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Monday, January 19, 2009

Bootable MS-DOS USB key on Windows OS

HOW TO: Create a bootable MS-DOS USB key
This post explains how to:
  • Create a bootable (MS-DOS) USB key
  • Copy necessary flashing files to the USB key
  • Boot to the USB key
You will need:
  • Access to a PC with Installed operating system: Windows 2000, Windows XP (32-bit or 64-bit), Windows 2003 (32-bit or 64-bit), or Windows Vista (32-bit or 64-bit)
  • A USB storage device of some kind. Common examples are: USB thumb drive, USB MP3 Player, USB memory card reader w/ memory card, etc
  • download 2 pieces of software in order to do this. ive uploaded both of them for you.
  • the first is a small utility from hp to make a usb stick bootable:

  • DOS Boot Disk Files [CLICK TO DOWNLOAD] or
Making a bootable DOS USB Key
1. Extract and then install the HP USB Drive Key program you downloaded earlier.
2. Extract the DOS boot files somewhere, anywhere. Just remember where you extracted them. For the purposes of this howto let's say we extracted them to C:\bootme\
3. Now you need to run the HP Drive Key program by clicking the icon in your Start -> Programs menu. VISTA USERS: You need to start the HP Drive Key Program as an administrator by RIGHT CLICKING the icon and selecting "Run as Administrator" from the context menu.
4. Insert a USB storage device of your choosing and wait for it to be recognized by Windows and the HP Drive Key utility. (once recognized it will appear in the first pulldown menu). For our howto I'm using my favorite busted-ass solid state 256MB MP3 player, but it could be anything with any memory size really. Just remember that anything currently on the USB drive will be sent to data heaven, so make sure to copy anything you don't want to lose from it before continuing. Here is the old and busted MP3 player I'm using as my USB key:
5. Choose FAT as the filesystem. Set the volume label to anything you want, doesn't matter. Under "Format Options" check the box next to "Quick Format" and "Create a DOS startup disk" . Choose the button next to "Using DOS system files located at:" and click the little browse button "..." next to the blank and navigate to C:\bootme (or wherever you extracted the DOS boot files earlier). Click OK.
Now click "Start" and the HP Drive Key utility will turn your USB device into a bootable DOS disk! (It will popup a window asking you to confirm!)
So let's check out what's on our USB drive now:
Well now, what you have here is a bootable USB drive with the few basic files needed to start a basic DOS session. When selected as a boot device this baby will boot your PC to a classic DOS prompt perfect for flashing that motherboard BIOS, updating firmware on your CD/DVD drive, or even flashing your video card BIOS!
So later in this howto I want to flash my motherboard's BIOS and I have the files I need already downloaded. I just drag them from my download location to the USB flash drive (in my case drive G: ).
HOWTO: I have no floppy drive, how do I boot from USB Memory
How to flash your bios with dos using a usb stick

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