Free Software for DOS
Boot Managers and Utilities

9 Dec 2005

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MULTI–OS BOOT MANAGERS

DOS BOOT MANAGERS

OTHER BOOT UTILS

MULTI–OS BOOT MANAGERS

For those who wish to run combinations of Win95, Win98, Win3.1, DOS, Linux, OS/2 ...etc., from the same (or more than one) hard disk. Not for the faint of heart – and we make no recommendations about these. Much thanks to Dev Teelucksingh, Alek Markiewicz, and Bjørn Simonsen for recommending many of these programs. Note: Partition managers are listed on the DISK UTILS pages.


XOSL — VGA mode multi-OS boot manager.

unrated

[added 2000-02-27, updated 2004-09-18]

XOSL is a professional-looking, VGA mode OS loader which has received a good deal of public praise. Beneath the polished interface lies a program loaded with features, including:

Requires 80386+, 4MB of RAM, VESA VBE 1.2 compliant display controller, and 300K free disk space.

2001-12-23: v1.1.5, under GPL.

Author: Geurt Vos, Netherlands (2000). Suggested by Bjørn Simonsen.

Download xosl115.zip (437K).

See XOSL page at ranish.com for source code and history.


GAG (Gestor de Arranque Gráfico) — Graphical boot manager for multiple OSes.

unrated

[added 2001-04-22, updated 2005-08-03]

Notes: FAQ and extended readme are available in source code distribution zip, if you feel a need to read these docs prior to the installation process (only a brief readme is distributed within the installation zip).

Author: Sergio Costas Rodriguez / Raster Software Vigo, Spain (2004).

2004-11-25: v4.5d.

Get the program (366K download), source code & docs from GAG, THE GRAPHICAL BOOT MANAGER or from its Project page at SourceForge.


SyMon — Small boot manager for multiple OSes.

unrated

[added 1999-10-11, updated 2005-12-08]

Features: From the docs:
SyMon does not work with partitions on file system level. Thus it cannot start several OSes from one file system. This means that it is not recommended to install it instead of System Commander or similar loader that is configured to boot several Microsoft systems from one file system. This is the only...limitation of using the SyMon.

Authors: Vladimir Dashevsky & Daniel Smelov. Russia (2005). Thanks to Dev Teelucksingh for the original link.

Versions       
2000-06-20:
Rel. II, v2.06
Completely free with no expiration date.
2005-01-31:
Rel. 3.21
Lite & Professional in one package. Shareware with 40 day free trial. US$15 for unlimited license.

                                      
Download Symon II
Professional
symon2-rus-prof.zip
(91K)
Russian

symon2-eng-prof.zip
(74K)
English

symon2-ger-prof.zip
(74K)
German

symon2-cze-prof.zip
(75K)
Czech

symon2-tur-prof.zip
(75K)
Turkish

Lite
symon2-rus-lite.zip
(63K)
Russian

symon2-eng-lite.zip
(48K)
English

symon2-ger-lite.zip
(48K)
German

symon2-cze-lite.zip
(48K)
Czech

symon2-tur-lite.zip
(48K)
Turkish

Go to a SyMon home page in English, or in Russian, for more info & downloads.


BOOTMGR (multi-BOOT ManaGeR) — Small multi-OS boot manager with low resource requirements.

unrated

[added 2005-07-17, updated 2005-12-08]

BOOTMGR replaces the boot loader in a PC's Master Boot Record (MBR). On startup, it displays a text-graphic screen with a menu of installed OSes, and allows the user to select (with cursor keys) the OS to be loaded, from hard drive or diskette. If no key is pressed, the OS that is set up as the default gets loaded. In addition to the OS menu, the BOOTMGR screen shows detailed drive and partition data, and some other user options.

Advanced setup options include: Restoring old partition table; Editing partition identifiers; Reordering partition table entries (sometimes needed to allow booting DR-DOS); Clearing bytes reserved by WinNT/2K/XP for drive letter assignment info.

Requires 8086+ or compatible CPU, 80X25 text display, HD with standard BIOS Int 13h interface, DOS3.30+ for installation. Has a thorough, detailed manual.

Author: BTTR Software, Germany (2005).

2005-02-18: Unnumbered release. Free under 'Modified' BSD License.

