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Plop Boot Manager News


This is a small online documentation with news and some background infos about the work.

Manual - Download the Boot Manager

Tue 15/Apr/2013

Plop Boot Manager 5.0.15-test updates

PCMCIA plpbt.bin: Disabling of PCMCIA with plpcfgbt fixed

Install program: Text updates
Install program: Boot Manager uninstall is now using the MBR of LILO. The previous uninstall MBR had problems if the boot sector of the boot partition is after 8GB

InstallToMBR.bat: Text update

Tue 11/Feb/2012

Plop Boot Manager 5.0.14 minor update

The "z" hotkey to enable/disable the window zoom animation was not enabled. Now it works

Tue 07/Feb/2012

Plop Boot Manager 5.0.14 released

  • Bugfix: Microsoft Virtual PC boot freeze fixed.

  • Bugfix: USB driver webcam freeze fixed.

  • Bugfix: Strange freeze on boot window opening fixed.

  • New parameter for plpbt.bin: showextended=yes displays extended partitions in the main menu. plpcfgbt updated.

  • New Tool: plpmkboot - make FAT12/16/32 file system bootable to native start plpbt.bin. Linux and Windows version.

  • Experimental version: USB driver support for 4K sectors on the usb drive

  • Documentation reorganized

  • I changed the licence back to free for commercial use.


Wed 07/Dec/2011

This evening, I took some time to figure out why my boot manager hangs on the Asus EeePC 1215T. There are 2 reasons:

  1. I discovered, that the EHCI Host reset does not work when the "Boot Booster" (skipping bios device detection) is active. When the "Boot Boster" is not active, the the reset works. I don't know how to fix this. When you want to use the boot manager usb option, then the workaround is to disable the booster in the bios.

  2. The Asus EeePC 1215T has a webcam and it has the same hang problem like many other laptops with an internal webcam. The good info is, I figured out and fixed the problem. When I release a new version, then webcams are no longer a problem.


Fri 16/Sep/2011

plpbt-5.0.13.zip updated

Updates:

  • Boot manager installer: The wrong hard disk size info of hard disks smaller than 1GB and hard disks bigger than 2TB fixed.

  • InstallToBootMenu.bat and InstallToMBR.bat: File not found on Vista and Windows 7 fixed.

  • plpbt4win: More debug output infos added. boot.ini files that are not on drive C are now supported.

Sun 14/Aug/2011

Plop Boot Manager 5.0.13 released

New tool: plpbt4win

Boot manager updates:

  • 80386 bugfix: The boot manager didn't start on the good old 80386 processor. Its fixed now.

  • plpbt.bin HDA partition 2 boot bugfix: This was a strange bug. On the most PC's it was not reproduceable. On one reported PC it freezes the computer. On a few other PC's it removes the partition entry in the MBR. I was never able to reproduce the bug, however, its fixed now.

  • plpbt.bin does no longer show extended partitions. Too many people don't know their partition layout and they are surprised why the unprepeared extended partition does not boot. So i simply no longer display those entries.

  • A new feature has been added. When you press the "q" key in the main menu, then you can start the MBR code of the first internal hard disk with the first option.

Boot manager installer updated:

  • The installer shows now the size and when possible the type of the destination drive. When an usb drive is detected as destination drive, then an info blinks red to warn the user. This should avoid the installation to the wrong drive when booting from usb. In the menu to select the destination drive, you will also see the size and type info of all detected drives.

  • The look of the interface has been changed. Some people will hate it, but I love it :)

plpbt4win 0.1 released:

A new powerful tool for windows users. It can be used in batch mode or with the builtin command line. It comes with 2 batch files. Windows people only have to start the batch file to add the boot manager to the windows boot menu. plpbt4win works with boot.ini and bcdedit. It makes it also easy to remove the boot manager entry from the windows boot menu. plpbt4win is a full replacement of plpgenbtldr. Fragmented bin files are no longer a problem. The loader has been rewritten to support fragmented bin files. contig is no longer needed. Read more in the documentation.

plpbtrom 0.6 released:

New parameter added: Some bios need a fixed rom size. You can set a required size of the rom with the -size parameter. For example -size 64k or -size 128k and so on.

plpcfgbtGUI 0.3 released:

Fixed typo.

Zip reorganized:

Linux and Windows executables are now in separate directories. All Linux and Windows related tools are in the zip file.


Some parts of the documentation are not updated, but all necessary infos are available.

Maybe 5.0.14 comes soon. There are still a few things that have to be done for the 5.0.x series.

Wed 10/Aug/2011

The new boot manager version 5.0.13 is included in the new Plop Linux release 4.1.2. The official release of 5.0.13 will be in the next days. Before I release the new version, I want to add a small built in command line to plpbt4win. I hope I can free a few hours in the next days.

Wed 03/Aug/2011

plpbt4win 0.1-test2 released

The first test release had problems with Windows 7 (64bit). Thanks to Raymond M. for testing. It's fixed now.

Mon 01/Aug/2011

I received the absolutely first donation. Thanks.

plpbt4win 0.1-test released

plpbt4win makes it easy to add/remove the boot manager from the windows boot menu. The program can work with the boot.ini and with bcdedit. It automatically detects the required method. The program is available in the boot manager download area.

I tested the program on WinXP and Vista. It worked fine, but its still a test version.

Feature list:

  • Command line interface, ideal for batch programs and a gui frontend.

  • Works with boot.ini and bcdedit.

  • Can list, add and remove windows boot menu entries.

  • A fragmented boot manager file is no longer a problem. I rewrote the loader program to fix that problem. The program contig is no longer required.

  • You can easy use different boot manager binary files. For example, one windows boot menu entry is the default boot manager file and another entry is configured to autoboot usb.

  • 2 batch files are included. InstallToBootMenu.bat and InstallToMBR.bat
    The windows user must only start the batch file and everything is done by the batch file. The user must only reboot to see the new boot menu entries. Those batch files can also be used as example how to use plpbt4win.

