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On this page you can find answers to frequently asked questions about System Selector as well as about the predecessor OS-BS including the old free beta versions.

The questions are sorted into different categories.

Note, this list is currently being renovated. Last change: 01/02/01

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General and Frequently Asked Questions

System Selector/BootManager

  1. Is System Selector freeware?
  2. Are there different versions of the software?
  3. Is there a upgrade of System Selector available?
  4. Can I install System Selector with the setup program (selector.exe) from a DOS window under Windows 95/98?
  5. Does System Selector support hard disks bigger then 8GB and can it also boot operating systems from partitions which start beyond the 8GB boundary? (other keywords: "1024 cylinder limit", int13 extensions, LBA, LBA-based disk access)
  6. When I start System Selector under Windows 95/98 from a DOS window its graphics characters are screwed up.

  7. HIMEM.SYS returns "cannot control A20 line, HIMEM.SYS not loaded". Afterwards Windows 95/98 doesn't start.

OS-BS 1.xx and 2.xx (beta versions)

  1. Up to now I've used the old free beta version (OS-BS 2.0b8).
    Where can I get the new version?
  2. The uninstall function in the old free beta version (OS-BS 2.0b8) is disabled.
    How can I uninstall the beta version?

 

Questions specific to Operating Systems

System Selector/BootManager

Windows 95/98

  1. I've installed System Selector. When I try to boot Windows 95 or 98 via System Selector I get an error from HIMEM.SYS: "cannot control A20 line, HIMEM.SYS not loaded". HIMEM.SYS refuses to load and hence Windows 95/98 doesn't start because it needs HIMEM.SYS.
    If I uninstall System Selector Windows can start again.
    What can I do?

 

Questions specific to Hardware Components

System Selector/BootManager

SCSI
Adaptec AHA 2940, AHA2940W, AHA 2940U, AHA 2940UW

  1. System Selector doesn't start from hard disk.
    I've a Adaptec AHA 2940, 2940W, 2940U oder 2940UW SCSI host adapter. I can invoke System Selector from DOS or in a Windows 95/98 DOS box and then install it on floppy or hard disk. If I install it on floppy and boot from floppy System Selector starts as expected.
    But if I install it on hard disk and reboot the computer nothing happens. The computer is frozen after the BIOS hardware test messages. The System Selector screen doesn't appear.
    What can I do?

  

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General Questions

System Selector/BootManager

  1. Is System Selector freeware?

    Answer: No. Please look under "Where to get it?" for places where to get it.

  2. Are there different versions of the software?

    Answer: Yes, up to now three versions of the software were released in 1997, 1999 and 2000.

  3. Is there a upgrade of System Selector available?

    Answer: Yes.
    If you're not able to get a upgrade from your distributor contact us to get a free upgrade. Note: YOU HAVE TO PROOF THAT YOU BOUGHT THE ORIGINAL SOFTWARE. If you don't own the original software the upgrade is useless and cannot be installed at all.

  4. Can I install System Selector with the setup program (selector.exe) from a DOS window under Windows 95/98?

    Answer: Yes, you can install normally System Selector on hard or floppy disks with the setup program (selector.exe) invoked in a DOS window under Windows 95/98. See also "
    When I start System Selector under Windows 95/98 from a DOS window its graphics characters are screwed up."

  5. Does System Selector support hard disks bigger then 8GB and can it also boot operating systems from partitions which start beyond the 8GB boundary? (other keywords: "1024 cylinder limit", int13 extensions, LBA, LBA-based disk access)

    Answer: Yes, all versions of System Selector have supported hard disks bigger then 8GB and they can also boot operating systems from partitions which start beyond the 8GB boundary (actually this is the so-called "1024 cylinder boundary").
    But the operating system itself you want to boot from such a partition has to support this as well. Otherwise if the operating system doesn't support this at least the boot partition of this system has to start below the 8GB boundary.

    Examples: MS-DOS up to version 6.22, the first version of Windows 95, Windows NT 4.0, BeOS 3.x and many other older operating systems cannot boot from partitions above the 8GB boundary. But newer operating systems like Windows 95B, Windows 95C, Windows 98, Windows 98 Second Edition, Windows 2000, the Windows Millenium Beta's or BeOS 4.x and later are able to boot from above the 8GB boundary.

