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On this page you can find information and hints about how to use System Selector/BootManager to boot the operating system BeOS
:

  
 
  BeOS is a new fast, modern and capable operating system designed for multimedia.


Download BeOS free

Since its version 5 BeOS is freely available for everybody as Personal Edition. The Personal Edition can be downloaded from Be's web site. The installation is easy and very fast since it can be installed in the Windows partition of your hard disk just in a big file (a so-called virtual partition). Since it doesn't need necessarily its own partition re-partitioning of the hard disk is not required.
In addition there is a Pro Edition available on CD-ROM which comes with additional software.

System Selector can boot directly all versions of BeOS from all places where they can be installed. That includes booting the free Personal Edition of BeOS 5 directly if it is installed in the default installation place which is the Windows partition, i.e. usually drive C:. Without System Selector that would require normally booting into Windows or DOS, just to invoke a special BeOS launching program from there, which shuts down Windows/DOS again and then starts BeOS. But with System Selector BeOS can be booted directly from the System Selector boot menu. More information about this you can find below under BeOS 5.

Of course System Selector can also boot the Personal Edition and the Pro Edition directly if they are installed into their own regular partitions. It doesn't matter whether this partition is on the first hard disk or any other hard disk and whether it's a primary partition or a logical partition within an extended partition. It's even possible to install multiple copies of BeOS on the same PC into different partitions. System Selector will detected all bootable BeOS partitions automatically and they can be easily added to the boot menu.

If you're still using a older version of System Selector you'll notice that the BeOS partitions won't show up on the "Systems" tab but only on the "Partitions" tab. But nevertheless BeOS can be added from there to the boot menu and is bootable with every version of System Selector/BootManager.
Please see also under Questions & Answers: "Is there a upgrade of System Selector available?"

The following overview lists the possible installation options for the different versions of BeOS which can be booted directly by System Selector.

 

BeOS Version:

R3.0

R3.1

R3.2

R4

R4.5

R5

BeOS Installation Option:

Primary Partition on first hard disk

yes

yes

 yes

yes

yes

yes

Primary Partition on second, third, ... hard disk

no

no

no

yes

yes

yes

Logical Partition on first hard disk

no

yes

yes

yes

yes

yes

Logical Partition on second, third, ... hard disk

no

no

no

yes

yes

yes

General: primary or logical partitions which start beyond the 8GB boundary (the "1024 cylinder" boundary)

no

yes

yes

yes

yes

yes

Virtual Partition [1]

- [2]

- [2]

- [2]

- [2]

- [2]

yes

  
[1] this is a big file (usually 512MB) which contains a complete working image of a regular BeOS partition; it resides as a normal file in the Windows partition (usally under C:\BeOS); this kind of installation is the way  the freely available BeOS 5 Personal Edition will be installed by default 
[2] only supported in BeOS 5 or newer
 
BeOS 5 is available as freely downloadable Personal Edition and as extended Pro Edition on CD-ROM. Both versions can be booted with System Selector regardless of the used installation option.

I. Booting the Personal Edition from a virtual partition

Normally the Personal Edition is installed under Windows 95, 98, Me, NT or 2000 by executing the BeOS 5 installation program consisting of a single compressed archive file. This will install the Personal Edition into a so-called virtual partition. This type of installation has the advantage that BeOS Personal Edition can be installed very easily and very fast without requiring re-partitioning of the hard disk. (BeOS Personal Edition can also be moved to its own regular partition afterwards if so desired. See below under II.)

Installation into a virtual partition just means that a big file of 512MB will be created under C:\BeOS (resp. in the folder \BeOS on the drive you have specified during installation) - i.e. on your normal Windows partition. This file contains a complete image of a BeOS partition, which will be used to boot BeOS. Thus this file is also called virtual partition.

When BeOS Personal Edition was installed from Windows 95/98/Me it can be only started from the Windows "Start" menu where the installation created an entry for BeOS. This will shut down Windows and then boot the BeOS. Otherwise the Personal Edition can only be booted by using a special BeOS boot floppy or from MS-DOS by using the utility LOADBEOS.COM.
When the Personal Edition was installed from Windows NT or Windows 2000 it can be only started with the special boot floppy.

But by using System Selector it's possible to boot the Personal Edition easily and fast from a boot menu.
To do that please do the following after you've installed the BeOS Personal Edition:
Invoke System Selector's setup - if under DOS or Windows 9x by:

selector /e

The option /e activates the extended Extra options. You can enable them also inside System Selector by pressing <Ctrl>-<E> at any time - that means hold the key <Ctrl> down and then press <E>. If you have invoked Setup from the booted boot menu of System Selector <Ctrl>-<E> is the only way to enable the extended Extra-Options.

Invoke "Add" from the boot menu editor to add an entry for BeOS to the boot menu. System Selector cannot detect the Personal Edition in its virtual Partition automatically since it's not a regular partition. 