Examples:

List boot menu entries: plpbt4win /L

Create loader: plpbt4win /C

Create custom named loader: plpbt4win /C c:\plop\plp.ldr

Add an entry: plpbt4win /A "The Plop Boot Manager is here"

Remove an entry, first use /L to get the ID and then: plpbt4win /R 3

Create loader and add entry at once: plpbt4win /C /A

Look at the batch files to see more.

Sun 31/Jul/2011

I spent my weekend to write a new program for windows users. plpbt4win

Sat 30/Jul/2011

Plop Boot Manager 5.0.13-test5 released

New features:

  • Boot the MBR of the first internal hard disk. Press in the main menu "q" and use the first option.
  • plpbt.bin does no longer show extended partitions. Its seems to be too dangerous, especially for windows users.

Thu 21/Jul/2011

Plop Boot Manager 5.0.13-test2 released

2 Boot Manager bugfixes and the Installer is updated. More details are coming soon.

Thu 21/Apr/2011

Plop Boot Manager 5.0.12 released

The licence has been changed for 5.0.12. The boot manager is still free for personal and non-commercial use, but not free for commercial use! Maybe I give 5.0.12 free for commercial use in the future, but not now.

New:

  • Hotkey ALT-u: Select/skip usb device before its fully identified.
  • Ignore USB devices: Use USB Mass Storage device has been replaced with this new feature to ignore any usb device. This should avoid hangs on builtin webcams.
  • Booting from 2nd, 3rd or 4th hard disk activates now an int13 driver that swaps the hard disk drive number.

Updates:

  • Boot manager init routine updated.
  • Some USB driver updates.
  • Better MAC support.
  • Bugfix: The hang when using CTRL-u to boot another usb drive than the first one is fixed.
  • plpcfgbt updated for "ignore usb devices".
  • plpcfgbtGUI updated.


Wed 12/Jan/2011

Plop Boot Manager 5.0.11-2 released

Bugfix: USB Driver memory allocation bug fixed. The driver didn't detect usb drives on some machines although 5.0.10 detected the drives.

Plop Boot Manager 5.0.12-test1 released

New main menu hotkey ALT-u. You can skip usb devices before the boot manager identifies the device. The usb driver must be small and has no full error handling implemented. Sometimes, the boot manager hangs during the usb device identification because of the missing error handling. Mostly its because of internal bluetooth adapters. With ALT-u you are able to skip those devices. When you don't always want to press ALT-u to skip the devices manually, then you can set the number of devices to skip in the boot manager setup. The setup option to skip mass storage devices has been replaced with the new feature.

The keys for skipping devices when you use CTRL-u or ALT-u are now
s ... skip device (in 5.0.11 it was "n" for next device)
enter ... identify/boot device (in 5.0.11 it was any key press)

Booting from 2nd, 3rd or 4th hard disk activates now an int13 driver that swaps the hard disk drive number. Why wasn't that implemented earlier? I was meaning that its part of the operating system to handle the correct drive number when its booting from a hard disk number >80h. I changed my thinking because of a good argument of sambul61 at http://reboot.pro. The edit of the boot flag hard disk number in the "linked partitions" setup became useless and has been removed.

Mon 18/Oct/2010

Plop Boot Manager 5.0.11 released

Updates from 5.0.10 to 5.0.11:
CPU usage heavily reduced.
Graphic card init bug fixed.
himem.sys bug fixed - himem.sys was unable to enable gate A20 on some machines after the boot manager was running.
Update of the number of hard disk drives in the bios data area for booting usb reactivated.
Loading the network option rom from the main menu (+ new hotkey) to continue to boot from network.
Linux Kernel Command Line support for plpbt.bin - dynamic configuration with parameters.
FAT12/16 boot sector update - important to boot dos from 2nd, 3rd,... hard disk.
PCMCIA CardBus support for USB PC-Cards.
USB drivers updated.
Partition setup text 'VIEW/EDIT/COPY data' changed to 'Edit MBR/Import data'.
ISO files in floppy emulation mode are removed from the zip file.
PCI Bus scan updated (needed for PCMCIA).
Extention drive parameter scan for USB drives added and recalculating the number of hard disks. This should fix some troubles on PC's with grub and BIOS USB.
USB drivers updated to report the extention drive parameter v3.0.
Main menu hotkey 1-9 was not working for the last visible profile, its fixed now.

plpcfgbt updates:
Help page layout changed.
Now, the program reports a warning when plpbt.bin has an old config structure - before plpcfgbt 0.9 the program reported an error because of the config structure and stopped the plpbt.bin configuration.
New parameters are hiddenusb, hiddencdrom, skippcmcia, fastpcmcia.

The graphical frontend plpcfgbtGUI 0.1-test for plpcfgbt.exe released.

plpgenbtldr updates:
xo output removed.
plpbtldr.bin writes an error info text when there was problem with loading plpbt.bin.

plpchk.exe:
plpchk.exe is a new dos tool to detect plop usb driver from config.sys, from a batch file or from the command line. The program can create/remove a file that can be checked for existence and it returns the errorlevel code for batch files. You can run it in a hidden mode without any screen output.

plpdisd.exe:
Updated to disable the usb driver used in 5.0.11


Plans/ideas for next releases:
ATA (CF) PC-Card support.
Finish USB CDROM support.
Support USB 3.0.
Support PXE Splitted ROM's.

But its not fix that those things are coming.

Tue 05/Oct/2010

plpcfgbtGUI 0.1-test released.

It's a graphical frontend for plpcfgbt.exe. When people like it, then i will create frontends for other tools too. You find the plpcfgbtGUI.exe in the plop-5.0.11-rc2.zip/plpcfbt-0.9.zip file. I updated the zip files today.

Sat 02/Oct/2010

Plop Boot Manager 5.0.11-rc2 released.

PCI Bus scan updated (needed for PCMCIA).
Extention drive parameter scan for USB drives added and recalculating the number of hard disks. This should fix some troubles on PC's with grub and BIOS USB.
USB drivers updated to report the extention drive parameter v3.0.
Main menu hotkey 1-9 was not working for the last visible profile, its fixed now.

