How-To Create a Bootable CDROM with Network Drivers and Support

Ever have a situation where you need a Windows friendly (DOS) boot CDROM with network support? If you tinker with network utilities often, you'll likely find the need sooner or later. With 1.44MB floppy drives starting to disappear I figured it was time to create a bootable CDROM, complete with network drivers and network support. This decision was accelerated by the fact that my laptop doesn't even have a floppy drive. I can attach a USB based floppy but this is a little too much work to try and get running off of a bootable CDROM (at least that's my perception - if you have some cool input, drop me a line at malik@whitehats.ca).

I decided to make my bootable CDROM so that I could incorporate my laptop within a library of GHOST images, re-imaging and hitting the road with the right tools for the right job, without having to monkey around installing, partitioning, configuring every time I had to modify my configurations. The scenario described below outlines how to create a bootable CDROM for use with Symantec GHOST (seeing as I found their documentation was less than adequate).

If your system boots fine with IBM DOS and you have a floppy drive, I strongly urge you to use Ghost Boot Wizard.exe (GHOST7CE). Symantec has come a long way since I last had to create a network bootdisk and this utility is very helpful. First off you will need to create a bootable floppy disk. If on the other hand you can't boot from IBM DOS and/or you don't have a floppy drive on the system you wish to GHOST, you can follow these instructions. They should get you started or at least guide you in the right direction.

I used Windows Millenium Edition and modified the configuration to make everything fit onto a bootable floppy. This disk is compatible with all x86 architectures I know of - thanks to the proliferation of Microsoft OS'. If your using Win9x your file listings will be different but the majority of the steps below can be used as a guide.

Make an MSDOS boot disk

1. Insert a High Density 1.44MB floppy disk into the floppy disk drive
   
2. Windows95/98
  a) Bring up a command prompt
  b) type format a: /s
       
  Windows Millenium Edition
 

a)

Start -> Settings -> Control Panel -> Add/Remove Hardware
  b) Click on the top right tab titled Startup Disk
  c) Click Create Disk
       
3. Wait until the disk has been formatted and the led on the front of the drive goes off
       
4. Find the NDIS2 (DOS) drivers for your network card. Try your manufacturers web site or use your favourite search engine (such as Google).
       
5. Remove the unnecessary files from your newly created boot floppy disk. The file listing should look something like this:
   

A:\>dir
Volume in drive A has no label.
Volume Serial Number is 2D50-8441

Directory of A:\

2002-10-16 18:23 672 AUTOEXEC.BAT
2002-10-16 17:45 401 CONFIG.SYS
2002-10-16 17:40 721 SETRAMD.BAT
2000-06-08 17:00 6,855 FINDRAMD.EXE
2000-06-08 17:00 1,247 FIXIT.BAT
2000-06-08 17:00 12,663 RAMDRIVE.SYS
2000-06-08 17:00 14,386 ASPI4DOS.SYS
2000-06-08 17:00 21,971 BTCDROM.SYS
2000-06-08 17:00 29,606 ASPICD.SYS
2000-06-08 17:00 30,955 BTDOSM.SYS
2000-06-08 17:00 35,330 ASPI2DOS.SYS
2000-06-08 17:00 37,564 ASPI8DOS.SYS
2000-06-08 17:00 44,828 ASPI8U2.SYS
2000-06-08 17:00 64,425 FLASHPT.SYS
2000-06-08 17:00 53,767 EXTRACT.EXE
2000-06-08 17:00 93,040 COMMAND.COM
2000-06-08 17:00 33,191 HIMEM.SYS
2000-06-08 17:00 41,302 OAKCDROM.SYS
2000-06-08 17:00 922 CHECKSR.BAT
2000-06-08 17:00 3,501 HIBINV.EXE
20 File(s) 527,347 bytes
0 Dir(s) 808,448 bytes free

