How To Creating a Windows 95 Boot USB with Windows 10


Apr 13, 2019
I thought I would relate my experience in creating a boot USB for Windows 95 (my legacy computer no longer has a 3 1/2" floppy) using Windows 10, in case someone else wants to do this. I first downloaded a Windows 95 diskette image file (img) from here and converted it to an ISO file (extracted files with 7-Zip and made the ISO with ImgBurn). I then use Rufus to create a bootable USB; I tried to use the ISO as the Boot selection, but Rufus said it was not bootable, so I used the FreeDOS option instead. and transferred the files I extracted from the Windows 95 img file to the USB. I then tried to boot from the USB and it did boot, but there was no CD-ROM support (needed to install Windows 95). I checked the USB and saw the autoexe.bat and config.sys files where not there (both are needed to load the CD-ROM drivers) and they were also not among the files I extracted from the img file.

I went back to the linked website, and downloaded the autoexe.bat file. For some reason the config.sys file would not download, but it did open up, so I did a cut and paste of the instructions in the config.sys file, to notepad and saved it as config.sys (just like the old DOS days). I copied and pasted the files to the USB, and received a warning popup asking if I wanted to replace the current autoexe.bat file, even though there was none to be seen (and yes I had the, see hidden files, box checked), I said yes and saw the files were on the USB. I clicked the File Explorer away from the USB and when I returned, the files were gone again. Suspecting the USB was obscuring the files (but not hidden in the normal sense), I tried to boot from the USB and not only did it boot but it now loads the CD-ROM drivers, so I will be able to move on and load the setup files on the non bootable CD that come with Windows 95.

What was really interesting to me is the way the autoexe.bat and config.sys files where not just hidden, but were made to disappear. Windows 10 seems to have no problem with the two individual files, which I have stored in a folder with the other Windows 95 files that came on the boot disk (another attempt to extract the files from the image file did produce the 2 previously missing files), but transferring them on a bootable drive, causes the USB to obscure the files to the degree if you want to edit them, you have to edit a saved file, copy the file to the boot drive and have Windows replace the obscured file. I know Windows has long since stopped using these files, but they must really not want you messing with them, nonetheless. :)
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