NOROACH - TT/MegaSTE boot delay setup and virus guard
Copyright c 1991, Atari Corporation
All Rights Reserved
NOROACH allows you to set the length of time TOS will wait before
trying to boot from the hard disk. It also has the useful side
effect of guarding against floppy disk viruses.
Mega STE and TT TOS have a feature that allows time for your hard disks
to spin up before it tries to boot from them. The reason this is
important in these machines is that you have no way to power up the
internal hard disk and let it come up to speed before you turn the
computer on. For various technical reasons, it is impractical for TOS
to ask the hard disk if it's ready--some hard disks won't respond
correctly while they are warming up, and some hard disks will even lock
up if you try to talk to them before they're ready!
For those reasons, TOS waits after a cold boot (power on, or
Control-Alternate-Right Shift-Delete) for 90 seconds, or until you hit
any key, before it tries to boot a hard disk. Since most hard disks
are ready earlier than that, you may find yourself hitting a key or
going to get a cup of coffee every time you turn on your Mega STE or TT.
If you use a NOROACH boot disk, your computer will be ready when you
A NOROACH boot disk will flash an icon in the upper right hand corner
of the screen when you boot your system. When you see the icon, you
know that the time delay has been set up. The icon also lets you know
that your boot disk has no boot sector virus on it. If your boot disk
doesn't flash an icon on the screen, then it has been infected by
a floppy disk virus! If this happens to you, use one of the many
fine virus killer programs available for the ST to find out if any of
your other floppies are infected. I recommend George Woodside's
excellent VKILLER program.
A side note: because VKILLER doesn't know about NOROACH boot disks, if
you use it on one, it will tell you that the disk is "questionable."
If you have any doubt whether your NOROACH boot disk is infected or
not, just run NOROACH again and write a new boot sector. You can
prevent infection from ever happening if you ALWAYS keep your NOROACH
boot disk write protected.
Making a Boot Disk
To create a NOROACH boot disk, put a formatted, non-write-protected
disk in drive A. It is important not to use a disk (such as a game
disk) which you would normally boot from the floppy. NOROACH works by
writing a boot sector to the disk, and this will destroy the boot loader
of any floppy based, boot loaded game.
Run NOROACH.PRG. The dialog it presents allows you to set the time
delay for your NOROACH boot disk, and to optionally load a custom icon
and set its color. There is also a "?" button in the upper right hand
corner of the dialog that will display a short explanation of how NOROACH
works. Once you have set the options to your liking, click on the
"Write Boot Sector" button.
That's all there is to it! Once you have created a NOROACH boot disk,
you should write protect it so that it can not be infected by a floppy
virus. Whenever you boot with your NOROACH disk in drive A, your TT or
Mega STE hard disk will boot without you having to hit a key.
If you have problems loading an icon, it may be that the file you're
trying to load is not the right kind of icon file. NOROACH reads Gem
Icon Definition files such as those created by ICED or Degas Elite.
Several custom icons for you to use are included with NOROACH. Several of
these icons can also be added to your DESKICON.RSC file, if you are
familiar with the Atari Resource Construction Set and know how to add
icons to a resource file. Rumor has it that Double Click Software is
also working on a tool that will make it easy for you to snazz up your
TT or Mega STE desktop with icons galore.
If you make the mistake of setting the boot delay too fast, and find
that your system isn't recognizing the hard disk, just boot without your
NOROACH disk in drive A, and install a new boot sector with a longer
You'll find the answers to any questions you may have about NOROACH in
the ST RoundTable on GEnie. Leave a message in Category 14 of the ST
Bulletin Board (M475;1 to get there, or use ST Aladdin!) and you'll find
lots of people there, including the author, willing to help you.
Atari Corp. System Software Engine
February 5, 1991