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How to Create a Bootable Disk for an NTFS or FAT Partition

Article ID:119467
Last Review: June 21, 2004
Revision: 4.1
This article was previously published under Q119467

INTRODUCTION

This article describes how to create a Windows bootable(startup) disk to access a drive with a faulty boot sequence on an Intel-based computer.

Note The procedure for RISC-based computers is different and not documented in this article.

MORE INFORMATION

You may be able to use a Windows bootable disk to start the operating system on a computer running Windows NT or Windows 2000. Use the procedures in this article to work around the following boot problems:
  • Damaged boot sector
  • Damaged master boot record (MBR)
  • Virus infections
  • Missing or damaged Ntldr or Ntdetect.com files
  • Incorrect Ntbootdd.sys driver
  • To boot from the shadow of a broken mirror

    Note that you may have to modify the Boot.ini file to do this.
    Note that you cannot use the Windows Emergancy Repair disk (ERD) to help resolve the following problems:
  • Incorrect or damaged device drivers that are installed in the System folder.
  • Boot problems that occur after you see the Windows Startup (Osloader) screen.
    To work around or fix these problems, run the ERD, load the last known good control set, or reinstall Windows.

    How to Create a Windows Bootable Disk

    The Windows boot disk must include the Ntldr (or Setupldr.bin in Windows NT 3.5),Ntdetect.com, and Boot.ini files, and may require ntbootdd.sys which is the device driver for your hard disk controller renamed to ntbootdd.sys.

    Note The Ntldr, Ntdetect.com, and Boot.ini files typically have their file attributes set to system, hidden, or read-only. You do not have to reset these attributes for the bootable disk to work. For additional information about the structure of the Boot.ini file, click the article number below to view the article in the Knowledge Base:
    102873 (http://pcplans.com/support/KBASE/102873.htm) BOOT.INI and ARC Path Naming Conventions and Usage
    To create a Windows bootable floppy disk, use one of the following methods.

    If You Do Not Have Access to a Computer Running Windows

    1. Create a copy of the first Windows Setup disk by using the diskcopy command. To do this:
    a. Click Start, and then click Shut Down.
    b. Click Restart the computer in MS-DOS mode, and then click Yes.
    c. At a command prompt, type the following command, where <a> is the drive that contains the Windows Setup disk and <b> is the drive that contains the blank floppy disk that you want to become the Windows startup disk:
    diskcopy a: b:
    2.Copy both the Ntdetect.com and Ntldr files from the I386 folder on the Windows CD-ROM to the new floppy disk.
    3.Rename the Ntldr file to Setupldr.bin.
    4.Create a Boot.ini file.

    The following sample Boot.ini file provides an example for a single partition SCSI drive with Windows installed in the Winnt folder; however, the exact value in the [operating systems] section depends on the configuration of the Windows computer that you want to start up:
    [boot loader]
    timeout=30
    Default= scsi(0)disk(0)rdisk(0)partition(1)\winnt

    [operating systems]
    scsi(0)disk(0)rdisk(0)partition(1)\winnt="Windows 2000 Advanced Server" /fastdetect
    If your computer boots from an IDE, EIDE, or ESDI hard disk, replace scsi(0) with multi(0). If you are running Windows NT 3.5 or Windows NT 3.51 and your computer boots from the first or second SCSI drive, then you can also replace scsi(0) with multi(0).

    If you are using scsi(x) in the Boot.ini file, copy the correct device driver for the SCSI controller that is in use on the computer, and then rename it to Ntbootdd.sys. If you are using multi(x) in the Boot.ini file, you do not have to do this.
    5.Start your computer by using the startup disk, and then log on to Windows.
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    If You Have Access to a Computer That Is Running Windows

    1. On the computer that is running Windows, format a floppy disk by using the full format option in the Windows NT utility. To do so, type format a: at a command prompt, and then press ENTER.

    Notes
  • You cannot format the floppy by using Windows 95, Windows 98, or Windows Millennium Edition.
  • You must perform a full format to properly rewrite any boot sector content on the floppy disk. A full format prevents boot sector viruses from running.
  • If you perform a quick format on the first Windows Setup bootable floppy disk, the boot sector keeps a reference to the Setupldr.bin file and requires that you rename the Ntldr file to Setupldr.bin.
    2.Copy the Ntldr file from the Windows CD-ROM or from a computer that is running the same version of Windows as the computer that you want to access with the startup floppy disk. In Windows 2000, the NTLDR file is found in the I386 folder on the Windows 2000 CD-ROM. For Windows NT 4.0, you can copy this file from the Windows NT 4.0 CD-ROM.

