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NTFS boot from CDrom

Posted on 1999-07-15
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Last Modified: 2010-04-27
We are looking to boot form a CDrom.  So how would be able to made a CD bootable.  Does anybody have a working example?
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Question by:graber
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21 Comments
 
LVL 2

Expert Comment

by:Gryphon031198
ID: 1159330
You can only boot from CD-ROM if your motherboard allows it and if the cd-rom contains and Autorun.inf file.  I have done it many times with the NT cd-rom.

To find out whether your motherboard supports Boot from CD-ROm you need to have a look in the BIOS.  Just go through the bootup sequence and check whether or not cd-rom appears. Just select it is the primary boot device and there you go.

Gryphon.
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LVL 12

Expert Comment

by:Otta
ID: 1159331
>  and if the cd-rom contains an Autorun.inf file.

Huh?  Don't you require a running copy of Windows 95/98/NT,
in order to read the root-directory of the CD-ROM,
looking for that 'AUTORUN.INF' file?

One problem you could run into is "to which drive-letter
do you write the Windows swap-file?".
Since the "boot" drive-letter is a "read-only" device,
you won't be able to write the swap-file to the CD-ROM.
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LVL 2

Expert Comment

by:Gryphon031198
ID: 1159332
It depends on what you want to do with it.  I have booted many times from the Windows NT 4 setup CD-ROM for instance on MoBo's allowing the boot-from-cd option.  No need to format the HDD or anything.

I understand the question to be a "normal" CD-ROM bootup.
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Author Comment

by:graber
ID: 1159333
Gryphon I need to know what must go into the autorun.inf and where must it go.  Boot sectors traditionally are sector 0.  is this necessary?  does anybody have an example of how to burn a boot cdrom
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LVL 2

Expert Comment

by:Gryphon031198
ID: 1159334
I have not tried this myself, but an autorun.inf should be treated the same as an Autoexec.bat, only on a lower level.  So I suppose your Autorun.inf should load some form of OS into the memory.  So I therefore presume one might actually point it to the winnt.exe that you would have located on the actual CD.  

What the Windows NT CD-ROM does is that it actually loads up autorun.exe, which refers the system to the initial installation program.

Keep in mind that a CD contains CDFS which is an entire file system on its own, so NTFS wouldn't play a role as such.

G.


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Expert Comment

by:mohnt
ID: 1159335
why the titleis NTFS boot : the question and his title are not clear
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LVL 12

Expert Comment

by:Otta
ID: 1159336
> an autorun.inf should be treated the same as an Autoexec.bat, only on a lower level.

The opposite is true -- it is at a "higher" level.

After your computer has loaded 'CONFIG.SYS' and 'AUTOEXEC.BAT',
and the drivers for the CD-ROM,
then it will try to find and read the 'AUTORUN.INF' file.
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Expert Comment

by:banuri
ID: 1159337
take these steps
1. Reboot your Computer
2. Keep on pressing the 'DELETE' key many times
3. U will enter the Bios Setup
4. Go into advanced setup and select your CD Drive as  
   either primary C: or bootable drive according to your
   bios choices.
5. Reboot and u will boot from ur CD
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LVL 2

Expert Comment

by:Gryphon031198
ID: 1159338
Otta,

I disagree...when the BIOS is set to read the CD-ROM as a boot device, then surely it has a hardwired CD-ROM "driver unit" (so to speak) that gives automatic CD-ROM access without having to load a form of MSCDEX, simply because on normal boot-up your command.com refers to config.sys and autoexec.bat, but since you do not load command.com the BIOS assumes autorun.inf to be a referral script to an OS.  

I might be wrong, but that is what I think. :)

Banuri - These guys want to know how to create a bootable CD-ROM...the actual disk itself.  The motherboard settings was already proposed as an answer and rejected (*sniffle*)...maybe you've got some more ideas on how to configure the autorun.inf towards booting a PC.

