View Full Version : OT: computer os problem

08-18-2006, 10:46 PM
I was given an old Gateway solo 2300 notebook pc (P1-233 48 mb memory). The previous owner foolishly loaded xp home on the pc making it a real dog. Unfortunately, the cd drive is dead and I did not get a floppy drive with the pc. I copied both a Win2000 cd and a Win98 cd to folders on the hard drive via a usb jump drive. However xp will not let me install either since they are older os's. I tried booted up to a dos prompt, it still is not real dos and it won't load either. The cost of a cd drive off ebay with shipping is more than the pc is worth.

Any ideas or work arounds?

08-19-2006, 12:27 AM
Well , I can dig around and see if I have a few that still work . They are older cd drives . If i have a few that work you can have one of them.

I also have a few 3 " floppies too.

08-19-2006, 01:31 AM
JS, that would be great.
The drive is label Gateway 2000, p/n 5501054, Toshiba model number XM-1902B.
Thank you,

08-19-2006, 02:19 AM
Just get a USB enclosure and put a CD in it. You can also get USB floppy drives I belive. An alternative would be to load Win2k or Win98 on a desktop machine and ghost it over using the parallel port. Heck if your jumpdrive is large enough (1gig) you might get away with ghosting from it. How about a USB harddrive, partitiion it with with a Dos bootable partion and use it to format the laptop then install the OS. I can't recall whether or not Win2k can be installed from a harddrive though, I think it wants to see the CD. Lastly you could pull the laptop harddrive and use an adapter to install it into a desktop machine then transfer it to the laptop after installing the OS. Of course I'm not sure any of this will work for certain as I've never tried it with a laptop.

08-19-2006, 08:37 PM
Yeah, that works if the BIOS supports the device
If you can't boot CD it's really very unlikely you can boot USB
and even if you can it's an interesting job to boot a to a good Windows install.
I sort these problems out every day but it often involves additional hardware, ask a decent local shop if you have one,

08-19-2006, 09:57 PM
I foundem all tore apart go figure I must of wanted the gears or something for some other project, and top it off none ofem where that model .

Sorry about that .

Will the computer take a standard 3 " floppy drive?

08-19-2006, 10:27 PM
I've been thinking hard on this and I can't come up with a solution that doesn't involve taking out the hard drive. The problem is that the master boot record must be replaced and that can only be done from outside Windows. On a machine that old the BIOS will not support boot from USB so that isn't an option. The only way to do this is to boot from a bootable device or to remove the hard drive and connect it as a slave on a desktop where you can get at it without Windows in the way.

08-19-2006, 11:09 PM
JS thanks for checking.

Evan, I may try placing the hard drive in a desktop and try installing Win2000.

08-20-2006, 12:54 AM
I don't recommend Win 2K. It and XP are essentially the same. Win 2K is NT 5.0 and XP is NT 5.1. They share the same kernel with few differences except the user interface. For a machine like that Win 98 is the best bet as long as it is second edition. Even then it is light on ram and should have all unnecessary functions disabled. It is possible to configure Win 98 so that it will boot with less than 20 megs of ram allocated by turning off or not even installing frills such as sound. Remove all drivers that aren't needed. Who do you know that uses Win 98 to control a Pioneer Laser Disk? That driver is loaded by default.

To connect the drive to a desktop you will need an adapter that costs a few dollars. It should be available at any well stocked computer store.

08-20-2006, 03:00 AM
If your Compaq uses the same RAM as an IBM, I have 32 MB I no longer need. Bought it to put in my daughter's machine, a few years ago, she passed away.

If you have an expansion opening in the machine, could add it, get to 70 MB, would speed it up JUST a little. XP is a hog for RAM, I think it is slow, no matter what you have, compared to 2k or 98. My opinion from machines I have had in to try to repair.

Evan is right as to transferring data. The program is, I think, LapLink, allows networking two machines with a USB A-A cable.

You can install Win2k from DOS if you open it and cd: to i386 directory and "setup" from there.

Trouble is, if you have XP on it, and can't erase it, there you go, can't regress unless you wipe the hard drive, UNLESS you have the option to NOT upgrade, "Install to a new directory", let me specify where I want to install.

You do that when you dual boot, anyhow. I always dual boot, 98 and 2k, as 2k goes down, 98 still will usually work, can reinstall from 98. Has a small footprint, especially with drives made today, 5 gig for 98, the rest for 2k, XP, whatever.

I just went up to dig out an IBM CD drive, don't know if it will fit, also have an Acer notebook, don't know, yet, how to get the compound CD and Floppy drive out of it.

I don't know if your machine's BIOS has "Legacy USB Support". If it doesn't, you probably can't use a USB floppy drive to format the drive, to wipe XP off it. I ahve one of those, never used it, period, so don't know if it will work on an old machine, nor indeed, a new machine. THINK it takes installation from the floppy to get it to work under DOS. Not sure. Mebbe Evan knows, Mad Dog brand. Only bought it because I built my one daughter a machine I found later did not have either floppy connector OR paralell printer connector on the board, had to buy her a USB printer.

I would sell you the drive for 15 bucks, sell you the RAM for 15 bucks, would lend you the Mad Dog floppy drive, ship it back after you use it, you pay shipping both ways.

I paid 55 for the CD drive, 30 for the RAM, like 20 for the Floppy Drive after rebate. They don't work, send them back at your expense for shipping.

I don't know if XP allows you to partition the drive. Would suggest you do it, if you are able to, copy 98 or 2k to the new partition, format C.



