FreeDOS Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) : Installing FreeDOS :
How can i install FreeDOS(tm) beside Windows2000/XP/NT(tm) for use with the Windows bootmanager?
This is a special way of installation. It isn't necessarily good for YOU.
This FAQ does NOT explain how to install FreeDOS(tm) using VMWARE, BOCHS or any
other virtual machine.
It's just for those people who want a native FreeDOS system and have
Windows NT or any derivatives (2000/XP) already installed on their system.
Installing FreeDOS requires one FAT partition (FAT12/16/32).
This partition should be on your FIRST harddisk as is normal for DOS based
If you don't have one on your harddisk, you'll need to look somewhere else
for instructions for creating one. [Someone suggesting a link here?]
Important: only supported with kernel 2025c or newer and FreeDOS System Installer v2.3 or newer.
If you aren't sure, please type "sys /?".
If you install win after FreeDOS there shouldn't be any problem.
Windows will then overwrite the FreeDOS boot loader.
But how is it possible to update FreeDOS or to install FreeDOS later without
overwriting the Windows boot loader?
Install FreeDOS as normal, but don't sys the drive.
If you have finished the setup, type (in FreeDOS)
And look whether the output is as you expected it so you don't install to the
wrong drive. Then type (also in FreeDOS)
sys a: c: fdimage.bin
(There is a space between c: and fdimage.bin! If you need more info type "sys /?")
A bootimage will be created and saved to the file fdimage.bin on your FAT
partition but won't be written to the bootsector. Also your MBR won't be touched.
This way, the Windows boot loader will remain intact.
Now edit boot.ini (Windows NT/2000/XP). This file is found on that partition
that WINDOWS recognizes as C:\
If your first partition is NTFS, you can't access it via DOS directly and have to either
a) boot into Windows NT/2000/XP or
b) use the tools from http://www.cgsecurity.org/ntfs.zip to do so. (I'm NOT
responsible for any damage that occurs doing so, USE AT YOUR OWN RISK!)
Insert a new line after the section "[operating systems]" and write:
After editing boot.ini, you will have to copy the file FDIMAGE.BIN from your
FAT partition to your NTFS partition.
If you reboot now, it should be possible to switch between win and FreeDOS.
In addition, for not confusing Windows with any CONFIG.SYS or AUTOEXEC.BAT files,
you can use the file FDCONFIG.SYS which will be interpreted ONLY by FreeDOS.
If you want to use also a startup file (normally AUTOEXEC.BAT), you will have
to name it differently, say FDAUTO.BAT
To get this one automatically executed, you will have to have the following
(or similar) line in your FDCONFIG.SYS:
c:\command.com /P /K:FDAUTO.BAT
This assumes that both the FreeDOS(tm) COMMAND.COM and FDAUTO.BAT are placed in
the root directory of your FreeDOS C:\ drive (not necessarily you WINDOWS C:\
drive, you remember?)
To Create a Partition in Windows 2000 or XP
NOTE: I take absolutely NO responsibility for this. Editing partitions can cause data
Prerequisites: Must have administrative rights.
>goto My computer (in XP its on your start menu)
>RIGHT-CLICK on My computer.
On the window that pops up
>goto Disk Management
On the right window pane
> and select either DISK 0 or DISK 1 (if availble) and look for either "Free Space" (the bar is Green)
or UnAllocated (bar color is black)
> right-Click and select Create Partition
> Select Primary Partition (a little quirk here. If your using dynamic volumes this does not apply.
there can only be 4 Primary Partitions on a basic disk.)
select the size you want (for Fat16 max is 2.1GB)
ex 2000MB = 2GB
>Give it a drive letter.
>Choose Do Not Format. (you can here but sometimes a minor error pops up.)
To Format it
>Right Click on the newly Created partition
and select Format
>Optional: Check Quick Format
>On the File System box select FAT
>leave the Allocation unit at Default.
This concluded a simple sloppy howto file.
Any Specific questions please forward to BRAMCN0745@Vbch.ecpi.edu
The correct syntax should be /P=FDAUTO.BAT, otherwise you run both
FDAUTO.BAT and AUTOEXEC.BAT...
You can either give the WindowsNT/2k/XP boot manager the FreeDOS
boot sector, but if you use Windows95/98 or MS DOS (the DOS based
Windows 9x series, thus), you can use MetaKern:
1. Save the MS DOS/Windows boot sector to a file. Type those commands
into FreeDOS DEBUG:
l cs:100 2 0 1
r cx 200
(for MS DOS debug, you need to press enter between "cx" and "200")
Then you should have c:\msboot.sec ...
Now install FreeDOS on C:, using (assuming A: is a FreeDOS bootable floppy):
SYS A: C: C:\FDBOOT.SEC
To make Windows 95/98 or MS DOS bootable again, you must do:
ren c:\kernel.sys c:\fdkernel.sys
copy /b a:\metakern.sys + C:\FDBOOT.SEC + c:\msboot.sec c:\kernel.sys
(you need metakern! http://www.coli.uni-sb.de/~eric/stuff/soft/ ->
specials. If anything goes wrong, do the SYS part again or you will not
be able to boot from C: anymore)
The next time you boot, metakern will show a menu with MS Dos/Windows and
FreeDOS as the first two menu items... NOT recommended to use with Windows
NT/2000/XP, only for Windows 95/98 and MS DOS!
Please report bugs in this howto or metakern itself to:
eric at coli.uni-sb.de.nospamplease
Magnus Linner provides the following HOWTO:
My situation: I have one physical drive. W2K installed on C: and is 8GB. I
wanted to install FreeDOS on a new partition E: (D: is my CDROM)
- From W2K create a new primary partition and assign drive letter E:
- Format E: using FAT (i used FAT, but i think you have
support for FAT32 as well) [Yes we have - Eric]
- Install FreeDOS as normal with the two floppies (i installed only the base)
I also found a tool to install FreeDOS from Windows, but i have not verified
the functionallaty http://www.fdos.org/ripcord/zette/
There is no need to run sys on the drive or running FDISK during the
- When installation is done, reboot back to W2K
- Create a bootimage
Go to the right drive, cd e:\
sys a: e: fdimage.bin (Yes your FreeDOS partition is under e:)
- Copy the fdimage.bin file to c:\
- Modify c:\boot.init
Add the following entry in the end of the file
- Now you can reboot the server into FreeDOS
Things that are confusing:
- All configurations file like CONFIG.SYS and AUTOEXEC.BAT has to point to
c: When you reboot to FreeDOS, FreeDOS only see his own partition and call
it c: [Yes, FreeDOS cannot see NTFS of WinNT/2000. However, you can use
fdconfig.sys and make it point to fdauto.bat (on any drive): If fdconfig.sys
is found, FreeDOS will prefer it to config.sys - Eric]
- When creating the fdimage.bin file you have to point to e:, because thats
the drive letter W2K assign FreeDOS [To avoid this, boot FreeDOS from a
floppy for creating fdimage.bin - Eric]
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|michael.kallas, florianx, bramcn0745, eric|