Gryphon
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LVL 2

Author Comment

by:graber
ID: 1159339
I want to know what has got to go onto the cdrom and where to put it.  The boot sequence isn't the question.
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LVL 2

Author Comment

by:graber
ID: 1159340
Gryphon has a handle on the boot sequence.  From the bios the CDrom can be placed into the boot sequence.  Usually the order of device checking can also be specified.  I have approximately 1700 machines that my group writes software for.  It would tremendously reduce the revision control of this software and hardware configuration if a CDrom could be booted from to lay down an image.  Regardless of the current operating system.
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LVL 12

Expert Comment

by:Otta
ID: 1159341
> simply because on normal boot-up your command.com
> refers to config.sys and autoexec.bat, but since you
> do not load command.com the BIOS assumes autorun.inf
> to be a referral script to an OS.

Nonsense.  

Any "boot" process *MUST* read the 'command.com' file,
whether it's reading from diskette, hard-drive, or CD-ROM.

Once this file is loaded into RAM, this program reads the 'config.sys' file, and then the 'autoexec.bat' file.

Much later, when a specific Operating System,
namely Windows 95/98/NT, has been fully-loaded,
then that Operating System searches for the 'autorun.inf' file.

Experiment: take a CD-ROM with an 'autorun.inf' file,
and insert it into a computer running OS/2 Warp or UNIX or LINUX.
Nothing happens, because none of those Operating Systems
automatically search for an 'autorun.inf' file.





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LVL 12

Expert Comment

by:Otta
ID: 1159342
> It would tremendously reduce the revision control
> of this software and hardware configuration if a CDrom
> could be booted from to lay down an image.

Look at software like 'GHOST'.
It can copy an "image" across a network,
and install it to the "local" hard-drive.

Or, create a bootable MS DOS diskette, with CD-ROM support,
and put a copy of some 'UNZIP' utility on that diskette.

Then, just 'UNZIP' from a source-file on the CD-ROM,
with the target being the "local" hard-drive.

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LVL 2

Author Comment

by:graber
ID: 1159343
In the boot sequence regardless of the device being accessed the bios jumps to sector 0 byte 0 and pulls n bytes to make a valid jump to the bootstrap.  Among the first files to be loaded are IO.sys and other files that I would have to do some research to remember.  Otta command.com really doesn't need to be loaded.  All command.com does is to provide the console and possibly other programs with a repository of simple commands.  The bios instructions (bios interupts) can provide the same functionality (at a cost) that command.com.  Infact the commands in command.com use the bios interrupts (btw BIOS Binary Input/Output Service/System).  Guess the question is is thier IO device for the Cdrom or does the MSDEX need to be loaded before the cdrom can be accessed.  MSDEX is memory resident, where access to the hard/floppy drive is bios dependent/related.  Time to pull out the ole IO intrupts book...  Does anyone know of a bios related function that allows access to the cdrom?  I am afraid that the answer is no.
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LVL 12

Expert Comment

by:Otta
ID: 1159344
> Does anyone know of a bios related function that allows access to the cdrom?

Given that the CD-ROM is connected to an IDE channel,
it should behave quite similarly to a "true" IDE device,
such as your hard-drive.  So, if you have a BIOS-related
function to access one IDE device, you probably have what
you need to access any IDE-compatible device.

>  the bios jumps to sector 0 byte 0 and pulls n bytes to make a valid jump to the bootstrap.

I hope that your 'autorun.inf' file is located "elsewhere" on the CD-ROM.  :-)


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LVL 2

Expert Comment

by:Gryphon031198
ID: 1159345
Ok...I have done some research and came up with very little, but I did find some interesting stuff.

The most important thing about this question is that one should be careful of accepting that the boot process always demands command.com for one reason only and that is that command.com relates to FAT or even NTFS...both of them hard disk file systems.

When looking at the CD-ROM bootup option however, I found that we are dealing with a whole new file system altogether, demanding different procedures as to what we are accustomed to.  This file system is generally referred to as CDFS.  

I found that CDFS as a file system can only be implemented on machines that contains the neccesary hardwiring to load the cd-rom device and search for a boot sequence.  Amongst the sequences accepted, autorun.inf is found.

What should go into the autorun.inf I cannot tell you because I don't know, however, there are a few companies who developed their own versions of CDFS that provides these file systems as a standard tool especially when working on embedded systems.