    Note In versions of Windows earlier than Windows NT 4.0, you may have to expand the file from NTLDR._ to NTLDR by typing the following command at a command prompt:
    expand ntldr._ ntldr
    3.Copy the Ntdetect.com file to the floppy disk that you formatted in step 1.
    4. Create a Boot.ini file on the floppy disk that you formatted in step 1. You can also copy the file from another computer that is running Windows and then modify it to match the computer that you are creating the startup disk for. The following example works for a single-partition SCSI drive with Windows 2000 Advanced Server installed in the Winnt folder, but the exact value in the [operating systems] section depends on the configuration of the Windows-based computer that you are creating the startup disk for:
    [boot loader]
    timeout=30
    Default= scsi(0)disk(0)rdisk(0)partition(1)\Winnt

    [operating systems]
    scsi(0)disk(0)rdisk(0)partition(1)\WINNT="Windows 2000 Advanced Server" /fastdetect
    If your computer starts from an IDE, EIDE, or ESDI hard disk, replace scsi(0) with multi(0). If you are using a computer that is running Windows NT 3.5 or Windows NT 3.51 and your computer starts from the first or second SCSI drive, then you can also replace scsi(0) with multi(0). For example:
    [boot loader]
    timeout=30
    default=multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(0)partition(1)\WINNT
    [operating systems]
    multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(0)partition(1)\WINNT="Windows 2000 Advanced Server" /fastdetect
    If you are using scsi(x) in the Boot.ini file, copy the correct device driver for the SCSI controller that is in use on the computer, and then rename it Ntbootdd.sys. If you are using multi(x) in the Boot.ini file, you do not have to do this.

    Note By default, Windows 2000 is installed to the C:\Windows folder. However, if the computer is using an earlier version of Windows, or if the computer was upgraded to Windows 2000 from an earlier version of Windows, then by default, Windows 2000 is installed to the C:\WINNT folder. Verify that the Boot.ini file shows the correct %SystemRoot% folder for Windows.
    5.Start your computer by using the startup disk, and then log on to Windows.
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    If You Are Using Windows NT 3.51

    1.Format a blank floppy disk in Windows NT 3.51.
    2.Copy both the Ntdetect.com and Ntldr files to the new disk.
    3.Create a Boot.ini file with the following lines (note that this example is for a single partition SCSI drive with Windows NT installed in the default folder, C:\Winnt35):
    [boot loader]
    timeout=30
    Default= multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(0)partition(1)\winnt35

    [operating systems]
    multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(0)partition(1)\winnt35="Windows NT 3.51"
    4. Boot from the floppy disk, and then log on to Windows.
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    Troubleshooting

    You may experience one or more of the following problems when you try to start your computer with your Windows bootable disk:
  • If the path that points to the system files is incorrect or includes the drive letter, you may receive the following error message:
    Windows NT could not start because of the following ARC firmware boot configuration problem: Did not properly generate ARC name for HAL and system paths. Please check the Windows NT (TM) documentation about ARC configuration options and your hardware reference manuals for additional information. Boot Failed.
  • If an incorrect SCSI driver is selected or if the Ntbootdd.sys file does not exist, you may receive the following error message:
    Windows NT could not start because of a computer disk hardware configuration problem. Could not read from selected boot disk. Check boot path and disk hardware. Please check the Windows NT (TM) documentation about hardware disk configuration and your hardware disk configuration and your hardware reference manuals for additional information. Boot Failed.
  • If the Boot.ini file does not correctly reflect the correct %SystemRoot% folder for Windows, you may receive the following error message:
    Windows 2000 could not start because the following file is missing or corrupt:

    SystemRoot \System32\Ntoskrnl.exe
    For additional information about creating startup disks, click the following article numbers to view the articles in the Knowledge Base:
    305595 (http://pcplans.com/support/KBASE/305595)
    HOW TO: Create a Boot Disk for an NTFS or FAT Partition in Windows XP
    301680 (http://pcplans.com/support/KBASE/301680)
    HOW TO: Create a Boot Disk for an NTFS or FAT Partition in Windows
    325879 (http://pcplans.com/support/KBASE/325879)
    HOW TO: Create a Boot Disk for an NTFS or FAT Partition in the Windows Server 2003 Family

    APPLIES TO
  • Windows 2000 Server
  • Windows 2000 Advanced Server
  • Windows 2000 Professional Edition
  • Windows 2000 Datacenter Server
  • Windows NT Advanced Server 3.1
  • Windows NT Server 3.5
  • Windows NT Server 3.51
  • Windows NT Server 4.0 Standard Edition
  • Windows NT Workstation 3.1
  • Windows NT Workstation 3.5
  • Windows NT Workstation 3.51
  • Windows NT Workstation 4.0 Developer Edition
  • Windows NT Advanced Server 3.1
  • Windows NT Server 3.5
  • Windows NT Server 3.51
  • Windows NT Advanced Server 4.0
  • BackOffice Small Business Server 4.0a
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