Sunday 6 September 2015

Add a DOS-based BIOS update program to E2B

Some older BIOS update programs such as AWDFLASH.exe are DOS-based and you need to boot to MS-DOS or FreeDOS to run them.

How can we do this from E2B?

If the Flash software is supplied as a floppy disk image, just give it a .ima file extension and add it to your E2B menu folder. If it is a bootable ISO, just add it to the E2B USB drive (or try .isodos01 if it is designed to load files from the CD once DOS has booted)..

If you are not provided with a bootable floppy disk image or bootable ISO file, we need to make our own DOS-bootable image.

One way to do this is to use a bootable DOS floppy image and add the BIOS files into the image.
Another is to use the ubiquitous Hirens Boot CD ISO to boot to DOS...

Create a DOS Floppy Disk image

1. Find the \_ISO\DOS\MNU\Freedos288.IMA.gz file on your E2B USB drive and use 7Zip or WinRAR to extract the FreeDos_Full.ima floppy image file. This is a FreeDos floppy image.

Note: You can make an MS-DOS bootable floppy image using RMPrepUSB - File - Create 1.44MB MSDOS Floppy boot image menu (not Win10 though as MS removed floppy boot disk code from Win10!).

2. Copy the FreeDos_Full.ima file to \_ISO\DOS folder and rename it - e.g. BIOS_ACME_1018.ima

3. If you have ImDisk installed already, right-click on the .ima file and mount the file as a virtual floppy disk (e.g. G:). You can use WinImage instead of ImDisk or another disk image utility.

4. Add in your flash files (usually drag-and-drop will work)

5. Save the image (e.g. use right-click - Unmount ImDisk Virtual Disk).

6. (optional) - You can compress the .ima file using 7Zip to a .gzip file or for greater compression, drag-and-drop the .ima file onto the
F:\_ISO\docs\E2B Utilities\LZMA\LZMA_ENCODE.cmd script to LZMA encode the file. Keep the file extension as .ima (or .imagz).

You can now boot to E2B and run the .ima file from the DOS menu.

Use the Hirens Boot CD

Wouldn't it be nice if we didn't have to create a disk image each time though?

A more convenient way would be to just copy the files onto the E2B USB drive itself and then boot to DOS even if the E2B USB drive was formatted as NTFS.

First copy your flash program and .ROM file, etc. to a new folder somewhere on your E2B USB drive...

1. Boot to the Hirens Boot CD 15.2 ISO  (file extension should be .isowinvh)

2. Follow the Hirens Menu -
    Dos Programs - 
    Next - 
    NTFS Ext2FS, Ext3FS (Filesystem) Tools - 
    NTFSDos 1.9

When you see the driver pop-up dialog, select NTFS instead of Auto if your E2B USB drive is formatted as NTFS.

You can ignore the warning about not finding the \HBCD folder.

The E2B USB drive contents should now be accessible as C: or D: or E: from the DOS prompt.

Note: This DOS environment may not be 100% compatible with your flash software. if it doesn't work correctly you will need to create a floppy disk image as detailed above.

Tip: If you wish, you can extract just the \HBCD\dos.gz file from the Hirens ISO and rename it to DOSTOOLS.IMAGZ (or leave it as .gz because that is equivalent to .ima anyway) to save having to boot from the Hirens ISO each time. A list of E2B file extensions can be found here or study the \_ISO\e2b\grub\QRUN.g4b grub4dos batch file (e.g. :.ima is the code label for where .ima files are booted).

E2B later versions

The FreeDOS boot image in later versions of E2B include an NTFS driver.

This makes adding DOS program easy!

  1. Make a new folder on the E2B NTFS drive (e.g. \DOS)
  2. Copy your DOS files into it
  3. Boot to the FreeDOS floppy image in the E2B DOS menu
  4. You can now run the DOS program directly from the E2B drive!
Tip: Use short folder and file names to make it easier to access under DOS.

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