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UBCD unusable on some computers All versions. Design issue

Posted: Wed Nov 05, 2008 7:49 am
by Annakan
On more and more computer there is only an USB keyboard and NO ps/2 connector at all.
The Mac being a notable example.
USB is poorly handled and most of these computers have a black hole after bios boot where NO KEYBOARD is available till the OS load an appropriate usb driver. (Something that brought me endless frustration when locked in a "CHKDSK forever" boot loop on windows, only solution : find and buy an old PS/2 keyboard)

With the current design of UBCD where UBCD REQUIRES to press a key to boot UBCD is unusable on such computers.

The whole question is dubious by the way because if the cd is in the drive and the computer allowed to boot from it ... let's BOOT :), it is not like UBCD was lying in the drive in every day use and a good reboot could not fix a forgotten cd in the drive.

At the very least the question should be reversed : hit a key to PREVENT boot from UBCD.

I am sure UBCD is awesome but I was not able to use it to help a friend with a bootcamped MAC yesterday, so, I thought I should report that.

Posted: Wed Nov 05, 2008 8:25 am
by Icecube
In some BIOSes you have to activate "USB legacy mode" to be able to use an USB keyboard.

You can also update isolinux/syslinux. Newer versions of isolinux/syslinux contain better USB support for keyboards, so maybe it helps.
See the relevant part on: viewtopic.php?t=1629

Or download UBCD50 beta 5 instead.

Removing the "press Enter" line, won't help, because you need the keyboard afterwards to select an item in the menu.

Posted: Wed Nov 05, 2008 8:50 am
by Annakan
thanks for the reply.

What I am talking about is before the linux booting process I think.

I know about the USB legacy mode setting, what I can say is that it did not help on my "PC / windows" computer and that I did not find such things on the EFI bios of the MAC I was on yesterday.

Again the question about whether or not boot from UBCD seems useless per see and prevent from booting in such situations.
Even if it did exist a workaround, something I think does not exists on some computers (like the aforementioned Mac or many PC) it would prevent many users from using UBCD. When you use UBCD you are often in trouble and this is not the kind of problem you want on top of the ones you already have :).
Yesterday I was confronted to a viral infection and there was no way out since both windows and UBCD did not recognize the keyboard. UBCD at "bios" boot time, and stupid windows at "F8" time. :)

I feel compelled to mention that most business PC (dell and the like) do not have a rich bios, with settings like legacy mode.

All in all, getting rid of this question greatly increase the chances than the next boot stage will load the necessary driver and allow UBCD use :)
Removing the "press Enter" line, won't help, because you need the keyboard afterwards to select an item in the menu.
If you are right and no usb drivers is loaded before that next menu, then there is no solution, and UBCD (and many other tools) will never be usable with those computers.
If that next menu comes after isolinux/syslinux loading then updating it may help solve the problem.

Or do you mean that the first question is already under isolinux/syslinux control (and thus updating could help) ?

Posted: Wed Nov 05, 2008 9:37 am
by Icecube
Yes, the "Press enter" line is part of isolinux.

Change in sylinux 3.70:
Change to the A20 algorithm which *MIGHT* help systems that have systems which freeze when Syslinux is used with USB keyboards. Note that this has been hard do verify, so I would greatly appreciate feedback on it.
If you can navigate in the bios, I think that the keyboard should work with syslinux also.