Sun 19/Sep/2010

Plop Boot Manager 5.0.11-rc1 + updated tools released.

Boot Manager updates:
CPU usage heavily reduced.
Graphic card init bug fixed.
himem.sys bug fixed - himem.sys was unable to enable gate A20 on some machines after the boot manager was running.
Update of the number of hard disk drives in the bios data area for booting usb reactivated.
Loading the network option rom from the main menu (+ new hotkey) to continue to boot from network.
Linux Kernel Command Line support for plpbt.bin - dynamic configuration with parameters.
FAT12/16 boot sector update - important to boot dos from 2nd, 3rd,... hard disk.
PCMCIA CardBus support for USB PC-Cards.
USB drivers updated.
Partition setup text 'VIEW/EDIT/COPY data' changed to 'Edit MBR/Import data'.
ISO files in floppy emulation mode are removed from the zip file.

plpcfgbt updates:
Help page layout changed.
Now, the program reports a warning when plpbt.bin has an old config structure - before plpcfgbt 0.9 the program reported an error because of the config structure and stopped the plpbt.bin configuration.
New parameters are hiddenusb, hiddencdrom, skippcmcia, fastpcmcia.

plpgenbtldr updates:
xo output removed.
plpbtldr.bin writes an error info text when there was problem with loading plpbt.bin.

plpchk.exe:
plpchk.exe is a new dos tool to detect plop usb driver from config.sys, from a batch file or from the command line. The program can create/remove a file that can be checked for existence and it returns the errorlevel code for batch files. You can run it in a hidden mode without any screen output.

The boot manager page will be updated when 5.0.11 is released. The updated readme.txt is already in the rc1 zip file.

Sun 29/Aug/2010

plpbtrom 0.5 released. I added the option -compress. The size of the option rom for your bios will be less than 32kb and the boot manager has still all features.

Tue 24/Aug/2010

5.0.11-pcmcia-test3 released. Only a small bugfix with the bus numbering.

Fri 23/Jul/2010

PCMCIA USB is working now fine here. PCMCIA-Test2 is now available for download.

The USB PC Card in any PCMCIA slot will be initialized at startup of the boot manager. The Plop Boot Manager is now an PC Card enabler for USB PC Cards. This means, that the PC Card USB hardware is available regardless of booting usb or not. This is useful when you use dos and another usb driver. When you hold the CTRL key pressed during startup, then the boot mnager waits at the end of pcmcia init.

Thu 22/Jul/2010

Good times, bad times. The pcmcia test1 version was not working very well outside my cave. It worked on some laptops with a single pcmcia slot, but it didn't work on any laptop with 2 pcmcia slots. What a luck, I have 7 old laptops. I bought most of them because of the usb test stuff years ago. Two of them have two pcmcia slots (a thosiba notebook and a ibm thinkpad). The others have only one pcmcia slot. My development version after test1 was finally working on all single slot laptops. But it totally failed on all dual slot laptops. I don't know how many hours and days I spent to find the problem. It was so hard and at the end so easy (a simple wait that the card power is clean). Currently I am able to enable and access the slots and read the usb drive from the usb pcmcia pccard on the toshiba notebook. I haven't tested it on the ibm thinkpad, but when it works on all of my laptops, then the next test release will be available. Maybe today, but now its time for a drink.

Update: Booting from the usb pccard works fine on the toshiba notebook. But what a surprise, the ibm thinkpad makes troubles. That means, the new pcmcia test version is delayed.

Sun 11/Jul/2010

I was busy and had no time for the test version. Currently I have one laptop and I know from another where my pcmcia code is not working. But I will fix this.

Update: I fixed it and the pcmcia test version is available for download.

Thu 08/Jul/2010

Today, I successfully booted from a pcmcia usb card with usb 2.0 on an old laptop that has only one internal usb 1.1 port :). Another guy and I have to test the new feature on some other machines, but currently everything looks good. I think the next test version will be available for download on saturday. The current test version works fine, so I think the next stable version will be available next week. Btw. the size of the pcmcia (pccard) enabler is less than 1KB. I never thought that its so easy. The pcmcia system is a great system.

Wed 07/Jul/2010

It looks like, the next release will have a long awaited new feature. Currently I am implementing support for PCMCIA USB cards. Long time ago (about 1 1/2 years), I bought the CardBus System Architecture Book. It was not easy to get such a book (see earlier posts). I took only a quick look on it, but I didn't start to write any test program. One month ago I got a mail from netherlands about pcmcia support and a trick. There was a missunderstanding about the trick and it was not useable to create a real implementation and I didn't followed that way. But pcmcia was still in my mind and motivated me last week to do something. So I bought last week a PCMCIA USB adapter. With the help of the book and the hardware I was able to create a simple and small test program and now I am able to activate the pcmcia usb card and read data from it. I will release a new boot manager test version soon :)

Sun 20/Jun/2010

5.0.11-test3 is avaiable. I fixed hang bug that is happening on some machines during the graphic init.

Mon 14/Jun/2010

I added a new feature to the plpbt.bin 5.0.11-test2 version. Icecube had the idea and now you can set a few parameters with the Linux Kernel Command Line. Use it with "append" in lilo, syslinux and grub.

Parameters:
hiddenusb is the short version of "stm=hidden cnt=on cntval=1 dbt=usb"
usb1=1, usb1=2, vm=text, fnt=bios see plpcfgbt
others currently not supported.

Tue 08/Jun/2010

I created a simpe script to create new iso files when you modified the plpbt.bin. Download plpbt-createiso.zip.

Fri 28/May/2010

5.0.11-test released. Added the option to start the network rom. Cpu usage reduced. Code optimized.

Option ROM 0.4 released. PCI Rom fixed. New options added. ISA mode removed.

Sun 23/May/2010

I am proud to tell you, the next release will have a new unbelievable great feature! You will be able to start the network option rom from the boot manager main menu. The new hotkey "n" does the same. Its no longer required to activate the bios boot menu to use network boot. So many times I had to activate network boot and had to press the bios boot menu hotkey. I hated it. In the development boot manager version I simply have to press "n" or select the menu entry! :) I love it!

