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Would making a first partition (which FAT?) of 1,44 MB with a bootable image of DOS start the system on a laptop's HDD? or in other words Can one start a laptop without FDD/CD/USB with just partitioning/ formating /saving on its HDD (using a USB/pata adaptor connected to a second PC then puting it back in the laptop)?

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migrated from Jun 8 '11 at 17:49

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Not sure I understand, but: If you can format the laptop's HDD. Then

Format /S

will add the boot sector. You also can use the the DOS command

Sys C:

If the HDD has a partition

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Just connect the laptop's hard disk as the only disk on another computer that has a CD, then install whatever operating system you like.

Just beware that if you install and activate Windows, then transplanting the hard disk into another machine will invalidate the activation.

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That's why you generalize it before you move it. :) – Shinrai Jun 8 '11 at 18:10

You may want to look at FreeDOS. It has fairly up-to-date drivers for modern hardware and instructions for installation.

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I've never just copied the disk image from a floppy to the first 1.44MB's worth of sectors on an HDD. I have a feeling it wouldn't work. Here's a procedure that will certainly work, as long as your floppy image is DOS 6.22:

  • You need to create a FAT16 partition within the first 2GBytes of disk. True DOS 6.22 can only deal with disks/partitions up to this size, I believe. Earlier DOS versions had lower limitations (e.g. DOS 3.3 can only deal with disks up to 32MB in size). The partition must be marked "Active." Under a DOS system you'd use the fdisk utility to accomplish this.

  • You need to take sector 0 from the floppy image and copy it to the HDD's sector 0. The sys command will do this, but unfortunately only under DOS. You can use Linux's dd command if you have a Linux system handy, or use HxD or similar utility under Windows.

  • Last, copy all the files from the floppy image to the hard drive partition. However, FIRST copy MSDOS.SYS and IO.SYS into the root of the partition. Then copy everything else.

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