By Stephen Bucaro
Before September 1995, Microsoft Windows was an MS-DOS program. DOS was an easy to use
command line operating system that provided you with complete ability to control and troubleshoot
your computer. Microsoft's goal was to eliminate DOS, possibly to prevent you from having
complete control of your own computer.
The last stand-alone version of MS-DOS was version 6. Unfortunately, that version is not Y2K
compliant. Windows 95 and later came with MS-DOS version 7. Unfortunately, that version is too
integrated with the operating system. It will not work without access to your hard disk.
FreeDOS is a PC compatible Y2K compliant DOS that you can download from
www.freedos.org. FreeDOS fits on a single floppy
disk and can be used to boot your computer. Download and unzip the file odin7bin.zip (756KB).
Unziping will create the files diskcopy.exe and fdodin07.144. Put a blank formatted
floppy disk in the drive. In the Start | Run dialog box, or at a command prompt type
diskcopy fdodin07.144 a: to create a bootable FreeDOS floppy disk.
Why would you want to boot your computer with DOS? Maybe you want to use Windows XP without product activation.
First make sure that the BIOS boot sequence on your computer is configured with the floppy drive
as the first boot device (or at least before the C: drive). To get to the BIOS configuration
screen, press the "Delete" or "F2" key (depending upon your BIOS) while your computer is starting.
Insert the FreeDOS floppy disk in the floppy drive and start the computer. At the A:\>_
prompt type DATE. FreeDOS will return your computer's current date, along with a prompt
to enter a new date. Enter the date that you installed Windows XP (or at least a date
before the 30 day expiration date). Remove the FreeDOS floppy disk and restart your computer.
Note: This will only work if Windows XP has never been started after the 30 day expiration
date. The first time Windows XP is started after the 30 day expiration date will be the
last time it starts.
Every time you start your computer, start it first with FreeDOS and reset the computer's
date to the date that you installed Windows XP. Windows XP will think time has come to
Note: Of course, Your file creation and last modified dates will not be correct, so this is
not really a way for a serious user to bypass Windows XP product activation. However for
certain purposes, like learning the Windows XP operating system, this can be a way to use
Windows XP without product activation.
Microsoft should have made the expiration period much longer than 30 days. Maybe they want
you to activate Windows XP before it crashes.
More Windows Administration Information:
• Network Security Through the Principle of Least Privilege
• What is Windows Aero and Mouse Gestures?
• Computer Data Backups - Test Now or Cry Later
• A Day in the Life of a System Administrator
• Search for Text in Text Files
• Use the HOSTS File to Block Web Sites
• To Protect Your PC Disable the Windows Scripting Host
• Basic Functions of Microsoft Active Directory
• Installing a Network Printer on Windows XP and Vista
• Cortana, Assistant or Spy?