The boot manager option rom will be updated too. Currently its not workig correct.

Fri 28/Apr/2010

Plop Boot Manager 5.0.10 released. I fixed a small bug. Booting the 2nd, 3rd and 4th logical partition was not working.

Wed 21/Apr/2010

Plop Boot Manager 5.0.9 released. I fixed a small bug in the USB driver INT 13h/Function 8. You should update the boot manager if you use it to boot from usb. Discovered by michiganbroadband when using wintoflash. Forum entry

Sat 23/Jan/2010

Plop Boot Manager 5.0.8 released. From time to time, people ask to boot logical partitions. Now I added this feature. You can setup the logical partition in the profiles/linked partitions by pressing "l" key.

Mon 28/Dec/2009

Plop Boot Manager 5.0.7 released. There was a bug in the 5.0.6 plpbt.bin

Thu 24/Dec/2009

2 Installer updates:
Installing mbr loader, update and set textmode is now disabled if the boot manager is not detected.
If the installer was started under windows, then there comes an info message that it cannot run in a windows dos box.

Tue 22/Dec/2009

Plop Boot Manager 5.0.6 released. I added a new feture for the binary version. You can activate a startup hotkey. You get the message to press CTRL-A to start the boot manager. If you don't press it, booting continues without the boot manager. This will be useful for CD's and ROM's. The ROM version had a problem with the ESC and continue booting. This is fixed now. I also updated the harddisk detection. It's only a cosmetic change and should change nothing about the boot manager behaivour.

plpcfgbt 0.7 released. Startup hotkey option added.

plpbtrom 0.3 released. grabid option updated. Rom filesize check updated.

Thu 17/Dec/2009

plpbtrom 0.2 released. A pci header update.

Sat 12/Dec/2009

plpbtrom 0.1 released. Now it's easy to create an ISA/PCI boot manager option ROM. See here.

Sat 05/Dec/2009

Version 5.0.5 released. A startup bug (detected by Bertola and his Macbook) is fixed. Another bug that happened sometimes when booted from network is fixed too.

Sun 29/Nov/2009

Because of multiple requests, I updated the installer to install the boot manager to other disks than the first one. Its required if you install from USB.

Wed 11/Nov/2009

plpcfgbt 0.6 released. A small parameter bugfix. Thanks to bront for reporting the bug.

Sat 07/Nov/2009

Today, I played around with the USB CDROM driver. Mostly it works and then it stopped working. I don't know why and how fast I can fix it.

Sun 25/Oct/2009

Currently I am writing the long awaited USB CDROM driver. First tests are looking really good. If there are no big troubles and I find enough time, then I will release a version next week. There will be 2 versions in the future. The USB CDROM boot manager will boot only USB CD drives (no USB pen drives/harddisks or IDE CDROM'S).

Mon 05/Oct/2009

Plop Boot Manager 5.0.4 released.

  • All 3 USB drivers updated.
    Bug fixes for UHCI, OHCI and EHCI.
    More speed for UHCI and OHCI.
  • 2 modes to force USB 1.1
    (mode 2 was available in 5.0.3)
  • Boot from second, third, ... usb mass storage device is now possible
    by setup configuration
    by using the CTRL key
  • Init colors updated.
  • Installer can setup the boot manager to boot in textmode.
  • plpcfgbt updated with the new options.

Tue 29/Sep/2009

I bought a Toshiba m200 notebook to fix some EHCI problem and I got it today.

Sat 12/Sep/2009

Updated the documentation how to start the boot manager from syslinux, isolinux, extlinux and pxelinux with the "LINUX" option instead of the "KERNEL" option. Thanks to Icecube.

Thu 20/Aug/2009

Here is the second test version. [removed]

Tue 18/Aug/2009

Here is a temporary test version. [removed]

Mon 17/Aug/2009

Sorry, the new release is delayed. The EHCI driver hangs with VirtualBox. So I try to fix this and some other things.

Sat 08/Aug/2009

USB UHCI driver update: this week I bought a Compaq EVO DS 500. The UHCI driver was very slow on that machine. Sombody reported it in the forum (at page 3 you can see the pain and success message from me). Loading of zeroshell linux (grub, kernel and initrd) needed about 40 minutes or longer. Now I updated my driver with help of the real hardware and now grub, vmlinuz and initrd of zeroshell are loaded within 10 seconds! Yes, seconds and not minutes! Cool, or? :)
I tested the driver currently only on the Compaq pc. I hope the driver works with others too.

Plans for the next release: usb booting will not be limited to the first mass storage that is found. I plan to add some stuff that makes it possible to boot from the second, third,... mass storage device. But I have to kick out some things that are not really required (from my thinking).
The installer will be updated too. It gets a new option to setup text mode booting for harddisk installations. Sometimes there are troubles to init graphic mode on old machines.

Tue 04/Aug/2009

plpgenbtldr v0.7 released. There was a bug with FAT12/FAT16. Its fixed now. Thanks to walterav for reporting the bug.

Now there is an easy way to add the boot manager to the boot menu of VISTA. See here. Thanks to tri_zet for this info.

Tue 28/Jul/2009

USB UHCI driver updated. Now its 2x faster. The driver update will be in the next release. You want to test the new driver? Then contact me.

Sat 18/Jul/2009

plpgenbtldr v0.6 released. This version works now fine with NTFS and FAT partitions. Source code completely rewritten.

Sat 28/Mar/2009

Version 5.0.3 released.

  • Minor USB UHCI driver update.
  • plpbt.bin displays now only existing partitions.
  • plpbt.bin returns at ESC key to the previous loader.
  • Minor partition id menu update.
  • Special int19h function see here.
  • plpdisd.exe: A new tool to disable the USB driver under DOS, see here.

Thu 26/Mar/2009

A new version with some minor updates and a new feature comes soon.

