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XXCOPY
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2016-10-28
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    XXCOPY TECHNICAL BULLETIN #029

    From:    Kan Yabumoto           tech@xxcopy.com
    To:      XXCOPY user
    Subject: The Windows 98 Startup Disk
    Date:    2001-02-08
    ===============================================================================
    
    This article discusses the use of the Windows 98 startup floppy disk
    and an alternative boot disk to handle troubles in booting up the
    Windows 98 system.  Most of the discussion here apply equally to
    the Windows 95 and Windows ME operating systems (OS) but there are
    minor differences from one OS to another.
    
    The Windows Startup Disk:
    
        If you do not have the Startup Disk for your Windows 98 (or you
        have misplaced it since you made it when you installed Windows 9x
        on your system), this is the time to make one.
    
        It is conveniently done from Control Panel.
    
          Control_Panel > Add/Remove Programs >Startup Disk
    
        A surprising number of users don't have the startup disk handy and
        even those who have it have never used it, or do not know what it
        is for and how useful it is.  If you have done it recently, you may
        remember that the Windows 9x installation steps always provide the
        option of creating such a diskette --- but never explains how to
        use it.
    
    
    What's on the Startup Disk?
    
        The diskette is also called Emergency Boot Disk (EBD) is a replica
        of the contents of the directory at C:\WINDOWS\COMMAND\EBD.
        (If you are not a techwiz, just skip the file list)
    
        IO.SYS           ; System boot file.
        MSDOS.SYS        ; Boot option information (paths, multiboot, and so on).
        DRVSPACE.BIN     ; Microsoft DriveSpace compression driver.
        CONFIG.SYS       ; Loads the device drivers.
        HIMEM.SYS        ; Extended (XMS) Memory Manager.
        COMMAND.COM      ; Command interpreter.
        AUTOEXEC.BAT     ; A batch file which runs when you boot it.
        ASPI2DOS.SYS     ; Real-mode Adaptec CD-ROM driver.
        ASPI4DOS.SYS     ; Real-mode Adaptec CD-ROM driver.
        ASPI8DOS.SYS     ; Real-mode Adaptec CD-ROM driver.
        ASPI8U2DOS.SYS   ; Real-mode Adaptec CD-ROM driver.
        ASPICD.SYS       ; Real-mode Adaptec CD-ROM driver.
        BTCDROM.SYS      ; Mylex/BusLogic CD-ROM driver.
        BTDOSM.SYS       ; Mylex/BusLogic CD-ROM driver.
        FLASHPT.SYS      ; Mylex/BusLogic CD-ROM driver.
        OAKCDROM.SYS     ; Generic device driver for ATAPI CD-ROM drives.
        SETRAMD.BAT      ; Searches for first available drive to be a Ramdrive.
        RAMDRIVE.SYS     ; Creates a Ramdrive during startup.
        FINDRAMD.EXE     ; Utility to find the RAM drive during startup.
        EXTRACT.EXE      ; File to expand the Ebd.cab file.
        FDISK.EXE        ; Disk partition tool.
        SYS.COM          ; System transfer tool.
        EBD.SYS          ; Disket identifier file (Windows 98 startup disk)
        MODE.COM         ; Lets you change console parameters
        README.TXT       ; Document file
        EDB.CAB          ; Cabinet (compressed) file containing the following
          ATTRIB.EXE     ; Add or remove file attributes.
          CHKDSK.EXE     ; Simpler and smaller disk status tool.
          DEBUG.EXE      ; Debug utility.
          EDIT.COM       ; Real-mode emergency text editor.
          EXT.EXE        ; File extract utility.
          FORMAT.COM     ; Disk format tool.
          HELP.BAT       ; Launches the readme.txt for the startup disk.
          HELP.TXT       ; Help text file.
          MSCDEX.EXE     ; Microsoft CD-ROM file extension for MS-DOS.
          RESTART.COM    ; Restart your computer.
          SCANDISK.EXE   ; Disk status tool.
          SCANDISK.INI   ; Disk status tool configuration file.
          SYS.COM        ; system transfer tool.
          UNINSTAL.EXE   ; Removes Win 98 and restores the previous state.
    
    
        The floppy disk is essentially a bare bones DOS 7.x system disk
        with various disk initialization tools, such as
    
          FDISK.EXE       FORMAT.COM      SYS.COM
    
        These tools allow you to initialize the hard disk prior to the
        Win 98 installation.  But, in order to read the Win 98 Installation
        CD-ROM for the setup procedure, you need the capability of
        accessing the CD-ROM which often needs SCSI device drivers.
    
