Using Norton Disk Edit to Backup Your Master Boot Record

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The master boot record is required to boot your computer. Having a current backup of your master boot record is an excellent way to ensure that, in the event of a virus or hardware failure, you will be able to recover your system in the shortest amount of time possible.


After the Power on Self Test (POST) is complete, the system BIOS loads the first sector of the hard disk drive into memory and transfers execution to the code that was at that location. That code reads the partition table to locate the system partition and, after finding it, reads in the first sector within that partition (the boot sector) and transfers execution to it. That code contains the information necessary to start the operating system.

If for any reason, a link in the boot sequence is broken, the system will fail to start. A backup copy of the boot sector is already stored on the hard disk but a backup copy of the master boot record is not.

If you have saved a copy of your master boot record, you will be able to replace this critical sector of your hard disk drive and get the system back in operation quickly.

By following the solution listed below you will be able to successfully back up your master boot record to a floppy disk. With that file and Norton Disk Edit, you will be able to restore your back up copy to the hard disk in the event of corruption because of a virus or malfunctioning hard disk hardware.


  1. Obtain a copy of Norton Disk Edit.
  2. Copy the following files onto a DOS 6.22 bootable disk:

    A mouse driver is also very handy but not necessary.
  3. Create an Autoexec.bat file that starts Diskedit with the /W switch to make it possible to write your changes to the hard disk drive.
  4. Start Disk Edit and from the Object menu, click Drive.
  5. From the displayed dialog box, click Physical Disk.
  6. Select Hard Disk One and click OK. You are now looking at the master boot record and partition table.
  7. From the Object menu, click Partition Table.
  8. From the Tools menu, click Write Object To. To a File is already selected so click OK.
  9. Type a path back to drive A and select a filename to use. For example,
  10. Click OK.
  11. Click Yes when prompted.
  12. Click Cancel at the Rescan prompt.
This completes saving a copy of your master boot record on to the floppy disk that you used to boot to DOS and run Disk Edit.

To Restore the File In the Event of Corruption

Using the same disk as before:
  1. Start Disk Edit and from the Object menu, click File.
  2. From the Files dialog box, double-click you saved master boot record.
  3. From the Tools menu, click Write Object To.
  4. Click Physical Sectors.
  5. Click Hard Disk 1.
  6. Set the Cylinder to 0, the Side to 0, and the Sector to 1.
  7. Click OK.
  8. Click OK again on the pop-up Warning! message box.
This completes restoring your master boot record to the hard disk drive.


Article ID: 166997 - Last Review: February 27, 2007 - Revision: 2.2
  • Microsoft Windows 2000 Server
  • Microsoft Windows 2000 Advanced Server
  • Microsoft Windows 2000 Professional Edition
  • Microsoft Windows NT Server 3.51
  • Microsoft Windows NT Server 4.0 Standard Edition
  • Microsoft Windows NT Workstation 3.51
  • Microsoft Windows NT Workstation 4.0 Developer Edition

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