Author Topic: Created Perfect PLoP Floppy - Now it Doesn't Work!  (Read 7940 times)

MedMoy

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Created Perfect PLoP Floppy - Now it Doesn't Work!
« on: February 09, 2010, 23:47:10 PM »
Think back to the early pentium based desktops.
The only boot options were the active partition
where your system was installed, or a bootable
floppy disk.  There were dedicated forums that
tried to find ways of booting these desktops
from USB 1.1 external drives.  Remember? 

An elderly relative called me several months ago.
His old Gateway desktop was having problems.
I've got dozens of portable diagnostic apps on
CDs and USB sticks.  I didn't know how I could
help, because old desktops can't boot from these
devices, or so I thought!

I found PLoP while Googling.  I created a simple
PLoP floppy disk.  The first time I tried it on this
old Gateway I was blown away!  I selected CDROM
from the menu and one of my bootable CDs spun up
immediately.  I tried a USB stick and that worked
too.

Here's the problem.

I usually print something or keep a text file of anything
computer related.  I've been creating scripts for years.
The "comment" lines are often several times longer
than the script itself.  If you've ever created a script
with no record of what you were thinking months or
years ago, well, you know how frustrating that can be!

I cannot recreate a working floppy disk with PLoP.
I've tried at least a dozen bootable CDs.  PLoP keeps
telling me the CDs are not bootable.  Same with the
USB sticks.  I'm going crazy!  The procedure for
creating a working floppy with PLoP is so simple.

I can't remember what I did several months ago that
worked so perfectly.  The floppy loaded, and I selected
USB or CDROM from the menu.  No problems.

I just downloaded the latest version of PLoP.  I read the
instructions for the previous version several times.  I must
be doing something wrong.  I wish I knew what it was.
« Last Edit: February 09, 2010, 23:50:14 PM by MedMoy »

Elmar

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Re: Created Perfect PLoP Floppy - Now it Doesn't Work!
« Reply #1 on: February 10, 2010, 07:23:29 AM »
hi,
do you remember what version you used in the past?
did you change the hardware?
did you try to use a windows boot cd for testing?

regards
elmar

MedMoy

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Re: Created Perfect PLoP Floppy - Now it Doesn't Work!
« Reply #2 on: February 11, 2010, 01:26:13 AM »
I really appreciate the reply, Elmar.  Thank you.

The last version I used was 5.0.3.  The instructions
for 5.0.3 and 5.0.8 appear to be the same.

The elderly relative I mentioned, has two old desktops.
Both have two optical drives.  A CDROM and CDRW.
(I've tried to buy him a new desktop at least a hundred
times.  He keeps telling me that he's too old to learn
a new system.  What can I do?)

I always use a working Windows boot CD as a test.

The optical drives in these old desktops work fine. 
In fact, these "old" desktops really aren't as old as
they look.  I've replaced 90% of the hardware over
the years.  I have to admit, I kind of like those big,
heavy steel boxes and mammoth size CRTs.

I can't think of anything that would cause this problem.
Is PLoP idiosyncratic?  Shouldn't PLoP boot any CD
drive as long as the CD media and hardware are in
good condition?

This doesn't make any sense, but I'll mention it anyway.
The first floppy I used with rawwritewin had been
previously formatted.  There were no files on the disk.
Rawwritewin got up to 97% and stalled out.  I took
a new floppy from a fresh pack of disks.  Rawwritewin
had no problems with this new, unformatted disk.

If the floppy itself was causing this problem, PLoP
wouldn't work at all.  The problem is, PLoP is working
perfectly!  It identifies the correct CD drive that contains
a disk and loads the driver.  Everything on the screen
looks normal.  For some reason, PLoP thinks all bootable
CDs are not bootable.

Several months ago when I created a working PLoP
disk I think I used a cheap floppy.  They are sold in
large, colorful packs.  The floppies I used recently are
called "archive" quality disks.  They're sold in packs of
ten and are always black.

