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Bootable Disk

George V


I would like to make a bootable CD disk

with which I would like to start a computer which ,for instance, has been corrupted by a virus.

On this disk I would need some kind of a boot image and a program such as

"Windows Defender"

The Roxio program asks me which boot image to copy

this is what I do not know.

I figured out how to put addional programs there.

These are PC computers with XP.

I do know how to make bootable floppies.

But the target machine does not have a floppy

just a CD and hard drive.


I do not think it has an option to boot from a USB flash drive.


I went through the motions but evidently did not copy the correct image boot.

The Roxio software that I have dates back to 2007.

Its title is

"Easy CD & DVD burning:"


I hope some one can help me.



p.s. my computers are still working!

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This is my own reply.

I made a bootable disk including a cleanup program.

The steps were

1) formatted a startup floppy using windows xp (bootable)

2) copied a program to it (my cleanip program) must fit on floppy.

3) Inserted blank cd into computer

4) started Roxio classic

5) instructed it to make a bootable disk from data in floppy.


Tested it in a computer with a Cd drive

It loaded msdos and my program was listed in the directory.


Allthough Roxio could add other files when creating this cd they do not show when

cd is used for bootup purposes.

While CD has lots of space I could only load a program which would fit on a floppy.



There are other recovery disks you can buy, I have not tried them

See "lifesaver " article in a magazine



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To Jim Hardin

1) the resulting disk boots as an MSDOS system.


2) The additional files put there by disk Creator are there but not visible to msdos.

They are just visible via windows.

All that is visible is part of bootimg which is the entire contents of the floppy.

When I create the CD I do not finalize it so in theory more files can be added.

But as mentioned above they are not showing up.

I will experiment with r/w disks. They are somewhat murky to me.

I can format a r/w disk as a giant floppy but I do not know if I can then add a bootimg to it.

In the past such disks required a special driver to make them legible on another computer.

The goal of this exercise is to be able to put a large recovery program on to the bootable msdos cd disk.

The resulting disk does not have to be msdos as long as it boots.

The Microsoft cd boots from cd so I would like to make something similar.


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Jim asked me if I could pop in here and help you. I hope I can.


Firstly, RW disks.

Back in the days when a CD could hold more than the hard drives of the time, RW CDs were specially formatted and used as huge floppy disks.

While this was useful, the process failed often and was pretty hard on the RW disc. The directory had to be erased and re-written every time you added or deleted a file, and rewriteable discs have a limited lifespan so the directory area got hammered and failed quite early.

Nowadays you use an RW disc the same as a write-once disc, except when you're done with it you can erase the whole thing and start again. You don't preformat discs now.


Bootable Discs.

I had an awful time when I first tried to make these, trying to get my head around how it worked. The main thing to remember is that the boot image you put on the CD "emulates" a floppy disc, while all the other content you put on appears as an ordinary CD.


To make this work your floppy image must have a CD driver loaded by config.sys so that DOS can see the CD part of the disc, and then your autoexec.bat runs mscdex.exe and contains an entry which calls your DOS program on the other part of the disc. If you don't have mscdex and a CD driver then you land in A:\ and can't see anything else.


e.g. I made a bootable CD to run an old version of Ghost. The floppy I used was a bootable DOS floppy, with oakcdrom.sys and mscdex.exe and a mouse driver added.

The mouse driver is optional, but the other two are necessary.


The floppy disk Config.sys had the entry "device=oakcdrom.sys /D:mscd001" and the autoexec.bat contained "mscdex.exe /D:mscd001". Those two get your CD seen when you boot into DOS. You can use whichever cdrom.sys file which works for you - you don't have to use oakcdrom. Use the mscdex.exe which comes with your DOS.


Okay, if you make a bootable CD using that floppy as an image, when you boot you'll find yourself in A:\ with access to the CD drive. The CD drive will appear as C:\ if you don't have any FAT hard drives on your system [because DOS can't see NTFS drives] otherwise any FAT drives will be assigned disk letters first, and your CD will appear after them. You can look ahead to see what will happen by simply booting on the floppy when you make it, putting a CD in the drive, and seeing what drive letter it was assigned.


Once you have your drive letter, go back to the floppy and insert an entry in autoexec.bat which will run the backup program you're putting on your bootable CD.

e.g. if your CD gets assigned the letter C: your autoexec might have:



mscdex.exe /D:mscd001



This would run a program called ghost.exe in a directory called ghost on your CD. Change the autoexec to run the program you're putting on the CD.


Once you've checked everything, erase the RW disc and write yourself another bootable CD using that floppy as the image, and with your backup program and anything else you need out on the main part of the CD.


Any questions, please feel free to ask.




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