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Method of using portable, programmable chips to overlay boot memory in order to facilitate non-interactive installs.

IP.com Disclosure Number: IPCOM000015996D
Original Publication Date: 2002-Sep-15
Included in the Prior Art Database: 2003-Jun-21
Document File: 2 page(s) / 41K

Publishing Venue

IBM

Abstract

Method of using portable, programmable chips to overlay boot memory in order to facilitate non-interactive installs. A common feature of today's computer hardware is the ability for an initial boot menu to control the behavior of the boot or install process for a computer system. This initial menu is typically "burned in" the chip logic of the hardware and can be accessed by a user regardless of the state of a computer. The user picks options and sets variables for different types of computer boot and/or install. There are two limitations to this control logic. First, the user must perform an interaction with the computer. In other words, they must have a keyboard and a display in order to make choices and fill in values to the boot menus. i.e. if a network install is going to occur, the name of the network, server, and the client (the computer itself). Second, with this type of "burned in" chip logic, it can be difficult to easily introduce new menus, functions or fixes to the logic of this startup menu. Although the logic can be replaced, it either typically involves replacing the logic chip itself or booting the computer system up and replacing the boot menu program if it was written in Erasable Program Read Only Memory (EPROM). However, this would require an active system in order to do this logic replacement. What is proposed is a method of non-direct user interaction with a computer system in which the boot logic can be re-written or modified through wireless methods. This would be carried out through the method of the "smart chips" currently used by some credit card and automotive applications. In the case of "smart" car keys or credit cards, there is a programmed chip imbedded into an object (a key or piece of plastic). This chip has programmed behavior and can transmit information (at very low power). The inquiring device (card scanner or steering wheel yoke) typically transmits enough low watt energy to power the chip. In this way, the "base device" and the chip can interact without the chip actually supplying it's own power supply.

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Method of using portable, programmable chips to overlay boot memory in order

to facilitate non-interactive installs.

A common feature of today's computer hardware is the ability for an initial boot menu to control the behavior of the boot or install process for a computer system. This initial menu is typically "burned in" the chip logic of the hardware and can be accessed by a user regardless of the state of a computer. The user picks options and sets variables for different types of computer boot and/or install. There are two limitations to this control logic. First, the user must perform an interaction with the computer. In other words, they must have a keyboard and a display in order to make choices and fill in values to the boot menus. i.e. if a network install is going to occur, the name of the network, server, and the client (the computer itself). Second, with this type of "burned in" chip logic, it can be difficult to easily introduce new menus, functions or fixes to the logic of this startup menu. Although the logic can be replaced, it either typically involves replacing the logic chip itself or booting the computer system up and replacing the boot menu program if it was written in Erasable Program Read Only Memory (EPROM). However, this would require an active system in order to do this logic replacement.

What is proposed is a method of non-direct user interaction with a computer system in which the boot logic can be re-written or modified through wireless methods. This would be carried out through the method of the "smart chips" currently used by some credit card and automotive applications. In the case of "smart" car keys or credit cards, there is a programmed chip imbedded into an object (a key or piece of plastic). This chip has programmed behavior and can transmit information (at very low power). The inquiring device (card scanner or steering wheel yoke) typically transmits enough low watt energy to power the chip. In this way, the "base device" and the chip can interact without the chip actually supplying it's own power supply.

The proposed method is one in which a user can program the interactive chip on a badge or some other type of container. The user can:

a) instruct the chip to reprogram the EPROM on the device with a new menu program
b) instruct the chip to "fill-in-the-blanks" on the boot menu. When this occurs, there is no need for the use of keyboards, mice, or displays when instructing a machine to boot for install purposes.
c) instruct the chip to act as a temporary program. The EPROM on the computer won't get reprogrammed. Instead, the logic will run (via wireless transmission) off of the chip that is nearby.

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