If you have been using the old HP Utility to create DOS bootable USB, you can throw that old thing away! In a small executable, and with no requirement for an installer, Rufus offers you a much better and up to date interface, with better features, and a DOS creation that doesn't rely on external files. It can also create bootable USB from ISO images. Plus you will find welcome additional features, such as the ability to check your USB stick for bad blocks. Best of all, and as you have come to expect from this site, it is 100% Free Software.
Please make sure you check the official Rufus page, and stop looking further when you need a DOS bootable USB stick. Of course, Rufus is compatible with all versions of Windows starting with Windows XP and lets you use the always awesome FreeDOS alongside the rather old and not up to date Windows Millenium DOS.
Why are you doing this?
Well, the truth of the matter is that, after having used the HPUSBFW utility for some time, it turns out that I really can't stand proprietary software utilities (as well as Windows' glaring shortcomings), so I decided to create my own Open Source version of an equivalent tool. Also, the fact that the many people, who have taken a stab at creating their own DOS bootable USB formatting utility, decided to go closed source doesn't really help. Simple utilities should only be Open Source, period.
Some interesting technical details (or yet another annoying technical rant)
You'd think there wouldn't be much to formatting an USB flash drive for DOS on Windows, but you would be wrong. As I already explained, there's some reason why Windows doesn't do it natively. Also, you may be surprised to hear that Windows doesn't actually provide a public API to format a drive, and instead you have to hijack an undocumented one called
FormatEx, and which can be found in
fmifs.dll. Then you will find that
FormatExkind of destroys your partition table when you want to use LBA, so you need to fix it manually. There's also this whole business of allowed cluster sizes. And then there's all the usual traps, such as having the partition boot records needing to be patched on XP, because unlike Vista or later, it equates an USB Flash drive to a floppy, as well as Windows' somewhat mysterious handling of Physical Drives vs. Logical Volumes. One will let you access the MBR and the other one the Partition Boot Record, yet, you still need to hold a lock to the latter to be able to access its underlying sectors with the former. Straightforward, it is not.
If you are so inclined, you'll find Rufus'
format.cas a good starting point. Oh, and would be quite ungrateful if I didn't acknowledge other OSS projects, such as ms-sys (boot records handling) or e2fsprogs (bad blocks check) for providing some of the building blocks used by the utility, as well as the talented designers from PC-Unleashed for the Rufus icon.
Finally, for those interested, the acronym stands for "The Reliable USB Formatting Utility, with Source".