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Table of Contents - Plop Boot Manager Six - PBM6
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PBM6 - EFI

PBM6 - BIOS/Legacy


The Plop Boot Manager Six (PBM6) is a new boot manager. It is still a test release, so be careful. Find more information in the Development Blog.

This page is about the BIOS/Legacy version. See next page for EFI.


1. Download
2. Screenshots
3. Manual
4. PC Speaker


1. Download


Donations are rare and welcome: Donate

pbm6-test-20220506.zip (latest) Notes see here

pbm6-test-20220409.zip
pbm6-test-20210909.zip
pbm6-test-20210119.zip
pbm6-test-20200420.zip
pbm6-test-20200408.zip
pbm6-test-20200319.zip


2. Screenshots


 


3. Manual


Known issues: A lot, its a test release. find more information in the Development Blog.

What should work:

  • IDE: Hard disks, CD/DVD drives.
  • SATA: Hard disks, CD/DVD drives.
  • USB Controller: USB 1.1 UHCI/OHCI, USB 2.0 EHCI, USB 3.0 xHCI support.
  • USB Device support for keyboard, HUB, thumb drives, hard disks, CD/DVD drives.
  • USB read/write support.
  • USB Hot-Plug.
  • Boot drive partition.
  • Start drive MBR.
  • Boot CD/DVD in no-emulation mode.
  • Eject CD/DVD.
  • Show drive details.
  • Change screen resolution, also wide screen.
  • Start PMB6 from Floppy, CD/DVD drive, network, Linux Boot Managers, Windows Boot Menu (Vista/7/8/10).
  • Morse codes with PC Speaker.
  • VHD/VHDX mount and boot.
  • Viewer: Hex and text view. View sectors and files.
  • File Commander: Read only for FAT12/16/32, exFAT, NTFS and ext2/3 file systems.
  • Config file support.
  • Configuration through kernel command line.

Minimum requirements: CPU i386, 46 MB RAM.


3.1. Starting the boot manager


  • Floppy - A classic way. Write the floppy image to the floppy disk with "dd" or "rawwrite.exe".
  • CDROM - A classic way. Burn the ISO to the CDROM/DVD and boot.
  • ISO - Use the ISO to start the boot manager in a virtual machine.
  • Like a Linux Kernel - As the Plop Boot Manager 5, PBM6 can be started like a Linux Kernel from a Linux Boot Manager like LILO, GRUB and Syslinux (also from network).
  • Windows Boot Menu - Now its possible to start the boot manager directly from the Windows Boot Menu without workarounds like plpbt4win. You have to use "bcdedit". Its tested only on (NOT UEFI installed!) Windows 10.

Instructions for Linux Boot Managers

PBM6 can be started like a Linux Kernel by linux loaders. You can start it over the network with Syslinux in the same ways as Plop Boot Manager 5.

SYSLINUX

You can start PBM6 with the keyword "linux" and "kernel".

Examples:

label pbm6
    menu label ^Plop Boot Manager 6
    linux plop/pbm6

OR

label pbm6
    menu label ^Plop Boot Manager 6
    kernel plop/pbm6

GRUB2

You can start PBM6 with the keyword "linux" and "linux16".

Examples:

menuentry "Plop Boot Manager 6" {
    linux16 /boot/plop/pbm6
}

OR

menuentry "Plop Boot Manager 6" {
    linux /boot/plop/pbm6
}

See also https://www.plop.at/en/ploplinux/desktop/grub2.html

Example /etc/grub.d/40_custom

#!/bin/sh
exec tail -n +3 $0
# This file provides an easy way to add custom menu entries.  Simply type the
# menu entries you want to add after this comment.  Be careful not to change
# the 'exec tail' line above.

insmod ext2
set root='(hd0,1)'


menuentry "Plop Linux" {
    linux /boot/bzImage root=/dev/sda1
}

menuentry "Plop Boot Manager 5" {
    linux16 /boot/plop/plpbt.bin
}

menuentry "Plop Boot Manager 6" {
    linux /boot/plop/pbm6
}

menuentry "PlopKexec" {
    linux /boot/plop/plopkexec
}

menuentry "Memtest" {
    linux16 /boot/memtest/memtest
}    

LILO

Example:

image=/boot/plop/pbm6
label="Plop Boot Manager 6"

Instructions for Windows Vista/7/8/10

UEFI is NOT supported at the moment and will end in an error!

