Microsoft KB Archive/314079

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How to use System files to create a boot disk to guard against being unable to start Windows XP

Article ID: 314079

Article Last Modified on 6/23/2005


  • Microsoft Windows XP Home Edition
  • Microsoft Windows XP Professional

This article was previously published under Q314079

For a Microsoft Windows 2000 version of this article, see 101668.


If your computer uses an Intel x86-based processor, and the startup record for the active partition or files that you must have to start Windows become corrupted, you may not be able to start your computer. This article describes how to create a startup disk. With a startup disk, you can start your computer if the startup record becomes corrupted.


Create a Windows startup disk when you first install Windows on the computer. This disk is different from an MS-DOS startup disk. Unlike MS-DOS, the whole Windows operating system cannot fit on one floppy disk. A Windows startup disk contains only the files that you must have to start the operating system with the remainder of the Windows system files installed on the hard disk drive. To create the startup disk, follow these steps:

  1. Insert a blank floppy disk in drive A, and then format the disk by using Windows XP.
  2. From the root folder of the system partition of your hard disk drive (for example, C:\-), copy the following files to the floppy disk:


    You may have to remove the hidden, system, and read-only attributes from the files.
  3. Restore the hidden, system, and read-only attributes to the files on your hard disk if you removed these attributes.
  4. If the Bootsect.dos file or the Ntbootdd.sys file resides in the system partition, repeat steps 2 through 4 to copy these files to the boot disk.

If you format a floppy disk in Windows XP, the startup record points to the NTLDR file. When NTLDR runs, it loads the available operating system selections from the Boot.ini file. If you select Windows, NTLDR runs, and then passes control to Osloader.exe. If you select MS-DOS or OS/2, NTLDR loads Bootsect.dos.

Additional query words: bootdisk boot

Keywords: kbhowto kbenv kbinfo kbsetup kbusage KB314079