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Installing Win98 on old PC w/o CD drive


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#1 morganae

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Posted 23 January 2018 - 07:07 PM

Hello!

 

I've an old Compaq LTE 5300, pre-USB and no CD drive.  That's the challenging part!

 

The hard drive that was in the system died a long time ago but I can boot off a floppy.  I've swapped out the old drive with a functional IDE drive and the BIOS detects the new drive just fine.  The catch is that there's no OS on the IDE drive!

 

Now for the fun part!

 

I need to install Windows 98SE onto the drive without trying to find a floppy drive that I can connect to a modern machine or some weird adapter to get the old machine to see a USB drive.  There's lots of tutorials on making a Win98 USB install drive, but that's not what I am after.  I can also find how to make a Win98 boot disk, but that just puts me into DOS, it still needs a seperate drive to hold the install files so this is not an option either.  The guides all seem to want to have you either install from CD or USB to the C:, nice but not helpful.

 

I've an IDE to USB adapter and my Windows 10 machine sees the IDE drive just fine(E: on my system).  I've the Windows 98SE disk in the CD drive on the Win10 machine (F: on my system).

 

My goal is to install Win98SE onto the USB connected IDE drive(E:).  The problem I face is that when I run setup on the Win98 drive (F:), it won't run because it thinks I want to install it onto the C Drive which is running a far more recent OS than the old Win98.

 

Does anyone know of a way to install Win98SE onto what is basically a USB drive so that you can boot from that drive into Win98?  Think Windows-to-go but old school.

 

If I can get a bootable installation of Win98SE onto the USB connected IDE drive, I should be able to return that drive to the old Compaq machine and have a working system again.  It would be nice to breath some life into this old girl, I'd hate to trash an otherwise functional machine due to the lack of a USB port or a stack of old Win98SE install floppies.

 

 



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#2 JohnC_21

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Posted 23 January 2018 - 07:50 PM

Did you get a Windows 98SE startup disk with the computer? Using this you could format the drive. Move the hard drive to the Windows 10 computer and copy the necessary files. Attach the hard drive back to the compaq, boot the startup floppy and start the install from the hard drive. That's the only way I know how to do this because the HDD you install Windows 98SE to needs to be formatted using the dos 7.0 fdisk command on the floppy. I don't believe you can format the drive with Windows 10. Windows 98 wants to install to your hard drive and not the USB attached drive because there are no native USB drivers used during the install.

 

If you get a 98SE floppy you can follow the instructions here. 

 

http://www.duxcw.com/digest/Howto/software/windows/upgrade/intro.htm



#3 morganae

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Posted 24 January 2018 - 12:26 PM

There's no CD drive, so any disk would be rather useless.  The machine is used, so it's just the laptop.  It's 20 years old so I doubt anyone still has the original disks that came with the machine. 

 

The problem with moving the install files to the hard drive is that, if I recall properly, part of the installation is a disk wipe which would defeat the purpose of copying the install files to the hard drive, it's been a long time since I've installed Win98, if anyone can confirm this I'd appreciate it.

 

If anyone knows where I can download the floppy version of Win98, that would work great... I'd just need to find some 3.5 floppies, which is a challenge it itself.

 

The drive is properly formatted and ready to go, I don't really need USB drivers since I can use Windows 10 to read and write to the drive.  What I am looking for is something I can use to basically do an installation of Windows98SE onto a USB drive rather than to a hard drive so I can then move the USB connected drive over.

 

There's a ton of guides on how to install from USB, not what I am after though.



#4 JohnC_21

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Posted 24 January 2018 - 12:30 PM

By Windows SE startup disk I was referring to the startup boot floppy. I don't believe a floppy version of 98SE exists the cab files are too big to fit on a floppy disk. Windows 95 floppy install was approx 30 disks.

 

I don't think Windows 98SE will like a HDD formatted via Windows 10. The HDD needs to be formatted with the DOS 7.1 fdisk command on the Windows 98SE boot floppy.


Edited by JohnC_21, 24 January 2018 - 12:33 PM.


#5 VBCONZ

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Posted 23 February 2018 - 02:09 AM

Take the drive out - connect it to another pc, load the setup folder etc from a Win98 disk, install it and run.   You don't have to do a disk wipe. alternatively a USB CD ROm drive was the way I used to use.






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