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Thread: Win Emergency boot disks

  1. #1
    Webius Designerous Indiginous
    Join Date
    Mar 2002
    South Florida

    Post Win Emergency boot disks

    Okay.. I looked in the index and didn't find this anywhere. So.. here ya go.

    This tutorial will explain the process of making a boot disk with today's more popular windows OS's. I will cover DOS, win9x, NT, and win2k. Anyone who has delt with windows KNOWS that if you don't have a recovery boot disc, your screwed. So here we go.


    Bootable Disk for DOS

    For DOS, make a bootable disk using the same version of DOS that is on the PC's hard drive. Use this command:

    C:\> FORMAT A: /S

    The /s option tells DOS to copy to the disk the files needed to load DOS from it. This command also puts the two DOS hidden files (io.sys and msdos.sys) and COMMAND.COM on the disk. The disk will include a small boot record that identifies the disk layout and the names of the two hidden files.

    Its very important that the boot disk have the same version of DOS that is on the hard drive. If your versions match, then once you're booted you can use some of the DOS loaded from the disk ( and some DOS program files on the hard drive, w/o having to worry about version errors.

    I would also recommend copying some DOS utilities to the disk as well. Simply type:

    C:\> CD DOS(or your dos directory)
    C:\DOS> COPY (place file name here) A:

    Copy the following files to that disk.

    /me tries to remember how to do a list.. oh yeah..

    • EDIT.COM
    • EMM386.EXE
    • SYS.COM

    Well that is all you really need for a DOS boot disk. Now onto Windows 9x...


    Bootable Disk for Windows 9x and ME (I think)

    MS made it really easy to do that in win 9x.

    [list=1][*]Click START on the taskbar, goto SETTINGS, and click CONTROL PANEL.[*]In the Control Panel window, double-click the ADD/REMOVE PROGRAMS icon.[*]Click the STARTUP DISK tab, and then click the CREATE DISK button.[/list=1]

    Pretty easy eh..
    /me is getting good at this list thingy...

    Okay.. now on to NT.. This is a bit more involved because of the whole NTFS system..


    Bootable Disk for NT

    With Windows 9x and DOS, any single disk can be formatted as a boot disk. But with Windows NT its different. It requires three disks to hold enough of Windows NT to boot. When a disk is formatted by Windows NT, the boot sector is written to boot the ntldr program instead of io.sys, as windows 9x and DOS do. To format use Windows NT Explorer. Right click the 31/2 floppy (a:) line in explorer and choose FORMAT from the shortcut menu.

    This is where it gets interesting. The only file system available for a disk is FAT. If you try to boot from a disk that has been formatted by Windows NT, this error message comes up:

    BOOT: Couldn't find NTLDR
    Please insert another disk

    Creating boot disks is done by a different method. Remember that Windows NT comes with a set of three disks that are initially used to boot the machine before the installation continues from the cd-rom. After the OS is installed, you can use these disks in an emergency to get you back up and running. These three disks come with Windows NT, but you can make extra sets.

    You can make extra sets of the boot disks by using Winnt32.exe if you are running Windows NT, or use Winnt.exe if you are running another OS, like Win 9x or DOS.

    Do the following to create the disks using Windows NT:

    [list=1][*]Click START, RUN and enter the path and name of the program with the /OX switches. These switches say to only create the set of three disks w/o doing a complete installation.

    Example: In the RUN dialog box type E:\I386\WINNT32.EXE /OX
    [*]The program asks for the location of the installation files. In this example, enter E:\I386. You are then asked to insert three disks. The program creates the disks beginning with disk 3.[/list=1]

    NOTE: You should also make an Emergency Repair Disk (ERD) to completely backup your NT system.

    A fourth VERY important disk is the ERD. You are given the opprotunity to make this disk during the installation. ALWAYS create this disk because it contains a record of critical information about your system that can be used to fix a problem with your OS. But if you opted not to then this will save your but in the future.

    The ERD is basically a backup of the NT registry on your hard drive. It also includes info on making a NTVDM to run DOS apps. (i won't be going into that anymore) Files stored on the ERD are also written to the hard drive during the installation. Using Explorer, you can see the files listed in the repair folder in your winnt directory.