       
6. Search your hard drive for mscdex.exe. If you can't find the file you can look for it on the web at sites like http://www.techadvice.com/tech/M/MSCDEX.htm. At the command prompt type:
      copy x:\path_to_file\mscdex.exe a:\
       
7. Go back to where you saved your downloaded network drivers, uncompress or unzip them as required, then find the file PROTOCOL.INI within the subdirectory hierarchy. Something like:
       
   

C:\sis900\NDIS2\DOS>dir
Volume in drive D has no label.
Volume Serial Number is 341C-BBF3

Directory of C:\sis900\NDIS2\DOS

2002-10-15 13:33 <DIR> .
2002-10-15 13:33 <DIR> ..
2000-11-07 15:30 671 OEMSETUP.INF
2000-11-07 15:33 1,154 PROTOCOL.INI
2000-11-07 15:31 3,038 README.TXT
2001-08-01 13:41 42,981 SIS900.DOS
4 File(s) 47,844 bytes
2 Dir(s) 25,045,811,200 bytes free

       
8. Edit this file (not other PROTOCOL.INI's outside of your driver subdirectory root) with your text editor of choice (notepad.exe or whatever) and modify as indicated by the manufacturer. It should look something like the following when completed:
       
   

[PROTMAN]
drivername = PROTMAN$

[PKTDRV]
drivername = PKTDRV$
bindings = PC_CARD
intvec = 0x60
chainvec =0x66

[PC_CARD]
drivername = SIS900$

;------------------------------------------------------------
; Change the above line from ???? to the network card drivername.
; For example, a 3com Etherlink III (3com509) NIC:
;
; [PC_CARD]
; drivername = ELNK3$
;
; Some network cards require additional parameters. These should
; be added into the PC_CARD section. Refer to the network interface
; card's driver documentation.
; For example:
;
; [PC_CARD]
; drivername = ELNK3$
; IOADDRESS = 0x300
;
;------------------------------------------------------------

       
9. Save this file as a:\PROTOCOL.INI and close
       
10. Make a directory on the floppy to keep your network drivers in. This is not necessary but does help to keep things organized. At the command prompt type:
      mkdir a:\ndis
       
11. Copy your network NDIS2 (DOS) driver (the one you downloaded from the manufacturer) from its current location on your hard drive (something like C:\sis900\NDIS2\DOS\).
      copy C:\sis900\sis900\NDIS2\DOS\SIS900.DOS a:\ndis
       
12. In your Ghost7 installation directory (path something like this: C:\Program Files\Symantec\Ghost\ndis) you will see something like the following:
   

A:\>dir c:\progra~1\symantec\ghost\ndis
Volume in drive D has no label.
Volume Serial Number is 341C-BBF3

Directory of c:\progra~1\symantec\ghost\ndis

2002-05-21 16:58 <DIR> .
2002-05-21 16:58 <DIR> ..
1999-05-06 12:22 100 AUTOEXEC.BAT
1999-05-06 12:22 296 CONFIG.SYS
2001-03-22 17:21 5,781 DIS_PKT.DOS
2000-09-27 14:09 1,907 Ndisread.me
2000-05-08 16:24 8,513 netbind.com
2000-05-08 16:24 21,696 protman.dos
2000-05-08 16:24 13,770 protman.exe
1999-05-06 12:22 693 PROTOCOL.INI
8 File(s) 52,756 bytes
2 Dir(s) 26,230,030,336 bytes free

       
13. Copy netbind.com to a:\ by typing:
      copy netbind.com a:\
       
14.

