i386-specific first-stage system bootstrap
This small program (roughly 512 bytes of code) is responsible for loading the
(typically /boot), which in turn will load the kernel.
must be installed by
. As part of
with information about the location of
on disk. Specifically, it
writes the filesystem block number of
's inode, the offset within
this block of the inode, and various filesystem parameters (taken from the
superblock) required to convert filesystem blocks to disk sectors. Usually,
is loaded from the root
filesystem of the boot disk. If the boot disk is a
a copy of boot(8)
to be loaded
from a dedicated single-inode filesystem located within the volume's meta data
You must re-run
is changed, as its inode
may change. While it should not be necessary, it may also be advisable to
you move your disk between machines and/or controllers.
receives control from either the BIOS
or the master boot record (MBR) it will print the message:
followed by a dot for every filesystem block it attempts to load. If /boot is
loaded successfully, biosboot
will put the cursor
on the next line just before transferring control to the newly-loaded program.
If possible, biosboot
will read disk sectors using
calls detailed in the Phoenix Enhanced Disk Drive Specification (EDD,
sometimes known as LBA, reads). It will fall back to CHS reads only if EDD
calls are not available. However, to allow users to boot on hardware that
claims LBA capability, but which requires CHS reads in order to boot, the user
may hold down either Shift key during boot. If
detects this, it will force itself to
use CHS calls, ignoring any LBA capability. This will of course prevent
booting if /boot lies above the 8 GB CHS limit. There is an exported symbol
“force_chs” of type u_int8_t which may be set to 1 to force CHS
reads always. (However, no tool is currently provided to set this flag.)
prints a ‘!’ before the
“Loading” message if it is being forced to use CHS rather than
LBA reads (by the user holding down either Shift key during boot, or having
set the “force_chs” flag in the boot sector).
prints a ‘;’ after the
“Loading” message if it is going to use CHS reads for any
reason. For example, when booting from floppy or CD-ROM.
may fail with any of the following error
- Too many indirect blocks.
biosboot is capable of reading the direct
blocks in boot(8)'s inode (the
location of which is patched into biosboot by
installboot(8)) and the
first indirect block, but it is not capable of reading further indirect
blocks. This error indicates that further such indirect blocks were found.
The system will not be able to boot.
This is unlikely to ever happen in practice, as
boot(8) has to be quite large
for this to be an issue. The smallest possible filesystem block size is
512 bytes (one sector per filesystem block). On such a system, there are
140 filesystem blocks that biosboot can read,
so boot(8) can be up to 70 KB.
However, even on floppy disks the filesystem block size is 1024 bytes. This
allows boot(8) to occupy up to
268 disk blocks, i.e. to be 268 KB. On hard disks (default filesystem
block size 16 KB) 4,108 disk blocks are available, to allow
boot(8) to be over 64 MB in
size! (Only direct blocks are required for
boot(8)s of up to 192
- Bad magic. The ELF “magic number” \7fELF in
boot(8)'s header was not
found. This indicates that the first block of
boot(8) was not read
correctly. This could be due to disk corruption, failing to run
an invalid boot(8) program as
the boot argument to
incorrect geometry translation.
- Read error. The BIOS returned an error indication when
biosboot attempted to read a disk sector.
This might be any media error, including bad sectors (common on floppy
disks), and invalid sectors (can occur with bad geometry translations).
If this error occurs during an LBA boot (no ‘;’ after
“Loading”), then a CHS boot may succeed. To do this, you
should reboot, then hold down either Shift key before
biosboot starts. You should see a
‘!’ before “Loading” as confirmation that your
override was accepted.
- Can't boot. Issued when trying to read sectors in CHS mode,
but the BIOS call
get drive parameters failed or
gave a value of 0 for the number of sectors per track. In either case, it
is not possible for biosboot to calculate the
(cylinder, head, sector) values required to read any sectors.
as the MBR, as has been done in the
past, is not recommended, and is not supported. Instead, create a single
partition that spans the
Despite the support for boot(8)
the 8 GB boundary, good
practices should still be followed.
- Master Boot Record block
- primary bootstrap
- secondary bootstrap
- PXE bootstrap
- OpenBSD kernel
- OpenBSD kernel for single processor
- OpenBSD kernel for multiprocessor
- OpenBSD kernel for
was originally written by Michael
Shalayeff for OpenBSD 2.1
. However it was based on
bootstrap code from older versions of this operating system, other operating
systems, other programs, and other people's work.
It was significantly revised in December 2003 by Tom Cosgrove, in order to
support LBA disk access (via the Phoenix Enhanced Disk Drive Specification
API). At that time the internal table of disk blocks was removed, and
modified to read filesystem block
numbers from the inode.
should perform and verify a checksum
across the entire loaded boot(8)
image, rather than just checking the magic number in the first block.
There is no BIOS error number reported nor is the location of the error
You can pick your motherboard, and you can pick your BIOS, but you can't pick
your motherboard's BIOS.