    Equally important for booting a operating system from a partition above the 8GB boundary is that the PC or actually its so-called BIOS firmware has to have support for hard disks bigger then 8GB. Most PCs built after 1996 have this support in their BIOS. But if a older PC doesn't have it its BIOS firmware must be updated. Many PC and PC mainboard manufacturers provide such updates. If an BIOS update is not available  you can also use a so-called EIDE Diskmanager type of software like Ontrack DiskManager or Microhouse EZ-Drive. Some hard disk manufacturers ship their own Diskmanagers together with the retail versions of their hard disks (e.g. Maxtor Maxblast). But normally you should install and use such a Diskmanager only as a last resort since most operating systems, except Windows, are not compatible with all or some of these Diskmanagers.

  6. When I start System Selector under Windows 95/98 from a DOS window its graphics characters are screwed up.

    Answer: You could either press <Alt>-<Enter> to switch the DOS window into full screen mode or invoke System Selector from the command line in the following way:

               C:\> selector /f-

    The option /f- tells System Selector not to load its built-in graphics characters font.

 

OS-BS 1.xx and 2.xx (beta versions)

  1. Up to now I've used the free beta version (OS-BS 2.0b8). Where can I get the new version?

    Answer: The software is not freeware. Look under "Where to get it?" for places where to get it.

  2. The uninstall function in the old free beta version (OS-BS 2.0b8) is disabled. How can I uninstall the beta version?

    Answer: The answer to that question can be found either in the README.1ST file (section "IV. BUGS") which was included the in the OS-BS 2.0b8 archive file or here:

    The old beta versions can be uninstalled either by using OS-BS 1.35 (which was included in the old OS-BS 2.0b8 archive file) or just by invoking "fdisk /mbr" (without the quotation marks) from a DOS command prompt.
    Note, the command "fdisk /mbr" will install a default Master Boot Record on your first hard disk which will boot always the operating system from the current active disk partition.
    The active disk partition is the partition which has the Active flag assigned to it. Normally if OS-BS is installed (and the feature is not disabled by you) OS-BS assigns the Active flag to the partition you select from the boot menu. But since you just removed OS-BS it would remain where it was before.
    So make also sure that the partition of the operating system you want to start after the next reboot of your PC has the Active flag set! Don't reboot before you've checked it.
    You can set the Active flag either by invoking again osbs20b8 to use only its built-in partition table editor (under "Edit"  and then "SysID/Active flag") or just by invoking fdisk without command line parameters.

 

Questions specific to Operating Systems

System Selector/BootManager

Windows 95/98

  1. I've installed System Selector. When I try to boot Windows 95 or 98 via System Selector I get an error from HIMEM.SYS: "cannot control A20 line, HIMEM.SYS not loaded". HIMEM.SYS refuses to load and hence Windows 95/98 doesn't start because it needs HIMEM.SYS.
    If I uninstall System Selector Windows can start again.
    What can I do?


    Answer: You're using still the first version of System Selector from 1997. The easiest way to fix this problem is to upgrade the software. See "Is there a upgrade of System Selector available?"

    ALTERNATIVE WORKAROUND: Probably you have a mainboard in your computer which is based on a Intel chipset. The problem you encounter is a known problem with many mainboards which are based on one of the newer Intel TX, LX and BX chipsets and Award-BIOS 4.51 firmware in connection with the driver HIMEM.SYS (for example the problem occures with the TX97-*, TXP4, P2L97, P2B-* boards from Asus, but also many others). Workaround: put following in the concerning CONFIG.SYS file:

    DEVICE=C:\WINDOWS\HIMEM.SYS /MACHINE:PS2

    If you don't have any HIMEM.SYS line in CONFIG.SYS yet just include one. HIMEM.SYS is loaded anyway always by Windows. (In case you don't have such a explicit statement in CONFIG.SYS it's just loaded without any options.) BTW, this workaround is also described in the README file on the System Selector CD. 

    TECHNICAL BACKGROUND: For the above mentioned Intel chipsets the Award BIOS 4.51 returns a wrong value for the currently activated control method of the A20 address line (classic AT instead of PS2 compatible, even if PS2 mode was activated before). This results in a subsequent error in connection with System Selector which activates the faster PS2 control method of the TX/LX/BX chipsets before. System Selector activates A20, because as a true 32-bit program it needs access to the whole address space. But HIMEM.SYS later tries to test the classic AT control method, because of the wrong return value of the Award BIOS. But this doesn't work anymore because System Selector has already activated the faster PS2 method before (this is a beavior of the Intel TX/LX/BX chipsets). The option /MACHINE:PS2 prevents that HIMEM.SYS tries to determine the current A20 control method by itself. It just tells HIMEM.SYS to use the faster PS2 method.