Copy DIS_PKT.DOS, protman.dos, protman.exe to a:\ndis by typing:

      copy DIS_PKT.DOS a:\ndis
copy protman.dos a:\ndis
copy protman.exe a:\ndis
       
15. Open up a:\CONFIG.SYS with your text editor and modify to read something like:
   

device=oakcdrom.sys /D:mscd001
device=btdosm.sys
device=flashpt.sys
device=btcdrom.sys /D:mscd001
device=aspi2dos.sys
device=aspi8dos.sys
device=aspi4dos.sys
device=aspi8u2.sys
device=aspicd.sys /D:mscd001
devicehigh=ramdrive.sys /E 2048
device=a:\ndis\protman.dos /I:\
device=a:\ndis\dis_pkt.dos
device=a:\ndis\SIS900.DOS

files=10
buffers=10
dos=high,umb
stacks=9,256
lastdrive=z

       
16. Save the file as a:\CONFIG.SYS and close
       
17. Open up a:\AUTOEXEC.BAT with your text editor and modify to read something like:
   

@ECHO OFF
path=c:\windows;d:\
\hibinv.exe
set EXPAND=YES
SET DIRCMD=/O:N
set LglDrv=27 * 26 Z 25 Y 24 X 23 W 22 V 21 U 20 T 19 S 18 R 17 Q 16 P 15
set LglDrv=%LglDrv% O 14 N 13 M 12 L 11 K 10 J 9 I 8 H 7 G 6 F 5 E 4 D 3 C
cls
call setramd.bat %LglDrv%
set temp=c:\
set tmp=c:\
path=%RAMD%:\;a:\;%path%;%CDROM%:\
copy command.com %RAMD%:\ > NUL
set comspec=%RAMD%:\command.com
copy extract.exe %RAMD%:\ > NUL

:EXT

LH %ramd%:\MSCDEX.EXE /D:mscd001 /L:%CDROM%
netbind.com
CD GHOST
echo Loading Ghost...
GHOST.EXE
call fixit.bat
rem clean up environment variables
set CDPROB=
set CDROM=
set LglDrv=
GOTO QUICK

       
18. Save the file as a:\AUTOEXEC.BAT and close
       
19. Open up a:\SETRAMD.BAT with your text editor and modify to read something like:
   

@echo off
set RAMD=
set CDROM=

echo.
echo Preparing to start your computer.
echo This may take a few minutes. Please wait...
echo.

a:\findramd

if errorlevel 255 goto no_ramdrive

if not errorlevel 3 goto no_ramdrive

goto do_shift

:loop
if errorlevel %1 goto no_shift

:do_shift
set cdrom=%2
shift
shift
if not %1*==* goto loop
goto no_ramdrive

:no_shift
set ramd=%2

if "%RAMD%"=="C" goto c_drive

goto success

:c_drive
echo Windows Stuff was here
echo.
goto success

:no_ramdrive
echo We do not have a RAMDRIVE - problems!!!
echo.
:success

       
20. Save the file as a:\SETRAMD.BAT and close
       
21. Create another directory on a:\ by typing the following at the command prompt:
      mkdir a:\ghost
       
22. Copy ghost.exe from your Ghost install directory to a:\ghost by typing:
      copy c:\progra~1\symantec\ghost\ghost.exe a:\ghost
       
23. You should be able to delete and remove reference to FIXIT.BAT and CHECKSR.BAT from a:\ as well (reference in AUTOEXEC.BAT). I didn't try this but they don't appear useful for our purposes. If you run out of room on your floppy, you'll have to scrounge to cut down on file sizes and save space. Try removing innocuous files from a:\ and then booting off the floppy. If you can bring the system up then you are probably OK.
       
24. Your floppy should now look something like this:
   

C:\>tree /F /A a:
Folder PATH listing
Volume serial number is 0006FE80 2D50:8441
A:\
| AUTOEXEC.BAT
| CONFIG.SYS
| SETRAMD.BAT
| FINDRAMD.EXE
| FIXIT.BAT
| RAMDRIVE.SYS
| ASPI4DOS.SYS
| BTCDROM.SYS
| ASPICD.SYS
| BTDOSM.SYS
| ASPI2DOS.SYS
| ASPI8DOS.SYS
| ASPI8U2.SYS
| FLASHPT.SYS
| EXTRACT.EXE
| COMMAND.COM
| HIMEM.SYS
| OAKCDROM.SYS
| CHECKSR.BAT
| HIBINV.EXE
| PROTOCOL.INI
| netbind.com
| mscdex.exe
|
\---ndis
DIS_PKT.DOS
protman.dos
protman.exe
PROTOCOL.INI
SIS900.DOS

