Plop Boot Manager

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The Plop Boot Manager permits booting practically any computer from a USB or CD drive, whether the BIOS of the computer supports it or not. Plop can be run from a floppy disk or from a CD, but if you plan to use USBs often as boot media, Plop can be installed directly to the hard drive. Complete directions for using Plop in a wide spectrum of applications appears on the Plop website, [1]. This tutorial provides only a quick overview of installing on three media: floppy disk, CD, and hard drive using Grub2. It is written from experience to be usable by a beginner like me. Here I preface commands with sudo when root access is necessary.

Download the boot manager and extract the several included files.

To install on a CD, use the plpbt.iso file, and simply burn it to CD.

To install on floppy disk, do a sector-by-sector format of the disk, then use the plpbt.img file:

dd if=plpbt.img of=/dev/fd0

To install on a hard drive within a Grub2 distro takes a bit longer. (Caution: messing around at the level of the BIOS is not for the faint-hearted, as it is one of the few areas where mouse and keyboard can actually wreak havoc on the motherboard.)

The Plop file that is used for hard drive installation is plpbt.bin, which must be placed in the /boot directory:

sudo cp /(path to plpbt.bin file) /boot

Then go to /etc/grub.d and open the 40_custom file with gksu gedit.

There is a sample file there that begins with #!/bin/sh and is followed by several lines of comments and instructions. Below those instructions, add the following:

menuentry "Plop Boot Manager" {

   set root=(hd0,1)
   linux16 /boot/plpbt.bin


Then save the file and close gedit. This will establish a new 40_custom file as the final item in the boot menu for the distribution in which you were working. To activate it, update the grub:

sudo update-grub

and reboot. If your computer is multibooted, Plop Boot Manager will appear as the final boot option. If you are running only one distro, depress the Shift key during boot to see the options.