NWA-PCUG Newsletter Article, February 2004
Courting Disaster?
by Ed Maxey
edmaxey@juno.com (click to email author)

Is your computer running WindowsXP? If so, do you have a backup? If not and a worm or virus bombed your operating system would you not be SOL?

There is no need to court such disaster. You could restore your operating system in fifteen minutes if you had a backup USB2 external hard drive which could be accessed from DOS.

You'll need a system floppy with this in your CONFIG.SYS


device = USBASPI.SYS /w /v

device = USBCD.SYS /d:USBCD001

device = di1000DD.sys

You'll also need an AUTOEXEC.BAT something like this:

mscdex /d:USBCD001



Now if your WindowsXP was wormy and wouldn't boot you could still boot the floppy. You would then soon be seeing all partitions; both external and internal. Ghost allows you to erase the internal OS and rewrite it from the external USB2 hard drive. You're back in business.

USBASPI.SYS searches for any USB devices it can find. This file and USBCD.SYS are contained in kxlrw40an.exe which can be downloaded from


This file and USBCD.SYS are in the F2h subdirectory created by kslrw40an.exe. USBCD.SYS generates USBCD001, the CD-ROM R/W driver, whenever a USB CD-ROM device is found.

Dil000DD.SYS enables communication between ASPI and DOS.

Mhairudos.zip may be downloaded from


-or from-


and DiL000DD.SYS is found when the zip file is extracted.

The MSCDEX and mouse programs must be compatible with the DOS version of your floppy. They are readily available via your computer club or local computer store. The ASPI files will probably not recognize a USB mouse.

GHOST.EXE is a SYMANTEC product. GHOSTPE.EXE is a part of Norton System Works 2002 and is somewhat faster than earlier versions of GHOST.EXE

You may also wish to include FORMAT.EXE and FDISK.EXE on your floppy in case you need to format the existing internal partition. If necessary you can delete the old partition and write a new one prior to copying the OS from the external hard drive.

What does one do if WindowsXP is their only OS? WindowsXP has no SYS command and hence can not make a DOS system floppy. The Ghost segment of Norton System Works 2000 will let you make a DOS bootable recovery floppy. This floppy was unable to find the external USB2 drive in this desktop.

However, deleting some if its files and replacing them as described above made this floppy work just fine..

Some worms and viruses destroy partitions. Some wreck the master boot record (MBR). FDISK.EXE and FORMAT.COM are then needed. A defective MBR may be rewritten by the command:

FDISK /mbr.

If GHOST then sees the internal hard drive the external backup can be copied onto it. If not FORMAT can be used to construct a partition on the internal hard drive which GHOST will see. FORMAT and FDISK must be compatible with the DOS version on the recovery floppy.

You will be amazed at how much better you sleep once you have both a recovery floppy and backup external hard drive tucked away in a safe place.

Better to be safe than sorry!

Addendum 4/3/04 Both kxlrw40an.exe and mhairudos.zip may currently be downloaded from


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