    BTW, this is only a problem of HIMEM.SYS and DOS/Windows 95/Windows 98. Other true 32-bit operating systems like Windows 2000, Linux, Solaris, BeOS, etc. don't care about the A20 line of it's already activated.

     

Questions specific to Hardware Components

System Selector/BootManager

SCSI
Adaptec AHA 2940, AHA2940W, AHA 2940U, AHA 2940UW

  1. System Selector doesn't start from hard disk.
    I've a Adaptec AHA 2940, 2940W, 2940U oder 2940UW SCSI host adapter. I can invoke System Selector from DOS or in a Windows 95/98 DOS box and then install it on floppy or hard disk. If I install it on floppy and boot from floppy System Selector starts as expected.
    But if I install it on hard disk and reboot the computer nothing happens. The computer is frozen after the BIOS hardware test messages. The System Selector screen doesn't appear.
    What can I do?


    Answer: This problem occures if the firmware (SCSI-BIOS) of your Adaptec SCSI host adapter is a older version 1.20..1.22. These firmware versions are defective. The so called "Int13 Extensions" (a modern BIOS feature which allows to address also disks bigger then 8032,5MB completely using the BIOS - which is important during the booting process) are broken and don't work. But System Selector tries to use this modern feature if it's available (it does so independently from the actual disk size because this feature works also faster and has other advantages).

    HINT: Very old 2940 revisions with BIOS versions 1.11...1.16 don't have the problem, since they didn't support the concerning feature (and hence also don't support hard disk access > 8032,5MB via BIOS).

    Workaround: you have two choices:

    1. Upgrade the BIOS firmware to a new fixed version:

      Call or email to Adaptec Support. Ask either for a new BIOS firmware EPROM chip if you own a older adapter revision. In this case you have to change the EPROM chip on your SCSI adapter (pull the old out and put the new one in). Or if you already have a adapter with a flash-ROM, ask for a file with the new firmware with which you can update the flash-ROM using the appropriate flash software tool from Adaptec. In this case you don't need to remove the adapter from the computer.

      If you don't want to wait for the EPROM and you own a EPROM burner you can also download the BIOS firmware from Adaptec's webpages and burn the EPROM by yourself. Note, the freely available firmware (version 1.23) is only apt for older adapter revisions (for more informations look there please).

      HINT: All Adaptec BIOS firmware versions >= 1.23 are fixing the above described bug and allow System Selector to work correctly. But - depending on the respective version - they still have some other bugs which don't show up in connection with System Selector. For example, because of another bug version 1.23 cannot boot from a Windows NT 4.0 CD or any other so-called "No Emulation Mode" Boot-CD. This works only with version 1.25 or higher. The newest BIOS version from Adaptec is 1.34 (as of August 1998). But this version isn't apt any longer for all adapter revisions and you have to call and ask Adaptec to get it.

       

    2. Disable the broken "Int13 Extensions" feature:

      The above described broken feature - the "Int 13 Extensions" can just also be disabled in the setup menu of the Adaptec SCSI adapters. If you don't want to update the BIOS firmware of your adapter, this is the only alternative way to use System Selector. If you don't want to use SCSI disks > 8032,5MB this is ok.
      But if you plan to use such large disks you have to do the firmware upgrade in case you want to use the Windows 95B or 98 operating systems with the whole disk. Because these systems cannot boot either then because of the broken BIOS (it's independent from the usage of System Selector) in case you want to create a partition which exceeds the 8032,5MB boundary. Or if you disable the "Int13 Extensions"  Windows 95B/98 can use the disk only up to the 8032,5MB boundary.

      But if this is not the case you can just disable the "Int13 Extensions" with the following procedure:

      Reboot your computer and invoke the setup of the Adaptec SCSI-BIOS by pressing Control-A. Select "Configure/View Host Adapter Settings" and then "Advanced Configuration Options". There set the option "BIOS Support for Int13 Extensions" to Disable and save changes when leaving the setup.

Copyright 1997-2000 Thomas Wolfram
Last Change: 07/25/00