How to boot your Windows XP system in MS-DOS for Network setup/diagnostics

by Johannes Helmig [Published on 9 Dec. 2001 / Last Updated on 9 Dec. 2001]

Unlike Windows95/98/ME, Windows XP does not include anymore any 16-bit code and you can
not boot it to a 16-bit version :

The Windows95/98 Shutdown Windows:

A typical example of "16-Bit code"
is MS-DOS and the "MS-DOS Mode"
of Windows95/98.

Windows XP offers the "Command Prompt" window, which is highly compatible with MS-DOS
and is able to run almost all 16-bit / MS-DOS software, with a very important exception :
- no direct access to the hardware components of the computer.

Example : The setup / diagnostic program "3c5x9cfg.exe" for the 3COM 3C509 network card :

Running in a Command prompt window, it is not able to locate the network card.

To be able to use such programs, you will need to boot your system from a DOS-floppy.

Windows XP has a solution for this problem :

Open "My Computer" on your
desktop or via the start-up menu,
right-click on your Floppy-disk
icon and select from the
context (popup) menu :
" Format " to format a floppy disk
Select to "create an
MS-DOS startup disk"
You can boot from such a
floppy disk, which contains
the MS-DOS version of
Windows ME.

You are then able to run
from this MS-DOS the
Network card setup and
diagnostic programs

Another use for such an MS-DOS boot floppy disk : to create a network boot floppy disk, which can be used for example
to restore disk-images or to install a new system not from CD-ROM, but from setup-files installed on a network server,


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