How to Make a Bootable USB Drive

By Campbell Vertesi

Many modern computers are shipped without a floppy drive. This can be a pain for anyone who needs to use a boot disk to rescue a system. This how-to will walk you through making an old fashioned DOS boot disk--on a USB key.

Things You'll Need

  • HP USB Disk Storage Format Tool (download from resources link below)
  • Windows 98 system files (download from resources link below )
  • A USB drive, no bigger than 2GB

Step 1

Insert your USB key into the computer, and open the HP USB Disk Storage Format Tool.

Step 2

Make sure your USB key is selected under the "Device" section at the top of the window. Select FAT32 as the file system.

Step 3

Select the checkbox for "Create a DOS Startup Disk," and the radio box for "using DOS system files located at..."

Step 4

Browse to the location where you extracted the Windows 98 system files you downloaded.

Step 5

Click the Start button, and confirm that it is OK to erase all data on the USB key. When the process has completed, your USB boot disk is ready.

Tips & Warnings

  • Not all computers will support booting from a USB device. Most anything less than three years old should be fine, but older machines may need a BIOS update first, or might not support it at all.