Yes, another shovelware day for me, where I mostly share links and a few comments on them. Fortunately I found some good stuff.
Multiboot CDs. Did you know you can make bootable CD-ROMs hold more than one floppy image? I can think of a couple of different uses for this capability. A developer might want a boot CD containing MS-DOS 4, 5, 6, 6.1, 6.2, 6.22, 7.0, 7.1, and 8.0 as well as various versions of PC-DOS and DR-DOS for testing purposes. (And speaking of DOS, I found an outstanding repository of more than 600 DOS must-have freeware utilities this weekend. If you don’t fear the command line, get thee over there now. Even if you do fear the command line, there’s stuff over there that’ll probably interest you from the day when a utility that took 1 MB was considered large, most of which still runs under Windows and some of which still has no good Windows-based equivalent.)
Someone who does desktop support would probably love to have a CD containing an image of an NT boot floppy and a DOS boot floppy containing CD-ROM drivers, network drivers, and an NTFS driver for disaster recovery purposes. And why not include an image of the PC’s OS and a utility for restoring the image on the space left over on the CD?
Maybe all that is useless to you, you just wish you could make a boot CD that worked with a variety of SCSI and IDE drives? That’s possible too.
And what if I told you all the software you need to do this is either already on your PC, or free for the asking? Yeah, I was happy to hear that too!
The witchcraft necessary to create such beasts is over at Bart Lagerweij’s place at http://www.nu2.nu/bootcd/ .
And an NT4 install CD with a timeout. And here’s some interesting stuff. The Windows 2000 CD gives you the option to boot from HD or CD when you boot off it, defaulting to HD, with a timeout. This is great for those times when you accidentally leave the CD in the drive and reboot–you won’t run Windows 2000 setup by mistake. NT4 doesn’t do that. What if you could burn an NT4 CD that does that? You can!
And if you’re tired of installing service packs manually after installing Windows 2000, you can use Windows 2000’s slipstream feature to patch a copy of the Windows 2000 CD sitting on a hard drive, then burn a Windows 2000 CD from that. End result: The time it takes to build a new Windows 2000 system from scratch decreases by a few minutes and requires less user intervention.
You can find those tricks at http://www.bink.nu/Bootcd/default.htm .
And bringing back CDs from the dead. Sometimes. And what about CDs that won’t read? Enter a freeware utility called IsoBuster, which you can find at http://www.ping.be/vcd/isobuster.htm .