          ASPI2DOS.SYS    ASPI4DOS.SYS    ASPI8DOS.SYS
          ASPI8U2DOS.SYS  ASPICD.SYS      BTCDROM.SYS
          BTDOSM.SYS      FLASHPT.SYS     OAKCDROM.SYS
    
        Surprisingly, there is no software in Startup Disk which allows
        you to start Windows 98.  The tools are good mostly to re-install
        the Windows 98 operating system from the CD-ROM.  Although the
        Win 98 re-installation procedure would not normally delete user
        files on the hard disk, it is a very time-consuming process.
    
        It should be pointed out that on many occasions, there are steps
        you can take that are much quicker to make the system disk capable
        of rebooting into Win 98 system without a complete re-installation
        of the OS.  But, the Startup Disk will not allow you to do so.
    
    
    The Master Boot Record (MBR):
    
        Every now and then, a Windows 9x system becomes unbootable for
        various reasons.  The most common cause is probably the contents
        of the master boot record (MBR) of the boot drive (the first
        disk drive that is enabled) are not configured properly.  FDISK
        is the official tool to manipulate the contents of the MBR in
        Microsoft's OSes.
    
        The most well known "undocumented" feature (even Microsoft's page
        documents it) is to refresh the MBR by the following command.
    
            FDISK  /MBR
    
        This command runs very quickly without fanfare: it does not
        even tell you whether or not the operation was successful.
    
        Also, it is a good idea to run FDISK (without arguments)
        and examine the first disk to make sure the first partition
        is a Primary DOS Partition and it is set as Active Partition.
        It is unfortuante that FDISK allows you to make only the
        Primary DOS parition of the first disk drive an Active partition.
        So, even if your BIOS configuration menu has a feature to allow
        you to set the disk volume other than C: as the boot volume,
        it does not do you any good as long as you use FDISK because
        it refuses to make any other partition active.
    
    
    An Alternative Boot Disk:
    
        From time to time, for various reasons, the Windows 98 system disk
        gets slightly corrupted and becomes not bootable.  It take only one
        crucial file to make the system fail to boot successfully into
        the Windows 98 environment.  Anyway, it is very useful to have
        a bootable system diskette which allows you to not only boot into
        a DOS environment, but also reach all the way to the Windows 98
        environment even on a volume which cannot otherwise boot itself
        to the Win98 world.  Such a capability is sorely missing from the
        standard Win98 Startup Disk (a.k.a. EBD).
    
        Note: This technique works with Win98, but NOT on Win ME.
    
    
    How to make the Alternative Boot Disk:
    
        Perform the following sequence to prepare the boot diskette
        from a command prompt (in DOS or in a DOS Box).
    
          FORMAT   A:  /U /S
          XXCOPY16 C:\MSDOS.SYS     A:\  /H/R/Y
          XXCOPY16 C:\CONFIG.SYS    A:\  /H
          ECHO     C:\AUTOEXEC.BAT >A:\AUTOEXEC.BAT
    
        Here, in this example, XXCOPY16 is used because it can be run
        either in the 16-bit or in the 32- bit environment.  But, you
        may use XXCOPY (the 32-bit version) in a DOX Box of Win9x.
        If XXCOPY/XXCOPY16 is not available, you need to perform extra
        steps (ATTRIB to manipulate the attribute bits first, and copy
        the file accordingly).  The forth line here is a quick way to
        make a one-line text file on A:.  Of course, you may add other
        utilities to the diskette such as FDISK.EXE, FORMAT.COM, SYS.COM
        for your convenience.
    
        If you are not familiar with XXCOPY16, it is available in the
        XXCOPY Freeware package.
    
    
    Using the Alternative Boot Disk:
    
        This diskette allows you to boot into Win9x where the system
        disk at C: is not capable of booting itself.  This is usually
        a result of the partition that is assigned to C: is not an
        "Active" DOS Primary partition.
    
    
    Additional note:
    
        This technique can be extended to a customized "multi-boot"
        scheme based on floppy disks.  For instance, I have a Japanese
        version of Win98SE which is installed on Drive E:.  That is,
        when the particular version was installed, it was deliberately
        installed to E: so that E:\WINDOWS is the official windows
        system directory for that environment.  According to Microsoft's
        official "rule", only one kind of Win9x OS can exist on a system,
        (the dual-boot is possible with WinNT/2000/XP but not with another
        Win9x or ME), when I need to boot into the Japanese version of
        Win98, I use a specially made diskette which has its own unique
        MSDOS.SYS file which declares that the E: drive is the boot drive.
    
        Of course, you may acquire a specialized boot control software
        such as the System Commander that allows even more flexible
        booting option among many OSes.  But, the alternative boot disk
        allows you to test the system and see which of the key files
        are causing a boot sequence problem.
    
    
    
    
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