Using FOG with older OS? (Win2000 or even 98/ME, earlier OSX/Linux)



  • Because i’m generally curious how it works in general, as well as also playing around alot with retrogames of the win98 era and similar, are there any fundamental reasons why FOG cant/wont work with yet older systems? Or is it something unsupported but possible? (or could it be made possible with very minor work) Such uses may be only marginally important, but if happened to be easy to implement might bring in “special case users” who might also become impassioned zealots spreading the word if an idea ‘catches fire’ in some smaller special interest community.

    (Question also concerns the earliest versions of OSX and being curious what the oldest Linux version supported may be)

    For instance I know of a few potential special interest purposes outside of my own. Besides me having some oddball software which doesn’t like XP but works on Windows 2000, let alone the Win98 only games, there are certain other legacy hardware users who sometimes run the same system for decades. (such as machine tools like CNC for instance) Some are networked, i’ve seen machine shops with a dozen old Windows for Workgroups era computers at times - generally fine if not touched but if it were me i’d rather have backup images of everything just in case. It’s just they are in FAT16 or FAT32 or older versions of NTFS.

    I’m just curious what if anything is preventing these older systems from being backed up, assuming you could boot PXE and see the network? Does FOG work on a file based level, or can it do partitions and raw disk images as well, even new experimental linux filesystems (or old “obsolete” but maybe still on embedded networked system somewhere) just written back out each time?


  • Developer

    @Sebastian-Roth said in Using FOG with older OS? (Win2000 or even 98/ME, earlier OSX/Linux):

    Right now we have support for btrfs, ext2, ext3, ext4, fat(12/16/32), hfs+, ntfs, xfs as those seem to be the filesystems that most people use.

    that being said, some of those we don’t test much. not too many people are deploying systems on fat(12/16/32) these days. so, let us know how it goes.


  • Developer

    @maximillian said:

    Since i’m not a developer maybe someone who is can give me a heads up on whether in theory it should work then. You either used all the available partclone support or only stuck with NTFS, ext3 and the like. :)

    Right now we have support for btrfs, ext2, ext3, ext4, fat(12/16/32), hfs+, ntfs, xfs as those seem to be the filesystems that most people use. As you can see on the partclone.org website there are more filesystems and we might add those as people start asking. :-)

    And there always is a fallback method within partclone that can do a sector by sector copy if it does not recognize a filesystem. This way you are able to clone any system - just takes more time and disk space for image files.


  • Moderator

    @maximillian Just go try it out. Doesn’t need to be on some important Win98 system you don’t want to destroy - it can be any Win98 system. If there are errors, take pictures.



  • @Junkhacker

    I will! It wont be instantly but eventually i’ll get around to playing with it on the old hardware knowing at least it isn’t inherently locked out. Now that I know FOG does it thru partclone.

    If it uses http://partclone.org/ they specifically list support for like FAT16 and FAT32 - although it’s not clear if those are separate versions of the program, or if FOG incorporates an engine covering everything. (vs just the tested filesystems like NTFS for XP) Since i’m not a developer maybe someone who is can give me a heads up on whether in theory it should work then. You either used all the available partclone support or only stuck with NTFS, ext3 and the like. :)

    If you didnt include every available bit of partclone software, perhaps a version could be made which does, and between that mod (if needed) and the ISO image I can explore just how old of hardware it’s possible to make FOG work on and report back my results since it’s a hobby to always tinker around with old hardware, and the imaging could let me do some cool things with it.

    Furthermore if my experiments work well I can hopefully throw some pointers to other boards where i’m active and tell everyone how cool FOG is and that it supports their stuff, so maybe more people will use it, be able to contribute, or at least promote it more. :)


  • Developer

    @maximillian said in Using FOG with older OS? (Win2000 or even 98/ME, earlier OSX/Linux):

    Does FOG work on a file based level, or can it do partitions and raw disk images as well, even new experimental linux filesystems (or old “obsolete” but maybe still on embedded networked system somewhere) just written back out each time?

    to answer this, FOG uses partclone for creating backups of partitions. it is a file-system aware method that only copies used space, minimizing file size. but if it can’t detect what kind of file-system is in use, it copies it as a raw image. if you decide to test FOG for the purposes you describe, please report back your results.


  • Moderator

    @Tom-Elliott Great to know!! I didn’t even think to look in the /tftpboot to see if an iso was already created as part of the base system.


  • Senior Developer

    @maximillian What ISO are we needing?

    FOG has an ISO for iPXE already available to it. It’s located under /tftpboot/ipxe.iso and should be plenty enough to boot your old and new systems.

    I’ve personally never used the ISO itself, but I do know people have.


  • Moderator

    @maximillian TBH no one has asked The FOG Project to support older hardware, its always “I have the latest wiz-bang hardware and FOG won’t boot”. So for the FOG Project there isn’t any motivation to look backwards.

