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RISC OS !Boot, Module and System Information

This page has been written to enable both long-time users and newcomers alike to try and understand a bit about how the RISC OS Boot sequence is designed and setup.

For those people who subscribe to RISC OS Select, there is a separate page which details the RISC OS Select !Boot sequence.

Iyonix users should view the RISC OS 5 section.

We also have a comprehensive Module Database which aims to link to extra modules that certain applications may require (and note which applications require them).

If you know of any later versions, or can supply additional notes etc then please do feel free to contact us so that this page can continue to be a central database of latest version numbers.

Contents of !Boot

The descriptions which follow are a broad explanation of what is going on. I've tried to use easy to understand terms wherever possible and I've also assumed that you have the latest !Boot sequence installed - such as that supplied on the Acorn !Java/!Browse CD's or on the Acorn User 200th edition CD.

To check you have this !Boot sequence, hold down SHIFT and double-click on !Boot. You should be able to see a number of directories with names ending in "...Hook" (such as "RO310Hook" through to "SiteHook"). If not, then you don't have the latest !Boot installed. All new machines are supplied with the new !Boot.

If you are daunted or confused, either by my instructions or your own !Boot sequence, please feel free to contact me and I will try to offer more specialised help.

Please note that as the new !Boot sequence has been available since 1998, it's a bit of a misnomer to call it 'new'. However, there are still thousands of machines using older !Boot sequences, so it makes sense to simply refer to it as being 'new'.

What's inside !Boot then?

Choices (directory)

This directory is where individual applications can store their user-customisable configuration files. For example, !ZapUser settings, Delirium screensaver or other settings that you may have chosen in applications.
It is likely to contain quite a few directories, depending upon what you've installed on your computer.

Choices.Boot.Desktop (file)

This is a file (filetyped 'Desktop') which shouldn't be changed by the user. It basically ensures that applications stored in the 'Hook' directories are 'seen', starts the internet resolver and determines if the !Internet part of the configuration is available.

Choices.Boot.PreDesk (directory)

This is where any modules or applications which need to be run BEFORE the desktop is entered are run. Only applications, Obey files and Modules are executed, so you may need to ensure that each file that goes in here is actually executed via a suitable Obey file.

This is where you would place things like !X-Files, !LongFiles or utility modules such as LineEditor. There are also a number of 'system' files such as 'Configure' and 'SetUpNet'.

Choices.Boot.PreDesk.SetUpNet (file)

The content of this file will vary depending upon whether you have TCP/IP enabled or not from the Configuration settings. This file will be discussed in more detail on the networking pages.

Choices.Boot.PreDesktop (file)

This file is 'Obeyed' by !Boot.Utils.!BootRun as part of the bootup sequence, before the desktop is run. It is the file which installs the new window manager if you have it installed. It also sets the resources paths and adds any relevant applications into the 'Apps' folder on the iconbar.

User commands can be appended to the end of it, such as loading new iconsprites etc.

Choices.Boot.Tasks (directory)

This is where your main !Boot file (on original machines) resides (if present) and also where you should place any directories that you want to be installed on bootup. This is where you would normally save your 'Desktop boot' file from the taskmanager icon.

There is also a short 'Configure' obey file which sets up any relevant desktop font changes.

Library (directory)

This is where utility modules and executables go which are executed on typing their filename from the (f12) CLI prompt. This is kind of similar to the old DOS directory on older PCs. Things like PGP are placed in here, so that typing "PGP" will run the file without the need to specify a full pathname.

For the technical users, the Library (or Run$Path) is actually specified at the beginning of the !Boot.Utils.BootRun file, so unless it's been changed it should point to this directory by default.

MchConfig (directory)

This directory will generally be empty on stand alone machines. However, if a client machine is connected to your machine a unique directory for each client will be created inside this directory. These subsequent directories are similar to the 'Choices' directory (above) but specific to each individual client machine.

PartNumber (file)

Serial/reference numbers for your machine internals. You can ignore this file.

Resources (directory)

This directory (which is generally the biggest directory, in terms of disc space, in your !Boot sequence) is where system wide resources go. Averything in here is 'seen' on bootup and essential resources like Font and System directories are located in here.

Anything which is shared by multiple applications and that you want readily available if required is stored here. This is where things like !MoveFS and !Java go - Things you don't actually want running on bootup, but nonetheless want available if needed by other applications.

ROxxxHook (directories)

There should be four of these directories; one for each major release of RISC OS. Inside each is an 'Apps', 'Boot' and 'Res' directory, each of which contain applications and files specific to different versions of RISC OS. Generally, it is safe to delete any which are of a newer version of RISC OS to that fitted to your machine. However, if you have a RISC PC I would leave them all intact in case you later upgrade to StrongArm or something.

SiteHook (directory)

This directory works in a similar way to the Hook directory listed above - but is designed for network use. On a stand alone computer this directory is usually empty. However, if your machine is a network client then anything inside SiteHook is automatically copied into the relevant Boot:MchConfig.X directory - where X is a directory unique to your machine.

Utils (directory)

AddtoRMA BootRun BootVars CallASWI CMOSUtils DeskRun EHProdCode FreePool HOn NetChoices NewStack PatchApp UnplugTbox VProtect


To view a comprehensive list of RISC OS modules, latest version numbers and where to obtain them from, please visit our Module Database.

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 Last edit: 10th Apr 2016 at 4:57pm (2967 days ago)

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