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INTRODUCTION

This article describes how to create a Windows startup disk to access a drive that has a faulty startup sequence on an Intel x86-processor-based computer.

Note The procedure for RISC-based computers is different. This article does not describe those procedures.

This Windows startup disk can access a drive that has the Windows NT file system (NTFS) or File allocation table (FAT) file system installed. The procedures in this article can be useful to work around the following startup problems:
  • Corrupted startup sector.
  • Corrupted master boot record (MBR).
  • Virus infections.
  • Missing or corrupted NTLDR or Ntdetect.com.
  • Incorrect Ntbootdd.sys driver.
You can also use this startup disk to start from the shadow of a broken mirror. However, you may have to change the Boot.ini file to do this.

You cannot use this Windows startup disk to resolve the following problems:
  • Incorrect or corrupted device drivers that have been installed in the Windows System folder.
  • Startup problems that occur after the OSLOADER screen.
To work around or fix these problems, run the emergency repair disk, load the last known good control set, or reinstall Windows.

MORE INFORMATION

How to create a Windows startup floppy disk

The Windows floppy disk must include the files NTLDR (or Setupldr.bin in Windows NT 3.5), Ntdetect.com, Boot.ini, and the correct device driver for your hard disk.

Note Typically, the NTLDR, Ntdetect.com, and Boot.ini files have their file attributes set to System, Hidden, and Read-Only. You do not have to reset these attributes for this disk to work correctly.

For more informationabout the structure of the Boot.ini file, click the following article number to view the article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:
102873 Boot.ini and ARC path naming conventions and usage
To create a Windows startup floppy disk, use one of the following methods.

Method 1: You do not have access to a Windows-based computer

If you do not have access to a Windows-based computer, follow these steps:
  1. Create a copy of the first Windows Setup disk by using the diskcopy command, and then delete all the files on the new disk.
  2. Copy the Ntdetect.com and NTLDR files from the I386 folder on the CD-ROM to the new disk.
  3. Rename the NTLDR file to Setupldr.bin.
  4. Create a Boot.ini file.

    The following example works for a single partition SCSI drive with Windows installed under \WINNT. However, the exact value in the [operating systems] section depends on the configuration of the Windows computer that you want to start:
          [boot loader]
          timeout=30
          Default= scsi(0)disk(0)rdisk(0)partition(1)\winnt
    
          [operating systems]
          scsi(0)disk(0)rdisk(0)partition(1)\winnt="Windows NT"
    							
    If your computer starts from an IDE, EIDE, or ESDI hard disk or from a SCSI adapter that does not have a built in BIOS, replace the scsi(0) with multi(0).

    Note If you are running Windows NT 3.5 or 3.51 and your system starts from the first or second SCSI drive, you can also replace scsi(0) with multi(0).
  5. If you are using scsi(x) in the Boot.ini file, copy the correct device driver for the SCSI controller in use on the computer, and then rename it to Ntstartupdd.sys. If you are using multi(x) in the Boot.ini file, you do not have to do this.
  6. Start your computer by using the floppy disk, and then log on to Windows.

Method 2: You have access to a Windows-based computer

If you have access to a Windows-based computer, follow these steps:
  1. Format a floppy disk by using the Windows format utility.
  2. Copy NTLDR from the Windows Setup CD-ROM, Windows Setup floppy disk, or from a computer that is running the same version of Windows as the computer that you want to access with the startup floppy disk. You may have to expand this file from NTLDR._ to NTLDR by using the following command line:
    expand ntldr._ ntldr
  3. Copy the Ntdetect.com file to the disk.
  4. Create a Boot.ini file, or copy a Boot.ini file from a running Windows computer, and then modify it to match the computer that you are trying to access. The following example works for a single partition SCSI drive with Windows installed under \WINNT. However, the exact value in the [operating systems] section depends on the configuration of the Windows computer that you are trying to access:
          [boot loader]
          timeout=30
          Default= scsi(0)disk(0)rdisk(0)partition(1)\winnt
    
          [operating systems]
          scsi(0)disk(0)rdisk(0)partition(1)\winnt="Windows NT"
    							
    If your computer starts from an IDE, EIDE, or ESDI hard disk, replace the scsi(0) with multi(0).

    Note If you are running Windows NT 3.5 or 3.51 and your computer starts from the first or second SCSI drive, you can also replace scsi(0) with multi(0).
  5. If you are using scsi(x) in the Boot.ini file, copy the correct device driver for the SCSI controller in use on the computer, and then rename it to Ntstartupdd.sys. If you are using multi(x) in the Boot.ini, you do not have to do this.
  6. Start the computer by using the floppy disk, and then log on to Windows.

Method 3: You are running Windows NT 3.51

If you are running Windows NT 3.51, follow these steps:
  1. Format a blank 3.5-inch 1.44 megabyte (MB) floppy disk under Windows NT 3.51.
  2. Copy the Ntdetect.com and NTLDR files to the new disk.
  3. Create a Boot.ini file with the following lines:

    Note This example is for a single partition SCSI drive that has Windows NT installed in the default folder (C:\Winnt35).
         [boot loader]
         timeout=30
         Default= multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(0)partition(1)\winnt35
    
         [operating systems]
         multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(0)partition(1)\winnt35="Windows NT 3.51"
  4. Start the computer from the floppy disk, and log on to Windows.

Troubleshooting

You may receive either of the following error messages when you try to start your computer by using your Windows startup floppy disk.

If the path that is pointing to the system files is incorrect or includes the drive letter, you may receive the following error message:
Windows could not start because of the following ARC firmware startup configuration problem: Did not properly generate ARC name for HAL and system paths. Please check the Windows (TM) documentation about ARC configuration options and your hardware reference manuals for additional information. Boot Failed.
If an incorrect SCSI driver has been selected or the Ntstartupdd.sys file does not exist, you may receive the following message:
Windows could not start because of a computer disk hardware configuration problem. Could not read from selected startup disk. Check startup path and disk hardware. Please check the Windows (TM) documentation about hardware disk configuration and your hardware disk configuration and your hardware reference manuals for additional information. Boot Failed.

Properties

Article ID: 311073 - Last Review: December 1, 2007 - Revision: 1.10
APPLIES TO
  • Microsoft Windows XP Home Edition
  • Microsoft Windows XP Professional
  • Microsoft Windows XP Professional x64 Edition
Keywords: 
kbfilesystems kbinfo kbsetup KB311073

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