The Windows 98 'Startup' or
EBD ( Emergency Boot Disk)
With a few comments by The Starman
What's New for the Windows 98 Startup Disk?
The Startup Disk has changed significantly for Windows 98. The
following items are new for Windows 98:
- MULTI-CONFIG START MENU
- REAL-MODE CD-ROM DRIVERS
- EBD.CAB FILE
- WINDOWS 98 STARTUP PROBLEMS
- USING THE TOOLS AVAILABLE ON THE STARTUP DISK
MULTI-CONFIG START MENU
If you boot your computer using the new Windows 98 Startup Disk, a boot
menu appears allowing you the option to load drivers for the most common
CD-Rom drives or perform a normal clean boot.
After you make your selection, the Config.sys file loads the appropriate
CD-ROM driver (if selected) and then loads a 2MB RAMDrive. The RAMDrive
is used to store all the diagnostic tools necessary to troubleshoot the
most common problems.
NOTE: The RAMdrive may cause your CD-Rom to pushed back 1 drive letter.
If your CD-Rom is usually drive D:, it will now be Drive E:.
REAL-MODE CD-ROM SUPPORT
The Windows 98 Statup Disk includes generic ATAPI IDE & SCSI CD-ROM
drivers that allow your CD-ROM to function at DOS when the Windows 98
GUI is not available.
NOTE: Not all CD-Rom drives are supported. If your CD-Rom drive does not
function with these drivers, you must use the drivers that came with your
The Ebd.cab file is a compressed file whose contents are extracted to the
Ramdrive during the startup process. The table below identifies the files
in the Ebd.cab file.
File Function ( Click here for a complete Directory Listing )
Attrib.exe Add or remove file attributes
Chkdsk.exe A simpler and smaller disk status tool
Debug.exe Debugging utility
Edit.com Real-mode emergency text editor
Ext.exe New, simple file extract utility
Format.com Disk format tool
[ Help.bat ] Apparently added after this text was written!
Mscdex.exe Microsoft CD-ROM file extension for MS-DOS
[ Restart.com ] Apparently added after this text was written!
Scandisk.exe Disk status tool
Scandisk.ini Disk status tool configuration file
Sys.com Transfers system files and make disk bootable
[ Uninstal.exe A tool to remove Windows 98 from the system and
return the system to its previous state ]
( This last file was *not* in the EBD.CAB file on the Win 98 disk
I examined here. Apparently this was only distributed with BETA
versions and someone forgot to remove this entry from the file!? )
CREATING A RAMDRIVE
The RAMDrive is created during the processing of the Config.sys file and
is 2MB in size. The Ramdrive is created using system RAM to emulate a
physical Hard Disk. Without creating the RAMdrive, we would not have
enough space on a single 1.44 meg floppy disk to contain all the
diagnostic tools as well as the CD-ROM drivers.
WARNING: Since the RAMDrive is created during the processing of the
Config.sys file and uses System RAM, it is only temporary. It will
disappear if you restart your computer normally.
LIST OF ALL COMPONENTS ON THE EBD
( Click here for a complete Directory Listing )
The following table describes the function of each file copied to the EBD.
Aspi2dos.sys Real-Mode Adaptec CD-ROM driver
Aspi4dos.sys Real-Mode Adaptec CD-ROM driver
Aspi8dos.sys Real-Mode Adaptec CD-ROM driver
Aspi8u2.sys Real-Mode Adaptec CD-ROM driver
Aspicd.sys Real-Mode Adaptec CD-ROM driver
Autoexec.bat Startup batch file
Btcdrom.sys Mylex/BusLogic CD-ROM driver
Btdosm.sys Mylex/BusLogic CD-ROM driver
Command.com Command interpreter
Config.sys Loads the device drivers
Drvspace.bin Microsoft DriveSpace compression driver
Ebd.cab Cab file containing extract utilities
Ebd.sys File identifying the E[B]D
Extract.exe File to expand the Ebd.cab file
Fdisk.exe Disk partition tool
Findramd.exe Utility to find the RAMDrive during startup
Flashpt.sys Mylex/BusLogic CD-ROM driver
Himem.sys XMS Memory Manager
Io.sys System boot file
Msdos.sys Boot option information (paths, multiboot, and so on)
Oakcdrom.sys Generic device driver for ATAPI CD-ROM drives
Ramdrive.sys Creates a Ramdrive during startup
Setramd.bat Searches for first available drive to be a Ramdrive
WINDOWS 98 STARTUP PROBLEMS
This section includes some common troubleshooting steps that can be used
when it's necessary to use the Windows 98 Startup Disk. These steps are
designed to get the user at least into Safe-Mode where you have access
to Windows 98 extensive HELP system to further troubleshoot any issues.
