ARCHIVED: In Windows 95, 98, or Me, how do I make a startup (system recovery) disk?

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Note: UITS recommends that you use a current version of Windows on computers connected to the Indiana University network; see Recommended Windows operating systems at IU.

To make a startup disk (also known as a system recovery disk) in Windows 95, 98, or Me, you need a blank, formatted, 3.5" floppy disk. Make sure the disk does not contain any files that you would like to keep; when you make the startup disk, all files on the disk are erased and are not recoverable.

To make the startup disk:

  1. Insert the disk in the A: drive. From the Start menu, select Settings, then Control Panel.
  2. Double-click Add/Remove Programs.
  3. Click the Startup disk tab. Select Create disk. Click OK, and then close both the Add/Remove Programs window and the Control Panel window.
  4. After this process is finished, test your disk by leaving it in the drive and clicking Start, then Shutdown, and then Restart the computer. This will restart your computer using the system files on your startup disk and will eventually take you to an A:\> prompt, which indicates that you have successfully made the startup disk. If you receive an error message, try reformatting the disk and going through the above steps again.

The Windows 95 startup disk is useful if you must run system checks and you can't boot into Windows. Some of the files that are copied to the disk when you create it are:


You can use these files to check your computer's hard drive as well as to make changes to files that load when Windows 95 is starting up.

The Windows 95 startup disk does not contain the files needed to load your CD-ROM drive. Access to the CD-ROM is crucial if you would like to format your hard drive and install or reinstall Windows 95 or 98 from a clean hard drive.

The Windows 98 and Windows Me startup disks are different from the Windows 95 disk, in that they will automatically load your CD-ROM drivers if you have a commonly supported CD-ROM. Also, the content of the Windows 98 and Windows Me startup disk is different from the Windows 95 disk, in that some of the more common hardware diagnostic tools, such as ScanDisk and Format, are in a file called and must be extracted in order to use them. You can copy or run them from the Windows 98 or Windows Me CD itself from the directory <cdromdriveletter>:\Win98 (where cdromdriveletter is the CD-ROM drive name on your computer).

You can also make a boot disk in Windows 95 or Windows 98 by formatting a new disk and checking the box for Copy system files before you format. This will not copy all the files that are on the startup disk, but it will have enough on it to start your computer in MS-DOS mode if that is all you wish to do. This is not an option in Windows Me.

This is document afwm in the Knowledge Base.
Last modified on 2018-01-18 10:17:35.