How to Get a Computer to Boot From a Floppy

By G.K. Bayne

Most computers are configured to boot from the hard drive. With a simple change to the system BIOS, you can tell your system to boot from a floppy disk. This is useful if you are having problems with your operating system, if you have been infected with a virus or having other problems booting your computer. All Windows systems allow you to create a bootable floppy just for these types of situations.

Shut down your computer, if it is running.

Turn on the computer and press the "F1" key when the logo appears on the screen. For some computers, you may be instructed to press the "Delete" key or another "F" key to enter the system BIOS setup. This will be detailed on the bottom of the logo screen.

Use the arrow keys on your keyboard to scroll though the BIOS options until your reach the Start Up Sequence screen. This may be called Boot Options or other terms, but you will see the options currently set to boot to Drive C:

Change the sequence to A: to tell the system to boot from the floppy drive. You may be given several options, including the CD drive or a second hard drive. Drive A is always the floppy drive and should be the first drive listed to boot. In most BIOS settings, this change is accomplished using the "PgUp" and "PgDn" keys.

Place a bootable floppy disk in the floppy drive.

Press the "F10" key to save and exit the BIOS. The system will save your changes and reboot. The computer will boot from the floppy and show a command prompt of "A:" when fully booted.

Items you will need

  • Bootable floppy disk

  • Floppy drive


Be sure to change the boot sequence setting back to normal after you no longer need to boot from the floppy.

You should create a boot disk for your Windows system when your system is healthy and running correctly. You can find the utility to make the disk in the Backup Utility under All Programs, System, Backup. On older systems, i.e., Windows 95 and 98, you make the disk from the Add/Remove Programs utility on the Control Panel window.