Q

How can I boot to a floppy and receive a command prompt without being directed to the system drive?

Our systems management expert suggests tools and tactics administrators can use to boot into a command prompt without being directed to the system drive.

Using Diskpart, I've created a boot floppy by copying the boot.ini, ntldr and ntdetect.com files. The system will successfully boot to the floppy, but then proceeds to the OS choice menu from the system drive. How can I boot to the floppy only, and get a command prompt without being directed to the system drive?
I assume you are referencing a Windows XP or 2003 system that resides on an NTFS partition, and that you need to perform a repair or gain access to the file structure on the system's drives.

If this is the case, have you considered the Recovery Console feature from the Windows CD? You can boot into a command prompt to perform actions such as disabling drivers, stopping services, accessing the file directory, etc. You can also install this feature as a startup option so you do not need the CD. Or you could hit F8 at system startup and use the Boot to Safe Mode - Command Prompt option.

This was first published in September 2007

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