Starting Your Computer in Safe Mode
There are several reasons why Windows 98 may fail
to start properly. The first step in troubleshooting
is to try starting your computer in Safe Mode. If
Safe Mode works, you can then use the extensive Help
system and troubleshooters located in the Start
>>> To start your computer in Safe Mode:
1. Remove the Startup Disk and restart your computer.
After the computer restarts but before Windows begins
to load, hold down the CTRL key until the Microsoft
Windows 98 Startup Menu appears. (If you are running
Windows 95, press the F8 key at the "Starting
Windows 95" prompt.)
2. From the Startup menu, select Safe Mode.
If you can start your computer in Safe Mode, use
Windows 98 Help to resolve your original issue.
Setup Fails and the Computer Will Not Start
There are a few common reasons why Windows 98 Setup
may fail to complete successfully. The following
section explains what you can do to recover from
these situations. For more information on other
Setup problems, see the Setup.txt file in the
Win98 folder of your Windows 98 CD or Setup Disk #1.
If you encounter any of these error messages while
* Invalid System Disk
* Incorrect MS-DOS Version
* Missing or Corrupted COMMAND.COM
* Compression Driver errors
It is likely that your computer's startup drive may
need updated system files. You can use the SYS command
to copy the needed files to your computer.
NOTE: If you are currently loading compression software,
you will need to know your host drive letter. This is
typically H. If you are not loading any compression
software, then you will need to SYS your C drive.
>>> To use the SYS command to copy system files to your
1. Restart your computer using the Windows 98 Startup
Disk, select option 2 on the Startup menu, and then
2. At the A:\ prompt, type: SYS X: (where X is your
Host or Startup drive).
3. If the procedure is successful, a "System transferred"
message appears. If it is not successful, check to be
sure you are typing the correct drive letter for your
IMPORTANT: If you have installed software that came with
your hard drive, be sure to read the documentation that
describes how to start your computer using a floppy disk.
If antivirus programs are left running during Setup,
they may prevent Setup from properly updating the system
files. If this occurs, disable or uninstall the antivirus
program, and then run Setup again.
NOTE: Some computers have built-in antivirus software.
This built-in software should also be disabled before
running Setup. If the software is left enabled, you
may receive a warning message informing you that the
Master Boot Record has changed. If you see such a
message, you MUST accept these changes or Setup may
Setup Stops Responding During Hardware Detection
If Setup stops responding while it is detecting the
hardware in your computer, turn your computer off and
wait a few seconds, then turn it back on. You may need
to do this several times, because Setup could stop
responding during several different detection modules.
NOTE: Use the power switch to turn your computer completely
off. Do not use the reset button or press CTRL+ALT+DELETE
to restart your computer.
If Setup still fails to complete successfully, it may be
necessary to start your computer in Safe Mode so that
you can view the Help topics associated with hardware
Compressed Drives Not Mounted
There are several reasons why compressed drives may
not be accessible. If your Windows directory is on a
compressed drive that is not mounted, you will not be
able to start Windows. If you suspect problems with your
compressed drives, try using Scandisk to fix them.
From the A:\ prompt, type:
Scandisk /Mount X:
where X is the drive letter of the compressed drive.
ScanDisk will then attempt to repair any errors and
mount the drive.
If there is not enough memory to check your compressed
drives, see "Installing Windows 98 from MS-DOS," in
the Setup.txt file on Setup Disk 1 or the Windows 98 CD.
USING THE TOOLS AVAILABLE ON THE STARTUP DISK
This section decribes how to use some of the utilities
included with the Windows 98 Startup Disk. To run each
program you should do the following:
1. Put the Windows 98 Startup Disk in the floppy disk
drive, and then restart your computer.
2. At the Startup menu, select option 1 or 2
(depending upon whether you need CD-ROM access),
and then press ENTER.
3. At the MS-DOS command prompt (A:\), type the name
of the utility you wish to run, and then press ENTER.
SCANDISK.EXE and CHKDSK.EXE
These two programs are useful for checking your hard
disk for errors. If you suspect there may be file
corruption or other problems with your hard disk(s),
run ScanDisk to check for and repair errors.
To check all your hard disks for errors, type:
To perform a full surface scan of your hard disk(s) for
maximum protection against data loss, type:
Scandisk /all /Surface
NOTE: You may receive errors about Long File Names. The MS-DOS
version of ScanDisk can only detect problems with long
file names, it cannot fix them. To correct these types of
errors, you must run ScanDisk from within Windows 98.
