Sony MicroVault as MultiBoot System Tool

Filed under Hardware, Utilities

With the success I had with getting a bootable image of MFSTools onto my old 1GB USB stick, why not go all out.

My local Fry’s has on sale Sony MicroVault USB sticks with a slide out connector.

image

I picked up a 4GB model for 37$ and am thinking a multi-boot setup with multiple partitions.

  • MFSTools, for all my Tivo adventures.
  • DOS6.2 with all my various boot tools, SpinRite, etc.
  • Ultimate Boot Disk, with various OpenSource DOS’s, plus some Linux stuff to, I believe.
  • A BartPE Windows XP boot partition.

Anything else that might seem useful?

Niceties about the USB boot disk option:

  • It’s fast
  • You don’t have a reburn a DVD to make a change to the configuration
  • The sizes are to a point now as to be actually useful

I probably won’t toss my trusty DOS 6.2 boot floppies just yet, ’cause some of my machines can’t boot to USB, but I suspect that will be changing over the next year or so.

6 Comments

  1. Ralf says:

    Here’s a DOS question for ya…

    I recently built a bootable floppy for an app that requires EMS memory. I started off with a Win98SE bootdisk and set the config.sys as follows:

    DEVICE=HIMEM /TESTMEM:OFF
    DEVICE=EMM386.EXE /M8 RAM

    (/M8 chooses a page frame at DC00, appropriate for my Dell Optiplex; your mileage may vary)

    So I boot from the thing, and it reports 32,000KB EMS memory available, but with the caveat that "EMS memory is being emulated via XMS MEMORY and the actual amount may change as demand changes" or words to that effect.

    And my EMS-hungry app can’t see any EMS.

    So… after wracking my age-withered lobes for 24 hours, I can’t ever remember seeing this message before. In the Devonian era EMS was EMS and XMS was XMS and ne’er the twain shall meet, except after work when EMS would get sloppy drunk and whine to XMS about that bitch QEMM taking all his work.

    Is there such a thing any more as TRUE EMS, not sullied by emulation or imitation? Or has it *always* been emulated by XMS and I’ve just replaced all the memories with XP registry hacking addresses?

    Normally I wouldn’t pursue this but this li’l disk utility is pretty important to me right now and I’d really like to see it run.

  2. Darin says:

    Wow, that takes me back. I remember spending ridiculous amounts of time hacking with emm386 in order to get as much free "below 640k" ram as possible for compiling, etc, and loading piles of TSRs in upper memory.

    I found this page, which seems to have some good info on EMM386.sys
    http://www.geocities.com/politalk/dos/memory.htm

    I was under the impression that EMS memory was a hardware thing that slowly died to be replaced by XMS, but that EMM386 emulated it for legacy apps.

    But that’s been many moons ago. It may have just been something I noticed when I was painting on the cave walls.

    BTW what disk Utility are you trying to run? Can you run it against XMS and not EMS?

  3. Ralf says:

    OmniXray is the utility, and seems pretty cool. Requires EMS, not XMS. Wish it would run.

    And I *do* remember EMS being a hardware thing, now that you mention it. I recall having a giant plug-in ISA board with sockets for chipped RAM, that expanded my PC-AT to a whopping 4MB of memory. I used it all as a ramdisk to run a BBS. Herbert Hoover was the president, I believe.

    Why I bought OmniXray: I have a corrupted $MFT entry that CHKDSK can’t see, and refuses to be deleted by any means. Safemode RMDIR reports that "the file or directory is corrupt and unreadable."

    Essentially what the damaged $MFT is pointing to is not really a file at all I guess, and the drive itself has no read/write errors. It’s a structural corruption at the $MFT level.

    MSDN acknowledges this is an issue with NTFS and offers only this solution: fdisk the drive and restore from backup, skipping the afflicted file or directory. Unfortunately, I can’t do that… it’s my primary bootable Windows partition, and while I have backups, they also include the damaged $MFT entry.

    I poked around with various sector editors but an afraid of making things worse. OmniXray has a nice "delete damaged $MFT entry" feature, but to run that I need EMS.

    So, know of a sector editor that can (automatically) delete undeletable files?

  4. Darin says:

    Have you checked out WinHex (www.WinHex.com). I haven’t run it but it looks pretty capable from the website and supports editing NTFS drives from within Windows.

    I know what you mean about bogus dir entries. Ages ago, I somehow got a couple of entries where the drive names had been scrambled to the point where I couldn’t delete them, but to explorer, they didn’t exist even though they showed up in the File list.

    Very irritating.

    But it was so long ago, I don’t recall how I fixed them. I used to be quite adept at hex editing file chains in FAT and FA32, but NTFS is a whole different bugger.

  5. We The People says:

    Darin,

    The owner of OmniXRay has died, it cannot be purchased any longer. I would gladly purchase your copy back from you for what you paid for it. Pleae email me at

    Please.NoSpam08 -at- GMail -dot- com

    If nothing else, could you post for others what the filename is of that distributable?

    Thank you
    We The People

  6. We The People says:

    Followup point.

    the newest bersion was/is 5.0 and the previous was 4.5, both available at the same time just before the site was pulled.

    Here is a link the the Archive.org’s "WayBack Machine" copy of the page just before it closed (Aug-27-07).

    http://web.archive.org/web/20070821144521/http://www.omnixray.com/

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