Copy "pbm6nt" to c:\

Add to Windows Boot Menu:
=========================

Open the Command Prompt as "Administrator"

Run the following commands:
bcdedit /create {ntldr} /d "PBM6"
bcdedit /set {ntldr} device boot
bcdedit /set {ntldr} device partition=c:
bcdedit /set {ntldr} path \pbm6nt
bcdedit /displayorder {ntldr} /addlast

Remove the entry:
=================

Warning! Be careful with this command!

bcdedit /delete {ntldr} /f

3.2. Main Menu


3.2.1. Boot options

The Main Menu lists all detected (IDE, SATA, USB) and mounted (VHD, VHDX) drives. The boot entries are pointing to the boot sector of the boot partition. The boot partition is marked with the boot flag in the MBR. Press Enter to boot.

Sub-Menu: Press the key right to open the Sub-Menu.

Hex Viewer: Press the key 'v' on a boot option to start the Hex Viewer.

File Commander: Press the key 'c' on a boot option to start the File Commander. The File Commander opens, when the boot partition is formatted with a supported file system.

3.2.2. Setup

No special options at the moment.

3.2.3. Shutdown

Turn off the computer. This option is available when ACPI provides the power off feature.


3.3. Sub-Menu


3.3.1. HDD/SSD/VHD/VHDX

The Master Boot Record and all detected partitions (MBR & GPT) are listed.

Master Boot Record:

  • On Enter you can choose to boot from the MBR or open the Hex Viewer.
  • Key 'v' opens the Hex Viewer.

Partition:

  • You see some partition details. Type primary/logical, partition ID and the detected file system.
  • On Enter you can choose to boot the partition, start the Hex Viewer or start the File Commander.
  • Key 'v' starts the Hex Viewer.
  • Key 'c' starts the File Commander.

3.3.2. CDROM/DVD

Eject: Eject the disk.

Todo: Using the Hex Viewer and the File Commander.

3.3.3. Drive information

Show drive model and serial. Show used device driver(s).

3.3.4. Screenshots

 


3.3. Configuration file


Details coming soon.


3.4. Configuration through kernel command line


Details coming soon.


3.5. Viewer


The Viewer can be used for drives, partitions and files. For drives and partitions, the viewer is locked to the hex view. There is a simple autodetection for files to set hex view for binary files and text view for text files. You can switch the view with the key F4.

Keys:

  • Navigation: Up, down, page up, page down, home (pos 1), end
  • Leave: 'q', F3, ESC
  • Switch hex/text view: F4

File Text View, Hex View

 

Drive Hex View - MBR


3.6. File Commander


You can navigate through supported file systems, view files and mount VHD/VHDX files.

  • Supported file systems: FAT12/16/32, extFAT, NTFS, ext2/3
  • Leave: ESC
  • View files: F3, 'v'
  • Enter on VHD/VHDX files: Show details, mount, view as hex

More features are planed.


File Commander showing a directory, on NTFS

File Commander showing VHD and VHDX files, on exFAT


3.7. VHD/VHDX


Dynamic and fixed size images are supported. You can view image details with the File Commander and also mount the images. Mounted images are listed in the Main Menu and can be used like any other boot option.


VHD Image Details, VHDX Image Details

 

Main Menu with mounted VHDX Image, driver details

 

Video: VHDX Win10 Boot Test Jan/2022



4. PC Speaker


PBM6 has PC Speaker support for a simple screen reader and notifications. This will help blind and visually impaired people to use the boot manager. The Morse Code is used for the text.

There is a sound notification when the boot manager is ready to use.

In the main menu, you hear a short information with two chars. For boot entries, the first char is the drive type and the second char is the bus type. Example: Hard disk IDE is HI. CD-ROM SATA is CS. Hard disk USB is HU.

Static menu entries: Setup is SE. About is AB. Shutdown is SH.

With a hotkey, you hear the whole text of the menu entry.

Attaching and removing an USB drive gives a notification sound.

The PC Speaker feature will be available in the next Test Version.

Use CTRL-F5 to enable/disable the PC Speaker support. Pressing F5 will beep the current text as Morse Code.


Demonstration video

Download as MP3: pbm6-pcspeaker.mp3

Download as text: pbm6-pcspeaker.txt




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PBM6 - EFI

© 2022 by Elmar Hanlhofer