Ottawa PC Users' Group, Inc.
 Product Review 

Smart Boot Manager
by Alan German

When playing around with various flavours of Linux, I ran into a problem trying to install the OS from a bootable CD-ROM onto my old desktop machine. Basically, the machine wouldn't boot from the CD. Since the BIOS was set up to go to either the floppy disk, or the CD-ROM, before booting from the hard drive, I figured that this old machine just didn't support booting from a CD. But, while researching the problem on the Internet, I came across a really neat little utility – Smart Boot Manager – that provided the solution.

Smart Boot Manager is an open-source package that weighs in at under 70 KB. While the basic instructions for using the program are displayed when you run the executable, I would recommend that you also download the program's 200 KB PDF documentation file. You will find that the program has a ton of features, including password protection, automatic searching for bootable drives and partitions, booting into a default drive after a specified delay, and even scheduling booting into different drives depending on the day of the week or the time of day. The program is available in multiple language themes, each of which can be customized.

Of course, if you are like me, all you will need to know is “sbm -t us -d 0” which is the command to have Smart Boot Manager create a bootable disk with a US (i.e. English) theme on floppy drive a:

Rebooting the computer with this newly created boot disk in the floppy drive, produces an on-screen menu of choices of bootable partitions. In my case, the “CD1” menu item was my previously unbootable CD-ROM. Selecting this option did indeed boot the machine from the CD. Now, that's what I call a smart boot manager!

Bottom Line:

Smart Boot Manager, Version 3.7 Release 1 (Open source)
Principal Authors: James Su, Minghua Chen and Christopher Li, Tsinghua University, Beijing, China

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Ottawa Personal Computer Users Group (OPCUG), Inc.
3 Thatcher Street, Ottawa, ON  K2G 1S6

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