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How to Run "tomsrtbt"
Root Boot Disk under
The Bochs Emulator
(with DLX-Linux)

Copyright©2003 by Daniel B. Sedory

Although the Bochs Emulator has versions for different OS Platforms (Linux included), the following will describe how MS-Windows users can set up and run tomsrtbt under the Bochs Emulator (and get another Linux install to test it on). First, you need to download the latest 32-bit Bochs executable. Go to the following page, find a site near you and click on the binary ( ) icon:


My copy of the Bochs-2.0.2.exe file is 2,710,601 bytes (2.59MB) and is easy on the Registry (it just places an uninstall and recognition for its ".bxrc" Configuration files which then have a little 'box' icon next to them). The default install location is: C:\Program Files\Bochs-2.0.2\ with subdirs for 'dlxlinux' (make sure you install this! You need to click a check box for it, part way through the install process), 'docs' (comes with what could end up being very confusing HTML documentation for some of you; only parts of the one titled, "User Guide" are helpful at this time) and 'keymaps'. You can read more about bochs here: http://bochs.sourceforge.net/.


Here's a second version of a very detailed email I sent to my friend "Tigger" about how to do this:

When you install BOCHS, part way through the installation, it will show what it's going to install and allow you to check a box for DLXlinux to be installed. MAKE SURE TO CHECK this box, or the DLX Linux OS will not be installed to a 10mb file.

You can try reading a bit about BOCHS by looking at the HTML file here:
C:\Program Files\Bochs-2.0.2\docs\index.html (after it's installed) and then on the choice of "User Guide" (the other two choices aren't much help to most users!) and even their 'User Manual' is still 'under construction' in places. The page:
C:\Program Files\Bochs-2.0.2\docs\user\x1069.html has some further explanations about the choices for the Boch's .bxrc configuration files, but might be a waste of your time... not much is of practical help here to those who are unfamiliar with emulation!

HOW TO GET "tomsrtbt" 2880-kb
image file Running in Bochs :

OK, download the 2880 kb file from here:


or from here:


or pick another site by going to Tom's downlaod page first, and then look for the "tomsrtbt-2.0.103.ElTorito.288.img.bz2" file once you're there.

If you don't have WinRAR (i think you said you do), then I'll have to send you a "bz2" unzipper program... let me know if you need one.

NOTE: You can find a bunzip2 program for MS-Windows based OSs here: http://sources.redhat.com/bzip2/; by clicking on:
PC, Windows 95/98/ME/NT/2000/XP to download the program. This web page was written by Julian Seward, the creator of BZIP2, so it should work for you. Once you have downloaded the program, I'd change the filename to "bzip2.exe" for ease of use. Then, at a DOS-box prompt open to the same folder as the tomsrtbt "*.bz2" file, simply enter this command:

bzip2 -v -d *.bz2

and you should see something similar to this:

      [1: huff+mtf rt+rld]
      [2: huff+mtf rt+rld]

If you want to keep a copy of the *.bz2 version of the file, make sure you save it elsewhere first, since this bzip2 program will overwrite it with the new file!

After getting the file "tomsrtbt-2.0.103.ElTorito.288.img" out of the archive, simply place a copy into this directory (after you install BOCHS; which creates the directory):

C:\Program Files\Bochs-2.0.2\dlxlinux\

and then change its filename to just "288.img" (the word ElTorito in the filename might confuse some people into thinking this is an ISO image; it's not... it's really just a 2880-kb floppy diskette image! Tom mentions this in his tomsrtbt.FAQ file on the disk).

I'm attaching another bochsrc.bxrc file which will already have the necessary changes that allow you to run "tomsrtbt" 288.img file as the boot diskette for the DLXlinux hard drive under the Bochs emulator! [download the file here as "bochsrc.zip"] and then simply click on the "run.bat" file already there; which is nothing more than these two lines:

    cd "C:\Program Files\Bochs-2.0.2\dlxlinux"
    ..\bochs -q -f bochsrc.bxrc

The "-q" in the line above means to start bochs 'quick' without using its usual 'menu system' (you can remove it if you want to see what the menus look like). The "-f " must precede the filename of the Bochs Configuration file for your emulation to work!

The BOCHS .bxrc configuration files can be complex and hard to understand at first, which is why I've edited this one for you! It's just a TEXT file that you can look at in NOTEPAD if you want to see what's in it. Click here: bochsrc.bxrc to see an online copy (in HTML) with a few comments on how to change this file if necessary.

To start the emulation of Tom's Root Boot Disk booting up in a computer inside of a Bochs window, just double-click on either the run.bat file or the bochsrc.bxrc file (which should have a little 'box' icon next to it). It will take some time, many minutes perhaps, for the uncompressing parts of the boot up..... So, WHILE it's running, you can always review my web pages about using tomsrtbt disk in another window here:

http://<web site>/linux/index.html etc.

Your friend, The Starman.

After you have Bochs installed and running, you should see a Windows like this on on your screen:

Don't bother trying to use the "mouse" (F12) since we didn't enable it, nor "CONFIG" button either! The "snapshot" button is one you might like to use many times . It will create a text file called "snapshot.txt" in the folder which you started the Bochs emulation from, which will contain only the text that can be viewed in the present window. Unfortunately, each time you press the button, it overwrites the previous file (and may even be empty if the emulation window is still changing!!!). So, for now, you must rename each 'snapshot' if you want to save the text!
The "Power" button will immediately turn off power to the emulated computer... so do not use it until after you have entered the halt or the poweroff commands under 'tomsrtbt' Linux (unless there's no other way to shut down the emulation!). Likewise, do not use the "Reset" button either (unless you're running a simple MS-DOS emulation that is ). If you're running DLX-Linux, press the "USER" button, then quickly press the "Power" after you see Bochs starting up again.... Yes, this is weird... blame the DLX guys for not having a proper 'shutdown' command!

Have fun... The Starman.


Back to: Linux/UNIX Commands Page


Revised: 28 JAN 2003.