[CQ-Contest] Will my computer boot DOS and work with a USB stick/Thumb Drive?

kd4d at comcast.net kd4d at comcast.net
Mon Jan 31 21:18:17 EST 2005

Good evening, all:

If you have a floppy disk drive, two blank floppy disks, and an
internet connection, you can find out if your computer BIOS will
boot DOS and allow you to run CT or TR from a USB stick or
thumb drive.

You will have to boot DOS on your computer to test this, but you
can do this from the floppy drive.  (If you don't have a floppy
drive, you can create a bootable DOS CD pretty easily, but it's
a bit more involved.  If you want my bootable CD procedure,
let me know).

Okay, get two floppy disks.  Go to "www.bootdisk.com" and
click on the "bootdisks" link under Excellent Bootdisks.

Click on DOS 6.22 and save the file boot622.exe to your
desktop in Windows.  Click on Windows 98 SE Custom, no
ramdrive and save the file boot98sc.exe to your desktop.

Insert a floppy disk into the drive.  Double click on boot622.exe
and select OK when it asks if you have inserted a floppy.

When the copy completes, copy the file "emm386.exe" from
the floppy disk (a:) to your desktop.

Now, remove that floppy, label it DOS 6.22 boot floppy, and
keep it around!  :-)  Insert another floppy, double click on
boot98sc.exe on your desktop, select OK, and let the copy

Delete the following files from that floppy disk.  You can
click on "My Computer" and use the GUI to do this.


Copy the file emm386 to the floppy disk (a:).

Now, edit autoexec.bat on the floppy and change it to the
following.  I used WordPad...make sure to save the file
as type "txt" - a textfile.

smartdrv c+

Save the file.  Edit config.sys and change it to:

DEVICE=HIMEM.SYS /testmem:off
DEVICE=emm386.exe noems


Save the file (as a type txt again).

Now, plug in the USB stick, shut down Windows and turn the computer
off.  Turn it back on.  If it doesn't boot from the floppy disk, see your
computer documentation for how to change the boot order on
your computer.  Usually, holding down the delete, escape, F2, F8,
or F12 key will bring up a BIOS or configuration menu.

NOTE:  TR hung up rapidly in the simulator (within a few QSO's)
without smartdrv loaded.

Now, when you get an A:\ dos prompt, type


Do you see the files on the USB stick (or a blank stick)?  If
so, you could install CT or TR on the USB stick from
Windows. Then, reboot with the floppy, type

cd ct10


cd tr679

or whatever.  This assumes the CT files are in a directory called
ct10 or the TR files are in a directory called tr679 on the USB stick.

Please let us know how this turns out.  This works for me using an
external USB floppy drive on a Dell Inspiron D600 laptop with an
external floppy and won't work on an older E-Machines T1600.

You can use my procedure to create a bootable CD almost exactly
like we made the floppy disk if you don't have a floppy drive.  You
can take the CD and a USB stick to a store and try this on a
computer you are considering purchasing.

Please let me know if you have any corrections, additions, or
clarifications.  Let us all know if you get this to work (or not)
and anything else you did!  And, what computer(s) you tried!


Mark, KD4D

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