Booting from another pc

Posted on 2004-09-21
Last Modified: 2010-04-26
I have a Dell PC that has no floppy drive. I want to build this PC but I don't have a bootable CD (only a bootable floppy). I have tried to install a floppy drive but it won't work. Is it possible to boot this PC from another one that does have a floppy drive? Please advise me.
Question by:xy15973
  • 3
LVL 57

Accepted Solution

Pete Long earned 500 total points
ID: 12110922
While it is possible to boot a PC from its network card, you need something on the other end that can handle PXE (Pre eXecute Enviroment) commands

If you have a working PC with a floppy drive can you not simply "Borrow" that drive and put it in the PC you want to build temporarily? at least then you know tha cable and drive are working, you woulod only need to set up the floppy in the BIOS to 1.44mb and enable the drive then

Install XP From DOS

Before you start

1.Make sure your data is backed up, don’t forget things like your favourites folder, my documents etc
2.Make sure you have the unlock code for Windows XP
3.Make sure you have the relevant drivers for you hardware and they are compatible with Windows XP

 a.To find out if your hardware is compatible go here
 b.To find out what hardware you have, to get the correct drivers go here

Note: At the very minimum have your Modem drivers then you can download any drivers you ‘thought you had.’

First thing to do is get hold of a bootable floppy, if you don’t have one download one from.

You can then boot using your boot floppy.

NOTE this will only work if the boot order is set (in the BIOS settings) to boot from the floppy (A:\) drive before the hard drive (may be listed as IDE0)

After the PC has booted and you are at command line type

Fdisk {enter}

The fdisk program will start; if it asks do you want large drive support select the default answer of “y” for yes.

Type 3 {enter} to delete existing DOS partition.

Type 1 to delete the PRIMARY DOS PARTITION.

Type 1 to select PRIMARY DOS PARTITION. (If it wont let you because you have more than one partition you will need to first delete any logical drives then delete the extended partition)
When prompted for VOLUME LABEL, look at the partition information at the top of the screen. Type in exactly what is written under Volume Label for the first partition. If there is nothing there, press the Enter key.
Type Y to verify deletion of the partition.
The primary DOS partition has been deleted. Press the Esc key and the system should return to the utility menu.
Press escape to exit, you MUST now reboot (leave the floppy in!!)
***Now create the new partition***
Type FDISK the at the command prompt and press ENTER:
Click #1. Create DOS Partition or Logical DOS drive' and press ENTER.
Click #1. Create Primary DOS Partition' and press ENTER.
Follow the instructions to create a primary partition of the desired size.
Set your Active Partition. Select 2 from the FDISK Main menu, and set your active
Now that's done, press escape to exit FDISK and reboot your system
***Format the partition***
If you want FAT32 formatting simply reboot and at command line type
format c:

When done reboot

Boot with a floppy that has smartdrive go to to download one

Copy the i386 folder to the hard drive

xcopy32 d:\i386 c:\i386 /s     (where d:is the CD and c: is the hard drive)

If this fails it cause xcopy32 is missing from your boot disk download it here and put it on the floppy

Type the following commands

C: (Changes to your Hard Drive, substitute E for the drive if it is something else)
CD\I386 (Changes to your Windows XP Setup folder)
CHECK: The prompt should now look like this: C:\I386>
WINNT (Starts the DOS Installation program.)
At this point, Windows XP Setup may complain if you don't have SmartDrive loaded.


Windows XP Professional Utility: Setup Disks for Floppy Boot Install

Windows XP Home Edition Utility: Setup Disks for Floppy Boot Install

Windows XP Professional with Service Pack 1 Utility: Setup Disks for Floppy Boot Install

Windows XP Home Edition with Service Pack 1 Utility: Setup Disks for Floppy Boot Install

Author Comment

ID: 12111144
Thanks for the advice. I'll give it a try and provide you with feedback.
LVL 57

Expert Comment

by:Pete Long
ID: 12111179

LVL 23

Expert Comment

by:Danny Child
ID: 12122390
Info here on how to make bootable CDroms

What OS are you trying to install?
most of em come on bootable cd's themselves

...assuming your pc can boot from CD in the first place...

as an alternative, you could take the hard disk out of the "new" pc, move it to the old one as a slave, and make it bootable there.  But PeteLong's suggestion of moving the floppy is easier.

and what's the problem that you had with booting from floppy in the first place?
LVL 57

Expert Comment

by:Pete Long
ID: 12251050

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