I am going to make some presumptions now:

1) a small form of CDFS is embedded into certain BIOS's of specific motherboards.(Those containing the boot from CD-ROM option)
2) since this is a file system, one should be able to run software from it.
3) One might try to do a fresh install of WINNT onto a new hard disk drive and make a CD image of it with an autorun.inf containing the winnt.exe file or a boot.ini file for that matter.
4) If this works heaven knows why we still use HDD's *grin*

Here is some URL's that'll give you some info on CDFS:

http://www.etcbin.com/index.html
http://www.uniqueway.co.uk/everything/cdfs.html

Gryphon
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LVL 2

Author Comment

by:graber
ID: 1159346
Gryphon
Resubmit it as answer.  I believe this is as close as were going to get it.  Besides I want to keep this tread of information to draw from.
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LVL 2

Accepted Solution

by:
Gryphon031198 earned 800 total points
ID: 1159347
*here you go*
Ok...I have done some research and came up with very little, but I did find some interesting stuff.

       The most important thing about this question is that one should be careful of accepting that the boot process always demands
       command.com for one reason only and that is that command.com relates to FAT or even NTFS...both of them hard disk file
       systems.

       When looking at the CD-ROM bootup option however, I found that we are dealing with a whole new file system altogether,
       demanding different procedures as to what we are accustomed to.  This file system is generally referred to as CDFS.  

       I found that CDFS as a file system can only be implemented on machines that contains the neccesary hardwiring to load the
       cd-rom device and search for a boot sequence.  Amongst the sequences accepted, autorun.inf is found.

       What should go into the autorun.inf I cannot tell you because I don't know, however, there are a few companies who developed
       their own versions of CDFS that provides these file systems as a standard tool especially when working on embedded
       systems.

       I am going to make some presumptions now:

       1) a small form of CDFS is embedded into certain BIOS's of specific motherboards.(Those containing the boot from CD-ROM
       option)
       2) since this is a file system, one should be able to run software from it.
       3) One might try to do a fresh install of WINNT onto a new hard disk drive and make a CD image of it with an autorun.inf
       containing the winnt.exe file or a boot.ini file for that matter.
       4) If this works heaven knows why we still use HDD's *grin*

       Here is some URL's that'll give you some info on CDFS:

       http://www.etcbin.com/index.html
       http://www.uniqueway.co.uk/everything/cdfs.html

Gryphon
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LVL 12

Expert Comment

by:Otta
ID: 1159348
> Amongst the sequences accepted, autorun.inf is found.
> What should go into the autorun.inf I cannot tell you,
> because I don't know.

Use any editor (EDIT/NOTEPAD/WORDPAD) to look at the contents
of any 'AUTORUN.INF' file.  It is just legible "text".

When the Operating System is fully-loaded,
then a search for the 'AUTORUN.INF' file is performed.
If it is found, it is read from the CD-ROM,
and the text in the file is treated as the same as a
command entered from the 'RUN' prompt on the Windows 9x "START" menu.

My point is that the Operating System is *fully* loaded
before the 'AUTORUN.INF' file is processed; this file
is not involved in the "boot-process".
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LVL 2

Expert Comment

by:Gryphon031198
ID: 1159349
I was referring to what the contents of a boot-up autorun.inf should include.  I agree that you should have some form of OS up and running that should process the Autorun.inf, but the point I made in my answer is that this is precisely the whole function of the embedded form of CDFS in the BIOS, therefore the BIOS loads only the embedded "OS" and then processes Autorun.inf as a batch.  This merely implies that the boot process now uses this embedded system instead of looking for command.com on the hdd.  The autorun.inf of the Windows NT installation CD refers to a file called autorun.exe.

In my list of assumptions I mentioned that due to this, you ought to be able to run a form of executable software, and that graber and the team should experiment and see whether they can revert to a high level OS like winnt as a user interface moreover than an operating system.  This is highly experimental though and who knows, it might just work, or lead them to something that might work.
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LVL 12

Expert Comment

by:Otta
ID: 1159350
> this is precisely the whole function of the embedded
> form of CDFS in the BIOS,

Incorrect.  The whole function of the embedded CD File System
is to be able to copy data bytes from the CD-ROM into RAM.
Then, it's the function of the CPU to "execute" those bytes.

> therefore the BIOS loads only the embedded "OS"

The BIOS loads bits of data from the CD-ROM,

> and then processes Autorun.inf as a batch.

The CPU, not the BIOS, processes those bits of data
which are now loaded into the computer's RAM.

Together, the combined instructions *are* the "Operating System".



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