How do I create a bootable Windows 2000/NT installation CD-ROM?

A. Its possible to create a bootable CD-ROM from the basic I386 structure. This is useful since Microsoft are release many builds of Windows 2000 and creating a bootable CD may be useful. This will also work with the finished version of 2000 (but the CDROM_IS.5B3 name will change).

You will require version 3.7D of CDRWIN from and will need to load the necessary ASPI drivers. The free download version is fully functional but will only write at 1 speed.

Before starting the CD creation create a directory and copy into it the I386 structure of 2000 and the CDROM_IS.5 file from the Beta 3 CD-ROM. As of Release Candidate 2 the name is CDROM_IS.5. You can check which CSROM_IS file its expecting by looking at file i386\layout.inf, for example:

signature="$Windows NT$"


_x = %srvcd%,\cdrom_is.5,,""
_1 = %srvcd%,\cdrom_is.5,,""
_2 = %srvcd%,\cdrom_is.5,,""
_3 = %srvcd%,\cdrom_is.5,,""
_4 = %srvcd%,\cdrom_is.5,,""

Now you have a directory on disk with the I386 structure and the CDROM_IS.5 file. I've created a copy of this file and the boot sector of the CD-ROM in file BOOTCD.ZIP which will allow you to skip steps 1 to 5 below.

  1. Start the CDRWIN program
  2. Insert your old beta 3 CD-ROM
  3. Select the 'Extract Disc/Tracks/Sectors' option (3rd button from left on top row)
    Click here to view image
  4. Select extract mode 'Select Sectors'. Enter a image file name, e.g. c:\cdsector.bin. Leave the file format as automatic and set the sector selection to start 20, end 20 and datatype 'Mode1 (2048). Click Start
  5. Click OK to the success message and close the extract dialog
  6. Now select 'File Backup and Tools' CDRWIN option
  7. Select the option to 'Build and Record an ISO9660 Image File'. Click Add and select your server directory. Enter an ISO9660 image file, e.g. ntsrv2072.

    Select the options as shown in the above image.
  8. Click Advanced Options.
  9. Under Volume Label type 'NTSRV2072' (if it was build 2072)
  10. Select the 'Bootable Disk' tab
  11. Check the 'Make bootable disc', media emulation 'Custom'. The image file should be the file created in step 4. Enter developer name of 'Microsoft Corporation', Load Segment '07C0' and Load Sector Count '4'. Click OK
  12. Click Start to begin making the CD

Once CD completion is complete you will have a file where you specified the ISO9660 Image File of around 400MB which may be deleted (its just the ISO image that was copied to the CD).

You will now be able to boot with the CD (providing the motherboard and bios support CD-ROM booting). I tested the above on build 2072 of Windows 2000.

Thanks to Joseph R. Worrall who come up with most of the above originally for Beta 2 and I've just updated it for build 2114 and the final version.

You can also use the above to make a Windows NT4 bootable CD in the same way .It's the same instructions as Windows 2000, except that instead of CDROM_IS.5 (for server) you need the CDROM_S.40 (or equivalent _W.40 for workstation). You also need the bootfix.bin file from a Windows 2000 i386 directory (this is the cool bit that says "Press any key to boot from CD-ROM" - another bonus!). Thanks to Steve Randall for pointing this out.

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