erereCreate Your Own Emergency Boot Disk

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Hardware Tips: Create Your Own Emergency Boot Disk

Create an emergency boot disk, identify mysterious components.

Pop quiz: Windows won't start. Do you: A. Panic; B. Take a siesta; C. Calmly smile as you pull out your customized emergency boot disk, use it to start your computer, and proceed to fix your system?
If you answered C, I commend you. If you chose B, I envy you. But if you picked A, I can help. It's time for you to make an emergency boot disk that does the standard Windows version one better.
Every version of Windows 9x lets you make an emergency boot floppy disk. When you boot from the floppy, Windows takes you to a DOS prompt where you can run DOS utility programs to evaluate and repair your hard disk, fix Windows, copy critical data to a safe location, or (in the worst case) reinstall Windows.
Creating a boot floppy is the same in all versions of Windows 9x and in Me: Select Start, Settings, Control Panel, open the Add/Remove applet, select the Startup Disk tab, and click Create Disk. (You'll need a blank, formatted floppy disk.)
If Windows is already misbehaving and you can't make a boot floppy, insert your Windows 98 or Windows Me CD-ROM and reboot. Check the boot options section of your system's CMOS setup program to find out whether your PC supports CD-ROM boot-up. To open your CMOS setup program, restart your computer and press Delete, F1, F8, or whatever key your PC tells you to press to enter setup. If your system can boot from its CD-ROM, you'll see the same DOS prompt brought up by the boot floppy; the CD-ROM lacks many of the floppy's DOS utilities, however.
Windows boot floppies contain useful DOS troubleshooting utilities, but they lack some of the key files you'll need to get your system up and running.
CD-ROM drive. You need special DOS drivers for your PC's CD-ROM drive to run under DOS. Windows 98 and Me boot disks automatically install generic DOS drivers that work with many, if not most, CD-ROM drives.
To see if you're in the driver's seat, use your boot floppy to get a DOS prompt, place a CD in the CD-ROM drive, and type dir n: (where n is the letter assigned to your CD-ROM drive). If you see a list of the files on the CD, the DOS driver works. If you don't see a list of the CD's files, make sure you're looking under the right drive letter.
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