NWA-PCUG Newsletter Article
I Thought You'd Never Ask
My MultiBoot Arrangement

by Bill Shook, Editor, March 2002
(click to email author)

I've had the same arrangement since 1998 and used to be prepared to talk on it and brought it up at meetings occasionally when it seemed appropriate, but something else always took precedent and I never did get into it. Now, over the years with no involvement with the subject -- it just keeps running and running... -- some of you may know what happens to memory retention. That's why when I received a question on it at last meeting, from Ed Maxey, I had trouble calling the details. I can now and here it is. Thanks for waiting.

It's an 8 bit interface card that fits into an ISA slot with the name of ATA PRO FLASH Enhanced Drive Support Card from Micro Firmware, Inc. It cost $39.95 then and is the same now. Features include:

1. MultiBooting -- You can boot from any available drive in the system.

2. Large Hard Drive Support -- Overcomes system BIOS limitations with higher-capacity drives. It can handle drives up to 127 gigs.

3. Supports the LS-120 SuperDisk and Iomega Zip drives, making them both bootable. Speaking of backup (we were, weren't we?), this is why I bought it -- to boot from my LS-120 SuperDisk as the A: drive, as backup to the 1.44 floppy.

4. Does not use an IRQ.

5. Reprogrammable Flash ROM which makes for easy firmware revisions and updates -- all downloadable and free to customers.

6. Support for up to 8 IDE devices (on 4 or more interfaces) vs 4 devices on 2 interfaces normally handled by a system.

Here's how it works:

1. When the system is turned on, the signon screen will appear and if nothing is pressed within 4 seconds, it will boot up to the default drive.

2. If the letter S is pressed during the 4 seconds, it will enter Configuration mode; if B is pressed, it will allow selection of a bootable drive other than the default.

Note that the default drive is always the default until a new default is programmed in Configuration. Selecting a particular bootable drive with the B, as indicated above, results in booting to that drive only during that session.

Smooth! Doesn't give any trouble (that's why I forget it's there). I like it.