commandline in the folder where you unzipped the bootAble distribution
  • Type and enter "bootAble.cmd" (without the quotes)
  • "bootAble.cmd" calls the configuration file, "bootAble.cfg", which in turn prompts you for how you want to set up your CD/DVD or partition
  • Respond to the prompts (usually requiring "Y" for "Yes", or "N" for "No")
  • Possibly save results into a new configuration file
  • A small number of responses will not be saved to the configuration file:
    • Therefore, will have to respond to those prompts again, when you run using the configuration file
    • You can fix that by manually editing the configuration file and placing your desired responses in it
    • Use your configuration file as a guide for the proper command syntax

Using an existing configuration file:

  • Open a commandline in the folder where you unzipped the bootAble distribution
  • Type and enter a command to run bootAble with a configuration file. The syntax is:
  • bootAble.cmd [/v < verbose >] [< configuration file >|/@< configuration-list-file > ...]
  • The optional arguments are the verbosity level and one or more configuration files
  • The verbosity levels are for error checking and debugging; they are as follows:
    • 1 = Progress messages
    • 2 = Files copied and files parsed
    • 4 = Config file parsing
    • 8 = INI rc file parsing
    • 64 = Error output of external commands
    • 128 = All external command output
    • Add the numbers together to combine levels (example: 195 = progress messages, files copied and files parsed, error output of external commands and all external command output)
  • The configuration files override the defaults specified in "bootAble.cfg"
  • The special form, /@configuration-list-file, results in the content of a configuration list file to be used to list additional configuration files

    If the file, "bootAble.wpslst1", contains the lines:

         bootAble.ba2k
         bootAble.mozilla
         bootAble.norman
             
    Then, the command:
         bootAble.cmd /v 67 bootAble_WPS.Mycfg /@bootAble.wpslst1
             
    Produces the same results as the command:
         bootAble.cmd /v 67 bootAble_WPS.Mycfg bootAble.ba2k bootAble.mozilla bootAble.norman
             

Testing Your CD/DVD or Partition

Of critical importance is that you thoroughly test each CD, DVD or partition. The following are some questions and concerns.

  1. Does the CD/DVD or partition boot up fully and without errors?
  2. If you have disk autocheck support, does chkdsk work properly and clear errors from a dirty shutdown?
  3. If you have WPS support:
    • Does the mouse work?
    • Do you have access to every program?
    • Does any program partially, or fully, open off screen? If so, can use use keyboard sequences to fix it?
    • Can you use keyboard sequences to operate program menu choices?
  4. If you have commandline boot:
    • Can you open and run each commandline program?
    • Can you use keyboard sequences to operate program menu choices (Back Again/2000 crash recovery utility is a good example to test)?
  5. If you have a system crash recovery program:
    • Can you operate it fully and completely to recover
    • Test recovering a non bootable partition or disk:
      • If something goes wrong, you can restore it later, using your normally booted system
      • Of course, you have previously tested your capability to do that from your fully up system

My experiences with Back Again/2000:

  • Commandline crash recovery program, baiicr.exe:
    • Executed from Back Again crash recovery diskettes:
      • Balked when restoring the desktop files:
        • Stopped with an error
        • Shutting it down was the only recourse available
        • Computer Data Strategies (CDS), now Intradyn, could not provide a solution
      • My workaround:
        • Excluded the desktop directory from my Back Again system backups
        • Used Sentry (a GammaTech product) to make generation backups of the desktop (you can also use UniMaint)
        • Restored the boot partition as a two (2) step process, using Back Again backups and the separately created desktop backups
        • Had a REXX script (and a separate OS/2 commandline batch file) to help automate the process
    • Run under the bootAble CD system:
      • Balked when restoring my booting partition
      • It successfully restored a non-booting partition
      • Why?? Unknown!!
  • WPS program, baii.exe (Back Again/2000, version 3), executed from a bootAble CD/DVD:
    • Program requires the back up file to be listed in the Back Again catalog library before it can be used for a restore
    • Normally, Back Again will allow you to retrieve a back up not listed in the catalog:
      • Search for the desired file, using the file browse facility
      • Select the file; Back Again will then list it in the catalog
      • From there you can select it to partially or fully restore
    • Problem is that Back Again writes the information to the "catalogs" directory of the Back Again installation on your hard drive (I think!!)
    • Therefore, you need the Back Again system already residing in its usual place, on your hard drive, before you can restore your files, or system
    • If Back Again exists there, the program will then run from the bootAble CD
    • The bootAble configuration file for Back Again now as an attempted fix for the above (do not know if it is of any help):
      • Back Again logs are included on the CD/DVD or partition
      • Catalogs are included
      • Back Again sets are included
  • I've been told Back Again/2000, version 4, requests user registration information, when run from the bootAble CD/DVD??

Summary and Conclusions

bootAble is a powerful tool, enabling you to easily:

  • Perform system maintenance
  • Recover from system crashes
  • Perform partial restores

The setup is easy and flexible:

  • Prompt-driven script
  • Configure everything to your tastes and needs
  • Support for several native OS/2 (eCS) programs

You should thoroughly test each CD, DVD or partition soon after creation.

Acknowledgements

Hayo Baan:

  • bootAble is a first class and well documented product
  • Dedication to product quality and response to customer issues is first rate

Doug Bissett:

  • Developed configMaker tool to ease creation of the config files and command-line parameters (as included in the .wpi package)
  • Developed configuration files for several supported programs, including Back Again/2000 and Norman Anti Virus

Sandy Shapiro:

  • Lent use of his laptop for this demonstration
  • Tested this everything beforehand
  • Lent his knowledge and experience to everything

SCOUG


The Southern California OS/2 User Group
P.O. Box 26904
Santa Ana, CA 92799-6904, USA

Copyright 2006 the Southern California OS/2 User Group. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

SCOUG, Warp Expo West, and Warpfest are trademarks of the Southern California OS/2 User Group. OS/2, Workplace Shell, and IBM are registered trademarks of International Business Machines Corporation. All other trademarks remain the property of their respective owners.