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Wikibooks Recipe for 5Mb Windows ME (I guess)

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#1 ispy


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Posted 2 weeks ago

:)  I know, I know everyone hated windows ME but speak as you find, I found WindowsME relatively okay, it had a few niggles, like the castrated Dos aspect but I found quite good & stable on the whole. Since then a lot of water has gone under the bridge & many talented individuals, in my opinion have made WindowsME better.

This is my pathetic attempt to try to keep alive details relating WindowsME, 32bit Dos for Dos7 & Dos8 in the hope that other fringe users of Dos will use, keep alive and develop these relatively prehistoric OS's for posterity, fun or future improved development.

As a side note, there is also a portable version of windows 95 floating around on the net I think you can download it at "Majorgeeks website" if that particular version floats your boat.

Anyway I have previously contributed whilst on reboot pro to the Dos7 & Dos8 or ME 32bit varients of Dos. This is an attempt to offer details relating A mini version of Windows ME & have the best of both worlds. You could combine the details relating to the Dos8 32bit (1.44Mb) Dos with this mini ME (Approx size 5Mbs) I think there was a nano 98 and/or 95 version out there also but I will need to dig deep to find those details. If you are interested in the 32Bit Dos8 setup along side this Mini ME here is the link. You could write a script to semi automate the install & you could run them from a Ram-drive or USB possibly? Share & discuss your ideas?

Firstly I will post the unrelated details for the Dos7 32Bit Dos:


http://reboot.pro/in...ic=2343&p=20832(Post #2)

Secondly & more importantly details related to the Dos8 32bit Dos & possibly Mini-ME:


You can also in addition to these details find information in respect of Mini ME on the "what I call naughty Dos" website, DuckDuckGo is your friend, I was going to type Google is your.... but some may call me a liar & a fraud.

This link in Wikibooks I posted is now dead & even with Way-back-machine cannot seem to locate it sorry I will amend the details shortly to reflect changes.


However, I think before the wikibooks article died someone very kindly (I think) copied the details and posted them as follows which, to date, is still active 07/01/2022: (A Narkive Newsgroup archive - 14 years old the author is b***@boxpl.com)

If that site goes down I fear the information will be lost so I thought I would repeat it here ("Filtered") unless there are any objections but please be aware this is not my work, I'm just sharing the 'Luv':

Windows Me after installing as 98micro with Windows 95 Explorer by
using 98lite Enterprise such as this abandon ware copy:
(Link Removed, however 98Lite could be used or is still available at least
in trial mode) can be manually further reduced to only 5MB with GUI,
that exceeds even 98SEOS maximal reduction. Very best solution for
minimizing Windows Me to such extreme would be using English version
of Windows Me, because it doesn't require specific localization files at all.
For running extremely minimal Windows Me with at least DOS box on desktop,
following files and directories are required:

C:\MSDOS.SYS - content listed separately below
C:\WINDOWS\PIF\COMMAND.PIF - generated by Windows, required for proper
displaying of DOS box

C:\WINDOWS\SYSTEM.INI - content listed separately below
C:\WINDOWS\SYSTEM\VGA.DRV - renamed from SUPERVGA.DRV to display
800x600 instead of 640x480 see details below


Configuration files listed above must have minimal content such as:

for the msdos.sys file:

for the system.ini file:


VGA.DRV - You can obtain the SUPERVGA.DRV file from the contents
of Windows3.1 which you can obtain from "Winworld" Abandonware site
I found it contained within the RETAIL Version named:
Windows 3.1 (Retail) (5.25-1.2mb)

It is the 13th file download from the selection, not sure if it is found in the
other versions, I'm just too lazy to look sorry
Okay assuming you now have the ".7z" file just unpack or unzip Disk02.IMG
of the set of six img files, then open the Disk02.IMG & you will find the file
called SUPERVGA.DR_ the underscore indicates the file is compressed cab
file so it will need un-compressing to make it usable.

