[syslinux] RE: Strange MEMDISK problem with XP Bootfloppy images

Gordon J. Mills III Gordon.Mills at usa.net
Thu Mar 16 08:05:19 PST 2006

NAZO Wrote:
	I understand.  The hardware thing was just me checking, kind of like
how one of my word processing teachers back in high school used to joke that
when someone reported a computer problem her first response was to ask "did
you check to make sure it's plugged in?"  It's easy to forget the
fundamental little things in favor of the big things like the question "is
my PSU broken?" may kind of overshadow one like "is the plug loose in the
	That said, what does the XP disk do that FreeDOS won't?  Have you
tried using another MSDOS based disk with the same files (you can probably
still grab an image from bootdisk.com, but, the site isn't what it used to
be so it's getting more useless every day)?  I'm thinking you can toss
anything that won't work in FreeDOS on a different (hopefully more cleanly
made) MSDOS disk and it will likely work where the one you have issues with
fails.  Actually, any floppy image made from Windows 95b (or 98) up should
work (or even DOS 6.22 if you don't need FAT32 or large drive support in
fdisk since the 6.22 version doesn't support that I think.)
	My guess is Mr. Anvin is correct.  I'm willing to bet that the
generated floppy probably has issues in it's boot sector or something.  The
main thing is, the fact that it had to retry made me think first of what you
might get if you had an unreliable medium, but, then, you are running via
network, so I discarded the first thought in favor of a more hardware
related thing.  If he is correct, it seems very likely to me that if you
could attempt [SYS/EXT/ISO]Linux with the same memdisk and boot floppy image
and, in theory, it should probably reproduce the issue since it seems like
it's after it switches to memdisk that the problem shows up.  If nothing
else, should it show up only in PXELinux, that sounds like a pretty
important detail to me. 

I happen to have some images of win95 and win98 boot disks. I gave them a
try. The win95 took 4 tries to boot also. The win98 never booted. Perhaps
there is a problem with that image, I didn't try it as a floppy.

I definitely understand your arguments about looking at other
causes...."don't rule out the impossible". I decided to send this problem to
the list to see if anyone else had experienced this problem. I did not find
anything on google. Also I figured it might be something in MEMDISK that Mr.
Anvin might recognize and quickly fix. It looks like neither is the case. 

That said, so far there is nothing that the FreeDOS disk won't do that
MS-DOS will. I only wanted to get it to PXE a DOS disk to run ghost at the
moment. Like I said, I only submitted it to the list to see if there was
some info I could get on it (and of course that it got under my skin and I
wanted to get it to work). Also, if it was some issue with MEMDISK then Mr.
Anvin could fix it. Obviously he feels that it is not a problem with MEMDISK
and the problem lies somewhere else.

Anyhow, its been good to get some more info on the problem.

Thanks to all.


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