C:\>dir /A HSRA /S a:
Volume in drive C has no label.
Volume Serial Number is F41D-5091

Volume in drive A has no label.
Volume Serial Number is 2D50-8441

Directory of A:\

2000-06-08 17:00 116,736 IO.SYS
2002-10-16 18:23 672 AUTOEXEC.BAT
2002-10-16 17:45 401 CONFIG.SYS
2002-10-16 17:40 721 SETRAMD.BAT
2000-06-08 17:00 6,855 FINDRAMD.EXE
2000-06-08 17:00 1,247 FIXIT.BAT
2000-06-08 17:00 12,663 RAMDRIVE.SYS
2000-06-08 17:00 14,386 ASPI4DOS.SYS
2000-06-08 17:00 21,971 BTCDROM.SYS
2000-06-08 17:00 29,606 ASPICD.SYS
2000-06-08 17:00 30,955 BTDOSM.SYS
2000-06-08 17:00 35,330 ASPI2DOS.SYS
2000-06-08 17:00 37,564 ASPI8DOS.SYS
2000-06-08 17:00 44,828 ASPI8U2.SYS
2000-06-08 17:00 64,425 FLASHPT.SYS
2000-06-08 17:00 53,767 EXTRACT.EXE
2000-06-08 17:00 93,040 COMMAND.COM
2000-06-08 17:00 33,191 HIMEM.SYS
2000-06-08 17:00 41,302 OAKCDROM.SYS
2000-06-08 17:00 922 CHECKSR.BAT
2000-06-08 17:00 3,501 HIBINV.EXE
2002-10-16 16:35 9 MSDOS.SYS
2002-10-16 17:25 695 PROTOCOL.INI
2000-05-08 16:24 8,513 netbind.com
2001-03-12 14:54 21,180 mscdex.exe
2002-10-16 20:27 <DIR> ndis
25 File(s) 674,480 bytes

Directory of A:\ndis

2002-10-16 20:27 <DIR> .
2002-10-16 20:27 <DIR> ..
2001-03-22 17:21 5,781 DIS_PKT.DOS
2000-05-08 16:24 21,696 protman.dos
2000-05-08 16:24 13,770 protman.exe
2002-10-16 18:25 711 PROTOCOL.INI
2001-08-01 13:41 42,981 SIS900.DOS
5 File(s) 84,939 bytes

Total Files Listed:
30 File(s) 759,419 bytes
3 Dir(s) 690,688 bytes free

Creating the bootable CDROM

1. Open up your favourite CD-Burning software, prepare to make a DATA CD and follow your software's instructions on how to create a bootable CDROM using a 1.44MB floppy. Add whatever utilities you think you might need to the CDROM. Once booted you'll be in DOS so GUI utils are recommended ;-)
       
2. Put a blank CD-R or CDRW into the CDRW drive and start the burn. When completed, you should have a bootable CDROM with network support. Boot the client machine from this CDROM (make sure your BIOS is set to boot from CDROM before the HDD) and proceed to perform your Ghosting as needed, multicasting, networked etc...
       
3. A few years back I made a bootdisk for mapping network shares and logging onto the network, capable of retrieving .gho images from a shared drive. Its possible, you just need to include some more utilities on the bootdisk like net.exe and some other mini network drivers. Below is a listing of how I set the files up on the floppy.
       