Windows Me prepared in that extreme way has only 5 MB in size, and
still supports large FAT32 drives, Long File Names, mouse and all MS-
DOS applications. File-list that builds this 5 MB Windows Me is that
minimal, that even removing one file from it can prevent this 5 MB
system from successful booting and proper working with MS-DOS
programs. This minimal system is commanded to shutdown by pressing Ctrl
+Alt+Delete, and then selecting Shut Down button in Task Manager. This
minimalized Windows ME requires temporarily renaming of other
instances of Windows directory on other hard drives to something else,
because other instances of Windows interferes with current running
minimalized Windows ME, preventing it from successful bootup. This
interference occurs too in reversed way, causing damage of *.INI files
in these other instances of Windows.

Windows ME can be even more further reduced to only 205kB with CLI. To
do this, following files are required:

C:\IO.SYS - copied from bootable floppy image embedded in Windows ME
OEM bootable CD
C:\MSDOS.SYS - content listed separately
C:\COMMAND.COM - modification listed separately as listed below

msdos.sys file must have minimal content such as:


command.com file must have minimal one-byte modification such as:

at hex offset 00006510 byte 75 is replaced by byte EB

To make booting procedure work, IO.SYS should be copied as first
ever file to freshly formatted hard/floppy disk.

I used this extremely small Windows Me to beat all records of Windows
Me minimalization, and to copying long file names without need of
performing long Windows installation. I really can't minimize it
further, because I got to such extreme, that removing even one file
from current list destroys ability to successful boot of this minimal
Windows Me. I tested this file-set by trying to remove successfully
each single file one by one, and in case of each removal, ability to
boot was destroyed, thus current file-set is really as small as
possible. Because all files from this minimal Windows Me has short
names, this minimal file-set can be installed by manual copying to
clean drive in real DOS, and booting from it - IO.SYS first to
(quick) formatted drive, then rest of files, as it was in case of
Windows 3.11

I did this system minimalization in following steps:

1 - 98lite assisted installation of Windows Me with 98micro
installation option and all possible installation options turned off,
to obtain initial repository of files - some files are patched in this
process by 98lite to obtain compatibility with Windows 95 web-less
2 - manual copying of all files listed in above file-list from
previously obtained repository of files to new location
3 - manual editing of some files as in above file-list

As such you can select 640x480x256, 800x600x256, and 1024x768x256. However, since this is a driver for Windows 3.1, and not Windows 9x, you lose a minor convenience point: We are all too accustomed to the slider that changes the resolution. In this driver set, there is only one setting per driver, so to change the screen resolution, you have to select one of the three each time. Other than that, Windows 3.1 drivers are compatible with Windows 9x!


Best wishes & Njoy!


I ;)

#2 Wonko the Sane

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Posted 2 weeks ago

Unrelated, but not that much:






#3 ispy


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Posted 2 weeks ago

Hi Wonko many thanks for your comments :D , I'm getting a niggling feeling  maybe some further explanation maybe required here as to this topic to some may be a bit confusing & hopefully this little add on will help to explain things a little bit more.


Edit: (12/01/2022) Traditionally or historically speaking up to Dos 6.22 the files io.sys Msdos.sys were derived in the manner outlined below, see post #4 by Wonko & some very good links to explain, apologies for the confusion!

Generally, the 3 files you need on a disk to run MS-DOS are IO.SYS, MSDOS.SYS, and as an extra one Command.com if you want to combine Dos8 with the 5Mb Mini-ME. You cannot just copy IO.SYS and MSDOS.SYS, but you have to use the SYS command. Newer versions also copy command.com, but older ones didn't. So make sure command com exists after running SYS on the diskette or other drive if you are using UN-patched files & limited Dos.
Syntax for example:

SYS [source] d:

Purpose: Transfers the operating system files to another disk. The 3 files that are transferred are IO.SYS, MSDOS.SYS, and COMMAND.COM (if you are using IBM's version of DOS, they are named IBMIO.SYS, IBMDOS.SYS, and COMMAND.COM) however we are not using IBM's, so dis-regard.

