[syslinux] Strange MEMDISK problem with XP Bootfloppy images

Gordon J. Mills III Gordon.Mills at usa.net
Wed Mar 15 13:27:33 PST 2006

Hello all. I am pretty new to this list but I have looked through the
archives and did not see any reference to this problem. 

I have an MS-DOS boot floppy image that I am trying to load using MEMDISK.
The disk is simply a boot floppy made using XPSP2. I have tried it on 4
different machines, all Dells. PowerEdge 2650 Server, Latitude D610
Notebook, Optiplex GX280 Desktop and Optiplex GX520 Desktop. The boot is
successful on the server and laptop but somewhat unsuccessful on the
Optiplexes. The optiplexes have SATA drives but I don't know if that makes a

I say somewhat unsuccessful because through some trial-and-error I have
discovered that it will successfully boot the image on the 4th try. It will
try to boot and return:

Loading boot sector... booting...

Invalid system disk
Replace the disk, and then press any key

When I press the space bar to continue it goes back to the beginning of the
PXE boot (not a total reboot of the machine). I try again and get the same.
There is a bunch of info on the screen and I can send a txt file of it if
necessary. It does note in the "count" variable which try it is on. On the
4th try it is successful!

Is this possibly a MEMDISK problem? Or is it something to do with the PXE
code on the card??? The network cards in the optiplexes are Broadcom 57XX
series. I believe it is the same in the notebook. Not totally sure about the
server but I think it is also the same.

Since I couldn't get that to work I tried other avenues. I tried a FreeDOS
bootdisk and it worked fine every time! It even ran ghost which is what I
wanted. Now I am just curious as to why the XP/MSDOS boot disk would not

Has anyone else experienced the above? Any suggestions?

Gordon Mills

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