      A:\>dir
Volume in drive A is GHOSTB
Volume Serial Number is 100A-3F54

Directory of A:\

1998-05-11 20:01 93,880 COMMAND.COM
2000-05-04 03:31 156 config.sys
2000-05-04 20:51 543 autoexec.bat
2000-05-03 15:08 <DIR> NET
3 File(s) 94,579 bytes
1 Dir(s) 19,456 bytes free

A:\NET>dir
Volume in drive A is GHOSTB
Volume Serial Number is 100A-3F54

Directory of A:\NET

2000-05-03 15:08 <DIR> .
2000-05-03 15:08 <DIR> ..
2000-05-04 03:20 401 protocol.ini
1996-10-14 01:38 4,644 ifshlp.sys
1996-10-14 01:38 4,468 ndishlp.sys
1996-10-14 01:38 450,342 net.exe
1996-10-14 01:38 76,234 net.msg
1996-10-14 01:38 123,066 neth.msg
1996-10-14 01:38 1,531 setup.inf
1996-10-14 01:38 1,477 wcsetup.inf
1996-10-14 01:38 840 wfwsys.cfg
1996-10-14 01:38 622 shares.pwl
1996-10-14 01:38 29,136 himem.sys
1996-10-14 01:38 120,926 emm386.exe
1996-10-14 01:38 4,294 emsbfr.exe
1996-10-14 01:38 817 lmhosts
1996-10-14 01:38 2,619 nemm.dos
1996-10-14 01:38 8,513 netbind.com
1996-10-14 01:38 395 networks
1996-10-14 01:38 22,826 nmtsr.exe
1996-10-14 01:38 795 protocol
1996-10-14 01:38 4,174 tcpdrv.dos
1996-10-14 01:38 71,040 tcptsr.exe
1996-10-14 01:38 233 tcputils.ini
1996-10-14 01:38 37,024 tinyrfc.exe
1996-10-14 01:38 3,325 umb.com
1996-10-14 01:38 21,940 protman.dos
1996-10-14 01:38 13,782 protman.exe
1998-01-20 11:10 19,232 FEM556N2.DOS
1998-05-27 15:09 12,821 FMENABLE.EXE
2000-05-03 15:21 622 SHARE000.PWL
2001-01-10 08:50 0 CONNECT.DAT
2000-05-03 15:35 606 REMOTEPS.PWL
2000-05-04 08:30 606 WRKPASWD.PWL
2000-05-04 07:44 606 MYPASSWD.PWL
2000-05-04 08:30 488 SYSTEM.INI
34 File(s) 1,040,445 bytes
2 Dir(s) 19,456 bytes free

A:\>type autoexec.bat
echo off
echo Network Bootdisk for 3COM FEM556BI PCMCIA Card
echo Connecting to COMPUTER_WITH_IMAGES
echo Shared Drives are y: and Z:
echo Ghost Images are on Z:
echo .
echo Created by Jamie French
echo 05/04/00
pause

path=a:\net
a:\net\net initialize
a:\net\netbind.com
a:\net\umb.com
a:\net\tcptsr.exe
a:\net\tinyrfc.exe
a:\net\nmtsr.exe
a:\net\emsbfr.exe
a:\net\net start
net use z: \\COMPUTER_WITH_IMAGES\Images
net use y: \\COMPUTER_WITH_OTHERSTUFF\Shared
echo Running Setup...
rem z:\msclient\netsetup\setup.exe /$
cls
z:
dir /w

A:\>type config.sys
files=30
device=a:\net\ifshlp.sys
DEVICE=A:\NET\FMENABLE.EXE
lastdrive=z
DEVICE=A:\NET\HIMEM.SYS
rem DEVICE=A:\NET\EMM386.EXE NOEMS
rem DOS=HIGH,UMB

       
4. For those without good CD-Burning software, you can use Linux and enter the following commands to create and write a bootable CD:
      # dd if=/dev/fd0 of=boot.img
# mkisofs -v -J -o /ghostboot.iso -b boot.img .
# cdrecord -v -dev=0,2,0 -speed=4 ghostboot.iso

That's it!


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