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Creating A Boot Disk


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5 replies to this topic

#1 rlprlp

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Posted 15 July 2007 - 07:44 AM

I was looking at this tutorial:

http://www.bleepingcomputer.com/tutorials/create-floppy-boot-disk-in-windows/

Newer computers (including mine) don't have floppy drives anymore. Does this HAVE to be done on a floppy, or will it work with a CD and/or DVD?

Thank you to all who take the time to reply.

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#2 Nikas

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Posted 15 July 2007 - 09:21 AM

Did you read carefully?

A boot disk is a floppy or a CD that you can use to boot your computer into a state in which you can use it to fix a problem.



#3 rlprlp

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Posted 15 July 2007 - 12:27 PM

Yes, I saw that. I also saw:

In order to make a boot disk you will need the following:

* A blank floppy (or a used floppy that can be erased)
* A floppy drive


What you quoted is the description of what a boot disk is, and the tutorial does not necessarily say that the instructions can be used to make that particular type.

I suppose that I could just try it; it's only a 20 cent blank CD.

#4 pascor22234

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Posted 15 July 2007 - 12:43 PM

Hi rlprlp. An explanation is certainly in order. First, notice that in that web page the link to the XP boot disk is broken. This is no surprise to me.

MS originally provided a means to create boot diskettes for the sole purpose of being able prepare a brand new hard drive for the installation of the operating system (partitioning and formatting) and then installing the OS. Such utilities such as CHKDSK could be added to the floppy that would give the boot disk a rudimentary ability to "repair" an existing OS installtion on a hard drive. But, this isn't what MS intended boot floppies to be used for. Going all the way back to DOS and up to Win 98, all those OS'es had to be either loaded from floppies, or later on, load DOS with a CD-ROM driver that then would allow the OS installation program to be run from the CD.

So, the enticing idea of a bootable floppy or CD with repair utilities has been going around for many years. The real truth of the matter is that if your OS installation has corrupt files or a corrupt file system that has corrupted OS files in it then there is nothing any "repair" diskette or CD can do about it. Yes, a damaged file system can be repaired but corrupted files with missing data can not be magically repaired. New copies of OS files must be replaced on the hard drive that come from an XP installation CD.

The Repair Console available on the XP OEM install disk can be used as a repar disc. The process of installing XP involves first loading an entirely RAM-resident basic version of XP. As such, repair utilities are available that can be run such as the one to rewrite the boot sector on a hard drive. Keep in mind that most problems with XP are due to corrupt or missing files or a Registry with bad or missing data. The XP OEM install disc Repair Console can be used to replace the Registry files with the previous version, but this is a very involed and tedious process and is not likely to help anyhow.

Many OS problems come from malware infections (virus, adware, etc.) The XP OEM Repair Console can't do anything about these. Some antivirus programs come with the ability to create a boot diskette that will run their antivirus scan to, hopefully, clean the infection from the hard drive. But, if the OS files or Registry (which is just a set of files) is damaged it can not repair them.

The closest thing to a repair disc is Bart's PE Builder. This utility uses your own copy XP OEM Install CD to create a boot disc based on the RAM-resident version of XP that was intened by MS to install XP onto a hard drive. Bart has cleverly used this feature to include repair and dignostic utilities that can be run by booting off a CD created by you by running the PE Builder. Bart isn't allowed to give or sell a finished boot CD because it is based on proprietary XP programs. His Builder guides you the ability to create your own boot CD using your copy of the XP OEM Install CD. Bart has allowed the means for people to add their own utilities to the boot CD if included into the Builder process. Many people have written methods to add specific utilities for Bart's PE Builder to include in the finished boot CD. Just how useful Bart's boot disc is or any of the optional add-ons I can't say. Remember: If the OS files are corrupted on yor hard drive no repair disc can fix that.

One group has put together a utility based on Bart's PE Builder called the "Ultimate Boot CD". It includes all freeware utilities and, of course, requires you to have your own copy of the XP OEM Install CD.
http://www.ubcd4win.com/
If you bought your PC from Dell, HP-Compaq, etc., you will *not* have been given a copy of the XP OEM Install disc. At best you would have been given what is called a "restore" CD that is simply an image of the installed OS that can be used to overwrite the hard drive and return your system to the state it was in when you bought it.

#5 arcman

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Posted 15 July 2007 - 01:56 PM

There is also the premade DOS Ultimate Boot CD which has many useful bootable diagnostic utilities and antivirus tools.
http://www.ultimatebootcd.com
It's much easier to get a hold of and create than the UBCD4win, although you need to be certain that you're burning a CD image in your CD burning program and not just burning the .iso file straight to a CD.
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#6 rlprlp

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Posted 15 July 2007 - 07:11 PM

Thank you for the replies; especially to you, pascor22234, for providing such well thought-out detail.

No, I did not even notice that the link was broken, I authored this post first! Sure enough, I have an HP, and do not have any type of actual Microsoft CD. I did indeed misunderstand the "power" of what this boot disk could do.

I will stick with my "recovery" CDs; or better yet, my Acronis image disks that I have made with my PC pretty much the way I have it now. (I made my first Acronis disks about a month ago, and will probably make an update in two or three months. Backing up to the "Acronis Zone" is fairly easy, but making CDs takes a l-o-n-g time!)

Again, thank you for the replies!




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