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Create Start Up Disks


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Create Start Up Disks

There are times when you can't boot your system from the hard drive, thanks to either a system problem, a lost password, or the simple fact that the OS hasn't been installed. Windows XP offers a number of options for booting from floppy disks, but you must prepare them before they're needed.

A computer with no operating system installed will usually boot from the Windows XP CD. For that rare system that won't, Microsoft offers downloadable programs to create the necessary set of bootable floppy disks. Navigate to http://support.microsoft.com and search for article 310994. Find the download link for your Win XP version and language. The downloaded program will create six setup disks, which can be used to start your system up and begin installing the OS from a CD in a nonbootable drive.

If something goes wrong with the boot drive, you may be able to recover the system using a bootable floppy disk. Don't just format a disk with the box Create an MS-DOS Startup disk checked; you want to boot Windows XP, not MS-DOS. Start by formatting the disk without checking that box. Then copy the three files Boot.ini, Ntdetect.com, and Ntldr from the root directory of the boot drive (C:\) to the floppy disk. Boot the computer from this disk and verify that Windows XP starts (this may require that you change BIOS settings to boot from a floppy disk). Label the disk clearly and store it in a safe place.

If you ever forget your password, a password reset floppy disk can save the day. This isn't the same as writing down your password and storing it in a safe. The password reset disk lets you reset your password without revealing what the previous password was. The precise technique for creating and using a password reset disk varies by account type and log-on type. Search on password reset disk in the Help and Support applet for details specific to your situation.

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