Mon 23/Feb/2009

Version 5.0.2 released.

  • Caching mechanism for fast USB 2.0 access.
  • USB SD Card Reader should work now.
  • False positive NOD32 mbr warning fixed.

Thu 19/Feb/2009 - part 2

Version 5.0.2-test2 released. USB SD Card Reader should work now.

Thu 19/Feb/2009 - part 1

Version 5.0.2-test2 comes today or tomorrow. I bought an USB SD Card Reader because the boot manager was not working with the most of them. I fixed the problem and it works in my test environment. The fix will be in the new test version.

Fri 13/Feb/2009

Version 5.0.2-test1 released. I wrote a simple cache mechanism to get very fast access to sectors of the usb device. Now it's really fast. I modified only the EHCI code. The test version can be seen as stable.

Fri 06/Feb/2009

I spent the whole day to update the EHCI USB code. The result is a performance boost :). Currently, the modifications are working only in a development environment.

Tue 03/Feb/2009

5.0.1 available.

  • I fixed the false positive report of NOD32.
  • A problem with VSTA PE and USB fixed.
  • Reporting write protected media.

Sun 01/Feb/2009

5.0.1-test1 available. I fixed a problem with VISTA PE when booting from USB.

Tue 20/Jan/2009

Here is a new way to start the boot manager :) Using it as BIOS option ROM to start the boot manager without a harddisk, floppy or cd drive. You can place it on a ROM (ex. Networkcard ROM) and start it from the bios. Inspired by George (uleak). A test version is available for download.

Thu 15/Jan/2009

Plop Boot Manager 5.0 has been released!

There are some changes between the rc18 and this release.

  • EHCI driver updated and fixed a hang problem on some boards.
  • I added 2 new hotkeys for usb booting. You have to press them when you press "u" or using the usb menu entry. Use SHIFT to force USB 1.1. Use CTRL to wait for a key before booting the operating system.
  • I fixed a CHS to LBA calculation problem. Wrong LBA values are calculated on high cylinders. Detected when using USBOOT with booting Windows from USB. There where a missing HAL.DLL message, or the message of a corrupted boot.ini. Now its fixed.
  • I updated some memory management of the boot manager
  • The install program wrote a wrong boot device number in the profiles for operating systems that are not on the first harddisk. Now its fixed.
  • plpcfgbt has been updated for the force usb 1.1 feature.
To add the new features and fix the bugs, it was required to kick out some text. Now the list of partitions in "select id from list" has been shrinked.

What about the future?

Development will continue. I am sure, there are still controllers those are not working and there will be 5.0.x versions.

I have ideas for 5.1

  • Implementing USB CDRom drives.
  • Improving USB 2.0 speed. On some chipsets its not as fast it could be.
  • Adding PCMCIA/PC-Card support. But unfortunately, there is no design guide available as for usb. If I am wrong, please tell me. I tried to buy some books at pcmcia.org, but I think there is pure chaos.
But all this are only ideas. I dont know if I ever realize something!

Have fun with my boot manager!

Sun 11/Jan/2009

Here is an article about the Plop Boot Manager for italian people. [Link]

This week comes an update that fixes an ehci initialization (hang) problem on some controllers. Additional, the new version will fix a LBA to CHS bug. This bug make sometimes problems (hal.dll not found message) when you are using windows to boot from usb. There will be two new hotkeys for usb to force usb 1.1 and a wait key option to read the text from the boot window before booting.

Sat 20/Dec/2008

Boot Manager v5.0rc18 released. EHCI driver update.

Thu 18/Dec/2008

plpgenbtldr 0.5 released. Now there is a workaround if my NTFS routines are not working. It's possible to use a parameter for the LCN (Logical Cluster Number) of plpbt.bin. See the boot manager manual or the 1README.TXT of plpgenbtldr for more infos.

Mon 15/Dec/2008

Today I fixed a bug in the EHCI USB code. The bug makes problems on a few USB controllers. This means, soon comes a RC18.

Sun 07/Dec/2008

plpgenbtldr 0.4 released. There was a bug with big partitions. Thanks to Raymond (raymond.cc) for reporting the bug and his help to fix the bug and testing programs.

Thu 27/Nov/2008

plpcfgbt updated. There was a error about wrong boot manager configuration version.

Mon 24/Nov/2008

Boot Manager v5.0rc17 released.

New features:

  • Starting the boot manager from LILO or GRUB is now possible.
  • Updated plpgenbtldr for starting from Windows boot menu.
  • Starting the installer from LILO, GRUB, Windows boot menu and DOS is now possible.
  • New tool plpcfgbt is available for Windows and Linux to configure the boot manager binary.
  • Updated the manual.
  • Now there is only one zip file with all images and binaries available. Imagefilenames have been changed.

Sat 22/Nov/2008

The documentation update needs more time. If you can't wait longer, you can receive the new boot manager on request with the contact form.

Fri 21/Nov/2008

Tomorrow comes v5.0RC17. I think (again) it's the last RC. I used the last 3 days for improving the boot manager, the installer and a new tool. There are new cool features for customizing. People that remaster the boot manager for their use will love it. With v5.0RC17, a new configuration tool and a stand alone installer (for dos) will be released.

Wed 19/Nov/2008

This week comes a new version.

Today i added a feature to start the boot manager direct from grub. I tested it with the original grub and grub4dos. The workaround with a virtual floppy image is no longer needed.

plpbt.dat will be removed and the feature will be replaced with a configuration program (windows and linux).

Mon 10/Nov/2008

Plop Boot Manager v5.0RC16 released.

  • CDROM driver updated: There was a problem of detecting a cd if a boot cd is in the second ide cdrom drive
  • USB drivers: Fixed reporting wrong geometry of harddisks and big usb sticks

Sat 25/Oct/2008

plpgenbtldr updated. Documentation for 2K, XP and VISTA added to the manual.

Fri 24/Oct/2008

Boot manager v5.0RC15 released. One bugfix and a big new feature for floppy and cd version.

