Where DocsBoot+ installs
Notes about operating
Notes about other boot
Notes about disc
DocsBoot+ is a boot manager. DocsBoot+ intercepts the boot process,
displays a menu of available partitions to boot, then boots the one
DocsBoot+ allows as many operating systems as you can have partitions, and
since it does not occupy a partition itself, DocsBoot+ does not reduce the
available number of partitions. DocsBoot+ supports booting operating systems
from any drive or class of partition they support (OS/2, for example, supports
booting from extended partitions, and some unixes support booting from the
secondary hard disc).
DocsBoot+ does not support multiple operating systems on a single
partition, as this situation can be quite dangerous. This is because in
order to change which operating system is to be booted, files must be moved
around in the boot process (if anything happens at this time, more than one
operating system can be rendered useless). Aside from this concern, there
is the problem of filesystem enhancements, like the OS/2 extended
attributes or the Win95 longnames, which can (and in many cases do) cause
problems with each other. There are no plans to support this function at
DocsBoot+ intercepts the boot process, and performs several functions
before it resumes the boot process. Among these functions are :
- Verify its own integrity
- Each time it loads, DocsBoot+ performs a complete self-test to be
certain all of its code and data are intact. If DocsBoot+ detects any
problems during this phase, it will display a message and request the
system be booted from a floppy disc. DocsBoot+ does not proceed to boot
the hard disc, because whatever corrupted it may have corrupted certain
system areas of the hard disc, and you may need to run some drive testing
or recovery software.
- Check for a boot sector
or MBR virus
- DocsBoot+ checks for anything which appears to be a boot sector virus (if it was booted from a floppy
disc) or an MBR virus (if it was booted from a hard disc).
DocsBoot+ uses a simple heuristic algorithm which should detect any virus which takes over the disc service request. If DocsBoot+
finds such a virus, it will attempt to
remove the virus, and restart the
system. DocsBoot+ does not protect against such a virus after the boot process, so you
should remain cautious about any possibility of such a virus. This function can be disabled
through the DocsBoot+ configuration program.
- Load extensions
- DocsBoot+ supports an extension system which allows it to have additional
functionality installed by merely copying files to a partition on your primary
hard disc. Extensions can be just about anything, from something which asks
for a password before it allows the system to boot, to a replacement menu for
DocsBoot+, to a disc BIOS emulator for a
SCSI host which does not have a
ROM on it, to whatever else can be
written so it complies with the extension interface. DocsBoot+ will load any
extensions after it has tested itself and checked for a
virus. This function
can be disabled through the DocsBoot+ configuration program.
- Provide an extension API
- DocsBoot+ provides an API to
extensions which allows for enhanced console I/O, limited filesystem I/O,
and several other functions, including the replacement of or addition to
functions included with DocsBoot+. The information about the extension API is now available to registered
- Display a menu
- DocsBoot+ displays a menu listing all the available partitions on your
system, then allow you to choose one to boot. The default DocsBoot+ menu (the
menu can be replaced by an extension) is a fairly simple menu which uses the
arrow keys to move a light-bar cursor to select the partition to boot, then the
enter key to boot a partition. The default menu also supports automatically
booting after a defined period of time. Many characteristics of the default
menu can be changed through the DocsBoot+ configuration program, or the menu
function can be disabled completely through the DocsBoot+ configuration
DocsBoot+ replaces your system's
MBR if it is installed on a hard disc,
and therefore occupies no normally used space, though an
RLL or newer drive with 26 sectors or
more per track is highly recommended. DocsBoot+ will still work on older
MFM and other 17 sector per track
drives, but there is no guarantee this will remain the case for long.
The hard disc location was chosen for several reasons. Among these : no
partition is needed for DocsBoot+, and DocsBoot+ is not dependent upon having
any particular type of partition on the system, and repartitioning does not
require reinstallation; DocsBoot+ does not take away from usable filesystem
space; DocsBoot+ does not intercept the boot at some late point, so it does not
have to keep files around with old boot sectors &c; DocsBoot+ can be easily
purged in an emergency (should it become corrupted or some other problem
occur). The hard disc location simplified the floppy disc code.
If DocsBoot+ is installed to a floppy disc, it must reformat the disc
(DocsBoot+ will occupy the first 9KB of the disc, including the
boot sector) and will have to
reformat the disc to install (this will erase any data already on the disc).
