Storage

Create setup and bootable floppies to help troubleshoot Windows NT

If you're trying to solve system problems in Windows NT, you can create setup and bootable floppies to help troubleshoot the problems. Find out how to create these floppies, and learn how you can use them in your troubleshooting efforts.

If you've worked with Windows 9x systems in the past, you're probably aware that you could create a special floppy disk that included all of the important system files to boot the operating system. You could then use this floppy to repair the system if it failed.

While Windows NT doesn't include this option, you can create setup floppies. These are bootable disks that allow you to install the operating system on computers that don't support booting from the CD-ROM drive.

To create the setup floppies, prepare three formatted floppies, and insert the Windows NT CD. Run winnt32 /ox from the i386 folder, and follow the prompts. (For Windows 9x systems, run winnt /ox to create the setup floppies.)

Even though you can't use these floppies to boot Windows NT, you can use them to repair the system. When you boot from these floppies, the setup will ask you to press [Enter] to install or R to repair. Choose the latter option, and follow the prompts.

If your computer supports booting from a CD-ROM drive, you don't need these setup floppies. Just insert the Windows NT CD and boot the system, and the system will prompt you with the same options. The only difference is the speed—booting from a CD is faster than using floppy disks.

However, setup floppies aren't the only floppies you can create that allow you to troubleshoot the system. You can also create a bootable floppy.

As you may know, Windows NT requires several files to successfully boot, all located on the first partition of the first hard drive in the system. When something goes wrong with the disk or if the operating system can't find these files, the system will fail to boot.

The initial boot requires these files: NTLDR, Ntdetect.com, Boot.ini, Bootsect.dos (if it exists), and Ntbootdd.sys (if it exists). To create a bootable floppy, copy these files to a floppy formatted in Windows NT. Make sure you've properly formatted the floppy, or it won't be able to boot Windows NT.

Keep in mind that this isn't a real bootable floppy. It only contains enough information to perform the initial boot.

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