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Startup Disk
(Emergency Boot Disk)
Uses and Tools

Using The Tools Available On The Startup Disk

This section describes how to use some of the utilities included with the Windows Startup Disk. To run each program you should do the following:

     1. Put the Windows Startup Disk in the floppy disk drive, and then restart your computer.
     2. At the Startup menu, select the option you need (depending upon whether you need
         CD-ROM access), and then press ENTER.
     3. At the MS-DOS command prompt (A:\), type the name of the utility you wish to run,
         and then press ENTER.

Multi-Config Start Menu

If you boot your computer using the Windows Startup Disk, a boot menu appears allowing you the option to load drivers for the most common CD-ROM drives or perform a normal clean boot.

After you make your selection, the Config.sys file loads the appropriate CD-ROM driver (if selected) and then loads a 2MB RAMDrive. The RAMDrive is used to store all the diagnostic tools necessary to troubleshoot the most common problems.

Note: The RAMdrive may cause your CD-Rom to be pushed back 1 drive letter. If your
           CD-Rom is usually drive D:, it will now be Drive E:.

Real-Mode CD-ROM Support

The Windows Startup Disk includes generic ATAPI IDE & SCSI CD-ROM drivers that allow your CD-ROM to function at MS-DOS when the Windows GUI is not available.

Note: Not all CD-ROM drives are supported. If your CD-ROM drive does not function with
           these drivers, you must use the drivers that came with your CD-ROM drive.


The file is a compressed file whose contents are extracted to the Ramdrive during the startup process. The table below identifies the files in the file.

File                        Function
Attrib.exe             Add or remove file attributes
Chkdsk.exe         A simpler and smaller disk status tool
Debug.exe           Debugging utility              Real-mode emergency text editor
Ext.exe                 New, simple file extract utility         Disk format tool
Mscdex.exe         Microsoft CD-ROM file extension for MS-DOS
Scandisk.exe      Disk status tool
Scandisk.ini        Disk status tool configuration file              Transfers system files and make disk bootable

Creating a RAMDrive

The RAMDrive is created during the processing of the Config.sys file and is 2MB in size. The Ramdrive is created using system RAM to emulate a physical Hard Disk. Without creating the RAMdrive, we would not have enough space on a single 1.44 meg floppy disk to contain all the diagnostic tools as well as the CD-Rom drivers.

Warning Since the RAMDrive is created during the processing of the Config.sys file and
                 uses System RAM, it is only temporary. It will disappear if you restart your
                 computer normally.

List Of All Components On The Emergency Boot Disk (or Startup Disk)

The following table describes the function of each file copied to the EBD.

File                              Function
Aspi2dos.sys             Real-Mode Adaptec CD-ROM driver
Aspi4dos.sys             Real-Mode Adaptec CD-ROM driver
Aspi8dos.sys             Real-Mode Adaptec CD-ROM driver
Aspi8u2.sys               Real-Mode Adaptec CD-ROM driver
Aspicd.sys                 Real-Mode Adaptec CD-ROM driver
Autoexec.bat             Startup batch file
Btcdrom.sys              Mylex/BusLogic CD-ROM driver
Btdosm.sys               Mylex/BusLogic CD-ROM driver        Command interpreter
Config.sys                 Loads the device drivers
Drvspace.bin            Microsoft DriveSpace compression driver                    Cab file containing extract utilities
Ebd.sys                      File identifying the ESD
Extract.exe                File to expand the file
Fdisk.exe                   Disk partition tool
Findramd.exe            Utility to find the RAMDrive during startup
Flashpt.sys                Mylex/BusLogic CD-ROM driver
Himem.sys                 XMS Memory Manager
Io.sys                          System boot file
Msdos.sys                 Boot option information (paths, multiboot, and so on)
Oakcdrom.sys           Generic device driver for ATAPI CD-ROM drives
Ramdrive.sys            Creates a Ramdrive during startup
Setramd.bat              Searches for first available drive to be a Ramdrive


These two programs are useful for checking your hard disk for errors. If you suspect there may be file corruption or other problems with your hard disk(s), run ScanDisk to check for and repair errors.

