The DosBoot method

 
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Introduction
DosBoot is an alternative way of booting the Amiga911 and Emergency Disk II floppy, where almost no patches are run, and the Workbench will not be opened. This functionality is primarily meant to be used in situations where the disk for some reason or another refuses to boot up properly. The instructions found on this page covers using DosBoot with an Amiga911 disk, but the way things work is basically the same with the Emergency Disk II as well.


How to use DosBoot
There are two ways to boot your Amiga by using the DosBoot method:
 
1.  Press and hold both mouse buttons upon booting the Amiga. This will open the Early Startup Screen, where you can click the "Boot With No Startup-Sequence" button. When the disk has booted up, just enter "DosBoot" on the command line and press the return key (if this doesn't work, enter "Execute DosBoot" instead).
 
2.  If the boot disk has been created with Amiga911 Maker 1.62, a much easier way is to simply press and hold either of the Crtl, Shift, Alt or Amiga keys upon booting, until a "Key pressed" message appears on screen.

By doing one of the above, the DosBoot script file will now be executed. First it will extract all files in the System0.lzx archive (if present), and then it will do the same with System1.lzx as well. Next some assigns leading to the newly created system dirs on the Ram disk will be made, and then it will create & assign T: and Env: on the Ram disk as well.



What happens next depends upon what version of Amiga911 Maker the boot disk was created with.  If it's V1.59 or lower, you will be asked if System2.lzx should be extracted too, and if you want this to happen, just type Y and press return. Next, the script exits to the command prompt, where you can do whatever you need to do.  But if on the other hand the boot disk was made with V1.62, the below menu will appear instead:



As you can see from the picture above, you will now have to enter a number from 1 - 9 and then press the Return key.  Here is an explenation of the various menu items:

1. Exit to Dos
Simply exits to the Dos prompt so that you can enter commands. You can open the DosBoot Menu again by just typing menu and pressing Return.

2. EDit Startup-Sequence
Allows you to edit the Startup-Sequence of the boot disk by using the Ed text editor. Do this if you need to enable or disable stuff in this file in order of getting the boot floppy to work properly.

3. EDit other text...
Allows you to create a new text file in Ed, or you can edit an already existing one by first choosing "Project > Open" from Ed's menu, and then select the wanted file.

4. Mount a Device
This option allows you to mount a storage device by using the included mount files. Here you will have to enter the name of the device (including a colon), and then press Return. Now the system will try to mount the device, and unless a error message appears, it most likely means that this was succesful.
 

5. Extract System2.lzx
This will simply extract the System2.lzx archive to the Ram disk. It may speed up things a bit when mounting devices & running various programs, but it will increase the memory usage.

6. Extract Programs.lzx
This option will extract the Programs.lzx archive to the Ram disk. It will make starting multiple programs a little faster, since they're extracted all at once then. Only recommended for Amigas with more than 2MB RAM.

7. View Programs Info
Displays some information about the programs that's included on the Amiga911 or Emergency Disk II floppy. What it basically does, is to show the contents of the ProgsInfo text file.
 

8. Start a Program
By selecting this option, you will be able to start one of the programs that's included on the boot disk. After entering 8 and pressing Return, you will be presented with a list over all the available ones. Now you must enter the name of the program you want to run, and then press the Return key. Have in mind that certain programs requires Workbench to be loaded, while others might work, but with reduced functionality. Also on the Emergency Disk II, some programs may fail to run because certain required files are missing (they're only present on the AmigaOS 3.9 CD). 
 

9. Start mARK
Launches the mARK script, which allows you to extract archive files (lha & lzx). Have in mind that with OS3.x versions of the Amiga911 disk and the Emergency Disk II, the "List" function in mARK will not work properly. With the former, it's because no datatypes are loaded, and with the latter, it's because neither datatypes or MultiView is included on the floppy.  For more information about mARK, you can read the Extracting archives with mARK tutorial
 

All of the above are the standard items in the DosBoot menu, but your boot floppy may have the following extra options as well:

10. Start PoseidonMan / AnaiisMan
If the boot disk contains either the Poseidon or the Anaiis USB stack, this option will appear. By choosing it, the appropriate manager script will be run, which in turn allows you to start and stop the stack. For more information, read the Using the Poseidon USB stack and Using the Anaiis USB stack tutorials.

11. Start ZShell
This option will appear if your boot disk includes ZShell. By selecting it, a small ZShell window will open on the screen, which allows you to use it's built-in commands (just type 'Help' for a list). Using ZShell is recommended on Amiga911 disks with XPK compression (since it's faster), and the Emergency Disk II (since it doesn't contain that many commands).  Do have in mind however, that ZShell isn't exactly 100% Shell compatible, an example is that many of the scripts included on the boot disk will not work. This is the main reason why ZShell gets opened as a seperate window.
 

Please note the following:
1. Selecting options 8 & 9 will always exit the DosBoot menu.
2. On the Emergency Disk II, the System2.lzx archive will always be extracted when options 8 or 9 are chosen (unless it's already been done that is).




Limitations
There are probably some people who will find the whole DosBoot + menu concept a bit limited and cumbersome to use. But here it is important to have in mind what the main reason behind the whole thing is, and that is to give the user an alternative method of booting the disk in situations where normal boot won't work. This is the reason why stuff like SetPatch + other patches, datatypes, drivers, IPrefs and LoadWB are not run, since any of them might be the cause of the problems.  If there's no issues with your disk, you should really use the normal boot method instead.

As a direct result of the above, your Amiga may not have proper support for large harddisks (>4GB) when booting in DosBoot mode. This is because neither NSDPatch or any scsi.device patches are used.

The original idea behind the whole DosBoot concept, was to make it possible to boot into a very simple system, so that the user could edit the Startup-Sequence of the disk, copy missing files to it, or maybe even delete problematic ones. But things kinda snowballed from there on, and the end result is the current DosBoot script + Menu.




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