MAKING A BOOT DISK

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MAKING SYSTEM BOOT DISKS  

There a different types of diskettes which will start your PC.  They are called system disks, boot disks, or startup disks.  We will show how to make all three here.  For most purposes, the last method, using Windows 98 to make a Startup disk, creates the best all round tool for starting damaged PC's.  So unless you are doing a lab you can skip to the end.

A. Making a Simple Boot Disk for Windows 9X PC's

I.                     Put one finger on the F8 key at the top of your keyboard.

II.                   Start the Computer. 

III.                 When you see “Starting Windows” on the screen hit the F8 key immediately.

IV.                When you see the menu come up hit the option which takes you to a DOS prompt.  If you do not ever see the "Starting Windows" Prompt, just go to Start, Shutdown, Then "Restart in DOS Mode"

V.                  Insert a blank disk in the A drive.

VI.              From the DOS prompt type:
FORMAT A: /S 
This formats the disk and puts the operating system files on it.  If you have formatted your disk previously you can use the SYS command instead, by typing: SYS A:

VII.            Now we must test our boot disk.

a.      Turn off the power switch on your PC.

b.      Make sure the boot disk is in the drive.

c.       Turn on the power switch and watch all the lights and the screen on the PC.

d.       See if your disk starts the computer or if it still starts from the hard drive. 

e.   Now see if you have a CD ROM drive by typing DIR D:

f.        What happened?  Do you have a CD?  Why or Why Not?

If it starts from the Floppy Drive you had SUCCESS!

 

B. Making our Disk Better

Although this will start our system.  It may not enable devices like CD ROM’s, zip drives, etc. which are connected to our computer to work.  To do that we need to add device drivers, which are special software programs which control these devices through the OS.  From the DOS level we do this by adding two files with special commands to our generic bland boot disk created above. These files are called config.sys and autoexec.bat. Make the following config.sys and autoexec.bat files for your boot disk. 

I.First we make a config.sys

1.       Make sure your formatted disk with the operating system on it (created above) is in the A drive.

2.       Start the DOS Editor by typing EDIT at the dos prompt.

3.       Type each of the following lines and hit enter after each line.  The lines starting with REM are remarks, they are just for information to you and other programmers.  The PC ignores them.

DEVICE=HIMEM.SYS

REM Enables the use of high and extended memory

DOS=HIGH, UMB

REM Tells DOS to load in higher memory

DEVICE = EMM386.EXE NOEMS

REM Tells DOS to load EMM386.EXE, to enable programs to use upper memory

DEVICEHIGH=SETVER.EXE

STACKS=64,500

DEVICEHIGH = ANSI.SYS

FILES=99

ECHO MY CONFIG.SYS FILE HAS RUN

After  typing the last line you  hit the ALT key, and hit the f and s keys (file save).   When prompted for a name call it

A:CONFIG.SYS 

Then type ALT  F and X to exit the editor

B. Now we create an autoexec.bat, again using the DOS Editor. 

1. Repeat steps 1 and 2 above.

2. Type the following lines, hit enter after each line.

PROMPT $P$G

REM ## Makes the prompt drive plus directory, e.g. c:\dos

PATH A:\;C:\WINDOWS;C:\;c:\DOS

LOADHIGH MOUSE.COM /Y

REM ## Loads the driver making the mouse work

ECHO MY AUTOEXEC.BAT FILE HAS RUN

ECHO YOUR BOOT DISK SHOULD BE WORKING!!!!

 

3. Now hit the  alt, f, s keys and call this file

A:AUTOEXEC.BAT.

 

C. Some of the above commands tell the computer to look for other files and load them into memory.  For example the line Device=HIMEM.SYS, loads a file called HIMEM.SYS.  If the file is not on our boot device the computer can not load it into memory.  Now we must copy these necessary driver files from the hard drive or other source to our floppy boot disk.  If you are running DOS these files will normally be in the DOS directory, C:\DOS  for example.  If you are running windows 9X they will be in the C:\WINDOWS  OR C:\WINDOWS\COMMAND directories.  We need to know where they are in order to copy them with the COPY command.  The copy command uses the syntax  COPY fromname toname  where from is the location and name of the file and toname is the place and name we want to put the copy under.

 

  1. Type this on the computer.
    COPY C:\WINDOWS\HIMEM.SYS A:
  2. If the screen does not say “One file copied” but instead says “File not found” or something similar type the following:
    cd \
    DIR HIMEM.SYS /S
    This first command puts the computer in the root directory.  The second command tells the PC to look over the whole hard drive and tell you where the file is.  Use the results to modify the above command.  For example if it tells you the file is in C:|windows\command type:  COPY C:\WINDOWS\COMMAND\HIMMEM.SYS A:
  3. Repeat the above procedure for each of the following files:
    EMM386.EXE SETVER.EXE ANSI.SYS MOUSE.COM
  4. If you can not locate one of the files notify your instructor.
  5. Now we must test our boot disk.
  6. Turn off the power switch on your PC.
  7. Make sure the boot disk is in the drive.
  8. Turn on the power switch and watch all the lights and the screen on the PC.
  9. See if your disk starts the computer or if it still starts from the hard drive.  If  your config.sys file runs, during boot up your screen should display:
    MY CONFIG.SYS FILE HAS RUN
    If your autoexec.bat file runs, during boot up your screen should display
    MY AUTOEXEC.BAT FILE HAS RUN
    The last line on the screen will be:
    YOUR BOOT DISK IS WORKING!!!!
  10. If part of it works you will also see error lines on the screen!  If you see errors you must open the config.sys or autoexec.bat and fix them one by one.  DOS is exact.  One extra space or character makes it fail.

Open the config.sys file by typing:

C:\DOS\EDIT A:CONFIG.SYS

After making corrections save the file, ALT, F, S.

Open the autoexec.bat file by typing: 

C:\DOS\EDIT A:AUTOEXEC.BAT

After making corrections save the file, ALT, F, S.

B. Making a Boot Disk the Easy Way With Windows 98

If you have Windows 95 you must use one of  the previous methods, and actually must ad devices to make your CD ROM drive work.  If you have Windows 98 it makes a much better boot disk which will enable your CDROM and other devices to work too. Since Windows does it for you it is easy. All you have to know is how to access it!Go to Start Settings Control Panel, Add/Remove Programs, Create Start up Disk and follow directions!  

Try this method and try starting the computer with your disk.  What were the results!

Note that besides starting your computer it also creates a RAM disk with several diagnostic programs on it.  A RAM disk is like a floppy but the programs are stored in memory which makes them fast to load, and if you have lots of memory you can run more programs than will fit on a floppy!  Since one floppy only holds 1.44 megs, but memory for windows 98 PC’s is at least 32 Megs!  Windows stores these programs on the boot floppy in a compressed state so they take up less room, Until you start the computer.  Then they are uncompressed from the floppy and put into RAM

Even though this disk was created from Windows 98, you can use it for other systems too as a diagnostic start up disk.

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