Bugfix: Memory allocation problem when loading usb/cd driver on some older mainboards fixed

New feature: Because of the request of users, now its possible to save changes with the floppy version. Changes are stored in the file plpbt.dat. If this file does not exists, the default settings from the boot manager are used. For cd, you can create custom settings with the floppy version and create a new image file (or copy plpbt.dat into the boot.img on cd). Replace your image file with the boot.img on the cd. A practical example is to create a cd with default boot is usb, timeout 2 seconds and startmode is hidden. The computer boots from cd and continues to usb without showing the boot manager.

Because of boot manager size and free space, the date display swapping is removed now.

Wed 22/Oct/2008

New tool: plpgenbtldr makes it possible to start the Plop Boot Manager with boot.ini from Windows.
This is the first version of the program. It works only with NTFS.

How to use:

  • copy plpgenbtldr.exe and plpbt.bin to c:\
  • open a command shell and change to c:\
  • run plpgebtldr
  • if all is ok, then the file plpbtldr.bin was created
    add this line to your boot.ini
    C:\plpbtldr.bin="Start Plop Boot Manager"

The program handles only the minimum to access the root directory of a NTFS partition. It bases on NTFS routines I wrote in 1999 in assembler. You get the source code of plpgenbtldr with the zip file. You can make the source code better if you want.

There are a lot of things to improve the program. I did not spend too much time for writing the tool, because I dont know if people find this tool useful. Please send a feedback.

Fri 17/Oct/2008

Today i fixed a bug that comes up on some older boards (ex. ASUS P2B). It was a memory allocation problem during loading the USB driver. The fix will be in the v5.0RC15.

Tue 15/Sep/2008

Bootmanager v5.0RC14 released. Only debug break points removed. This caused some problems on a few bios versions. I think this will be the last release candidate.

I heard from speculations about "slow" speed with my ehci driver and it has only usb 1.1 speed. It's not possible to set different speeds on usb controllers. If the ehci driver is used, then it's usb 2.0 highspeed. If the uhci or ohci driver is used, then it's usb 1.1 fullspeed. Sure, it's possible that my ehci driver is slower than the bios driver, but it's still much faster than usb 1.1 (see test below).
My driver priority is to be small and not fast. Bios drivers have a lot of space for caching and other performance technics. I don't have this space. To compare, a bios binary file (of course with much other stuff and drivers) has 256KB or much more, my ehci driver has only a size of 4KB!

A performance test with my drivers to see the speed difference of usb 1.1 and usb 2.0:
Starting a plain DOS only with highmem.sys. Time from pressing "u" in the boot manager until command prompt apears

  • USB 1.1: 32 seconds
  • USB 2.0: 5 seconds!

Tue 02/Sep/2008

Today I got a mail with a successful complex chainload booting. The user run's VMware. The Plop Boot Manager is the primary boot manager. Plop starts with USB the grub4dos boot manager from an usb harddisk. grub4dos starts an emulated iso with TrueCrypt rescue iso. After entering a password, the TrueCrypt bootloader starts Windows XP from usb harddisk with usboot.org.

VMware -> Plop -> USB -> grub4dos -> TrueCrypt iso -> Windows XP from usb harddisk

Funny, it works :)
More Infos see here (wiki).

Wed 27/Aug/2008

Bootmanager v5.0RC13 released.

Changes:

  • EHCI driver updated, Intel 82801 works now
  • INT13h Functions 08h and 48h updated, cylinders and heads are now correct (Drivers: UHCI, OHCI, EHCI)

Tue 26/Aug/2008

The updated ehci driver works now on Intel 82801DB too. At the beginning, the new code was not working on vmware, but now it does.

The new version RC13 comes in the next days.

Planned is a windows installer to install the bootmanager from a running windows.

Mon 25/Aug/2008

Intel 82801DB EHCI: reading sectors works now. Booting and vmware not tested at the moment. Tests with the new code on nvidia and via chipsets are looking good.

Sun 24/Aug/2008

I fixed 2 bugs. Both are INT 13h related. Fixes will be available in the next release RC13.

ThinkPad 570 works now.

Fri 22/Aug/2008

I got a bug report with IBM ThinkPad 570. I bought a cheap one. The bootmanager really hangs with usb booting. I will search the bug soon.

No news about Intel 82801DB.

I will dedicate next week for usb bug fixing.

Tue 19/Aug/2008

New hardware, bad hardware. The new mainboard has a malfunction (not usb related). I have to wait for a new one. Bugfixing is delayed :(

Mon 18/Aug/2008 - part 2

I found a bug. This could be the reason, why the bootmanager hangs on some machines.
I will dedicate this week primary for usb bug fixing.

Mon 18/Aug/2008 - part 1

No news. I had to finish other stuff. Today, quickly I tested RC11 on my new pc. RC11 works on it.

Sat 09/Aug/2008

I got a new pc. It has an Intel 82801I EHCI controller. The bootmanager RC12 hangs at this pc. I think, next week I can search and fix the bug.

Mon 29/Jul/2008

Searching the bug with Intel 82801DB EHCI controllers is stopped. In a few weeks, I will get the hardware (for a while from a friendly guy) for searching and fixing the bug.

Tue 15/Jul/2008

I got a bug report, that the EHCI driver hangs on Intel 82801DB EHCI controllers (v5.0rc11 UHCI works). Currently I am searching the bug.

Wed 21/May/2008

New boot manager RC12 is released. The support for INT 13h/48h is available now. The biggest modification of the boot manager is the new EHCI driver. Now fast USB 2.0 speed is available. I managed it to fit all into the boot manager. So there is only one version for all three usb drivers.

Tue 20/May/2008

EHCI: success! It works on all my computers and in vmware! That means rc12 comes today or in the next 2 days.

The flybook makes some troubles, but this has a low priority.

Mon 19/May/2008

EHCI: it still does not work as i wish.

Sun 18/May/2008

EHCI: Either it works in vmware or on my other computers. 2 different programs are required, i hope i can fix it.

