How to Create a USB Flash Boot Disk

Written by joe lewis
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How to Create a USB Flash Boot Disk
USB drives make convenient boot disks. (usb flash drive image by Bosko Martinovic from

Having a DOS boot disk you can carry around in your pocket or easily store is a valuable resource. Since most computers manufactured in the late 2000s lack a floppy drive, USB drives are quickly becoming the preferred boot media. CDs and DVDs degrade in quality over time and are easily damaged or scratched. USB drives, however, have much more longevity and durability than their disc-based counterparts.

Skill level:

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  1. 1

    Download and install the HP USB Disk Format tool (see Resources) on the Windows computer.

  2. 2

    Obtain Windows 98 system files (see Resources) via download. Save these files to an easily remembered folder on the Windows computer.

  3. 3

    Insert the USB drive into any USB port on the Windows computer.

  4. 4

    Start the HP USB Disk Format tool.

  5. 5

    Choose the USB flash drive in the "Device" drop-down list.

  6. 6

    Chose the "FAT 32" option in the "File System" drop-down list.

  7. 7

    Choose the "Create a DOS Startup Disk" check box. Click the box with three periods [...] and navigate to the Windows 98 system files folder. Click "OK" to continue.

  8. 8

    Click "Start" to begin creating the USB flash boot disk. Click "Yes" at the warning prompt. Click "Close" when the format is complete. The USB drive is now a bootable disk.

Tips and warnings

  • Copy all files from the Windows 98 system file folder to the USB drive when the format is finished for CD-ROM and mouse functionality when booting from the drive.
  • The FAT 32 format must be chosen during the set-up process for the USB drive to boot properly.

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