    Okay I forgot to make one during installation. Save my but.

    After the installation, you can make a new ERD or update the one you have by using the Rdisk.exe utility in the winnt\system32 folder.


    To use the Rdisk.exe utility:

    [list=1][*] Click START, RUN and type C:\WINNT\SYSTEM32\RIDISK.EXE /S[/list=1]
    The /s switch updates the SAM, Default, and Security files of the registry.

    Files are first updated to the /winnt/repair directory, and then you are given the chance to make another ERD.

    If you cannot recover Win NT from the last known good hardware profile, the next step is to boot from the set of three boot disks that we made earlier. The disks may ask you to provide the EDR. This will bring up the Setup menu and your on your way.

    Thats it for NT.... Now onto Win2k...


    Bootable Disk for Windows 2000

    The first things you will want to have for this system are the four setup disks used to install the OS. The four disks will allow you to boot and setup your Windows 2000 OS. Usually you can simply put the windows 2000 CD in the drive and begin from there, although if you don't have the ability to boot from the cd you will have no choice but to make the four setup disks. These are good to have laying around anyway.

    Here are the steps:

    [list=1][*]Format the floppy disks.[*]Using a working PC, place the windows 2000 CD in the CD-ROM drive and formatted disk in the floppy drive. For Windows 9x, click the Start button, and choose Run or press the [windows key] + [R] (thanks Tedob1) and enter this command in the Run dialog box:

    [*]Insert the other three disks as requested by the makeboot program. Label them Windows 2000 Setup Disks 1, 2, 3, and 4. (I actually forgot to do that once, doh!)[/list=1]

    Now you have a fresh set of the 4 Setup disks. Put them somewhere safe from coffee spills, lunch debris, and other common desk accidents. Now on to the Recovery tools.

    With the implementation of Windows 2000, Microsoft provided three seperate tools used to recover your system after a failed boot. I won't be going into any details pertaining to the first two tools, although I will provide a bit of background information on them. The three tools are as follows:

    • Advanced Options Menu
    • Recovery Console
    • Emergency Repair process (ERD)

    When tryng to recover your system after a failed boot you should always follow the above order in your recovery attempts.

    Advanced Options Menu

    The Advanced Options menu can help you if the problem is with a faulty device driver or system service. Although, if the problem goes deeper than that you are going to have to go on to the next tool, the Recovery Console. To access the Advanced Options menu reboot your machine, wait until you see the "Starting Windows" message and press F8.

    Recovery Console

    The purpose of the Recovery Console is to allow you to use tools to repair a damaged registry, system files, and the file system on the hard drive. To use the Console you have to know the Administrator password. To access the Recovery Console you will need the Windows 2000 CD and the four setup disks we made earlier. (you did make them right?) Follow these instructions to access the Recovery Console:

    [list=1][*]Insert the first of the four setup disks and restart the PC. You will be instructed to insert the rest of the disks until you reach the Setup screen.[*]Type R to select "To repair a Windows 2000 installation option." The Windows 2000 Repair Options window will open.[*]Type C to select the Recovery Console.From here the Recovery Console will search your drive for any Windows 2000 installations and allow you to choose one. (hopefully it will be there) [*]Choose your Windows 2000 folder.[*]Enter your Administrator password and you are all set. [/list=1]

    From here you will get a DOS prompt and a few DOS commands to help you to recover your system. The following is a list of commands you will be able to use from the Recovery Console:

    • Attrib
    • Batch
    • Chkdsk
    • Disable
    • Diskpart
    • Enable
    • Exit
    • Fixboot
    • Fixmbr
    • Format
    • Help (always a good one)
    • Listsvc
    • Map
    • Set

    And many other more common DOS commands, i.e. cd, md, dir, copy, etc...

    To leave the Recovery Console and start Windows 2000 simply type Exit.

    Emergency Repair Process (if your really screwed)

    If the other two options didn't allow you to recover your system your next and final option is the Emergency Repair process. You will only want to use this option as a last resort, because it will restore your system to the way it was just after you completed the initial installation. REMEMBER, ALL CHANGES SINCE THE INSTALLATION WILL BE LOST!

