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FreeDOS Live-CD modifications made easy

FreeDOS is an open source project and covers an open version of MS-DOS. It can be used free of charge but it's GPL licensed.
FreeDOS is - at least - MS-DOS 3.3 compatible. But it even supports FA32 and Long File Names.

FreeDOS can be downloaded as an installation package, but also as a Live-CD (this bootable CD can be used as a base for forensic tools or virus scanner, too).

At the moment, the FreeDOS Live-CD is not usable with modern PC hardware with SATA CD drives.
But modifying the .iso Image isn't really difficult.
You have to use a tool like WinImage or better, UltraISO, to edit the .iso file without rebuilding the whole CD from scratch.
After loading the ISO image of the CD, navigate to folder isolinux, then down to data - you should be able to see something like this:

Extract the file e.g. by drag and drop to the Desktop (or your favorite place), then rename it to fdboot.img.gz (so WinRAR or an other tool can be easily used to expand the file).
Expand the file fdboot.img.gz with an windows archiver or with gzip -d {filename}.
You should get a file named 'image'. Rename it to 'image.img'.
This is the unpacked, bootable floppy image (360KB).
Now you can use WinImage to extract and later replace files.

In Folder 'driver', you can place GCDROM.SYS, a SATA DOS CD driver.
Alternatively, try DELLs extcd.sys at their special DOS driver page.
In the root directory, you can extract 'fdconfig.sys', that's the equivalent of 'config.sys' of the original MS-DOS.
Now add in 'fdconfig.sys' a menu command line below the '5.':

MENU    6. FreeDOS Live CD with SATA-CD driver

and after the line with the 'XCDROM.SYS' command, enter:

6?!DEVICEHIGH=A:\DRIVER\GCDROM.SYS /D:FDCD0000

You have to modify then in folder 'freedos' also 'FDAUTO.BAT' (strange but true, this file is a unix text file without 'Carriage Return'). In line# 6, add a number:

for %%X in ( 3 4 5 6 ) do if "%config%"=="%%X" goto livecd

Replace both above mentioned files at their original place (can be done easily with WinImage again just by drag and drop). Save the 'image.img' file.

Rename it to 'image' only (without file extension) and repack it with gzip.
Rename the resulting file 'image.gz' to 'fdboot.img'.

Replace the original 'fdboot.img' in the ISO file with the new one (easily done with UltraISO for example again with drag and drop).

Instead of doing this by yourself, you can download also a ready modified 'fdboot.img' zipped here.

Save the ISO file and burn it. Your SATA CD compatible Live-CD is ready.

This can be done for USB CD-ROM drives in a similar manner, too.
There was a Panasonic driver page, but you can still find it at pctipps.ch.
This is an executable, but you can open it with WinRAR instead of executing it.
Look for a folder named 'F2H'. There are two important files:
USBASPI.SYS
       and
USBCD.SYS
Take these two files and place them like above described for 'GCDROM.SYS' in the 'driver' folder of the Live-CD. Modify 'FDCONFIG.SYS' also:
... DEVICEHIGH=A:\DRIVER\USBASPI.SYS /v /w /e
... DEVICEHIGH=A:\DRIVER\USBCD.SYS /D:FDCD0000
If you like, modify 'FDAUTO.BAT' again, like above already mentioned.

Btw. Some hints for using USB devices with DOS can be found >here<, too.

 

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Copyright (c) 2005-2011 Peter Dassow. All rights reserved.

peter.dassow@NOSPAM.z80.eu