Making a Boot Disk for Windows NT/2000/XP

Several people have asked about making boot disks recently. As I've

pointed out previously, Windows XP will make a boot floppy for you;

however, the boot floppy that it makes is an MS-DOS disk. You cannot

boot with this disk and then view files on an NTFS volume.

The primary purpose of an MS-DOS boot disk is to boot for such

procedures as upgrading your system ROM. If you need to boot into

Windows XP (or 2000), you need a startup floppy disk. This kind of disk

is only good for booting into XP/2000 when you have a damaged NTdetect

file, or something of that nature.

To create this type of floppy, format the floppy in NT4/2000/XP. Copy

Ntldr and to the floppy. Now, add a boot.ini file such as

the one shown here.

[boot loader]


Default= multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(0)partition(1)\windows

[operating systems]

multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(0)partition(1)\windows="Windows XP"

If you're using NT or 2000, modify the lines appropriately. In NT and

2000, you need to change the default partition and the operating systems

to Winnt.

If you want to view an NTFS volume, without actually booting into

Windows, you'll need to get a copy of NTFDOS from Sysinternals at

Using Windows XP (or Windows 98), format a system floppy. Extract the

NTFSDOS files to the floppy and then create an autoexec to run the

program. All you need in the autoexec.bat file is the single line


When you boot with this disk, you can read the NTFS disks on your

system. You cannot copy files to the disks, but you can copy files from

the NTFS disks to the floppy, or to any FAT 16 hard disks that you might

have in your system. You might be able to copy to a FAT 32, but I don't

know for sure since I don't have anything but NTFS in my system.

If you need to copy files to an NTFS disk, you can purchase NTFSDOS

Professional for $299. This utility will allow you to both read and

write NTFS disks from your floppy disk boot.

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