    The Windows 2000 ERD contains information about your current installation but does not contain your registry. The registry for Windows 2000 is to large to fit on a single disk. Instead the ERD simply points to a folder on the hard drive where the registry was backed up when Win2k was installed. The folder is located in "%systemRoot%\Repair".

    To make an ERD follow these simple, easy to read, layed out perfectly, instructions, and if you call within the next 30 minutes you will also recieve this furry, fuzzy, ....
    (sorry bout that, moment of delerium)

    [list=1][*]Click Start, goto Programs, Accessories, and System Tools, and finnaly Backup. The backup window appears with the Welcome tab selected. Select Emergency Repair Disk.[*]The backup tab and the Emergency Repair Disk dialogue box open. If you check the box in the window that appears Win2k will save a copy of your registry in the %SytemRoot%\repair\regback directory.[*]Click OK to create the disk and keep it with your other four setup disks. Label this one Emergency Repair Disk.[/list=1]

    To use the ERD simply follow the following instructions:

    [list=1][*]Boot the PC from the four Setup Disks, and choose option R from the Setup menu.[*]When the Windows 2000 Repair Options window opens choose option R.[*]You will then be instructed to put the ERD in the drive and you are on your way to getting your system back up.[/list=1]


    Booting with NTFSDOS.EXE
    note: This part will be copy and pasted from another site.

    This was taken directly from Here

    NTFSDOS.EXE is a network file system redirector for DOS/Windows that is able to recognize and mount NTFS drives for transparent access. It makes NTFS drives appear indistinguishable from standard FAT drives, providing the ability to navigate, view and execute programs on them from DOS or from Windows, including from the Windows 3.1 File Manager and Windows 95 Explorer.

    Thats it for now.. I hope to write a tut on the hardware BUS next.. (depending on how well I grasp it that is)

    I have a test on this stuff on Wednesday and figured by making a tut it would stick alot more. Hope this helps some of ya... If you find misspellings let me know and I will take care of them. If you find anything wrong with this tutorial please let me know and I will correct it.

  2. #2
    AO Soccer Mom debwalin's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2002
    xmad--nice job there buddy! I like it, it seems well written. I bet it does help with your test because it always helps me to write stuff down, and this is just one step further.

    Outside of a dog, a book is man's best friend. Inside of a dog it's too dark to read.

  3. #3
    Senior Member cwk9's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2002
    Don't forget about ntfsdos.exe
    Its not software piracy. Im just making multiple off site backups.

  4. #4
    Antionline Quitter..Srsly
    Join Date
    Aug 2001
    or u can just click the little make "make bootdisk"tab in the add or remove programs in control pannel actually that only owrks for 9x and ME for sure i know Xp doesnt have it and i am not sure about 2k
    \"\"A weak mind is like a microscope, which magnifies trifling things but cannot receive great ones.\" G.K. Chesterton, 19th-century English essayist and poet\"

  5. #5
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    May 2002
    nice, offcourse makeing bootdisks for 9X is far easier then for win2k, especially when you need to rescue your sustem.

  6. #6
    Antionline Quitter..Srsly
    Join Date
    Aug 2001
    a givin
    \"\"A weak mind is like a microscope, which magnifies trifling things but cannot receive great ones.\" G.K. Chesterton, 19th-century English essayist and poet\"

  7. #7
    Webius Designerous Indiginous
    Join Date
    Mar 2002
    South Florida
    Thanks all.. I hope to try and post 1 tutorial a week depending on what subject we are dealing with. Since were starting to deal with the inner workings of the bus and dma's, i/o addresses, memory addresses and irq's i'll do something on that next. Lemme know if there is anything else hardware related you would like me to cover. I'll try and do my best.

    oh.. I'll finish up the rest of this one tommorow.. and i'll include something about ntfsdos also.

  8. #8
    Webius Designerous Indiginous
    Join Date
    Mar 2002
    South Florida
    All done.. Check it over for errors and let me know..

  9. #9
    Me too Thanks

  10. #10
    Antionline Quitter..Srsly
    Join Date
    Aug 2001
    nice /me goes off to give points to xmad
    \"\"A weak mind is like a microscope, which magnifies trifling things but cannot receive great ones.\" G.K. Chesterton, 19th-century English essayist and poet\"

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