Unfortunately, the reformat will render the disc unusable to store files from
DOS (OS/2 and several other operating systems which use DOS-format discs can
still use it, though!). A floppy disc with DocsBoot+ installed should not be
used to store files, for the sake of compatibility with DOS.
DocsBoot+ is compatible with many popular operating systems (many of
these are trademarks of their respective owners). DocsBoot+ has been tested
with these operating systems :
- BSD Unix
- DocsBoot+ works properly with FreeBSD and NetBSD. No feedback has been
offered so far about how well it works with other BSD variants.
- DOS, various versions
- There have been no reported problems with DocsBoot+ and DOS, except DOS
refuses to boot from any drive other than A or C. A patch for DOS is in the
works, but may never come to be, since each version of DOS seems to handle the
boot slightly differently (or at least the bootstrap code changes enough to
make a generic patch very difficult). An easy way around this is to create two
or more primary partitions on the first hard disc, and hide all but one of
them, then install the version of DOS for that partition, unhide one of the
hidden ones, install, unhide, &c until you are finished. This may seem more
difficult than the `several versions of DOS or several different operating
systems from a single partition' method that some boot managers use, but it is
- DocsBoot+ works properly with Linux. You must install the LiLo program
to the boot block of the root partition.
- DocsBoot+ is reported to work properly with NeXTstep.
- Novell UnixWare
- DocsBoot+ supports Novell UnixWare version 1.1 quite well. Newer
versions of UnixWare also should be supported now.
- OS/2, versions 2.00 forward
- OS/2 seems to support the idea of booting from an arbitrary partition,
but IBM in their usually egotistical way managed to allow installation only
to drives other than C with their boot manager installed, which occupies
its own partition. DocsBoot+ includes information to make an OS/2 install
set install OS/2 to any desired partition.
- SCO unix
- DocsBoot+ has been reported to work properly with SCO unix.
- SCO UnixWare
- DocsBoot+ has been reported to work properly with SCO UnixWare v2.1.2.
- Also please see the entry for Novell UnixWare.
- SCO xenix
- DocsBoot+ has been reported to work properly with SCO xenix.
- Windows 9x (95,98,ME)
- This is really just a new version of Windows and DOS from MicroSoft,
and suffers the same problems as DOS (see the section above on DOS).
However, Win95 also introduces some odd behaviour of its own, which may
cause problems unless it is the FIRST operating system to be installed.
Win95 also (like WinNT) disables DocsBoot+ when it installs, but DocsBoot+
will work properly with Win95 if you reinstall it after you finish
- Windows NT (also 2000, 2003, XP)
- Windows NT seems to get along with DocsBoot+ quite well, but it may
disable DocsBoot+ during its install. If this happens, just reinstall
DocsBoot+ and things should work properly if this happens. DocsBoot+ comes
with a program which moves the NTBoot program to a different partition, so NT
can be booted directly from another drive.
- DocsBoot+ should work properly with just about anything else out there,
though there may be some exceptions.
other boot managers
DocsBoot+ will coexist with other boot managers which do not install to
However, DocsBoot+ may appear to disable bootmanagers, such as IBM's Boot
Manager, which install to their own partition. This is because DocsBoot+
normally sets the partition it boots as the bootable partition, implicitly
disabling these programs. If you decide to remove DocsBoot+, you will need
to set such a partition active before your other boot manager will work
again (this can be done easily by booting through the other boot manager
immediately before you remove DocsBoot+, or by setting the other boot
manager's partition active with an FDISK utility).
Also, certain boot managers, which install to the partition they manage,
will not appear if you boot other partitions. An example of this would be
the Linux boot manager, LiLo, which if installed to the Linux boot
partition will only appear when the Linux partition is booted.
DocsBoot+ and disc
DocsBoot+ should have no problem with any standard disc compression
routines. This is because DocsBoot+ does not attempt to do anything with the
compressed parts of compressed drives.
DocsBoot+ requires any extensions be located in the uncompressed part
of the drive, since it is unable to read the compressed parts. DocsBoot+ will
not allow extensions any access to the compressed parts of the drive, so all
their data and other files must be placed on the uncompressed part.
Disc compressors, while helpful in making your hard disc
appear larger, can theoretically prove dangerous under certain
conditions (for example, programs which access the disc directly, or a disc
that develops bad sectors). Some of the more modern disc compressors take
pains attempting to handle these problems, but Murphy always seems to win. We
suggest you use disc compressors with full caution, and keep regular backups,
whether you use DocsBoot+ or not.
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This page maintained by Zac Schroff.
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