Sat 17/May/2008

EHCI: it works now in vmware too. It was not easy. I made a lot of changes and now the code is very ugly because of the testing and debug stuff. Tomorrow, I will clean up the code and hope that it still works on other machines.

Fri 16/May/2008

EHCI: first tests are completed. Currently, it does not work with vmware. I try to fix this and then rc12 will be available for download.

Thu 08/May/2008

EHCI: I am happy :) I am able to boot! Now the bootmanager has UHCI, OHCI and EHCI USB support! Now it's time to optimize and test. The new RC12 comes soon.

Wed 07/May/2008

EHCI: no news, same as yesterday :(

Mon 05/May/2008 - Tue 06/May/2008

EHCI: in my development environment it works perfect, but when i try a real boot, it hangs. I hope I find the problem soon.

Sun 04/May/2008

EHCI: sector reading works fine now. The routines are now in a small driver, but there are still some problems.

Sat 03/May/2008

EHCI: sector reading was possible but there is a strange problem I have to fix when I read moe than one sector.

Fri 02/May/2008

EHCI goes on step by step. I hoped to read a sector today, but I had some troubles. However, finaly I was able to read the inquiry data from a device with bulk transfers. Thats really close to reading sectors. I think tomorrow I am able to read sectors.

Thu 01/May/2008

I had a lot of frustrating try's to send and receive data from an usb device via EHCI without success for 3 days. But now :) I received the first device descriptor of an usb device via EHCI.

Mon 28/Apr/2008 - Thu 01/May/2008

Started reading the EHCI documentation.

Sun 27/Apr/2008

Because of some troubles with a few EHCI controllers, I will write a EHCI driver. That means high speed usb transfers on modern machines :)
I have to make two boot manager versions. But with the install program, you can choose what version you want to install.

At the moment, I don't know when i find time to write it. I think, I can start soon.

Thu 24/Apr/2008

Another bug in the usb drivers is fixed. The bug was dicovered by Piotr Kedziora with using grub to start linux. The extendet INT 13/48h was not implemented. I added it and now it works. The buxfix will come with the rc12.

Tue 22/Apr/2008

Boot manager v5rc11 released. I don't like such fast releases after a release, but i fixed the 'boot signature not valid' message at some usb devices.

Mon 21/Apr/2008

Boot manager v5rc10 released.

The USB OHCI and UHCI drivers are updated. Primary the init routines are updated. The CDROM driver had a small update too.

A new feature has been added. Now it's possible to use floppy, cdrom or usb boot at startup like the default profile. This works in the hiden mode too.

Sun 20/Apr/2008

RC 10 comes tomorow.

Sun 13/Apr/2008

Good news!! After a long break, i found time to fix some usb driver problems. A new version with updates of the OHCI and UHCI driver comes in a few days! A few tests have to be done and then you will be able to download it.

Mon 10/Mar/2008

Manual updated. How to install Windows XP and Vista o one harddisk with hidden partitions.

Sun 02/Mar/2008

Boot manager v5.0rc9 is available for download with USB driver updates (about legacy support) and some changes in the menu.

Sat 01/Mar/2008

Latest test where successful. Wating for a last test result and then RC9 will be available for download.

Fri 22/Feb/2008

Manual updated.

Thu 21/Feb/2008

Good news, with rc9 there comes an important usb driver bugfix. A few tests have to be done and then you will be able to download it.

Sun 17/Feb/2008

RC8 released, the only update is the message output to press CTRL-ESC for textmode, if the init of the graphic mode is not possible.

Sun 13/Jan/2008

Please send me more feedback messages about successful and failed booting of usb devices. If usb boot does not work, please add some infos about the used hardware.

send message

Sat 30/Dec/2007

RC7 released.

Updates:

  • bugfix of wrong partition change warning
  • int 13 function 8 update
  • int 13 function 2 chs to lba calculation update
  • new hotkey "x" added to boot profile 16
  • installer has now an update function if any bootmanager version 5.0rcX is installed

Sat 08/Dec/2007

Today I wrote the first parts of the manual in english and german. Currently only the important parts like partitions and profiles.
Go to the Manual.

Thu 15/Nov/2007

Boot Manager v5.0rc6 released.

Now usb boot works on my flybook too. But my usb drivers can own the control of the usb controller always at the second try. Fist try, no mass storage device is found, second try it finds the device and can boot it.

Now, booting works on a new dell laptop of a friend too. But it's required to DISABLE the bios "usb legacy" option. Then my drivers can use the usb controller without troubles. I think, that problem will exist on other machines too. I don't know if i can fix it.

A new ISO is there to start the bootmanager from CD without installing it.

Tue 13/Nov/2007

With the test notebook I fixed a bug.
Boot Manager v5.0rc5 with usb driver update released.

Sun 11/Nov/2007

Boot problem with usb: on some computers the bootmanager says "Boot sector not found". Today I got a laptop to fix that boot problem.

Wed 07/Nov/2007

RC4 released. Tests with other machines than mine, showed that there are still problems with some usb controllers, but i try to fix it.

Tue 06 - Wed 07/Nov/2007

Good news. It was very hard to find some bugs from the USB driver, but now the usb drivers are working with all my computers (laptops too, except the flybook). Some friends have to test v5.0RC4 and then you can download it today.

Wed 31/Oct/2007

RC 3 released.

I added some EHCI support, now usb should work better. If there are conflicts when the BIOS owns the usb device and the bootmanager can't own it, then I have a workaround for you. Create a profile with the name "bios usb". All partitions as "dont' touch" and select the device/partition the bios assigned with "b". then you should be able to boot too. dos will not work but linux should.

There is a new hotkey for the main menu. Press "q" for quick boot select. You can boot a partition directly.

Sun 28/Oct/2007

As some people wished. The bootmanager can boot from floppy to start it without installation on a harddisk.

Limitations: the bootmanager configuraton cannot be saved. Changes are valid for one session only. MBR partition edit is possible.

The bootmanager is added to the boot cd/usb stick of Plop Linux.

