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Creating a MS-DOS bootable flash drive

Booting MS-DOS from a USB drive can be useful for applying BIOS updates and other tasks.

Required Tools

  • USB flash drive (32GB or smaller)
  • A Windows 7/10 PC

Creating the drive

  • Launch Rufus
  • Under “Device” select your USB drive
  • Under “Boot selection” choose “FreeDOS”
  • Click START at the bottom of the window
  • Double check you have selected the correct drive and press OK to proceed
  • When the status bar says READY, the process is complete
  • Copy any files you will need in DOS to the flash drive. If you are applying a BIOS update, copy those files now.
  • Eject and unplug the flash drive

Booting to the drive

  • Connect the flash drive to the target PC and power it on. Go into the BIOS (Typically F2/Del/Esc) and set it as the primary boot device.
  • On newer systems, it is necessary to enable CSM / legacy boot mode as shown.

  • If successful, you will be greeted with the familiar old DOS prompt.
  • Use the dir command to confirm what files are on your USB drive.
  • Update .bat files can be executed by typing the filename.
Updated on October 5, 2021

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