Installing MS-DOS 5 Upgrade on NetWare Diskless Workstation (76819)

The information in this article applies to:
    Microsoft MS-DOS operating system 5.0

This article was previously published under Q76819


Because Microsoft MS-DOS 5 Upgrade requires that a previous version of DOS is bootable from a disk before it can be upgraded, it is not readily apparent how to upgrade a diskless workstation running Novell NetWare. The following information explains how to upgrade the version of DOS running on this type of LAN workstation.


Following the standards set by BIOS routines written for IBM and compatible PCs, the ROM loader will typically first check drive A for a bootable copy of DOS, and if one is not available, it will search drive C. With NetWare, it is possible to boot a workstation using the combination of a Programmable Read Only Memory (PROM) chip and a specialized file stored on the server called NET$DOS.SYS. PROMs are often located on the network adapter, and in such cases are specific to both the adapter and the LAN operating system. The NET$DOS.SYS file is often referred to as the "boot image."

NET$DOS.SYS contains a complete image of a bootable disk that can be used to start MS-DOS on the workstation. The image includes all three necessary boot files (IO.SYS, MSDOS.SYS, and COMMAND.COM) as well as any additional utilities and drivers needed to optimize the workstation such as CONFIG.SYS, AUTOEXEC.BAT, *.SYS files, and so on. To log in to NetWare sequentially, the appropriate shell utilities are also included, such as IPX.COM and NET5.COM.

To create NET$DOS.SYS on the server, first create a bootable MS-DOS 5.0 floppy disk that would be appropriate if the workstation used a floppy drive. Next, run the NetWare utility DOSGEN, which uses the entire physical floppy disk just created to build NET$DOS.SYS. The file should be placed in a globally accessible server directory, such as \LOGIN, and flagged as read-only.

In the case where unique boot image files are required for specific workstation configurations, DOSGEN is still used, but in a slightly different way. In this case, DOSGEN creates two files: a customized boot image file (which has no specific name requirement) and a text file called BOOTCONF.SYS, which contains information that links specific adapter addresses to the customized boot image file.

For a workstation where it would not be appropriate to use NET$DOS.SYS because of configuration differences such as video adapter or adapter IRQ settings, it will use a boot image file specifically made to match the specific address of the workstation's network adapter. Should a specific workstation adapter address be unknown, NetWare provides the utility TRACKON, which is run from the server console, to identify workstation adapter addresses.

Additional information on Novell NetWare programs and utilities mentioned herein can be found in the NetWare reference and user guides.

Modification Type: Major Last Reviewed: 11/26/1999
Keywords: KB76819