To check all your hard disks for errors, type:

Scandisk /all

To perform a full surface scan of your hard disk(s) for maximum protection against data loss, type:

Scandisk /all /Surface

Note: You may receive errors about Long File Names. The MS-DOS version of ScanDisk
           can only detect problems with long file names, it cannot fix them. To correct these
           types of errors, you must run ScanDisk from within Windows.

If you have any compressed drives, you may receive an error message stating that there is not enough memory to check your compressed drives. To solve this problem, try starting your computer with the Windows Startup Disk, as described in Step 1, earlier in this section.
Select the option to Start Computer without CD-ROM support. This may allow ScanDisk enough memory to check your compressed drives.
If ScanDisk is unable to check your drives, try using CHKDSK.EXE instead. CHKDSK will check for cross-linked files and lost allocation units.


The SYS command is used to copy system files from one disk to another. Your computer needs these system files to start.

To SYS your C drive, type: 

   SYS C:

and then press ENTER. After a few seconds, a "System Transferred" message appears.

The following files are copied to your hard disk during the SYS procedure:


If the SYS C: command does not work and you have a compressed drive, you may need to type the drive letter of your host drive. With the DblSpace or DrvSpace programs, the host drive is typically designated drive H. If you are not sure of the drive letter, run ScanDisk and see if it prompts you about your compressed drive.


FDISK and FORMAT are utilities necessary for installing a new hard disk in your computer or for starting over fresh with a clean disk. FDISK is used first to create a partition and then FORMAT is used to make the partition available for use.

Warning: Using FDISK incorrectly can destroy all data on your hard disk. If you are unsure
                  of how to use FDISK, see the General Information Main Page - How to format, partion, and do a clean install of windows.

You can use the Windows version of FDISK to create FAT32 partitions on drives over 512 megabytes in size. FAT32 reduces the cluster size for large drives and allows you to create single partitions on drives over 2 GB.

To view your current drive status, type FDISK /STATUS at the MS-DOS command prompt.

After you have partitioned a drive using FDISK, you will need to use the FORMAT command. To format a newly partitioned drive, type:


Where X represents the letter of the drive that you want to format.

If you want to format drive C, you need to make this disk a system disk so that your computer can start. To do this, type /s at the end of the FORMAT command. For example:


System Startup files will be automatically copied after your drive is formatted.

CD-ROM Drivers

The Windows Startup Disk includes a set of generic CD-ROM drivers. These drivers work with most IDE ATAPI and SCSI CD-ROM models.

If your particular CD-ROM drive does not work with these drivers, you will need to use the drivers that came with your CD-ROM drive.

Following are some known issues about the CD-ROM drivers:

     1. CD-ROM drives connected to sound cards may not work properly.
     2. Early proprietary CD-ROM drives (for example, Mitsumi, Panasonic, Sony) may not
          work with these drivers. Some older IDE controllers may fail as well.
     3. The SCSI drivers on the Startup Disk support most Adaptec, Buslogic, and Mylex
         adapters. Some other SCSI CD-ROM drives may not work with the drivers on the
         Startup Disk.
     4. If your SCSI controller is configured for a non-default I/O range, the drivers may not
         detect your SCSI card. Consult your SCSI driver documentation for the default I/O
         ranges for your card.
     5. Drivers are not included for any PC Card (PCMCIA) CD-ROM drives.


The EXT command is used in conjunction with the Extract.exe utility to make it easier to extract Windows files to your hard disk. You can use this to replace missing or damaged files.

This utility is extremely useful if you are receiving errors during startup about missing files, or execution errors such as General Protection Faults or invalid page faults.

To use Ext.exe to extract a file, perform the following steps:

     1. Use the Startup Disk to start your computer. Select the option to Start Computer with
         CD-ROM support, and then press ENTER.
     2. Make sure the Windows CD is inserted in the drive.
     3. Type EXT at the MS-DOS command prompt, and then press ENTER.
     4. Follow the prompts to indicate the location of the Windows Setup files, the files you
         wish to extract, and the location in which you want to place the extracted files.

     1. If your CD-ROM drive letter is E, then type the location to the Setup files as E:\WIN98.
     2. If you wish to extract more than one file at a time, you can use wild card characters.

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