Setting up Linux dual boot with dos - Setup

This is a discussion on Setting up Linux dual boot with dos - Setup ; I use old laptops for my job. We use legacy msdos programs to do serial communications with sensor and radio equipment. The programs are at least ten years old and will never be updated. We use old laptops running a ...

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Thread: Setting up Linux dual boot with dos

  1. Setting up Linux dual boot with dos

    I use old laptops for my job. We use legacy msdos programs to do
    serial communications with sensor and radio equipment. The programs
    are at least ten years old and will never be updated. We use old
    laptops running a Zenith DOS from the 1980's that actually fits on a
    5.25 floppy. Old laptops are used because they run slow and many of
    these simple programs will not work correctly on a fast machine
    (communication timing is off). We have tried some slowdown programs
    on "modern" laptops, but it is easier to use old machines. I just got
    my "newest" old machine, an early 90's Toshiba. Built like a tank.

    I don't want to carry two PC's and it would be nice in the evenings
    when staying at some hotel with high speed to be able to get on the
    Net. Windows (even 98) would be a resource hog on this old machine
    (128 megs, 800 meg hard drive). So I am thinking about a streamlined
    Linux distribution. Any suggestions on distributions (would mainly
    use for Web, email, storing and minor editing of photos taken of field
    equipment). Looking for something that comes on a CD and can just
    "move" over to the hard drive. I have a Knoppix disc from years ago
    that would probably do it, but I haven't used Linux since 2003.

    My real question is what is the simplest way to set up a dual boot. I
    need vanilla DOS running by itself for the comm software. And then
    the Linux distro. Is there some product (shareware, commercial) that
    makes it easy to set this up? Boot up computer, get screen that says
    DOS or Linux? Choose one: I get the c:\ prompt; choose the other and
    I'm looking at KDE or Gnome or a Linux command line prompt.

    Thanks for any suggestions,
    TAW


  2. Re: Setting up Linux dual boot with dos

    ta_white2@yahoo.com wrote:
    > I use old laptops for my job. We use legacy msdos programs to do
    > serial communications with sensor and radio equipment. The programs
    > are at least ten years old and will never be updated. We use old
    > laptops running a Zenith DOS from the 1980's that actually fits on a
    > 5.25 floppy. Old laptops are used because they run slow and many of
    > these simple programs will not work correctly on a fast machine
    > (communication timing is off). We have tried some slowdown programs
    > on "modern" laptops, but it is easier to use old machines. I just got
    > my "newest" old machine, an early 90's Toshiba. Built like a tank.
    >
    > I don't want to carry two PC's and it would be nice in the evenings
    > when staying at some hotel with high speed to be able to get on the
    > Net. Windows (even 98) would be a resource hog on this old machine
    > (128 megs, 800 meg hard drive). So I am thinking about a streamlined
    > Linux distribution. Any suggestions on distributions (would mainly
    > use for Web, email, storing and minor editing of photos taken of field
    > equipment). Looking for something that comes on a CD and can just
    > "move" over to the hard drive. I have a Knoppix disc from years ago
    > that would probably do it, but I haven't used Linux since 2003.
    >
    > My real question is what is the simplest way to set up a dual boot. I
    > need vanilla DOS running by itself for the comm software. And then
    > the Linux distro. Is there some product (shareware, commercial) that
    > makes it easy to set this up? Boot up computer, get screen that says
    > DOS or Linux? Choose one: I get the c:\ prompt; choose the other and
    > I'm looking at KDE or Gnome or a Linux command line prompt.
    >
    > Thanks for any suggestions,
    > TAW
    >

    I use Ranish partition manager.
    http://www.ranish.com/part/xosl.htm
    It has a really nice boot manager in it.

  3. Re: Setting up Linux dual boot with dos

    On Sun, 15 Jul 2007, ta_white2 wrote:

    > I don't want to carry two PC's and it would be nice in the evenings
    > when staying at some hotel with high speed to be able to get on the
    > Net. Windows (even 98) would be a resource hog on this old machine
    > (128 megs, 800 meg hard drive). So I am thinking about a streamlined
    > Linux distribution. Any suggestions on distributions (would mainly
    > use for Web, email, storing and minor editing of photos taken of field
    > equipment).


    The problem will be the disk space. I often recommend Vector Linux for old
    machines, but it requires 3 Gb of disk space. You could try Puppy Linux
    (running it from the CD but saving your personal files on disk) or Damn
    Small Linux (which recommends 2 Gb of hard disk space, however).

    > My real question is what is the simplest way to set up a dual boot. I
    > need vanilla DOS running by itself for the comm software. And then
    > the Linux distro. Is there some product (shareware, commercial) that
    > makes it easy to set this up? Boot up computer, get screen that says
    > DOS or Linux? Choose one: I get the c:\ prompt; choose the other and
    > I'm looking at KDE or Gnome or a Linux command line prompt.


    Grub and Lilo will both do this. The Linux installation program will
    probably take care of this automatically.