NOTE: If you have any compressed drives, you may receive an
error message stating that there is not enough memory
to check your compressed drives. To solve this problem,
try starting your computer with the Windows 98 Startup
Disk, as described in Step 1, earlier in this section.
Select option 2. This may allow ScanDisk enough memory to
check your compressed drives.
If ScanDisk is unable to check your drives, try using
CHKDSK.EXE instead. CHKDSK will check for cross-linked
files and lost allocation units.
The SYS command is used to copy system files from one
disk to another. Your computer needs these system files
>>> To SYS your C drive, type:
and then press ENTER. After a few seconds, a
"System Transferred" message appears.
The following files are copied to your hard disk during
the SYS procedure:
If the SYS C: command does not work and you have a
compressed drive, you may need to type the drive letter
of your host drive. With the DblSpace or DrvSpace programs,
the host drive is typically designated drive H. If you are
not sure of the drive letter, run ScanDisk and see if it
prompts you about your compressed drive.
FDISK.EXE and FORMAT.EXE
FDISK and FORMAT are utilities necessary for installing
a new hard disk in your computer or for starting over
fresh with a clean disk. FDISK is used first to create
a partition and then FORMAT is used to make the partition
available for use.
WARNING: Using FDISK incorrectly can destroy all data
on your hard disk. If you are unsure of how to use FDISK,
consult your computer documentation.
You can use the Windows 98 version of FDISK to create
FAT32 partitions on drives over 512 megabytes in size.
FAT32 reduces the cluster size for large drives and allows
you to create single partitions on drives over 2 GB.
To view your current drive status, type FDISK /STATUS
at the MS-DOS command prompt.
After you have partitioned a drive using FDISK, you will
need to use the FORMAT command. To format a newly
partitioned drive, type:
Where X represents the letter of the drive that you
want to format.
If you want to format drive C, you need to make this
disk a system disk so that your computer can start. To
do this, type /s at the end of the FORMAT command. For
FORMAT C: /s
System Startup files will be automatically copied after
your drive is formatted.
The Windows 98 Startup Disk includes a set of generic
CD-ROM drivers. These drivers work with most IDE ATAPI
and SCSI CD-ROM models.
If your particular CD-ROM drive does not work with
these drivers, you will need to use the drivers that
came with your CD-ROM drive.
Following are some known issues about the CD-ROM drivers:
1. CD-ROM drives connected to sound cards may not work
2. Early proprietary CD-ROM drives (for example, Mitsumi,
Panasonic, Sony) may not work with these drivers. Some
older IDE controllers may fail as well.
3. The SCSI drivers on the Startup Disk support most
Adaptec, Buslogic, and Mylex adapters. Some other
SCSI CD-ROM drives may not work with the drivers on
the Startup Disk.
4. If your SCSI controller is configured for a non-default
I/O range, the drivers may not detect your SCSI card.
Consult your SCSI driver documentation for the default
I/O ranges for your card.
5. Drivers are not included for any PC Card (PCMCIA)
If you need to remove Windows 98 from your system, you
can use the real-mode uninstall utility included on the
Windows 98 Startup Disk.
IMPORTANT: If you did not choose the option to "Save
System Files" during Setup, then you will be unable to
use this utility.
>>> To use the uninstall utility, perform the following
1. Restart your computer with the Windows 98 Startup Disk,
select option 2, and then press ENTER.
2. At the MS-DOS command prompt, type UNINSTAL, and then
NOTE: If you see the message "WINUNDO.DAT is missing or
corrupt," you cannot uninstall this version of Windows 98.
The EXT command is used in conjunction with the Extract.exe
utility to make it easier to extract Windows 98 files to
your hard disk. You can use this to replace missing or
This utility is extremely useful if you are receiving errors
during startup about missing files, or execution errors such
as General Protection Faults or invalid page faults.
>>> To use Ext.exe to extract a file, perform the following
1. Use the Startup Disk to start your computer. Select
option 1, and then press ENTER.
2. Make sure the Windows 98 CD is inserted in the drive.
3. Type EXT at the MS-DOS command prompt, and then
4. Follow the prompts to indicate the location of the
Windows 98 Setup files, the files you wish to extract,
and the location in which you want to place the extracted
NOTE: If your CD-ROM drive letter is E, then type the location
to the Setup files as E:\WIN98.
NOTE: If you wish to extract more than one file at a time, you
can use wild card characters.