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last updated: 08/02/03

INTRODUCTION.  Back in the MS-DOS and Windows 3.x days most technicians packed a boot floppy with some basic software tools on it for trouble-shooting, and installing hard disks and software.  Today, this sort of floppy is called a Windows Startup disk or Emergency Boot Disk (EBD) and is largely ignored until an emergency, such as a hard disk failure, when, to the dismay of the user, it may not work.

The Startup Disk is an adaptation of the old boot floppy to the needs of Windows 98.  It includes the system files, configuration files, himem.sys driver, CD-ROM support, and some basic software tools.  It can used to partition and format FAT16 and FAT32 hard disk drives and edit configuration files.   It can be very useful, if not essential, when replacing a bad hard disk drive, upgrading Windows, troubleshooting Windows boot-up problems, etc.  Herein, are instructions which will help you, I hope, make a Startup Disk and modify it so it   will work on your computer when you need it.  Four methods for making these floppies are described in this article:

  • CREATE DISKYou have a access to a computer running Windows 98.  This is the normal user way of making a Startup Disk.  I don't like the end result.

  • BOOTDISK.  You have a access to a computer running Windows 98.  This makes the same Startup disk as the CREATE DISK method, but can be done from the DOS prompt and you don't need the Windows CD.  It may be useful if you can't get windows to boot beyond the DOS prompt.  Again, I don't like the end result.

  • FAT32EBD.  Your computer is not running Windows 98, but is operational with MS-DOS and/or an older version of Windows, and you have a Windows 98 CD.  Or, you may want to use this method if you don't like the first two and the last one is "too hard."

  • MANUAL.  You are running Windows 98 and you want to make your own custom Startup Disk with software tools and configuration files of your choosing.  This is the method I use.

In all of these methods, you may have to tailor the resulting floppy to include a driver for your specific CD-ROM drive.

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Copyright, Disclaimer, and Trademark Information Copyright © 1996-2006 Larry F. Byard.  All rights reserved. This material or parts thereof may not be copied, published, put on the Internet, rewritten, or redistributed without explicit, written permission from the author.