    --
    Yves Bellefeuille



  4. Re: Setting up Linux dual boot with dos

    On Sun, 15 Jul 2007 12:01:45 -0700, ta_white2 wrote:

    > I use old laptops for my job.


    >
    > My real question is what is the simplest way to set up a dual boot. I
    > need vanilla DOS running by itself for the comm software. And then
    > the Linux distro. Is there some product (shareware, commercial) that
    > makes it easy to set this up? Boot up computer, get screen that says
    > DOS or Linux? Choose one: I get the c:\ prompt; choose the other and
    > I'm looking at KDE or Gnome or a Linux command line prompt.
    >
    > Thanks for any suggestions,
    > TAW
    >

    I recommend taking some time to read grub's (boot loader) documentation.
    Then do some practice sessions to gain familiarity with how it works. grub
    is a very flexible boot loader, and can be thought of as a mini, self
    contained OS whose job is to load other OSs. It is not tied to GNU/Linux,
    or any other specific OS.
    http://www.gnu.org/software/grub/manual/grub.html

    You may also need to worry about disk translation modes if you are
    attempting to use old hardware with MS-DOS and/or old hardware with modern
    disk sizes. AFAIK, vintage DOS could have trouble going beyond certain
    partition sizes. This is one are where old hardware could be difficult to
    get working, especially if no BIOS update is available to give LBA
    mode by default. There are several disk size "barriers" which could come
    into play, especially when wanting backward compatibility to DOS.

    --
    Douglas Mayne



  5. Re: Setting up Linux dual boot with dos

    On 2007-07-15, ta_white2@yahoo.com wrote:
    > My real question is what is the simplest way to set up a dual boot. I
    > need vanilla DOS running by itself for the comm software. And then
    > the Linux distro. Is there some product (shareware, commercial) that
    > makes it easy to set this up? Boot up computer, get screen that says
    > DOS or Linux? Choose one: I get the c:\ prompt; choose the other and
    > I'm looking at KDE or Gnome or a Linux command line prompt.


    My first steps into Linux was with an old 486-100, 20M of memory and an
    850M Connor. I wanted to keep DOS/Win31 and have Linux, slowly migrating
    from DOS as my knowledge increased. Plus as I had nowhere to put the DOS
    data, it all had to be a non-destructive process.

    The disk was divided into two equal partitions by FIPS, DOS remaining
    on the first, Linux on the second. Booting into Linux was from DOS using
    the 'loadlin' program, called from a batch file with such a menu as you
    describe.

    Oddly, the 'boot DOS first' approach was the only way my sound card could
    be initialised. Linux simply couldn't deal with it, DOS had to set it up
    first.


    Martin.

  6. Re: Setting up Linux dual boot with dos

    ta_white2@yahoo.com wrote:

    > I use old laptops for my job. We use legacy msdos programs to do
    > serial communications with sensor and radio equipment. The programs
    > are at least ten years old and will never be updated. We use old
    > laptops running a Zenith DOS from the 1980's that actually fits on a
    > 5.25 floppy. Old laptops are used because they run slow and many of
    > these simple programs will not work correctly on a fast machine
    > (communication timing is off). We have tried some slowdown programs
    > on "modern" laptops, but it is easier to use old machines. I just got
    > my "newest" old machine, an early 90's Toshiba. Built like a tank.
    >
    > I don't want to carry two PC's and it would be nice in the evenings
    > when staying at some hotel with high speed to be able to get on the
    > Net. Windows (even 98) would be a resource hog on this old machine
    > (128 megs, 800 meg hard drive). So I am thinking about a streamlined
    > Linux distribution. Any suggestions on distributions (would mainly
    > use for Web, email, storing and minor editing of photos taken of field
    > equipment). Looking for something that comes on a CD and can just
    > "move" over to the hard drive. I have a Knoppix disc from years ago
    > that would probably do it, but I haven't used Linux since 2003.
    >
    > My real question is what is the simplest way to set up a dual boot. I
    > need vanilla DOS running by itself for the comm software. And then
    > the Linux distro. Is there some product (shareware, commercial) that
    > makes it easy to set this up? Boot up computer, get screen that says
    > DOS or Linux? Choose one: I get the c:\ prompt; choose the other and
    > I'm looking at KDE or Gnome or a Linux command line prompt.
    >
    > Thanks for any suggestions,
    > TAW


    Grub, the bootloader that comes with most linux distributions will
    happily boot DOS. If the linux installer finds DOS already installed
    on the HD, it will probably include DOS in the boot menu. Or you can
    edit /boot/grub/menu.lst to add it. Something like this:

    title MS-DOS (hda1)
    unhide (hd0,0)
    root (hd0,0)
    makeactive
    chainloader +1

    Adjust hd0,0 as necessary when DOS isn't the first partition. (Unlikely)

    When you start the machine, a menu offers linux or dos. Choose by moving
    the highlight with arrow keys, press enter.

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