The failure of PLoP is particularly disappointing to me.
I've used computers for 30 years.  The first one was
built from a kit I purchased through an electonics hobby
magazine.  I've installed, used, and beta tested more
apps than I can remember.  It takes a lot to get me
excited about a new app, or the latest souped-up
processor.  PLoP was a little bit of magic for a veteran
like me.  When I saw that old desktop boot from a CD and
USB stick I was amazed!  I remember those forums
where advanced computer users tried to create scripts
that would boot early model USB drives.  Nothing ever
worked!

Even if I don't resolve the problems I'm having with PLoP,
you guys who created this app are brilliant, to say the
least! 

Elmar

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Re: Created Perfect PLoP Floppy - Now it Doesn't Work!
« Reply #3 on: February 11, 2010, 12:03:11 PM »
really strange. can you try for testing 5.0.3?


Even if I don't resolve the problems I'm having with PLoP,
you guys who created this app are brilliant, to say the
least!

i wrote it alone  ;D

regards
elmar

MedMoy

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Re: Created Perfect PLoP Floppy - Now it Doesn't Work!
« Reply #4 on: February 12, 2010, 23:36:27 PM »
I apologize Elmar.

I should have checked to see who the author of PLoP
was, before I said "you guys."  It's even more remarkable
that one person (you!) created PLoP.  There are so many
"open source" projects that are worked on collaboratively.
I drifted away from those forums I mentioned, when all
the attempts at booting USB 1.1 external drives failed.  I
tried several times to come up with a working script. My
business partners starting yelling at me for wasting time,
so I quit.

I tried 5.0.3, before I checked your site and downloaded
the latest version, 5.0.8.  In fact, I was hoping the "new
and improved version" would do the trick.

I wish I could send you a copy of one of my PLoP floppies.
If only I had a transporter, like in Star Trek. I could send
you a disk in a couple of seconds.

There was no GUI in the early days of computing.  There
weren't any hard drives either!  You had to do everything
from the command line.  For a command line junkie like me,
creating a PLoP disk was very easy.  You're right when you
say "very strange." Something was different when I created
that PLoP disk several months ago with 5.0.3. 

I tried several command line variations, hoping I would get
it right.  They all worked, except for the fact that PLoP won't
boot anything!

Again, thank you Elmar.  If my business was large and powerful,
instead of small and meak, I would spend some dollars giving
PLoP the attention it deserves.

Elmar

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Re: Created Perfect PLoP Floppy - Now it Doesn't Work!
« Reply #5 on: February 13, 2010, 00:03:22 AM »
i am a command line junkie too  ;D, i use the mouse only when its required

did you try the 5.0.8 floppy somewhere else? i a sure it has nothing to do with your floppies o how you created the floppy

regards
elmar

MedMoy

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Re: Created Perfect PLoP Floppy - Now it Doesn't Work!
« Reply #6 on: February 15, 2010, 06:22:40 AM »
I'm not sure why, but I just downloaded that file
defragmentation app, Contig.  After I use plpcfgbt.exe
to set the parameters for plpbt.bin I'll run Contig.  The
bin file should not be fragmented, unless I change
the parameters.  Each time I tried to create a working
floppy, I wiped the files and started fresh.

To answer your question, yes, I did try a PLoP floppy on
one of my home office computers.  I'm running the 64-bit
version of Vista Ultimate on a desktop and laptop.  The
results were so strange, I think some of my brain began
to ooze out from my ears!  (I don't play computer games,
but I need the fastest computers I can afford.  My work
involves designing custom components for several
manufacturers.)

The BIOS setup utility, that is part of all modern mobos
allows you to boot from a long list of devices.  Usually,
you press one of the "F" keys during the early stages
of bootup and the utility appears on the screen.

I could start quoting the error messages that appear
when I use a PLoP floppy with my own computers, but
at this point I don't think it would help either one of us
to resolve the problem I'm having with those old desktops.

I don't know why I'm stuck on PLoP.  I think it's because
I'm still amazed when a small applet can do a big job.
With 2 terabyte hard drives available for a couple of
hundred bucks, programmers have no incentive to keep
their creations lean.  That's why most apps are loaded with
so many useless features. An article I read predicted
storage devices of such immense capacity that deleting
old files would be a waste of time. The drive would be
replaced, long before you ran out of space for new files. 
« Last Edit: February 15, 2010, 06:34:47 AM by MedMoy »