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Floppy Drive Boot Skip

Treat floppy drives just like a CD-Rom
  [vote for,

On computers you can set up your boot sequence. First boot device Floppy. Second boot device CD-Rom. Third boot device hard drive. If there is no floppy disk and there is a non system disk in the CD-Rom the CD-Rom is skipped over and the computer boots normally. But, when you have a non system disk in the floppy the computer does not boot. It stops and says "non system disk in drive A:".
The computer should recognize that the disk in drive A: is a non system disk, advance to the CD-Rom, and then to the hard drive. So my idea is for a BIOS upgrade that would allow this to happen.
shazam, Jun 28 2003


       I have several computers that have startup options that allow you to skip the floppy and the CD.
DrCurry, Jun 28 2003

       Why don't all? This just doesn't make sense to me. I'll admit this is partially a rant. But, all computers should do this. My idea has changed to "a standard that requires all computers to do this."
shazam, Jun 28 2003

       Then it's a "Me Too" ("You Too") and still does't belong.
phoenix, Jun 28 2003

       It's a "Me Too", a "Rant", and it's aparrently baked. Jutta's going to track me down and give me a spanking. Maybe I should change it to 101 things to do with a boot sequence so it can be a list too!
shazam, Jun 28 2003

       Or I'll track you down and that's a much more frightening possibility.
bristolz, Jun 28 2003

       That Captain Beefheart song "Floppy Boot Stomp" is taking on a whole new meaning.
snarfyguy, Jun 28 2003

       I think its a good idea. Not that taking a disk out is that great a hardship.   

       Maybe the whole idea of halting for non system disks is to stop people leaving them in all the time then complaining if they lose data.
RobertKidney, Jun 28 2003

       The problem is that all ms-dos formatted floppy disks _do_ contain an operating system - a very minimal one whose sole operation is to print the message "Non-system disk or disk error." The BIOS has no way of figuring out whether this is or is not a boot sector leading to a real operating system or not, especially since it also contains code to look for io.sys and is thus identical to the boot sector of a system disk. The spirit of the idea could, however, be implemented by modified code in an individual disk's boot sector, but would have to be made on a per-disk or per-formatting-tool basis.
Random832, Jun 28 2003

       Not sure if that would work, Random. Once control had passed to the minimal OS which normally print the message, where would it pass control back to? would this be the same for all possible m/cs? IF the message were standardised, then the bios could search for this and skip the floppy altogether. But microsoft, in their wisdom, have changed it sometimes.
RusNash, Jun 29 2003

       Random, to me that's as dumb as 'This space intentionally left blank.'   

       So, you mean if I put a Mac-formatted disk into a PC, I won't get anything at all?
RayfordSteele, Jun 30 2003

       Me too? Rant?   

       Then let me rant too.   

       If it's so baked, then why is my PC too stupid to figure this out?
FloridaManatee, Jun 30 2003

       FloridaManatee, I think it's not entirely baked - as DrCurry says, many machines let you just disable booting from floppies at all rather than skip invalid floppies, but that's a fairly realistic choice in these days of 200-megabyte OSes. You may in fact have that feature but it's likely hidden in some dumb <Press F10 for Setup> boot menu. There are so many cheap PC manufacturers reusing this incredibly old architecture, and none of them see this kind of thing as a big selling point - the CPU gets much less attention than hardware add-ons. So [shazam]'s idea could be rephrased as, "Get everyone to harass PC manufacturers till more of them standardize this feature."
hob, Jul 01 2003

       Sorry RusNash and RayfordSteele, but Random832 is completely right. When you format a diskette using Microsoft's format.com or the formatting built into Windows, it creates the boot sector which is to blame for this problem. There have been utilities like fdformat and bootctl which can format diskettes that are 100% compatible with DOS in terms of format but with a boot sector that automatically passes control to the boot sector on your hard disk. Nothing needs to be changed in the BIOS. All of you who talk about how easy it is to change the BIOS boot settings, try doing it remotely (e.g. when you accessing a Citrix or Windows Terminal Server, or even a Windows XP desktop using Remote Desktop, pcAnywhere, VNC, etc.). I have needed to reboot my machine while I was a thousand miles away from it. Before doing so, I always check the floppy drive to see if there's anything in it (why? because I've been burned like this before). If there is, I copy anything off it that I need to save, then I overwrite the floppy with a WinImage image which contains the "safe" boot sector. The reason I have to clobber the whole disk using WinImage is that the old utilities fdformat and bootctl won't run under Windows XP, but you can run them on DOS and save an image of the floppy they create.
hosebeast, Aug 03 2003

       I would like to propose a slightly different idea: have the BIOS determine whether there's a floppy in the drive. If not, control passes immediately to the next booting device. If there is a floppy in the drive, however, don't run it but instead put up a message: To boot this floppy, press ENTER within the next 10 seconds." If the user does not push enter, proceed to the next device in sequence. This would maintain the ability to conveniently boot from floppy while avoiding nasty boot-sector viruses.
supercat, Aug 03 2003

       Just an offhand remark on all of this for anyone who may read this in the future. Find the DOS utility program fdformat. It formats a floppy disk so that unless you make it a bootable disk, it will skip over it if you leave it in when you restart your computer. The program is also capable of formating floppy disks to capacities greater than 1.44MB, such as Microsoft's DMF floppies that were 1.68/1.78MB.   

       Just thought I'd drop this here for anyone who might like to know about it.
gorgarath, Jul 16 2004

       I think all computers should revert to what they did in the old days with the addition that a voice would boom out from your 100W surround sound system at full volume"Take the bloody disc out stupid"
tasman, Jul 17 2004


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