Bootable USB drive with format

Dell / 8400
February 25, 2009 at 14:33:47
Specs: Win98SE, 512MB
I need to be able boot DOS from a USB Drive that I've formatted and run sys on in order to run the setup.exe on in Win98SE non-bootable installation disk.

With the system booted up from the USB drive, I have access to my D: CDROM drive that contains the non-bootable Win98SE installation. When I execute the setup it complains that it can't create a temp file because the host’s file system isn't appropriate. I interpreted this to mean that I needed to run fdisk and create a single active dos partition - which I did.

Now, in order to proceed, I need to format the partition. Unfortunately no format command is visible on the USB drive even though I copied the Windows Command directory to it after running sys. The path name is A:/Command/format.exe, but all I can see when I do a dir in the DOS command prompt box is the contents of the root directory which only shows the files copied by sys and neither the Command directory nor any other files in the root directory.

By the way, fdisk says to format the new partition AFTER restarting the machine. What happens if I format first, install the Win98SE installation from the CDROM drive and then restart.

But first, how do I get an accessible copy of format onto the bootable USB drive?

Any words of wisdom would really be appreciated.

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February 25, 2009 at 16:02:59
What you need are all the same files found on a floppy boot disk. Go to and download a Win98 bootdisk. There may even be one designed to install to a flash drive.

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February 25, 2009 at 16:55:58
From what you wrote in your post it sounds like you have already successfully created a bootable DOS USB stick which loaded a CDROM driver and MSCDEX.EXE which allowed you to access the Win98 installation CD and attempt to run SETUP.EXE, which wouldn't run because it could not find a DOS partition on the target hard drive. So, from the DOS booted on the USB stick you have used FDISK to create an active DOS partition, but the only problem is that you haven't formatted the newly created partition. At least, that's what I read in your post. Why don't you just use the copy of FORMAT.COM which is available in the Win98 directory on the CD, the same location from where you ran SETUP.EXE? doesn't need to be on the USB stick, it'll run just fine from the CD. How come you were able to successfully copy and set up all these other files on the USB stick but not

The reason you are supposed to reboot after creating a DOS partition is so that DOS will recognize the partition during boot and assign it a drive letter. Dos can't assign partitions drive letters after booting and needs an assigned drive letter to work (and so does SETUP.EXE as well).

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February 27, 2009 at 18:46:53
Why not make a copy of the win98 CD, and make it bootable.

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