Essential Software: NTFS4DOS

I used to run in to this problem from time to time: I would need to install one of the NT-based operating systems from scratch but only had the \i386 installation source folder on an NTFS formatted volume/partition (with no unallocated disk space) with no bootable operating system CD – ie not on site.  So I would not have a way to access the installation files to initiate an installation. 

Enter NTFS4DOS from Avira.  NTFS4DOS provides you with full read/write access to the NTFS file system (from the DOS environment of course!).  It has native support for NTFS, meaning that it directly accesses the file system and utilises whichever drivers are available providing high reliability. 

During boot disk creation, you can choose whether to create and specify the size for a RAM drive, whether you want and/or the included Chkdisk (CMD line version) tool copied into the RAM drive on boot.  Also, under additional tools, you can choose to include DfrgNTFS (for disk defragmentation) and the GUI version of CHKDSK.

NTFS4DOS has the following parameters:

/l Letter of the first drive to be used eg. /le results in the first drive to be detected assuming the letter ‘e’.
/r Sets the RAM disk size to the specified amount (MB) eg. /r4 translates to 4MB
/? Help

NTFS4DOS can be executed directly from the command line.  An example line might be:

ntfs4dos /lc /r8 command.exe /c tools.bat

First drive to be detected assumes the letter ‘e’, a RAM drive of 8Megs is created, a batch file by the name of tools (which may contain a number of tools eg. backup, AV, etc) is run in a new shell.  Once execution of the batch file has finished, the shell closes as indicated by the ‘/c’.

Note: In Windows NT, 2000 and XP, you cannot use NTFS4DOS inside the NTVDM (NT Virtual DOS mode) DOS window because
direct hardware access is not supported.  Also support for this product has been discontinued.  However, there is documentation on Avira’s website.

To create a bootable disk NTFS4DOS supports the following operating systems:
Windows NT, 2000, XP or 2003. 

Supported partition types:

  • Basic and dynamic hardware RAID
  • Software RAID not supported.

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