This is possible, and I have a working prototype that is simple to use. Though, before I display it I wanted to publicly ask the board where I should really post this. The "Windows" nor the "Software" section seemed suited for this topic, so I turned to the last resort "Hardware".

I know for months, even years, people say its possible. Though, I am proud to present one of the candidates that believe. I have seen it work, even on an old HP Laptop. That's why I'm here, waiting to share my knowledge and experience.

All I ask is to be pointed in the right direction,
- Stack Overflow

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We really don't have a section for DOS, so this hardware section will be fine. Go ahead! I'm curious, for starters :D


Thanks for the info. Here is how it begins:

I have come to share my knowledge pertaining DOS and USB devices. Many have their opinions, or have a few comments to send, but I am here to help you successfully boot to DOS while reading your External USB CD-Rom.

Before I move on, this has been tested on a HP Pavilion N5490 Laptop, and the 8-in-1 USB (ME-325X) CD Rom drive.

First things first, I would recommend a blank floppy. I will present the next and following steps:

  • Format your floppy disk
  • Put the Windows 98 boot disk files on there. You can find them here.
    I used the Windows 98 OEM version just for the record.
  • I will display the procedure on how to modify the file settings on your current floppy disk files

Step 1: Edit your Autoexec.bat file found on your floppy. Remove all the entries, and replace it with:


Save, and close that file. Move to your Config.sys file. Modify it to the following settings.

· After “[menu] add the following line:

menuitem=USBCD, Start computer with (USB) CD-ROM support.

· Change the “menudefault line to this:


· Next add this before the “[CD] category:

DEVICE=oakcdrom.sys /D:MSCD001

You are done, but you are probably wondering “where is USBCD.SYS, USBASPI.SYS, and DI1000DD.SYS?. I have your answer…available! You can download the necessary files here. You will probably find the new Autoexec.bat and Config.sys in there. If you are unsure how to modify them, just extract everything from that zip to your floppy drive. If not, just extract the .SYS files [excluding CONFIG.SYS].

That's it you're done! Just boot to your newly created floppy, and choose the first option. Make sure you have your USB device on, and plugged in. I do hope this works on your end, but if not, feel free to ask questions.

Here are some helpful links:

Hope this helps,
- Stack Overflow

commented: I need some help cause I got stuck during the boot process and it does not go further. +0

Here’s the problem: inexpensive USB printers are as brain-dead as are their compatriot win-modems. I mean to say, these win-printers rely on the printer drivers to render the hardcopy. The drivers (simply speaking) drive the inkjet nozzles directly instead of sending character codes and escape sequences – a printer control language like Epson’s ESC/P2 command set.

And that’s a problem for those who still use DOS-based applications. Windows applications use a process that involves things called GDI and WMF (sometimes RAW). These things are beyond the scope of this article but suffice it to say that in Windows 2000 and XP, DOS-based applications are not afforded the GDI process. In many cases, the application’s output is run through the second half of the system but is unceremoniously ignored and as a result, nothing happens.

The solution, as best as one gets until a specific printer driver exists that makes the following process seamless, is to convince the DOS-based application to send its output to a file. Or, if that cannot be done, then redirect the LPT’s output to a file. Or, if that cannot be done, capture the output destined for the port to a file. Once the application’s output (from now on, called the "text stream") has been written to a file, another program can take that file and process it just as if you were using Notepad to load and print that text stream.

DOSprn ( is one such utility that does this. It is constantly looking for the presence of a specific file in a specific folder and, once it shows up, the utility interprets the embedded font control commands, translating that into the GDI process, and then sending the document to the win-printer. As mentioned before, DOSprn is one of several utilities that solve this problem – DOSprn was evaluated because it seemed to do what I needed it to do (and nothing more) and was the least expensive of the bunch. (And was perceived to be the simplest in its operation, perceived to be the least obnoxious in its evaluation mode, and/or perceived to be the least pernicious when uninstalling.)

This utility interprets the text stream using any of several included or custom built "Escape-Sequence" tables. Most of the typical font special effects are available and the Esc-Sequence table is used to pair the printer’s command set to the special effects.

Overall, I really think this utility is (or very soon will be) the best utility for the price available to solve the problems of those who will not or cannot move away from DOS-based applications.

not bad though


very easy and helpful.

finds th external USBCD (a freecom drive)
where just about to assign an id to the drive i get the message

DI1000 ASPI Disk Driver Ver 2.00
Copyright(C)2001 NOVAC Co. Ltd.

Available ID - Not found installable device

The RAMDrive is then assigned C:

could i be missing something simple or is there a pig in my setup?

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