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Create a Windows Me startup disk

Despite its awesome power, your computer is not impervious to certain perils, whether caused by a computer virus, software downloaded from the Web, or simply general wear. Even a small hard disk problem may cause you to lose days or even months of your hard work.

In the event a problem prevents you from starting Windows Me, you can use a Windows Me startup disk, also called a "boot disk," to start your computer, gain access to your system files, run diagnostic programs, and fix problems. It can be an ounce (or a megabyte) of prevention, should your hard disk fall on hard times.

Give startup problems the boot
You can use the Windows Me startup disk to start your computer from its floppy drive if it will not start from the hard drive. Using the disk, you can get your computer running again, so you can start fixing what is wrong. The startup disk will also restore minimal display settings, to ensure that you are able to see your desktop. The disk contains:

  • CD-ROM drivers that allow your CD-ROM drive to function if your computer is having problems communicating with it.
  • Small Computer System Interface (SCSI) drivers, which work with your hard drive and some peripherals.
  • System and diagnostic programs, such as ScanDisk, that check your hard disk for errors and help diagnose problems after you get your computer started.

How to create a startup disk
Normally, you would create a startup disk when you installed Windows Me. If your startup disk is old (from an earlier version of Windows), you'll need to make a new startup disk for Windows Me. If you never made a startup disk, or if you have lost it, now is a great time to make a new one. It's easy.

To create a boot disk, you will need a blank, 1.2 megabyte (MB) disk. You may also need your Windows Me CD, so be sure to have it handy. To create a startup disk:

  1. Click Start, point to Settings, click Control Panel, and then click Add/Remove Programs.
  2. Click the Startup Disk tab, and then click Create Disk.
  3. Label a floppy disk "Windows Me Startup Disk," insert the disk in your floppy drive when prompted, and then click OK. Windows Me will begin to copy files to the floppy disk.
  4. When copying is complete, click OK, and then store the disk in a safe place.

What else can you do to protect yourself?
Practicing regular computer maintenance is always a good idea, and can be particularly helpful if you are recovering from a system crash. Windows Me comes with a number of system maintenance tools that help keep your computer in top shape. For more information, see:

Computer viruses can also cause any number of problems, including a system crash. Microsoft recommends that you always use current anti-virus software, which are widely available. Start with this list of anti-virus software vendors Offsite link for more information.

Many anti-virus programs also allow you to create a startup disk. But your best bet is to make a startup disk now, put it in a safe place, and be prepared. It takes just a few minutes, and could save you time and headaches in the long run.

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