    With that said, its possible (maybe) to support hardware that won’t pxe boot natively. You may have to do some testing, but there is a path forward.

    This old tutorial give guidance on how to build a ipxe boot usb. This will create the undionly.kppxe based boot image. https://forums.fogproject.org/topic/6347/usb-boot-bios-client-into-fog-menu This is the first thing I would do, but instead of picking the usb boot image, I would pick the iso format. Don’t use the ipxe script from that document, but the one I will post below.

    If the undionly.kpxe driver set isn’t sufficient, then you will have to take the advanced route. From the same website you will to take the longer path. Here is a tutorial for creating a UEFI boot image. Since the old hardware doesn’t know anything about uefi should be able to ignore that part. You want to build a bios boot image. The selections along the way should be the same. https://forums.fogproject.org/topic/6400/usb-boot-uefi-client-into-fog-menu-harder-way

    With either method above, you will want to use this ipxe command script.

    #!ipxe
    
    set fogserver 192.168.1.88
    
    isset ${net0/mac} && dhcp net0 || goto dhcpnet1
    echo Received DHCP answer on interface net0 && goto netboot
    
    :dhcpnet1
    isset ${net1/mac} && dhcp net1 || goto dhcperror
    echo Received DHCP answer on interface net1 && goto netboot
    
    :dhcperror
    prompt --key s --timeout 10000 DHCP Failed, hit 's' for the iPXE shell; reboot in 10 seconds && shell || reboot
    
    :netboot
    cpuid --ext 29 && set arch x86_64 || set arch i386
    params
    param mac0 ${net0/mac}
    param arch ${arch}
    param platform ${platform}
    param product ${product}
    param ipxever ${version}
    isset ${net1/mac} && param mac1 ${net1/mac} || goto bootme
    
    :bootme
    chain http://${fogserver}/fog/service/ipxe/boot.php##params
    

    With a little trial and error and persistence you should be able to pxe boot these older kit into fog.



  • Just to followup, was there any plan of making an ISO available in some fashion, for the purpose of experimenting with older systems that may have difficulty loading PXE? Hadn’t heard anything in five days so hoping the way the forum disappears threads without comments hasn’t made this vanish…



  • @george1421 said in Using FOG with older OS? (Win2000 or even 98/ME, earlier OSX/Linux):

    I can say the issues you will run into more often than not is with the hardware.

    FOG uses a customized version of linux called FOS. I suspect that FOS will run on even really old (ia32) based hardware. The issue is getting FOS to the target hardware. PXE booting was added to the PC 2001 spec USB booting wasn’t added until circa 2006 (I think). So with these old hardware systems you have to find a way to boot the FOS engine. With some creativity you could boot FOS from a CD drive.

    We would have to ask the developers if they still include linux drivers for IDE drives and old nic cards (the 3com 3c503 and 3c509 cards were quite popular).

    Really for your task at hand, I might use clonezilla with a portable usb hard drive over FOG for backing up these older systems. There is a lot less overhead and sometimes headache with clonezilla if all you are doing is backing up random systems from around your campus.


    So there is not a specific lockout for either filesystems or an older Windows (even 98 or 2000) if it would say boot on NEWER hardware as well? (believe it or not there are still at least 2006 era boards which will boot Windows 98) If I can get FOG to boot, should it be able to image and restore whatever is on the drive?

    I dont even know if the ISO for FOS needs to be available (though it’s an interesting alternative), there are PXE boot setups for even single floppies that will usually get an older network card up onto the network right back to the ISA card era. I’m just curious if besides network access, if there are any other OS lockouts or potentially problematic hardware that might have an issue.


  • Senior Developer

    @Wayne-Workman no reason to have it be a torrent, we can just host it on our public servers, and not have to worry about seeders.


  • Moderator

    @george1421 said in Using FOG with older OS? (Win2000 or even 98/ME, earlier OSX/Linux):

    With some creativity you could boot FOS from a CD drive.

    I suppose we would follow your instructions for creating USB Bootable media, but do it with a CD instead right? /dev/sr0

    I think it’s not a bad idea to just make available the .ISO for FOS that can be written to a flash drive or cd/dvd. We could make it a torrent and post the torrent file in a thread here.


  • Moderator

    I can say the issues you will run into more often than not is with the hardware.

    FOG uses a customized version of linux called FOS. I suspect that FOS will run on even really old (ia32) based hardware. The issue is getting FOS to the target hardware. PXE booting was added to the PC 2001 spec USB booting wasn’t added until circa 2006 (I think). So with these old hardware systems you have to find a way to boot the FOS engine. With some creativity you could boot FOS from a CD drive.

    We would have to ask the developers if they still include linux drivers for IDE drives and old nic cards (the 3com 3c503 and 3c509 cards were quite popular).

    Really for your task at hand, I might use clonezilla with a portable usb hard drive over FOG for backing up these older systems. There is a lot less overhead and sometimes headache with clonezilla if all you are doing is backing up random systems from around your campus.


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