Commandline only Win32 from ReactOS?

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bobsobol
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Joined: Tue Jun 05, 2007 9:59 pm

Commandline only Win32 from ReactOS?

Post by bobsobol »

I have followed (somewhat bemused) the progress of ReactOS for a long long time... before NT was the target.

Early builds I have (somewhere) booted ReactOS to something like a DOS prompt that would run Win32 PE command line programs (Info-ZIP for example). I'm interested in having such a desktop free (no GDI etc) version of a Win32 kernel once again, and wonder if it is possible to build current ReactOS that might work in such a manner.

I wonder (for example) if the ntldr code which normally starts winnt32.exe from the setup boot disc could be made to launch cmd.exe instead of going through the text mode configuration and copying over the files for MinWin setup procedure boot.

If I could run forensic diagnostic processes built for windows which made no use of the GDI or windowing system... that could be very helpful, but is the winnt32.exe the right place to start looking? Would I still have to execute the driver loading code which seems to happen in winnt32.exe before calling cmd.exe or what?

In short, is there a way to make cmd.exe work in a similar manner to the Win2K - XP recovery console, but with full cmd.exe command set, and would that be an easy, or a very difficult task?

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Black_Fox
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Re: Commandline only Win32 from ReactOS?

Post by Black_Fox »

There was a custom build of ReactOS doing something like that (booting into cmd.exe) from one of the devs, but I can't find it anymore.

gonzoMD
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Re: Commandline only Win32 from ReactOS?

Post by gonzoMD »

this sounds like ReacDOS, the Command Line OS with NT architecture *laugh* but nice idea as base for other projects.

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EmuandCo
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Re: Commandline only Win32 from ReactOS?

Post by EmuandCo »

No, its like win2k8 Server, which can boot into console, too.
ReactOS is still in alpha stage, meaning it is not feature-complete and is recommended only for evaluation and testing purposes.

rembrandt
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Re: Commandline only Win32 from ReactOS?

Post by rembrandt »

EmuandCo wrote:No, its like win2k8 Server, which can boot into console, too.
If you install Windows 2008 in "Core" mode, it actually doesn't install any of the graphic subsystem and nothing that uses a GUI (explorer, IE, media player, admin tools,.....) thus reducing the server's attack surface. Much less to patch too. The fact that Notepad works (which is a GUI app) on Core is done by kernel-level shimming, as a special exception; admins want to be able to view logfiles....
So to implement something similar in ReactOS requires a lot of architectural work, not just replacing explorer.exe with cmd.exe, and the only consideration is not functional, but security.

bobsobol
Posts: 18
Joined: Tue Jun 05, 2007 9:59 pm

Re: Commandline only Win32 from ReactOS?

Post by bobsobol »

Yea... I was looking for something like "Single User Mode" on BSD or the Recovery Console on 2K - XP, but as the only install / boot option, and (unlike "Recovery Console") capable of running most of the command line PE files as DOS with HX DOS extender can, and still allowing for NT Services but with no GDI32.dll, GDI+ display drivers for GFX cards etc.

Just the code OS, that you could use as a "headless server", with only Telnet SSH access or be sat at the keyboard looking at a text screen very much like DOS, and it still provide web, FTP, Gopher, IRC etc services to the internet in the background. So stuff like PS-Tools, net, ipconfig, sc etc would still work. I spend most of my NT Admin time running those tools rather than fighting pointless MSC "snap-in" GUIs anyway.

I wouldn't want to have Notepad work, unless it could be re-written to work via nCurses style UI, though a PE / PE+ build of Edit.com would be nice... the FreeDOS EDIT.EXE one should be easily adaptable... and GNU - Win32 Nano or VIM are always available.

After all. Under any BSD or Linux system there is no reason why you have to start an XServer session. And DOS with HX DOS extender proves that many command line Windows tools work just fine without a graphics driver running... it would be nice to have NT security, task management, threading, multi-tasking, services and scheduling without having to boot graphically... for me anyway.

In short, I guess, I can think of lots of uses for NT without Windows. XD

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