The Haiku/BeOS Tip Server
Tips and tricks for Haiku/BeOS users

Create a Free BeOS Install CD

Contributed by: Scot Hacker
This tip is valid for: Both BeOS and Haiku

Update: Don’t want to bother burning a CD or downloading the BeOS installation image? Want a bunch of free and trial software at your fingertips? LeBuzz offers a complete Personal Edition CD ready-made for less than 10 bucks.

The free version of BeOS 5 creates a fixed partition size of 500MB. While you can always create more/larger partitions with DriveSetup once Personal Edition has been installed, what if you want to create larger partitions to begin with? As it happens, the raw disk image of BeOS installed by Personal Edition has a 2K cluster size — the same as is used for BeOS CDs. If you burn (located in c:\beos on the Windows side, and also included in the BeOS4Linux istribution) to a CD-ROM with CDBurner or another burning app on another platform, you can use the disc it creates as a normal BeOS installation CD, making it possible to install Personal Edition just like you do the Pro Edition, to any size hard drive or partition.

Peter Hickman ( notes that you can create a fully customized install CD with these techniques as well. Just boot into Personal Edition from Windows etc. and add any dev tools, applications, documents, backgrounds, sounds, and other customizations. All of your changes will be written into the image file, which later becomes the installation media. Therefore, all of your changes get carried over to fresh installations. BeTips has used this technique extensively and it works great. The only thing that doesn’t get carried over is your custom fileystem indices.

To do this with Be’s CDBurner, mount your Windows partition on the desktop, launch CDBurner, and pull down Disc | Add Data Track. Navigate to and select it, then click Burn Now. Whether you use CDBurner or other burning software, make sure you’re burning a raw disk image, not a normal file.

If you don’t have access to a Windows machine, grab the BeOS4Linux.tar.gz archive on one of the mirrors instead — it contains the exact same image file.

Note that it is not possible to boot from this CD by telling your BIOS to boot from CD without following the instructions in the second part of this tip. Without doing that (and it’s only a little bit hairy), you will need to create a BeOS boot floppy to boot from this CD.

Once you’ve created your CD and have a BeOS boot floppy, insert both the floppy and the CD and restart your machine. When the BeOS boot icons appear, hit the Spacebar and use the boot options menu to make sure you’re booting from CD. Continue booting and installation will proceed normally. If you’ve already set aside a partition, select it as the target. If you need to create a partition first, click More Options and launch DriveSetup to create a partition first. Remember: DriveSetup is not a non-destructive partition manager!

Making the CD Bootable

Richard M. Shaw (hobbes at contributes this on making the CD actually bootable:

You have to use mkhybrid to convert the floppy.img to an El Torrito boot image file… The command line syntax it pretty hairy, but here it is…

Put floppy.img in a directory by itself (unless you want any other files included in the new image (ISO only, not BeOS files.) This is wrapped here for readability, but put this all on one line.

mkhybrid -b floppy.img -c boot.catalog 
-a -r -J -V BeOS_Boot -o boot.img directory_name


-b tells which image is bootable

-c creates some boot catalog, don’t know what i does but I did notice it’s on the 4.5 CD

-a -r -J (includes all files (in ), rationailzed rock (Unix), Joliet, etc

-V Volume name for that track

-o the object image (i.e. what its going to write to)

– directory_name — Where floppy.img is located, along with any other files you want on that track

Now that you’ve got both boot.img and, launch CDBurner and pull down Disc | Add Data Track and navigate to boot.img. Do the same for Click Burn Now. Your CD will be bootable.

For more information on creating bootable BeOS CDs, see this Be Developer’s Newsletter article.

Creating the CD from within Windows

James Freiwirth ( contributes the following, but he found it on usenet, where it originated with a person named Conor Daly.

  1. Install BePE on your Windows drive (eg. C:eos). Boot into the BeOS PE installation.
  2. Create the directory /boot/home/setup and maybe a few subdirectories below that.
  3. Download any drivers you think you might need and any apps you want and store these in the Setup directory. These will get included on the CD and will be copied to your new installation.
  4. Right-click on the ‘Personal Edition’ volume icon on the desktop and select ‘Edit Name’. Enter ‘BeOS-5 Installation CDROM’ or something like that. This becomes the name you’ll see if you want to choose what to boot.
  5. Reboot to Windows.
  6. In Nero select CD Boot and select c:eosfloppy.img as your boot image. Burn that. Don’t try to include the BeOS image at this point or you’ll just end up with the file on the CD
  7. In Nero select ‘File/Burn image’ and select Choose a block size of 2048 and burn that. Don’t worry about an error message when you load the image to burn.
  8. In Nero, create a ‘New Multisession’ CD and add the BeOS-5PersonalEdition.exe and maybe the Burn that.

Thats it, you’re set. Now you need to reboot, use a boot floppy, and install BeOS to its own partition.

Posted in Miscellaneous

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