Special Installation Considerations

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Although 90% of installations will likely boot from the installation media using the default configuration and and run without the need for any special settings, the ArcaOS installation facility is quite flexible to accommodate non-standard conditions.

Overriding detected hardware and setting non-default values for the installation environment

There may be instances where the built-in hardware detection might properly identify devices needed for boot, but yet be unable to determine the proper device driver ordering to boot successfully. Likewise, identifying hardware and matching that against a database of known device drivers may not tell enough of the story (e.g., what special parameters are required for a given disk driver, controlling a particular device in your fancy workstation). This is where the boot option “Boot with menu for own values” is the correct path to take.

Select this option at the second installation boot menu to access the Preboot menu. From here, hardware may be specially selected, a non-default keyboard layout for the installation environment may be set, and it is even possible to edit the CONFIG.SYS file before booting into the installer.

Some hardware is never auto-detected, such as USB-connected CD/DVD/BD, hard drives, and floppy drives. Instead, set the number of each type of device on the Devices page in the Preboot menu. Alternatively, these devices may be set in CONFIG.SYS after installation (see this page for instructions).

Working around an unsupported network adapter

Beginning with ArcaOS 5.0.6, the installer includes support for Moschip USB to Ethernet adapters. Supported devices include:

  • USBID 9710:7730 Moschip MCS7730
  • USBID 9710:7830 Moschip MCS7830
  • USBID 9710:7832 Moschip MCS7832
  • USBID 0DF6:0021 SiteCom LN030

Typical prices for these devices in the US as of this writing are $15-$20. If your internal network adapter lacks an OS/2 driver, the recommended workaround is to procure a USB to Ethernet adapter utilizing one of the above chips. In the Preboot menu, simply select Moschip USB to Ethernet for OS/2 and continue with the installation.

If your internal network adapter is recognized, it will be listed first on the Networking page of the installer, and if you selected the Moschip USB to Ethernet adapter, that will be listed second. Simply remove your internal network adapter from the list if so desired, and set the Moschip as logical adapter 0 (it is possible that the internal network adapter may be recognized, but the driver still may not function properly). Continue the installation.

Adding a device driver not supplied with ArcaOS

There are several methods available to supply additional device drivers to ArcaOS for booting into the installation environment and including them in the installed system. In general, however, the process entails copying the driver(s) to some form of supplementary media (floppy, floppy disk image file, or the USB installation media) and having this present (mounted) while the system is performing its preboot setup.

DVD installation

For a physical ArcaOS installation disc, the only method currently available is floppy diskette. This
diskette must either be labeled BOOT_UPDATE or contain the file BOOT_UPD.TXT in the root directory in order to be recognized and read. (BOOT_UPD.TXT may be a completely empty file; its content is not read.)

ISO installation (virtual machine)

If installing to a virtual machine from the ISO, a floppy disk image file may be used, subject to the same requirements as for physical media, above (either labeled BOOT_UPDATE or contain the file BOOT_UPD.TXT in the root directory).

USB stick installation

This provides the most flexible option for supplying additional drivers. Simply copy the additional driver file(s) to the root of the USB stick after it has been created with the rest of the installation files. Any additional drivers here will be copied to the RAM disk at the start of installation, and from there, to the target system volume during install.

Saving and restoring custom Preboot menu settings

Similar to the methods for supplying additional device drivers, the settings used when accessing the Preboot menu may be saved and reloaded to prepare other similar systems. To do this:

  1. Once the installer starts, select the option (button) to access the System Management console.
  2. From the menu, select Command Prompts | Command Line (CMD) or Command Line (4OS/2).
  3. Determine the letter of the RAM disk by checking the following environment variable:
    [r:\sys\install\gui] SET MEMDRIVE <Enter>
  4. Next, copy OS2CSM.SET from the RAM disk to the supplementary floppy (or floppy disk image) or to the root of the ArcaOS installation USB stick. To determine the drive letter of the ArcaOS installation USB stick, use the following command:
    [r:\sys\install\gui] DFSANOS2 -B- map * - <Enter>

    The output will scroll. Generally, the last screenful will contain a disk labeled ArcaOS Stick, containing a FAT volume labeled AOSBOOT, identified as Removable.

To use these saved settings for the next boot, ensure that the supplementary floppy is mounted after the first boot menu is displayed or simply boot form the USB stick where OS2CSM.SET is located. OS2CSM.SET will be loaded as though each selection had been made in the Preboot menu.

Tip: OS2CSM.SET is also saved to the \sys\install\rsp directory on the system volume of the installed system, and may be copied from that location following phase 1 of the installation.

This entry last updated: by Lewis Rosenthal