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How to get miniature operating system on one floppy disk and run a computer on it

With the help of some original MS-DOS ® files combined with the free software File Maven of Kent Briggs, it is possible to put together a relatively complete operating system on one floppy disk. With this, even a thoroughly crashed PC can be made to run again - even one with a completely bare hard disk.

The computer then runs on the floppy disk.

For this, the boot sequence in the BIOS must be set to start from A:, and one should have tried it out a few times before.

You can even write or edit simple texts, running on the floppy disk but saved to the hard disk, and who knows? maybe even print them.

NOTE: The MiniSystem runs on DOS. All software spoken about here, therefore, must necessarily be for DOS.

The system starts and runs on the floppy disk alone; it can, however, switch to an accessible hard disk, i. e. one can change to the C:\ directory while the system is running.

drives, however, are not accessed. For this, you need the MSCDEX.EXE ( see below ) and your specific or a general DOS CDROM driver ( such as AOATAPI.SYS; you may find these files on installation disks of CDROM drives ); put both on the floppy disk and note them in the autoexec.bat and config.sys. Copy all of this onto the hard disk via File Maven ( or leave it on the floppy if you have enough space there ) and it usually works.

But, anyway, should this be necessary, one should get an emergency diskette from a Windows system elsewhere and look if Windows is still available on the hard disk at all. This isn't always the case... @ = : - { %

Some cleaners clean a bit too thoroughly.

It is, however, possible to re-copy Windows 9x off another PC or laptop via FILE MAVEN, even to access that one's CD-ROM drive, with the help of this MiniSystem and a special transmitting cable ( laplink-cable ), and so install it right onto the defunct PC; though this only in the 8.3 short file names format, which is usually enough for starters. If you want one to avoid this reduction you should pack files with long names into a ZIP - archive before transmitting them.

For reasons of copyright and transmission volume no MS-DOS files will be distributed here. In addition, it may even be possible by adaptation to the own operating system to expand the spectrum of application beyond Windows 9x. Trying things out is everything.

If one also puts the packers PKZip and PKUNZip from PKWARE for DOS (!) into the DOS - path ( here: A:\ ) then File Maven can not only open and view files in a ZIP - Archive, but can also pack and unpack them.

The prerequisite for use as a rescue system would be:

I. DOS - Files you would need to put on the floppy disk (taken from C:\):

AUTOEXEC.BAT 	very important
CONFIG.SYS 	very important

- preferably stripped down to basics:



	mode con cp prepare=((850) ega.cpi)
	mode con cp select=850
	keyb gr,,keyboard.sys

	REM optional for cdrom
	mscdex.exe /d:idecd000
	REM needs to be found there

	REM optional


	ECHO Beware! Not Windows was loaded, but DOS.
	ECHO Momentary configuration:
	ECHO To copy files:  type  'FM'
	ECHO Do not perform scans in File Maven.



	device=display.sys con=(ega,,1)
	REM your country

	REM optional
	dos=high, umb

	REM optional for cdrom
	device=aoatapi.sys /d:idecd000 /q
	REM needs to be found there


And then two hidden!! Files:

IO.SYS 		very important
MSDOS.SYS 	very important

Files to be extracted from the running Windows 9x system from the directories C:\Windows\Command or C:\Windows\DOS:

ANSI.SYS 	important
ATTRIB.EXE 	important
COMMAND.COM 	important
COUNTRY.SYS 	important
DISPLAY.SYS 	important
EDIT.COM 	important
EDIT.HLP 	important
KEYB.COM 	important
KEYBOARD.SYS 	important
KEYBRD2.SYS 	important
MODE.COM 	important
MORE.COM 	important
MOVE.EXE 	important
NLSFUNC.EXE 	important
SYS.COM 	important
EGA.CPI 	important

HELP.COM 	optional
TREE.COM 	optional
DELTREE.EXE	optional
HIMEM.SYS 	optional

MSCDEX.EXE 	optional - to run the CD-ROM
Plus driver ( see above )

MSD.EXE		optional - MS Diagnose
[ Reports on installed Soft- and Hardware ]
To be found in MS-DOS 6.22; a higher version
on the Win98SE-CD in tools\oldmsdos

SCANDISK.EXE	 	optional

FDISK.EXE	optional
FORMAT.COM	optional

PKZIP.EXE 	optional
PKUNZIP.EXE	optional
PKUNZJR.COM	optional

XCOPY.EXE 	optional
XCOPY32.EXE 	optional
XCOPY32.MOD 	optional


( must be installed on both systems for file transmissions )


These are 8 file(s) / 369. 366 bytes

No file manager need be bigger.

The freeware FILE MAVEN copies and moves files within a computer and between two computers in the DOS box even if one computer has Windows 3x running and on the other one Windows 9x; but it cannot transfer any long file names even within Windows 9x itself.

You can find the required DOS files, and more, at Elmü on the "Universal Boot Disk" ( replaced on the page in the meantime by the "Universal Boot CD" but still to be had here for download ). Both also start the computer. What is missing on the "Universal Boot Disk" is actually a file manager like File Maven. Unfortunately, it does not fit onto the disk any more - unless one removes one or two of these, in themselves very useful, programs, or starts the computer with the "Universal Boot Disk" and then changes onto a second disk with File Maven installed. But that would be against the idea...

Download the Universal Boot Disk download now

© 2008 JHR.