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How to make a bootable NTFS drive

Updated July 19, 2017

The NTFS file system is used in older Windows operating systems, such as XP, 2000 and 2003. You make the NTFS drive bootable by copying the files from your Windows installation CD or DVD to the drive. If you have an i386 directory on your Windows system folder, you can also use it to make a secondary drive bootable. The NTFS file system only requires two files to boot into Windows.

Insert your installation CD into the drive. Click the Windows "Start" button and type "cmd" into the text box. Press "Enter" to open the Windows command line.

Type the following commands into the Windows prompt:

copy x:\ntdetect.com d:

copy x:\ntldr d:

The "x" in these commands represent your CD-ROM drive letter. The "d" represents the hard drive you want to make bootable. Replace both of these letter representations with your own drive letters.

Press the "Enter" key to execute your commands. The commands copy the bootable files to your hard drive. To check that the copy procedure completed successfully, click the Windows "Start" button and click "Computer." Double-click the drive you made bootable. Notice the two files you copied are now on the hard drive.

Click the Windows "Start" button and select "All Programs." Click "Accessories" and then click "Notepad." This opens your text editor where you can create a boot.ini file.

Type the following text into the editor:

[boot loader]

timeout=20

Default= multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(0)partition(1)\windows

[operating systems]

multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(0)partition(1)\windows="Windows OS Version"

Click the Notepad "File" menu item and then click "Save As." Enter "boot.ini" as the file name and select "All Files" from the "Save As Type" drop-down box. Point the save location to the CD-ROM drive where the other boot files are saved. Click "Save" to save the boot.ini file.

Things You'll Need

  • Windows installation CD
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About the Author

Jim Campbell has been a computer engineer for over five years. He excels in hardware repair, computer programming and troubleshooting, and software design. He is currently attending Florida Atlantic University, pursuing a master's degree in computer and electrical engineering and fine-tuning his technical writing abilities.