Therefore select the "Extras" tab, choose "Execute boot loader from file" and press the OK button. The new entry will be added to the boot menu.
Now select "Properties" from the boot menu editor to edit the properties of the new entry.
Move the cursor to "Path name" and replace the default value which is \BOOTSEC.DAT with the path to the BeOS system file called ZBEOS. The file ZBEOS (no extension) has been installed by the BeOS installation program during the installation of the Personal Edition into the installation folder of the Personal Edition which is usually C:\BeOS. System Selector can boot the Personal Edition by loading and executing this ZBEOS file.

Note, that's not allowed to specify a drive letter in the "Path name" field! System Selector expects the file ZBEOS to be on the same drive where it is installed itself.
So if System Selector is installed on drive C: and if the Personal Edition is installed in C:\BeOS the correct path name would be \BEOS\ZBEOS.

But if you have installed BeOS Personal Edition on a different drive than System Selector you can also copy manually the file ZBEOS to the drive where System Selector is installed. You can also copy ZBEOS to a floppy or a LS-120 or ZIP floppy where System Selector is installed. For example if System Selector is installed on floppy drive A: and you have copied the file ZBEOS to the root directory of that floppy then the correct value for the field "Path name" in the properties of the menu entry would be just \ZBEOS. Please be carefule that you don't use any long filenames (with more than 8+3 characters) if you want to rename ZBEOS for whatever reason and also that you don't copy this file into subdirectories which have path name components of more than 11 characters respectively.

Hint for Windows NT and Windows 2000: when you have installed BeOS Personal Edition under Windows NT or Windows 2000 on a drive with the NTFS file system you have to copy the file ZBEOS, as described above, to the drive with FAT16 or FAT32 file system where you have installed System Selector. This is because System Selector itself cannot be installed on drives with NTFS file system yet.

After you have changed the path name field accordingly and, if so desired, after you have also changed the other properties of the menu entry (Entry name, Visible Partitions, Default to this system on time out, etc.) save the boot menu.

Now you can boot the BeOS Personal Edition always directly from System Selector's boot menu.

Hint: if BeOS isn't booting from the boot menu though you have followed the given instructions you have probably still a older version of system selector. Please see under Questions & Answers: "Is there a upgrade of System Selector available?"

Note: this method to boot BeOS works also, if you have installed the Personal Edition or the Pro Edition into their own regular partition. You would have to copy the file ZBEOS to the FAT drive where you have System Selector installed since System Selector cannot be installed on the regular BeOS partition. In case of the BeOS Pro Edition you can find the file ZBEOS on the Pro CD-ROM in the folder \WIN9X\BEOS.
But normally using this method has no advantage since System Selector can boot BeOS also directly from a regular BeOS partition. See below under II..

II. Booting the Personal Edition or Pro Edition from a regular partition

By using its installation program BeOS can be installed into any primary or logical partition on any hard disk.

Note, but this cannot be done with the Windows based installation program of the Personal Edition. See below.

Its possible to have the installation program re-format any existing partition or, if you have free disk space available which is not occupied by any partition yet, you can invoke "Setup partitions..." under "More options" to create a new partition for BeOS. Note, that the BeOS installation program numbers logical partitions starting with number 5 upwards.

For the Pro Edition you can boot the installation program directly from CD-ROM. If your PC cannot boot from CD-ROM you have to start the installation from the BeOS installation floppy.

You can also install the Personal Edition into its own regular partition. But in the first step you have to install it into a virtual partition as described above under I.. But once you have it installed and when it's running, you can install it into a regular partition by using the BeOS installation program which you can invoke from the BeOS start menu under Applications and then Installer.
In any case System Selector is able to boot BeOS.

In this example BeOS 5 Pro Edition is newly installed over a existing BeOS 4.5 installation in a logical partition (shown as number 5) on the second hard disk.
There is also a BeOS 5 Personal Edition already on this PC.
If you are asked whether you want to install the Be boot program on the end of the BeOS installation answer no. Otherwise System Selector would be deactivated if it was already installed. But if that happens to you it's enough to boot System Selector from floppy, LS-120 or ZIP, or to invoke it from DOS or Windows, reload the boot menu from its hitherto installation place, and then to save the boot menu once more to activate System Selector again.

System Selector will detect any bootable BeOS regular partitions automatically and they can be added to the boot menu easily in the usual way.

If you're still using a older version of System Selector you'll notice that the BeOS partitions won't show up on the "Systems" tab but only on the "Partitions" tab. But nevertheless BeOS can be added from there to the boot menu and is bootable with every version of System Selector/BootManager.
Please see also under Questions & Answers: "Is there a upgrade of System Selector available?"

  
System Selector can also boot all older versions of BeOS with the respective restrictions regarding the possible installation options given in the table with the overview above.

In particular none of the older version can be installed on a virtual partition. They need all their own regular partition. Nevertheless version 4.5 can be booted via a special BeOS system file, as described above under I.. But this is only necessary in rare problematic situations. The procedure for setting up the special boot menu entry in System Selector is identical to the description given above under I. but the file is not named ZBEOS like in version 5. In version 4.5 this file is named BEOS.COM. You can find BEOS.COM on the BeOS 4.5 CD-ROM in the folder \WIN95\BEOS.
But doing this is not possible with version 3.x or 4.0. They have to be booted directly from their partition.

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