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XXCOPY TECHNICAL BULLETIN #32
From: Kan Yabumoto firstname.lastname@example.org
To: XXCOPY user
Subject: A better boot diskette for Win9x/ME
One thing really annoying with Windows ME is that the "Start UP"
diskette which WinME creates as part of the initial installation
(the so-called Emergency Boot Disk, or EBD) is quite useless.
It does not allow you to enter the windows ME environment at all.
All it gives you is a pseudo DOS environment with/without the
support of the CD-ROM drive (Oh, yes, it gives you a Help menu).
It seems that when something goes wrong with the few key files
in the root directory and/or the master boot record (MBR), the
only option you have is to re-install the whole Windows ME.
This is also true even with our favorite environment, Win98SE.
There are times when you are installing another OS (sucha s
Windows 2000 as a dual boot system and something goes wrong
with the set up, or a virus attack. The complicated steps in
the boot up process, especially with a dual-boot system, if any
of the many files are even slightly corrupted, you can't enter
Windows 9X or ME. With this regard, Windows ME was one step
backward from Win 9x where at least you have a DOS environment
where you can fix things and enter the Windows environment.
Enter the Quick Boot Diskette:
Anyway, here's a technique that works quite well to enter the
Windows 9x/ME world without using any file in the root directory
of the C: drive. The disketter you prepare with this technique
is useful even for a dual-boot system (e.g., 98SE and XP) as
long as the disk was installed with a Windows 9x/ME system.
It seems too simple to be true.
Assume that you are running a healthy Win9x/ME system.
Here's how to create the "Windows Quick Boot" diskette:
1. Open a DOS Box inside Win9x/ME (or its DOS counterpart).
2. FORMAT A:
3. XXCOPY16 C:\IO.SYS A:\ /H
4. XXCOPY16 C:\MSDOS.SYS A:\ /H
Note: if you don't have XXCOPY16, use the standard ATTIRB
and COPY command to copy the hidden files. The two files
listed above are essential. Optionally, you may copy the
following files if they are present in the root directory
(but not mandatory)
5. XXCOPY16 C:\CONFIG.SYS A:\
6. XXCOPY16 C:\AUTOEXEC.BAT A:\
That is it!!!
The diskette is a bootable diskette which does not rely on any
file in the root directory of the C: drive.
If you are not familiar with XXCOPY16, it is available in the
XXCOPY Freeware package.
The MSDOS.SYS file:
Of course, the contents of the MSDOS.SYS file should be carefully
controlled. The following text shows a typical MSDOS.SYS fie.
(Note: the Windows 9x/ME system directory is assumed to be name
as C:\WINDOWS. If it is different, make adjustments as needed.)
;The following lines are required for compatibility...
;Do not remove them (MSDOS.SYS needs to be >1024 bytes).
The most important thing with the MSDOS.SYS file is that
the copy in the diskette should have the following line in
the [Options] section of the file.
If the line reads "DisableLog=0", then, the log file (BOOTLOG.TXT)
will be created on the diskette which makes the boot up procedure
painfully slow. (In Win ME, the log file will be created only
when you choose Safe Mode or manually select Logged mode. Still,
for the floppy based operation, you don't want the log file.)
Note: If your windows directory is not "C:\WINDOWS",
make adjustments as needed.
Here, some non-default settings are chosen:
AutoScan=0 (1 to carry out ScanDisk)
Logo=0 (1 to hide the screen by the log image)
DisableLog=1 (0 to generate BOOTLOG.TXT)
DblSpace=0 (1 to load DBLSPACE.BIN automatically)
DrvSpace=0 (1 to load DRVSPACE.BIN automatically)
The WinVer value should reflect the version of Windows:
WinVer=4.00.0950 // Windows 95
WinVer=4.00.1111 // Windows 95 OSR2
WinVer=4.10.1998 // Windows 98
WinVer=4.10.2222 // Windows 98 SE
WinVer=4.90.3000 // Windows ME
In case of trouble:
1. With WinME, the Quick boot diskette should go right into
the Windows screen without letting you to stay in DOS.
This procedure does not use any of the files in the root
directory of the system disk (C:).
On the other hand, with Win9x (Non-ME), the boot menu gives
you the familiar option to stay at the command prompt.
2. If your system is too corrupted to come back alive using
the Quick-restart diskette, you should use the Windows
Emergency Recovery diskette that you made in the installation
3. Run FDISK to make sure that the Master boot record (MBR)
has the proper master boot code.
FDISK /MBR (it runs in non-interactive mode).
Then, run FDISK in interactive mode (without an argument)
and from the FDISK menu, make sure that the Primary DOS
Partition is active.
4. Run the SYS command to refresh the boot sector (the first
sector of the active partition) has proper boot program.
This program initializes the boot sector of C: drive and
also copies the IO.SYS, MSDOS.SYS and DRVSPACE.BIN files.
Caution: If your system is configured as dual-boot with
Windows NT/2000/XP, this procedure will make it Win9x-only
system (However, after making it Win9X-only boot first,
you may run the FIXBOOT command inside the Recovery Console,
to make it dual-boot again).
5. If you suspect that the system registry settings (especially
for essential device drivers) are badly configured, you
may reestore the key files from the system backup directory.
First, see how many backup sets have been captured.
Here's an example of what you see:
RB000 CAB 1,888,538 05-21-01 5:36a rb000.cab
RB003 CAB 1,889,721 05-22-01 7:38a rb003.cab
RBBAD CAB 1,834,739 01-26-01 3:28p rbbad.cab
RB002 CAB 1,892,943 05-20-01 12:45p rb002.cab
Note that the file number and the file dates are not in
a particular order. Yesterday's copy is usually good.
Don't pick the one with RBBAD.CAB which is a bad one!
Once you decide which of the .CAB files to restore
You may increase the number of backup sets stored in the
SYSBCKUP directory by editing the C:\WINDOWS\SCANREG.INI
file (e.g., specify MaxBackupCopies=10 for ten sets).
6. Once you decide which backup set to restore, run:
EXTRACT C:\WINDOWS\SYSBCKUP\RB002.CAB /L C:\WINDOWS /E /Y
Here, the RB002.CAB was chosen as an example. The directory
name following the /L switch specifies the location of the
the extracted files. The /E switch extracts all files.
The /Y switch suppresses the overwrite prompts.
In the case of Windows ME, the following files are expected
to be restored:
7. After the FDISK, SYS and EXTRACT procedures described above,
you can try again with the Quick Boot diskette to reboot.
Also, note that the files that are on the Quick Boot diskette
were originally from the root directory of the system disk (C:).
Therefore, you may restore them by copying the files back to
the root directory if need:
XXCOPY16 A:\*.* C:\ /H /R /Y
Although the Quick Boot diskette needs only a handful of files,
if you add the few utility programs into the diskette, it will
make the diskette useful in case of trouble.
IO.SYS ; essential for boot up
MSDOS.SYS ; needed to boot up into the GUI environment
CONFIG.SYS ; optional for boot up
AUTOEXEC.BAT ; optional for boot up
FDISK.EXE ; to make the hard disk bootable
SYS.COM ; to make the hard disk bootable
FORMAT.COM ; to start over
XXCOPY16.EXE ; good idea
XXCOPY.EXE ; if you have room
I have tested the technique described in this article using
a computer with Win98, Win98SE and WinME. I believe the same
technique should work on Win95 and Win95-OSR2.
Let me know if you encounter problems with the techniques
described in this article.
For a similar technique in creating a better boot diskette for
WinNT/2000/XP, see XXTB #33.
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