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,

See Also

The Author — Johannes Helmig

Dr.Johannes Helmig is working as Director, Technical Knowledge Management in the Belgium office of Gerber Technology where he is involved in Customer Service and internal training, with special interest in Networking.


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