Recovery Disks and Boot Disks: Why You Need Both

Recovery and boot disks perform different functions. Find out what they do and how to create one for yourself.


Q: What's the difference between a boot disk and an emergency recovery utility (ERU)?

A: Computers crash.

Even if it's infrequent, you need to prepare yourself for potential disaster and total data loss. Just as you would back up your files, you should have a boot disk available for emergency situations.

What is a boot disk?

A boot disk, or start-up disk, is what you start your computer with. You should recreate your boot disk whenever you make system changes such as installing a new OS or adding new drivers. Everybody needs a boot disk.

To create a boot disk in Windows 98 and ME, follow these steps:

Insert a formatted floppy disk in your floppy drive.

Press Start.

Select Settings.

Select the Control Panel.

Double-click Add/Remove programs.

Click on the Startup Disk tab on the far right.

Press the "Create a Startup Disk" button and it will create a startup disk for you.

To start your computer using the boot disk, place the disk in the floppy drive as you turn your computer on.

What is an Emergency Recovery Utility (ERU)?

ERU is not the same as a boot disk. The ERU saves critical information onto the hard drive. It's used to back up files in case of damage to your system. You can also save the ERU to a floppy, but it's not really worth the time it would take to transfer that much data.

ERU is hidden and isn't always installed on Windows, but it is on the Windows installation disk. Microsoft hides it because it considers this feature to be for tech-support people only.

More advanced computer users may want to install ERU -- it's only found on your Windows 95 installation CD.

Go to the Windows 95 CD directory named Other/Misc.

Drag and copy the folder named ERU to your Drive C:/ (or other hard drive of choice).

Double-click the new ERU folder on your hard drive.

In the ERU directory, locate the file ERU.inf.

Right-click on the ERU.inf file.

Click install on the menu that pops up.

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