Sat 27/Oct/2007

Here are some screenshots from the Plop Boot Manager v5.0rc2. I think, I can start with the EHCI driver in one week.

Main menu


zoom

Main menu (textmode)


zoom

Profile partitions


zoom

MBR partition edit


zoom

Hotkey list:

  • Global keys:

    CTRL - ESC switch to textmode
    CTRL - PGUP switch to higher screen resolution
    CTRL - PGDOWN switch to lower screen resolution
  • Main menu keys:

    1-9 boot profile
    w write profile data without boot
    f floppy boot
    c cdrom boot
    u usb boot

Fri 26/Oct/2007

The release candidate 2 is available for download!

Wed 26/Sep/2007

The release candidate 1 is available for download!

A few things are not finished, but it was time to present something.

Mon 24/Sep/2007

There are good and bad news!

  • Good news: Tomorrow, the first release candidate (5.0rc1) will be available for download. Today I started with writing the installer. It should be possible to finish a basic version of the installer tomorrow.

  • Bad news: Something stange happens while testing the USB device booting function. On desktop pc's it works but on laptops it doesn't work. I don't know whats wrong. Anyway a release comes tomorrow. I am thinking about implementing the EHCI controller and forget the OHCI and UHCI part.

Fri 21/Sep/2007

A new important feature added to the user interface. It's a master boot record partition data hex editor.

Tue 18/Sep/2007

CDROM driver is now implemented again.

Driver changes from bootmanager 4.x

  • Boot Manager waits now for drive ready.
  • All emulation types are now supported.
    (with bootmanager 4.x the types 1.2meg and 2.88meg floppy are not supported)
  • More than only the first cdrom drives are supported.

Fri 14/Sep/2007

USB device booting from the bootmanager with an OHCI controller was successful. I tried Plop Linux from usb and dos. Both are working.

Current size of the OHCI driver is about 3.6 KBytes.

Current status of work:

  • USB UHCI driver: 92% complete booting works

  • USB OHCI driver: 92% complete booting works

  • Current USB limitations: a lot, but booting OS like linux and others is the target

    • USB 1.1 is supported.
    • Only USB harddisks and USB memory sticks are supported. No cdrom or floppy support is implemented.
    • Currently only mass storage devices connected directly to the root hub are supported. USB hub support is not implemented.
    • The booted device access is read only. Maybe I add write support. This would be only required for a booted DOS to create/edit files and directories.
    • UHCI and OHCI controllers are supported.
    • EHCI controllers are working if they have an OHCI or UHCI companion. Every EHCI controller I saw had one or more than one UHCI/OHCI controller.
    • USB Keyboard behavior is currently unknown. I think they are not working. Maybe I have to implement keyboard support too. Would be only required for a booted DOS.
  • Boot Manager: 70% complete

    • Harddisk booting works
    • Floppy booting works
    • CDRom booting currently not implemented but is the next
    • USB device booting works
    • Boot Manager starting from USB currently not implemented
    • Profiles nearly complete
    • Partitions nearly complete
    • User interface nearly complete
  • Installer: 0% complete

Tue 13/Sep/2007

Sector reading from OHCI works, tomorrow I write the int13 driver and then I try the first boot from OHCI. I think it will work without big troubles.

Wed 12/Sep/2007

Good news, I found the bug in my OHCI code. It was a really small bug (the transfer buffer was one byte too big defined), but now I can send and receive data from an usb device connected to an OHCI controller.

Mon 10/Sep/2007

Yesterday I thought I can finish the writing of the OHCI driver, but something goes wrong and I can't find the bug. Maybe tomorrow :(

But booting from UHCI makes so much fun :) Maybe I release a pre-version of the new bootmanager.

Thu 07/Sep/2007

USB Device booting from the bootmanager from an UHCI controller was successful. I tried Plop Linux from usb and dos. Both are working.

Sun 02/Sep/2007

I can successful install my UHCI driver from the bootmanager to the ram. It's possible to read sectors from the usb device with the installed driver when DOS is running.

Tomorrow I'll try the first boot of the usb stick.

The current binary size of the UHCI driver is about 4KB. I hope the OHCI driver is not bigger. Current OHCI status: 15% complete.

Sun 26/Aug/2007

There was a very long break. But now I restarted the developing for the usb driver. The old usb uhci code was very bad. I rewrote it from scratch and now it works fine. It's always a good idea to read the whole design guide :)

I tested it with various usb harddisks and usb sticks. I was able to read the sectors from the devices (except one very old usb stick).

I began to write the new bootmanager too.

Current status of work:

  • USB UHCI driver: 85% complete

  • USB OHCI driver: 5% complete

  • Boot Manager: 55% complete
    Harddisk booting works
    Floppy booting works
    CDRom booting currently not implemented but soon
    USB booting see above
    Profiles nearly complete
    Partitions nearly complete
    User interface nearly complete

  • Installer: 0% complete

I try to finish the bootmanager as soon as possible, but I have to earn money too.

Tue 30/Jan/2007

There was a break because of other stuff. maybe I can continue next week.

Sat 20/Jan/2007

!!sector read success!!
reading sectors works fine. tested with an usb memory stick. I have to test reading sectors from harddisks and floppy drives.

Thu 18/Jan/2007

today I had to make a choice. implement the usb stuff including usb hub support or not. because of the program size, I dont implement usb hub suppport (now). only mass storage devices connected direct to the usb host controller will be supported. if there is enough space left after writting the bootmanager, I will add usb hub support.

Wed 17/Jan/2007

only minor changes with usb enumeration process.

Tue 16/Jan/2007

Today I wrote the device enumeration. it's nearly complete. Maybe tomorrow, my routines are good enough to read sectors from a device.

Sun 14/Jan/2007

First success with sending/receiving data from/to an usb device.
The routines are dirty coded. I have to clean up the code and continue programming. Currently only some basic functions are working, but I have a good feeling for the bootmanager.

Sat 13/Jan/2007

I had time to study UHCI and start to write the first basic routines for communication with the host controller.


© 2014 by Elmar Hanlhofer