Windows 98: The Clean Install

Manually creating a boot disk with real-mode
DOS CD-ROM driver support


The following outlines creating a bootable startup disk with real-mode CD-ROM support, a "must have" item when performing a clean install
of Windows 98. This is a "DIY" alternative to using the CDBoot utility provided here on this website.

Creating a DOS boot disk

(A) Via a command prompt in DOS
  1. Insert a blank 3.5" floppy disk
  2. Click Start > Point to Programs > Click the MS-DOS Prompt
  3. Type FORMAT A: /S and tap [ENTER]
  4. When prompted for a Volume Label tap [ENTER]
  5. When prompted "Format another?" type N and tap [ENTER]
  6. Type EXIT and tap [ENTER]
(B) Via Windows Explorer in Win95
  1. Insert a blank 3.5" floppy disk
  2. Click Start > Point to Programs > Click Windows Explorer
  3. Right-Click on the icon for 3 Floppy [A:] > Click Format...
  4. Choose the option "Copy system files only" > Click Start
  5. When the process completes Click Close
Adding Real-Mode CD-ROM Support

Four files must be added to your boot disk in order for the CD-ROM drive to be accessable in DOS when booting with the disk:
  1. A real-mode CD-ROM driver
  2. Microsoft's MSCDEX TSR program
  3. A CONFIG.SYS file with a line loading the CD-ROM driver
  4. An AUTOEXEC.BAT file with a line loading the MSCDEX TSR
1- Adding a Real-Mode CD-ROM Driver

By default IBM installs a real mode CD-ROM driver for use in DOS to
the C:\Windows\Command folder. On older Aptivas this file is named IBMIDECD.SYS, on newer systems the file is VIDE-CDD.SYS.

In order to add CD-ROM support to a boot disk a copy of one of the above files must be added to the disk. This can be achieved via standard Windows procedures such as Copy > Paste, Drag > Drop, SendTo > A:\ and so forth, or via the following commands issued
from a command prompt in DOS:

On older Aptivas with the IBMIDECD.SYS driver:

Type COPY C:\WINDOWS\COMMAND\IBMIDECD.SYS A:\
and tap [ENTER]

On newer Aptivas with the VIDE-CDD.SYS driver:

Type COPY C:\WINDOWS\COMMAND\VIDE-CDD.SYS A:\
and tap [ENTER]

If Windows procedures are used note that often by default files with
the *.SYS extension will be HIDDEN, make sure that the system is
set to Show all files:
  • Open Windows Explorer
  • Click View > Click Options
  • Choose "Show all files" > Click OK
2- Adding the MSCDEX CD-ROM TSR

To load CD-ROM support and optionally assign the CD-ROM to a particular drive letter the Microsoft program MSCDEX.EXE must be added to the disk. This file is also found in C:\Windows\Command by default and copying it to disk can be achieved via standard Windows procedures such as Copy > Paste or SendTo > A:\ or via the following command issued from a command prompt in DOS:

Type COPY C:\WINDOWS\COMMAND\MSCDEX.EXE A:\
and tap [ENTER]

3- Adding a CONFIG.SYS to Load the Real-Mode CD-ROM Driver

A CONFIG.SYS file must be added to the disk containing a line to load the real-mode CD-ROM driver into memory when the PC is booted using the disk.
  1. Open the Windows NotePad program
  2. Type one of the following lines:

    On older Aptivas with the IBMIDECD.SYS driver:
    DEVICEHIGH=A:\IBMIDECD.SYS  /D:IBMCD001

    On newer Aptivas with the VIDE-CDD.SYS driver:
    DEVICEHIGH=A:\VIDE-CDD.SYS  /D:IBMCD001

  3. Click File > Click Save As
  4. Under Save in pull down the menu and choose Drive A
  5. In the Named box type "config.sys" (include the quotes)
  6. Click the Save button
Note that if preferred (or if one doesn't have access to Windows while creating the boot disk) as an alternative the files discussed in steps (3) and (4) can also be created in native DOS using the DOS text editor EDIT.COM. To do so:

From a command prompt type EDIT and tap [ENTER] to launch the DOS text editor > Type the appropriate text > Press ALT+F to bring down the File menu > Use the down arrow key to highlight Save > Tap [ENTER] > After "file name" type the name of the file you are creating as either A:\CONFIG.SYS or A:\AUTOEXEC.BAT > Tap [ENTER] > Press ALT+F again > Use the down arrow key to highlight Exit > Tap [ENTER]

4- Adding an AUTOEXEC.BAT to Load the MSCDEX TSR

An AUTOEXEC.BAT file must be added to the disk containing a line to load the real-mode CD-ROM TSR MSCDEX into memory and optionally setting the CD-ROM drive letter assignment when the PC is booted using the disk.
  1. Open the Windows NotePad program
  2. Type the following line:

    LH A:\MSCDEX.EXE /D:IBMCD001 /L:x

    Note: x above = your CD-ROM drive letter
  3. Click File > Click Save As
  4. Under Save in pull down the menu and choose Drive A
  5. In the Named box type "autoexec.bat" (include the quotes)
  6. Click the Save button
Note that the CD-ROM can be assigned to any drive letter you wish, however that letter MUST come after all hard drive letter assignments. One can optionally omit the /L:x switch, in which case the CD-ROM
will automatically be assigned to the first open drive letter after all
hard drive partitions are assigned.

Adding Optional Command Line Utilities

One can add a wide variety of MS-DOS command line utilities to a
boot disk to make it a more useful tool. Strictly for the purposes of performing a clean install of Windows 98 at the bare minimum I would strongly suggest adding the FORMAT.COM and FDISK.EXE utilities, and if one plans to install Win98 from their hard drive rather than CD
add XCOPY.EXE as well.

Again all of these items can be found in C:\Windows\Command by default and they can be copied to the boot disk via standard Windows procedures such as Copy > Paste or SendTo > A:\ or via the following commands issued from a command prompt in DOS:
  • COPY  C:\WINDOWS\COMMAND\FORMAT.COM  A:\
  • COPY  C:\WINDOWS\COMMAND\FDISK.EXE  A:\
  • COPY  C:\WINDOWS\COMMAND\XCOPY.EXE  A:\
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2001, Don Schneider aka DON5408
DON5408's Unofficial Aptiva Support Site