SBM Boot Manager
Quick Start:-Directly download the self-extracting sbm.exe_(660k/Free) and run it with a blank formatted floppy in its drive. Reboot to the floppy - that's it!
This really useful program, with a tiny footprint, can generally be configured to boot up a wide range of bootable partitions on multiple hard drives, floppy drives and (BIOS permitting) CDROM drives. It may indeed be the only way to boot problematic boot CDs. It can itself be run from a boot floppy or from a HDD's MBR or from a boot CD. It can also be found as a component utility on an EBCD and on the FreeDOS installation floppy diskette. Both Linux and Windows versions are available from the SBM website.
Booting from CD-ROMs
SBM supports booting from almost all kinds of IDE/ATAPI CD-ROMs, including PCMCIA CD-ROMs. If you have a laptop with a special PCMCIA CD-ROM which has no support for booting in the BIOS, SBM can often help to boot it up.
For those that want to use a floppy image then unzip another direct download sbm.zip_(640k/Free) and use its enclosed sbm.img file with your own software. If you want a really good and easy-to-use floppy-imaging program try Mirkes's 3.5Master_(562k/Free).
For those that want to burn an iso to a cd then unzip another direct download sbmiso.zip_(641k/Free) and use its enclosed sbminst.iso file. If you want a simple program to burn the iso with then try TerabyteUnlimited's BurnCDCC (69k/Free) or use ImgBurn (800k/Free), the successor to the burning component of DVD Decrypter. Note that if using the boot CD, created by the iso, that one cannot save any changes made to the SBM configuration at each reboot because those changes can't be saved to the CD as they can with a floppy.
It is worth reading the sbm-user-guide.pdf (200k) for further information and advice especially if you are intending to boot to multiple hard drives. The same guide in html format can also be unpacked from user-guide-3.7.tgz (38k) from the SBM site. If you need a utility to extract the files then you could try Izarc 3.5 (3MB/Free) or WinRAR 3.51 (930k/40-day Trial).
Install onto a Floppy or Hard Drive
You can also install SBM (or get the source code) by using the original files from the SBM Download Page; (this would be the smallest download size to allow you to get started). Windows users will need to have a DOS boot floppy ready in advance. One can be prepared by unzipping the bootdisk.com "Special Disk for BIOS Flashing"; it is only special in the sense that it contains the minimum number of files to boot to the floppy - thus leaving it the maximum available space for any utilities one wants to add to it. Othewise you can make one yourself from within Windows 9x or XP. Just choose to format a floppy in Explorer and then (a) if using Win9x ensure you enable the "Copy System Files" option or (b) if using WinXP check the box "Create an MS-DOS Startup Diskette". For other OSes you will need to prepare the floppy on a suitable PC or use the bootdisk.com download.
- Once the bootable floppy is ready, you should copy both of the files from the 'Binary DOS version': sbminst.exe 3.7 (69k) and its support file cwsdpmi.exe (20k) onto it. Reboot to the floppy and to see all the various setup options (including different language themes) simply enter:
- A typical command to install SBM onto the same floppy disk would be to enter:
A\> sbminst -d 0
- Thereafter, when you boot to that floppy, it should directly run the SBM boot manager. Note that all the data on the floppy is made inaccessible by this process and, unless reformatted, can only be used as a boot manager thereafter.
- To install onto the Hard Drive's Master Boot Record (MBR) you would enter:
A\> sbminst -d 128 -b bkup.bin
- This overlays the normal MBR so that the boot manager now appears when that hard drive is chosen as the boot device. If you decide to install it onto the Hard Drive then you can optionally use the -b switch (followed by the name of the backup file) so that you can later uninstall it using the -u switch. There are warnings about installing it to either a floppy or a hard drive but you are not told that it overwrites some 30 or 40 of the 63 sectors in Track 0 (aka the EMBR). This is why it is destructive to existing data on a floppy and why it doesn't need a separate partition (unlike most boot managers) on which to install any files.
- It works very well installed onto the MBR like this but it does lack the sophistication of other boot managers. As mentioned it can be a distinct advantage that it requires no additional partitions to hold its files. You cannot however configure it to auto-boot and you must remember which partition or hard drive you want to boot by its reference number in the list. If you want to boot to another hard drive (and use the settings in that hard drive's MBR), then choose the correct drive, set its X value with CTRL+X (to tell the BIOS that it is to be considered as the first bootable hard drive (128 or 0x80) when this boot selection is made) and save the settings with F2.
Booting Linux Distros with SBM
NB that if GRUB is not directly installed to the root partition that SBM will completely ignore it how ever often one rescans the partitions and drives. This tends to happen when GRUB was originally installed onto the MBR or a floppy. We believe this to be a generalisation for any partition boot sector. If it doesn't contain proper boot code then SBM ignores it. We haven't used LILO in an age but guess that the same applies.
Widely used Source Code
* Copyright © 2001 Suzhe : Smart Boot Manager is free software; it can be distributed and/or modified under the terms of the GNU General Public License as published by the Free Software Foundation; either version 2 of the License or (at your option) any later version. The program is distributed in the hope that it will be useful, but WITHOUT ANY WARRANTY; without even the implied warranty of MERCHANTABILITY or FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE. See the GNU General Public License for more details. You can write to the Free Software Foundation, Inc., 675 Mass Ave, Cambridge, MA 02139, USA to obtain a copy.