Skip to main content

Booting to DOS from a USB memory stick

Now that the floppy disk is ancient history and optical media is not far away, it seems we still have to boot to DOS from time-to-time to perform certain tasks, whether it is to flash a BIOS, or perform some hardware diagnostics. The preferred way of doing it these days is via a USB memory stick, and the easiest way to prepare your USB memory stick to boot to DOS is via a freeware tool called Rufus.


With Rufus, a few clicks is all you need to prepare your USB memory stick to boot to DOS. It comes with two DOSes embedded: MS-DOS and FreeDOS. No extra files are needed. After you are done preparing the stick, you can simply copy the extra application files you need over via Windows Explorer, whether it is to flash the BIOS or to diagnose that network card. It is pretty straightforward.

In addition, Rufus also lets you prepare the USB memory stick to boot to supported ISO images, including Parted Magic, Ultimate Boot CD, Windows 7 Setup etc., even Windows XP Setup (but I haven't tested it).

On an unrelated note, how I came across this tool was because I found myself having to help friends repair the Dell System Restore partition, twice, within the past few months. The DSRFix tool was immensely useful for that purpose, but I needed to boot to DOS from a USB memory stick. After scouring through the dozens of arcane/complicated instructions on the Web, this was the final solution I settled on. I am putting this on record because I am pretty sure it will come in handy for me again at another time!

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Adding "Stereo Mixer" to Windows 7 with Conexant sound card

This procedure worked for my laptop (Thinkpad E530) with a Conexant 20671 sound card, but I suspect it will work for other sound cards in the Conexant family. I was playing with CamStudio to do a video capture of a Flash-based cartoon so that I can put it on the WDTV media player and play it on the big screen in the living room for my kids. The video capture worked brilliantly, but to do a sound capture, I needed to do some hacking. Apparently, there was this recording device called "Stereo Mixer" that was pretty standard in the Windows XP days. This allowed you to capture whatever was played to the speaker in all its digital glory. Then under pressure from various organizations on the dark side of the force, Microsoft and soundcard makers starting disabling this wonderful feature from Windows Vista onwards. So after much Googling around, I found out that for most sound cards, the hardware feature is still there, just not enabled on the software side. Unfortunately, to

Attiny85 timer programming using Timer1

This Arduino sketch uses Timer1 to drive the LED blinker: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46 47 /* * Program ATTiny85 to blink LED connected to PB1 at 1s interval. * Assumes ATTiny85 is running at 1MHz internal clock speed. */ #include <avr/io.h> #include <avr/wdt.h> #include <avr/sleep.h> #include <avr/interrupt.h> bool timer1 = false , led = true ; // Interrupt service routine for timer1 ISR(TIMER1_COMPA_vect) { timer1 = true ; } void setup() { // Setup output pins pinMode( 1 , OUTPUT); digitalWrite( 1 , led); set_sleep_mode(SLEEP_MODE_IDLE); // Setup timer1 to interrupt every second TCCR1 = 0 ; // Stop timer TCNT1 = 0 ; // Zero timer GTCCR = _BV(PSR1); // Reset prescaler OCR1A = 243 ; // T = prescaler / 1MHz = 0.004096s; OCR1A = (1s/T) - 1 = 243 OCR1C = 243 ; // Set to same value to reset timer1 to

Hacking an analog clock to sync with NTP - Part 5

This is how it looks after I have put everything together. The Arduino sketch is available here . The 2 jumper wires soldered to the clock mechanism are connected to pins D0 and D1 on the ESP-12 (in any order). When the device first boots up, it presents an access point which can be connected to via the PC or smartphone. Once connected, the captive portal redirects the web browser to the configuration page:     A custom field has been added to the WiFi configuration page to enter the current clock time in HHMMSS format. Try to set the clock time to as close to the current time as possible using the radial dial at the back of the clock so the clock will have less work to do catching up. In the config page, the HTML5 Geolocation API is also used to obtain your current location (so if your web browser asks if you would like to share your location, answer "yes"). This is then passed to the Google Time Zone API to obtain the time and DST offset of your time z