manually installing MSDOS...

Jules Richardson julesrichardsonuk at
Mon Mar 13 16:35:47 CST 2006

Another DOS question! :)

I've got a laptop that currently has Win2k and Debian Linux on it, along with 
a small FAT partition (it's actually FAT32 currently, but I can change that 
easily enough)

I want to put MSDOS on the FAT partition and triple-boot the machine - but the 
laptop has no floppy drive on it, so I can't just boot from a DOS floppy and 
run SYS that way.

So is there a way of putting the necessary files on there from either Windows 
or Linux such that DOS will boot? Can't remember how MSDOS does it's boot 
process now, but I assume that certain files (io.sys for one) need to be in 
certain locations on the FAT partition or something?

At one point I would have known how to do this, but the info's long since 
fallen out of my brain...

(Currently I'm booting Debian / Win2k from Grub - it should handle booting 
MSDOS too though).

Before I shoot myself in the foot, are there any other gotchas (like MSDOS 
needing to be the first partition on the drive or anything nuts like that)? 
The FAT partition is about 2GB into the disk - I seem to recall that a FAT 
partition can't be more than 2GB in size, but presumably providing the BIOS 
can see the whole disk DOS won't care about the offset to the start of the 

(All I actually want to do is put Slackware Linux on the machine there in 
place of Debian, but the CDROM drive's too flakey to boot from. If I can get 
MSDOS on there by copying from a remote machine then I can boot the Slackware 
installer from MSDOS and then install the rest of Slackware across the network 
- talk about complicated!!)

Ok, long email - will shut up now! :-)



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