Download bootmgrb.zip (17K).

Get more info & source at the BOOTMGR page.

More in these pages from BTTR Software.


XFDisk (eXtended FDisk) — Open source FDISK replacement with boot manager.

See extended description on Disk Utils Page 2.


Partition Manager — Ranish's disk partition and boot manager, FAT16/32.

This popular partition manager package also includes a boot manager. See description and links on Disk Utils Page 2.


DOS BOOT MANAGERS

Autocon — DOS boot manager.

* * * * *

[added 1998-10-05]

Reviewed by Howard Schwartz (10-3-98)

If you use DOS and Win3.x you may have up to 3 different boot managers to contend with:

  1. A program that lets you select which OS to start.
  2. If you choose, DOS in #1, a program to let you select which autoexec.bat and config.sys files to read and execute.
  3. If you want to start windows from DOS, a program to let you select which system.ini and win.ini files to read and execute.

Most DOS boot managers accomplish task #2. However, they should really be called "reboot managers". They do not provide a menu of choices during bootup. Instead, you must first boot DOS, using a default config.sys and autoexec.bat. Then you can use the boot manager to quickly REboot to alternate autoexec.bat and config.sys files.

Autocon is different: It provides its own menu system so that you can choose one of up to 50 different sets of config.sys and autoexec.bat files to read and execute, during the bootup process itself. Alternately, autocon will work with the boot menu system that comes with MSDOS 6 and above. However, autocon's own menu system can be used with earlier versions of DOS, or with other kinds of DOS (e.g., OpenDOS, Free DOS).

Autocon also comes with a user-friendly, mouse-menu interface that lets you manage your alternate sets of config.sys and autoexec.bat files. (These alternate sets of files are stored in a small data-base.) Some of its options include:

  1. Edit any stored config.sys or autoexec.bat file at any time, using an internal or external editor.
  2. Choose to boot to a menu of configuration choice, or boot in "single mode" to a default config.sys and autoexec.bat file.
  3. Update the stored configuration files with any files you want, including your current autoexec.bat or config.sys files.
  4. Add or delete sets of autoexec.bat/config.sys files.
  5. Compare any stored set of autoexec.bat/config.sys files to the ones in current use.
  6. Choose type of boot (cold, warm, etc.)

Like the other boot managers, the command: "autocon name2 <RETURN>" allows you, at any time, to quickly reboot DOS to a configuration you have named, "name2".

Author: Larry Weaver (1993).

1993-11-07: v2.0x.

Download autoconx.zip (135K).


OTHER BOOT UTILS

ONBOOT — Run programs only during warm, cold, or daily boot.

* * * *

From the docs:
ONBOOT is a simple utility designed for your AUTOEXEC.BAT. It allows you to have AUTOEXEC run selected programs only during a warm boot (Ctl-Alt-Del), a cold boot (power on), or the first boot of the day. For example, placing the command "ONBOOT DAILY CHKDSK" into AUTOEXEC will cause AUTOEXEC to run CHKDSK only once a day, the first time the PC is turned on.

Author: Christopher J. Dunford / The Cove Software Group (1989). Suggested by Marianna Van Erp.

While v1.0 is widely available on Simtel mirrors, the enhanced v1.10 available here is difficult to locate on the Net.

Download onboot11.zip (6K).


Reboot — Warm or cold boot PC, with cache flushing.

unrated

[added 1999-10-10, updated 2005-08-03]

There are multitudes of rebooters around that can warm/cold boot a system... this one does both and should be safe.

Reboot /C   forces a Cold boot with RAM test.
Reboot /W   forces a Warm boot without RAM test.
Plain Reboot defaults to a warm boot.
It has special code to flush Norton NCACHE and PC Tools Cache quickly. It also handles any other cache, such as SuperPCKwik, and Smartdrv that correctly flush the cache on a disk reset. It is DESQview, QEMM stealth, OS/2 and Windows aware, mouse and cache friendly...Works under DOS, and DOS emulation in Windows 3.1 and Windows 95/98, OS/2 but not NT.

Author: Roedy Green / Canadian Mind Products, Canada (2005).

2005-01-11: v3.5.

Download reboot35.zip (13K).

Canadian Mind Products, Downloadable Utilities Master Index.


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©1994-2004, Richard L. Green.
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