Version 25 (modified by martini, 3 years ago) (diff)



AirBoot is a track0 Boot Manager.

That means it is stored at the very start of the disk, just after the Master Boot Record.

AirBoot is also an interactive Boot Manager, which means it presents a list of Operating Systems in a menu from which the user can select one to boot.

A Little History

AirBoot was initially designed and developed by Martin Kiewitz, back at the time when LBA addressing was just becoming mainstream. Over time, Martin continued to add features and fix reported problems, which resulted in a stable and mature product.

When huge harddisks (>512 GiB) became more mainstream, the OS/2 Boot Manager was not capable of correctly handling them. After some investigation, it became clear that AirBoot would be a very suitable candidate to replace the aging OS/2 Boot Manager, but a few things needed to be fixed first.

Martin however, had moved on to other projects and was not developing AirBoot anymore, but he kindly gave his permission to modify AirBoot in any way required such that it could replace the OS/2 Boot Manager. With the release of eComStation v2.1 (2011), AirBoot was ready to replace the OS/2 Boot Manager and so it was included in that release.

It is safe to say that AirBoot saved the day at a time when huge harddisks came along and the fight for primary partitions got worse.

Thank you Martin !

Some AirBoot Highlights

No Primary Partition Required

Because AirBoot is written in (neat and compact) Assembler, it is small enough to fit in the track0 (nowhereland) space. So, unlike OS/2 Boot Manager, AirBoot does not require a primary partition, resolving the problem that occured with Windows 7 OEM installations. And since OS/2 has had long time capability of booting from logical partitions, it could completely leave the dogfight for primaries.

On The Fly Partition Scanning

When AirBoot starts it scans all partitions on all disks and enumerates them in a list which is then presented. Whenever partitions are added or removed, at the next boot AirBoot presents these changes immediately.

Built-in Setup

AirBoot contains a Setup mode which allows configuration directly from within AirBoot itself. No other tools required.

Support For Huge Harddisks

Under OS/2, huge harddisks are handled by using a special geometry. AirBoot understands this special geometry, allowing OS/2 to boot from partitions located above the 512 GiB boundary.

Operating System Agnostic

While the major focus of AirBoot is booting OS/2, it has always been capable of booting other operating-systems. It supports booting many versions of Windows and booting Linux is done by chainloading GRUB.

Before Using AirBoot

Before installing AirBoot, it would be a good idea to learn a little bit more about it. This is especially true with regard to partitioning hard disks the way OS/2 likes it (use its volume manager) and the co-existance with other operating-systems.

See the section below where to download AirBoot or view its manual.

AirBoot Downloads
(bootloader, installers & manual)
(** contact information is out-of-date **)
(** contact information is out-of-date **)

Developer Notes

There exists a project clone at:
That project is *not* a fork of the original Netlabs project.
It is a *clone* done with git-svn with the purpose to be able
to use Git Branching for testing and feature additions.
The bi-directional mapping is:
github:project~master <-> netlabs:project~trunk

Reporting Problems

The preferred way is through Netlabs Track,
and you can create a new ticket using the following link:
(note: you need to be logged-in to netlabs to create a ticket)

But, before you report a new problem,
please check if the problem you are about to report
was not already reported by somebody else:


GNU General Public License v3.0


  • Martin Kiewitz
  • rousseaux