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HOW TO MAKE WINDOWS ME
BOOT AND STARTUP FLOPPY DISKS

last updated: 9/25/00

Good Bye Real-Mode DOS. With Windows Millenium (Win Me, or just plain Me) Microsoft has removed the 16-bit, real-mode Disk Operating System (DOS) features found in Windows 9x.  Older, legacy device drivers and programs, such as DOS-based games and disk drive inutilities, and some recent ones, such as anti-virus programs, which could write directly to memory and/or disk drives, are no longer supported.  However, before you game-playing DOS lovers let out a big sigh!, Windows Me will still run most DOS-based programs/games and runs them well from within Windows Me through a Win Me, protected-mode, DOS window.  My ancient DOS-based accounting package runs exactly as it did (good except for couple of minor Y2K bugs I haven't fixed yet) in all of the Win 9x and Win 3.x versions.  Ok, enough technical gibberish...  What does all of this mean?

  • DOS programs which require real mode drivers/access will not work.

  • One can no longer boot or restart Windows directly to the DOS prompt and run DOS programs outside of Windows.  There's also no longer a "Command Prompt Only" in the menu produced by holding the Ctrl  or pressing the F8 key at just the right moment while the computer boots.

  • Microsoft in all of its wisdom has seen fit remove the capability to make bootable floppies from the Format menu accessible from My Computer and the Windows Explorer.  That is, the Format Menu no longer has a provision for transferring the system files to the floppy.

  • The DOS-based SYS command, used to move the system files to a floppy or hard disk drive, no longer works (on a freshly formatted hard disk; it will work on a hard disk with Win Me already installed).

  • The DOS-based FORMAT command still works.  Using FORMAT with the /s flag (FORMAT A: /s), which formats and transfers the System Files, does not.

Let's Make a Boot Floppy.

Format the floppy and then copy the IO.SYS and COMMAND.COM files from C:\WINDOWS\COMMAND\EBD  to the floppy.

With My Computer...  Insert a floppy disk into drive A:, Click Show Desktop , Double-Click My Computer, Right-Click the floppy drive, select Format from the resulting menu, and click Start.  After the floppy is formatted, Double-Click the C: drive, Double-Click the WINDOWS folder, Double-Click the COMMAND folder, Double-Click the EBD folder, click the COMMAND.COM file to highlight it, hold the Ctrl key and click the IO.SYS file to highlight it as well, Right-Click the IO.SYS file, select Copy from the resulting menu, Right-Click the Floppy Drive (A:), and select Paste from the resulting menu.  All done.  You may have to change your CMOS Setup to boot to the floppy.  It it is set that way, restarting Windows will boot to the newly created Boot Disk.

Windows 98/SE boot floppies work fine with Win Me hard disk drives.  Just don't put the '98 system files on a Win Me hard disk.

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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.