Create a DOS boot disk for Windows 2000
Upgrading a system's BIOS requires direct access to a system's hardware. In the days of DOS and 16/32-bit Windows, this was easy: all someone had to do to flash the BIOS was boot to a command line and run the BIOS-flashing utility. Since Windows NT, Windows 2000 and now Windows XP don't allow direct access to hardware, this is no longer possible.
If you are dealing with a machine that has one of the aforementioned operating systems loaded onto it and need to flash the system BIOS or the BIOS of one of the controller cards in the system, there are a couple of ways to approach the problem.
- Keep a copy of Windows 95/98/Me running on another machine as a disk-creation system. Win95/98/Me can be used to format a bootable disk onto which can be placed the BIOS-flashing software. Even if the system is a dual-boot with Win95/98/Me and another OS, it's still handy to have the ability to create DOS-level boot disks. Some organizations, however, may not allow this.
- Download a bootable floppy image and use that. The site www.bootdisk.com contains repositories of various DOS-disk images that can be unpacked and created in 32-bit Windows. Many of these disks contain nothing more than the minimum of files needed to boot a system into DOS mode, with plenty of space left over for BIOS images.
- Keep a spare manufacturer's copy of DOS handy. Obviously this only works if you have a manufacturer's copy of DOS. Make several backup copies of the disks if you do have a spare copy, since DOS itself is hard to come by.
- Create a bootable DOS CD. This is a very slick and elegant solution -- if you have a CD-R/W drive and the right tools, you can create a bootable CD with as many of the needed utilities on it, plus access to the floppy drive. There are several ways to go about doing this, depending on the tools at hand -- some CD-R/W programs allow the creation of bootable CD-ROMs and some don't. This site -- http://www.nu2.nu/bootcd/ -- contains detailed information and tools for creating a bootable DOS CD.
Serdar Yegulalp is the editor of the Windows 2000 Power Users Newsletter.
This was first published in March 2002