FreeDOS flashdrive experiment

DOS specific questions.
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Joined: Dec 04, 2008 15:31

FreeDOS flashdrive experiment

Postby dasyar » Apr 13, 2019 13:37

Back, in the beginning of time, you basically had a PC unit which consisted of a CRT, the PC, and keyboard. The PC had one floppy drive, in most cases. After you installed MS-DOS, you could put in a blank floppy, do 'format A: /S', and you would have a bootable floppy disk. Now, you could take that floppy, go to another computer, insert the floppy, start up the PC, and you would have a "functional" PC unit, loosely speaking.

I was thinking, could you do a similar thing, with todays equipment, instead of a floppy, using a flash drive instead. I used rufus to create a flash drive with FreeDOS 1.2 on it. I have two computers for this experiment, and both have a UEFI BIOS. Neither one of the computers will do a straight forward boot up. The one computer, you have to the boot menu, which shows the flash drive, as a selection, choose that, and go forward. Yes, the computer starts up with FreeDOS working. The other computer UEFI does not show or allow you to boot from the inserted flash drive.

In this scenario I do have FreeBasic installed on the flash drive, you also have to have a config.sys that sets up the expanded memory, in order to be able to run FreeBasic. So far this seems to be working quite well, except for the initial boot sequence. I am still not sure how I can make the flash drive instantly bootable, in each and every computer.

The flash drive contains just about everything you can think of that is available with FreeDOS. Some preliminary test programs using FreeBasic, seem to be working as expected. One of the reasons that I created this is because I was trying to get a hassle free way, inserting a flash drive in a computer and maybe doing an fdisk command to free up a hard drive.
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Re: FreeDOS flashdrive experiment

Postby marcov » Apr 15, 2019 8:32

Afaik most UEFI systems come with "secure boot" enabled that doesn't allow them to boot unsigned files. This to kill such external bootdisks as virus source. (Note: I don't say I agree with that, but that is the justification).

In most systems you can turn this off in the UEFI firmware, and add external USB drives to the bootup list.

p.s. there was a lot of trouble in ye old days too, not everything was as simple as reliable as you describe it.
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Joined: Mar 03, 2019 4:09

Re: FreeDOS flashdrive experiment

Postby Richard_ » Nov 07, 2020 0:57

I am very late to this thread (my focus at present is with my topic "Beginner Help for DOS version").

I was able to rufus format a 16 GB flash drive and so now only BOOT from floppy (actually the usb stick) and get to c:\> prompt and run FreeBASIC DOS version (1.07) (also refer "Beginner Help for DOS version" thread).

I am new to using FreeBASIC (previously used MS PDS 7.1 (replacement for MS QB45) - PDS 7.1 was discontinued 30 years ago. It has been 30 years since I last customed AUTOEXEC.BAT and CONFIG.SYS - at present on my usb stick I have not done anything with these files.

So as it stands now, using FreeBASIC DOS booting from flash drive, I only have the C:\ drive (the usb stick itself - NO Windows), and no memory management (etc) whatsoever. As my previous efforts with AUTOEXEC.BAT etc are 30 years old (USB, etc was not around for me at the time) - would anyone care to share examples of AUTOEXEC.BAT and CONFIG.SYS and any drivers etc to get me "up to date" so that for instance I could have more drives available, CD+DVD, more accessible memory (than the 640kB), etc. Often when I Google search for things like this - more often than not the suggestions simply do not work for me?

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