Creating a DOS hard drive under Linux is annoying at times. Formatting
the flash on the Aquapad would be tons easier if it had a CD-ROM or maybe
even just a floppy. As it is, you need to rip out your flash and stick it
in another card reader to begin the process.
Even the people who are doing this upgrading under Windows might want
some assistance, and so I have collected my experiences here.
Using FreeDOS should work, but I haven't been able to spend enough time
to do so, so I just gave up and decided to use a M$ boot disk I had handy.
We will make a hard drive image on the computer and then copy it to the
CompactFlash. This is due to the lack of drivers for DOS to read/write
- Find a Compact Flash card that doesn't contain any vital information --
it will be erased soon.
- You have two routes – either download and extract a bootable hard
drive image or make one yourself with the instructions below.
- Copy the hard drive image to the CompactFlash (/dev/sda is the address
of my CompactFlash reader; yours might differ):
dd if=blank.hd0 of=/dev/sda
Insert the CompactFlash into the Aquapad and plug in a USB keyboard.
Boot into the BIOS (press Page Up – ignore the message that says to
press Del). Use the automatic configuration to identify the second hard
drive, then set the tablet up to boot from the second hard drive.
- Reboot and you should boot to a command prompt. If not, you could have
a dozen problems. Your image could be wrong/corrupt, the CompactFlash could
be misidentified or have a different number of heads/tracks/cylinders. Or,
what frustrated me to no end, you might not have identified the CompactFlash
before saying to boot to the second drive.
- At this point, you merely need to mount the CompactFlash card
and copy over whatever files are required for the BIOS update. They should
run by themselves when you power on the Aquapad.
Also, if you want further information about how to create and mount the
hard drive image under Linux, make sure to check the Disk
Images Under Linux page.
Windows 98 Instructions
This is a bit easier because you aren't trying to install a foreign OS
under another OS.
- Stick the CompactFlash card in the reader. It should show up as a drive
on your computer. Mine shows up as J:, so I'll use that in my examples.
- Go to DOS by clicking on Start, Run. Type in command to get
a DOS shell.
- Wipe off the CompactFlash and make it bootable with this command. If
your CompactFlash is 1 gig or bigger, I might suggest using
/FS:FAT32 instead of /FS:FAT (try FAT first, just in case
you need to use that one).
format J: /FS:FAT /V:BLANK /Q /S
- To copy files in, just stick it in your CF reader and treat it like a
Other Operating Systems
You're probably stuck. Windows 2000 (and NT, if I recall) and foreward
don't have the "sys" command and don't let you specify "/s" to format.
Possible options include:
- Pop in a spare hard drive, install Windows 98 on it, follow the Windows 98 Instructions.
- Download a Linux Live CD (there's MANY, I suggest Knoppix or a
derivative), boot to it, follow the Linux instructions.
- Download QEMU to set
up a hard drive image. Head over to Free OS Zoo for QEMU downloads for various platforms.
Obtaining an Image of the Compact Flash Card
Want to make an exact copy of the Compact Flash card? Need the original
images so that you can install and upgrade your own applications? Here you
go. Information for this process originally came from Pavel Tkatchouk.
- Dissassemble the AquaPad. Remove the Compact
Flash card and walk over to your other computer with the Compact Flash
reader. My reader mounts Compact Flash cards as /dev/sda.
Check out the partitions on the card. For me, fdisk -l /dev/sda
produces the results shown in the table to the right.
Disk /dev/sda: 1024 MB, 1024450560 bytes
1 heads, 62 sectors/track, 32272 cylinders
Units = cylinders of 62 * 512 = 31744 bytes
Device Boot Start End Blocks Id System
/dev/sda1 * 2 88 2697 83 Linux
/dev/sda2 89 175 2697 83 Linux
/dev/sda3 176 180 155 83 Linux
/dev/sda4 181 1015 25885 83 Linux
- Change to whatever directory that you want the files stored in.
mkdir ~/aquapad; cd ~/aquapad
- Copy over the master boot record.
dd if=/dev/sda of=MBR bs=512 count=1
- Copy over each hard drive image. You can use cp or
dd. Just make sure that the sda1 image is the same size as the
sda2 image, otherwise you will get problems. We know they are the same size
because of the output from fdisk.
dd if=/dev/sda1 of=/dev/sda1
dd if=/dev/sda2 of=/dev/sda2
dd if=/dev/sda3 of=/dev/sda3
dd if=/dev/sda4 of=/dev/sda4
- Compress and copy the images elsewhere so that you always have a nice,
clean install just in case something gets messed up. They really won't
compress too well, but a k here and there add up.
- The images are separated in the above instructions because it is easier
to work with them individually than all together. If you want an exact copy
of the card you can just use dd if=/dev/sda of=CF_Copy.img
Making Your Own Image Under Linux
- Install Bochs.
- Find a Windows or DOS boot floppy. Insert it into your drive and copy
the floppy image to your hard drive. Maybe a FreeDOS floppy will work for you; it didn't work for me.
dd if=/dev/fd0 of=floppy.img
- Read the Bochs install instructions to set up a new 4 (or whatever) meg
hard drive. You don't really need tons of space here. Also set up Bochs to
use the floppy image as the A drive, boot from the A drive, and have the
hard drive image as the C drive. Depending on your distribution, this could
take minutes or hours. With Debian, just run Bochs and it will easily
create a new hard drive for you.
- Boot the floppy image, fdisk the C drive, reboot.
- Boot the floppy again and add the bootable MBR: fdisk /MBR
- Format the hard drive, and add the system.
format c: /S
- Shut down Bochs, and find your hard drive image. Mine is called
dd if=guest.hd0 of=/dev/sda