/S - Copies the operating system files to the disk after formatting. These system files are hidden files and will not appear in a directory listing. Using some versions of DOS, this must be the last option entered like this.
C:\>format drive: /s

The IO.SYS,  and MSDOS.SYS files have the attributes System, Hidden, and Read-Only. As such, you will need to use the DOS attrib command to view, modify, or delete these files. As an example, C:\>attrib -S -H -R a:\IO.SYS will remove these attributes, which allows you to make any modifications.

That is because in the above examples of Sys & Format these will produce UN-patched or raw original boot files that will have there attributes hidden like read-only hidden etc. A program called attrib has the ability to manipulate these attributes as shown above in green bold (Incidentally the - [hyphen] sign removes, the + [plus] sign switches these attributes on). To make access to dos8 easier or UN-restricted, un-crippled or whatever expression you choose to say, it makes them more in-line with Dos7.1 in terms of functionality & access.   

Also for those curious the boot order is as follows:

Who is to say that you would like to combine a full installation of ME alongside Dos8 patched or otherwise the choice is yours.
Some interesting background info re the patching of command.com & IO.sys when you are running Dos alongside ME, background info to read in terms of appreciation of patching operations.


Some command.com patches illustrated:

These following changes are made a specialized software called a hex-editor in an attempt to make Command.com more functional. This type of operation is best left to the technically experienced, you can, if you get it wrong, make your OS in-operable. So always experiment on a backed up copy first, check & double check the changes made & have a strategy in place to make an easy recovery once the overall changes have been made, like after it has been saved, and files have been interchanged or replaced, it's just good practice! I hope I have not scared you off but good practice is always the best policy.
That which is highlighted in red is where the changes are made.
Another Russian patch "naughty dos" for COMMAND.COM by - mamaich turn off any checks
12 8B 16 08 -->> 44 8B 16 08

COMMAND.COM FIX  original fix by John Augustine
Show files in hidden sub-directories
D4 B9 10 00 B4 ==>> D4 B9 16 00 B4
FC B9 10 00 B4 ==>> FC B9 16 00 B4

This why this following link below to me is very important


XPBTDSK.EXE ... (originally from Jaclaz) a console application to extract the image from diskcopy.dll" a XP/2003 file which is driven by a batch file GETBTDSK.BAT the contents of which are @XPBTDSK %windir%\system32\diskcopy.dll bootdisk.img. These extracted files are M$ patched files, or the latest files that remove some of the restrictions that inhibit Dos8. Naughty dos has even taken this one step further and even patched the M$ files extracted from Diskcopy.dll which is called Patch8.zip in which XPBTDSK can be clearly found amoungst other files to patch them still, or take this process one stage further if you like.

All of which are attempts to lift the restrictions imposed by M$ to make Windows ME Dos more usable, functional & at the end of the day Dos-8 after all is under the hood of Windows-Me but like many modern cars, to get at the battery you have to strip out a few components to get at it or change it. It's all by design here endith the analogy.

If I have made any inaccurate statements or you think I have any mistakes please feel free to fill in the blanks, it is a work in progress on my part?


Best Regards


I :thumbdown:  or :thumbup:

#4 Wonko the Sane

Wonko the Sane

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Posted 2 weeks ago

The need of using format /s or sys to transfer/write boot files is only up to 6.22, where the file IO.SYS (and MS-DOS.SYS) need to be first files on filesystem[1], AFAIK starting from DOS 7.0 this is not needed anymore, bootpart:


uses the rewriteroot command only for the earlier DOS, and as a matter of fact otherwise it wouldn't have been possible to dual boot DOS 6.22 and Windows 95/DOS 7.0 via the NTLDR as in:


as the BOOT.INI switches /WIN95 and /WIN95DOS allow NTLDR to rename (not move) the two files (and the command.com).


BTW, it is entirely possible that the need for the two files to be first ones has been re-introduced in DOS 8.0 but I strongly doubt it.






[1] details can be found here:


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