How to Make a Window XP Boot Disk

Level of difficulty: Intermediate

Essentially, boot disks are used to allow a user to start up the machine from the floppy drive instead of the hard drive usually either to fix operation-related issues or to initiate an installation process for loading older computer games designed for the MS-DOS platform. Boot diskettes are normally write-protected to prevent the accidental erasure of their contents as well as possible infection from malicious codes by preventing any future write operations to the storage media. Although the Microsoft installation disk for Windows XP is distributed as a bootable media, the use of Windows XP-based bootable disks may be used as a backup as well as the installation of the Operating System in machines without any CD or DVD drive. To date, the Microsoft Windows XP Operating System platform remains as one of the more dominant computer systems in the industry primarily due to its ease of set up, use, and deployment.

Materials Needed:
- Blank floppy disks
- floppy drive
- CD-ROM of Windows XP installer
- a working Windows XP-based PC
- Web browser
- Internet connection
Step 1
To create a Windows XP boot disk, it is first necessary to determine the current version of the Windows XP running in the host machine. This can be achieved by clicking on the 'Start' button and choosing the 'Run' option.
Step 2
In the new window, type the command 'winver' (omit the quotation marks) in the Open box and click on the 'OK' button. This will open the 'About Windows' screen with the complete Operating System version.
Step 3
Take note of the Windows XP version and click on the 'OK' button to close the 'About Windows' screen.
Step 4
Insert a disk in the floppy drive and use the format utility of Windows XP by clicking on the 'Start' button and choosing the 'Run' option. In the Open box, type the command 'format a:' and click on the 'OK' button.
Step 5
After completion of the format process, insert the Windows XP CD-ROM installer in the CD or DVD drive. Copy both the NTDETECT.COM and NTLDR files located in the folder i386 of the installer by clicking on the 'Start' button and selecting the 'Run' command. In the Open box, type the command '[Drive]:\i386' (where [Drive] corresponds to the CD or DVD drive letter) and click on the 'OK' button.
Step 6
Right click on the file 'NTLDR' and select Copy from the context menu. Click on the 'Start' button and select the 'Run' command. In the Open box, type 'a:' then click on the 'OK' button. From the Edit Menu, click the 'Paste' command. Repeat this process for the file NTDETECT.COM.
Step 7
Copy the file BOOT.INI from the host machine operating under the Windows XP platform or create a new version by clicking on the 'Start' button, selecting the 'Run' command, typing 'notepad' in the Open box, and clicking on the 'OK' button.
Step 8
In notepad, type the text [boot loader], timeout=30, Default= multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(0)partition(1)\windows, [operating systems], multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(0)partition(1)\windows='<OperatingSystem>' in separate lines.
Step 9
Click on the 'File' Menu then choose the 'Save As' option. Make sure that the destination folder is set to 3 ½ floppy (A:) and the file name should have an INI extension. Click the 'Save' button to store the file in the boot disk.
Step 10
Click on the 'Start' button, select 'Turn Off Computer' and click on the 'Restart' option.
Step 11
During the boot up process, enter the BIOS settings menu by referencing your product manual. In the BIOS settings, make sure that the primary boot device is set to the floppy drive. Insert the boot disk in the floppy drive and save the BIOS settings.
Step 12
Upon restart of the machine, it should begin by booting from the floppy drive.


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