DOS Network Boot Floppy

by Johannes Helmig [Published on 30 May 1999 / Last Updated on 30 May 1999]

The "Microsoft Network Client 3.0" requires for the 'simple' NetBEUI and IPX/SPX protocol approx. 1.1 Mbyte of files, which does NOT fit anymore onto a regular 1.44 Mbyte DOS bootable floppy disk, unless it is configure for compression using DBLSPACE (DOS 6.x) or DRVSPACE (DOS 7/Win9x).
Note: if you have Windows95 or Windows98, you can create from the Windows files a
Windows bootdisk with network support.


Creation of a compressed DOS-Boot-Floppy:

1) Format a floppy disk with System Files, which make it bootable:


2) Make sure, that the Windows Explorer shows also all hidden-files
by changing the View-Options to "Show all files":


3) The formatted floppy contains the default system-files:
- COMMAND.COM, IO.SYS and MSDOS.SYS
- the DRVSPACE.BIN driver to be able to read compressed drives
To optimize the available space on the compressed floppy disk, delete
at this stage on the floppy-disk the COMMAND.COM
(and when the warning message is displayed, make sure to verify that you delete
the COMMAND.COM from the floppy disk and NOT on your harddisk ! )



4) Open in Windows 9x DRIVESPACE
(in START/Programs/Accessories/System-Tools)


Configure in the Options the drive-character to be used for the
un-compressed section of the floppy (I used L:), and allow 0.01 MByte
uncompressed free space , then select 'Start' to compress the floppy disk:


5) Once the compression is done, double-click in "My Computer" on
the icon for the floppy disk, this will display the files on the compressed
part of the floppy disk, while the files on the un-compressed section of the
floppy disk are displayed in my example as drive I:


On the un-compressed section of the floppy-disk, create now the file
"DRVSPACE.INI" with the entries shown below.
This file is required to be able to access the compressed section of this
floppy disk, when booting from this floppy ( For more details on this INI-file, please view the Microsoft Knowledge base articles Q132957 and Q100536):


On the compressed part of the floppy disk:
- delete the file IO.SYS (it is only required on the un-compressed section)
- copy COMMAND.COM from your c-drive Windows-Directory
- create AUTOEXEC.BAT and CONFIG.SYS
- create a DOS-directory and copy the most important files from C-drive
Windows-directory and Windows\COMMAND-directory to have the tools
to partition and format a harddisk:


6) do NOT write-protect the floppy disk (or it cannot access the compressed
section of the disk on booting from this floppy disk)
!
7) store the files of the "Network Client 3.0" to a directory on your harddisk

Installation of the Network Client on the Boot-Floppy

1) Boot your Windows9x system from the boot-floppy to verify, that
it is able to access the compressed section of the floppy disk.
2) change to the disk and directory, where the files of the "Network Client 3.0"
are stored and run SETUP:


Since you booted from CD-ROM, the installation will proposed as location
for the installation-files A:\NET,which you should accept.
You will be prompted for the Boot-floppy, press ENTER:


The configuration of the "Network Client 3.0" is identical to a disk-based Network setup, except that you will be prompted at the end of the procedure
again for your boot-disk, just press ENTER:


There is still some unused capacity on this network-boot-floppy, which
can be used to store an application program or more command-utilities:



NOTE: the capacity of a compressed Boot-floppy is sufficient to install the
"Network Client 3.0" with NetBEUI or IPX/SPX protocol , but it is NOT
sufficient to use with TCP/IP-protocol !
In this case, a special set of MULTIPLE floppy disks would be required or
(better and easier) to make a installation of DOS with the Network Client
on the local harddisk.


Add-On (Oct. 21, 2000) :I have received the following information from one of the visitors
( E.Hill : ehill99@yahoo.com ) to my website. I have not verified it myself, so I pass it on without
any further comment:

A bootable disk can be created easily. Just delete the following files
(which are worthless on a computer without a hard drive):

SETUP.EXE
EXPAND.EXE
README.TXT
RASCOPY.BAT

You can also delete NWLINK.EXE, unless you really need IPX. (SPX isn't
supported).

This will free-up enough room on the disk for NetBEUI with no problem. I
have not tested it with NetBEUI AND IPX. (Again, SPX isn't supported by the
NWLink protocol shipped with DOS Client.)

Not only will you have enough room, but you'll have space for EDIT.COM and
HIMEM.SYS, which are infinitely valuable on a computer with no hard disk,
and only 1 MB of RAM.

This statement is also incorrect, in some cases:

NOTE: the capacity of a compressed Boot-floppy is sufficient to install the
"Network Client 3.0" with NetBEUI or IPX/SPX protocol , but it is NOT
sufficient to use with TCP/IP-protocol !
In this case, a special set of MULTIPLE floppy disks would be required or
(better and easier) to make a installation of DOS with the Network Client
on the local hard disk.

It IS possible to boot TCP/IP with only one disk. However, you must use a
disk formatted under DOS, not Windows 9x. Then, you par down the files to
the bare minimum, which is:

AUTOEXEC.BAT
COMMAND.COM
CONFIG.SYS
CONNECT.DAT
EDIT.COM
EMSBFR.EXE
HIMEM.SYS
HOSTS.
IFSHLP.SYS
IO.SYS (hidden)
LMHOSTS.
MSDOS.SYS (hidden)
NCDINFO.INI
NEMM.DOS
NET.EXE
NET.MSG
NETBIND.COM
NETH.MSG
NETWORK.INF
NETWORKS.
NMTSR.EXE
OEM0.INF
OEMDLC.INF
OEMODI.INF
OEMRAS.INF
OEMTCPIP.INF
PNPND.DOS
PROTMAN.DOS
PROTMAN.EXE
PROTOCOL.
PROTOCOL.INI
SERVICES.
SETUP.INF
SHARES.PWL
SYSTEM.INI
TCPDRV.DOS
TCPTSR.EXE
TCPUTILS.INI
TINYRFC.EXE
UMB.COM
VBAPI.386
VSOCKETS.386
WCSETUP.INF
WFWSYS.CFG
WINSOCK.DLL
WIN_SOCK.DLL
WSOCKETS.DLL

If more space is needed, the SETUP.EXE and other files I listed below can
still be deleted. Setup doesn't appear to work correctly with a computer
without a hard drive.

Also, there is a correction to the TCP/IP list of files. The file PNPND.DOS
was my specific NIC driver at the time. Thus, it should be replaced with
whatever NIC driver is being utilized. Shouldn't throw anybody for a loop.
Anybody doing this should know pretty much what they're doing anyway.


I found out something else that works great...

I used MaxFormat ( http://www.alkonost.com/maxformat/index.html ) to format a
bootable disk to 1.7 MB. This left plenty of room for DOS Client, and utilities such as EDIT, etc.

Works great.

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