08-20-2006, 08:42 AM
The drive can be repartioned but once again only if you can boot without invoking XP. However, to set up the drive as a dual boot system XP must be installed last. It is a matter of the boot sector and the XP MBR must be written last or XP won't work. It's a moot point though even with more ram. A p233 just doesn't have the stones to run XP or Win 2K with anything approaching acceptable performance.

Standard joke in this business: Intel giveth and Microsoft taketh away.

To bad it isn't just a joke. The Amiga windowing gui full multitasking operating system occupied less than one megabyte.


With a number such a 48 megs installed memory I would say the machine is already stuffed with ram. That isn't a standard size for a single stick so it is probably 16 megs of standard ram together with a 32 meg expansion.

Never use a USB A-A cable. It isn't safe. The USB standard includes a direct supply of 5 volts from the machine on the cable at enough current to melt the wires. Hooking the two different 5 volt sources together is a really bad idea if there is much difference in the voltage between the two machines, and there will always be some difference.

08-20-2006, 12:24 PM
You could always:
Get an adaptor and put the drive in your desktop as Master on the second channel.
Partition Boot & Storage partitions, Boot less than 2GB, at least one storage being large enough for your OS install files,
Refit as Primary master & use a win 98 boot/utils floppy to format & sys Boot & format Storage.
Back to secondary master again & use the desktop OS & drives copy on your OS to Storage.
You can now boot C: (Boot) to DOS in your laptop & run setup from Storage after install you can edit your boot files to boot OS without the option for DOS if you wish.
Had to do this on a Dell notebook with no removeable media drives.
You can't install an OS on a drive in another PC (after DOS/Win3.11) unless the chipsets are compatible as unique components are installed to deal with the motherboard hardware.
Once done take a Ghost image of the drive using your desktop so a rebuild is a 20 minute job rather than 20 hours,

08-20-2006, 01:07 PM
Sigh. I clicked on this thread because I have had recent "computer os problem".

I'd like to think of myself as a pretty level-headed and reasonable guy. I'm also pretty experienced with computers, dating back to when there were no computer magazines - just obscure "computer corner" columns in the back of electronics mags. There is, however, one thing that really boils my blood - drives me up a tree - makes me invent creative new ways to swear. That thing is losing control of my computer, a handy builtin function familiar to all XP users. This can be caused by XP "doing things" for me, like checking for the mere existance of updates, or Norton automatically updating my virus definitions and then asking me if I'd like to use Live Update to update Norton. All the while, the disk it thrashing away, and the CPU is so loaded up that it can't even keep the cursor position up to date with mouse movement.

Everytime this $#i+ happens, I take a deep breath, count to 10, or 50, or even 1000, and start the research again. Web search. How do I turn off "helpful" function/program "X" so it quits interrupting me and loading up the CPU when I'm busy with something else. The problem is, everytime I think I've rid myself of these flipping built-in ads, I find another one. I bought this machine new nearly a year ago, and I still haven't rid myself of all the pre-installed and now-expired trial versions of various software that keeps nagging me to "upgrade to the full ($$$) version".

Ok. Calm down. I'm going to have to put aside a weekend, take some nice sedatives. Maybe I can find drivers to downgrade to the old, familiar 2000 on this machine.

FYI - this is an HP. Never mind the model number - they're all like this now.

If XP is like this, will Vista be the giant, slobbering, rabid bear waiting to pounce upon and sodomize any who turn their backs even for a second?

Sorry for the hijack. I just had to tell someone. I gotta get back down to the shop.


08-20-2006, 04:38 PM
The drive is in the Toshiba notebook being formatted and then will be loaded with Win98SE. Once everything is installed and running, I will put it back in the Gateway and see if it works.

Wirecutter, I have to agree about Vista. I would put my money on needing 3.0 ghz pc to run it.

08-20-2006, 04:45 PM
Don't install 98 in the notebook, just copy the win98 folder and contents to the hard drive. System the hard drive by using the copy system files command so it will boot to dos and then run setup in the win98 folder on the old computer after you put it back there.

08-20-2006, 04:49 PM
Vista comes in several flavours but to run the full version called Vista Utimate you need minimum 1 gig ram, lots of HD space, a 256 megabyte video card with seperate ram and a fast cpu. More ram is better. Apparently the more ram it has the faster it runs. Even more than that is better. In fact having all the ram the system can take is even better.


Vista by the way is a ground up rewrite and doesn't share anything with previous MS operating systems. It is going to break compatability with many older programs and even some new ones.

08-20-2006, 10:10 PM
Got it up and running :D

I already had started loading Win98SE before I read your post Evan, but this what I did.
Put the hard drive into my Toshiba, formatted the drive and started the Windows install. After Windows finished copy files and went to reboot and "finalize the installation", I stopped it. Booted back into dos with the Win98 startup disk. Created a cabs folder on the hard drive and copied the all the cabs and files from the folder on the cd to the hard drive. Then moved the drive to the Gateway and rebooted and finished the install. It is up and running.

08-20-2006, 11:18 PM
It's good you have it running but by doing the install that way you did you miss one major advantage. When you install from the cabs on the hard drive, called a "flat" install, Windows remembers that and will never ask for the 98 CD in the future when it needs a driver or something. The way you did it it will ask for the CD but you can direct it to find the files in the cab directory when needed.

08-21-2006, 12:44 AM
Ah I remember editing the registry to tell windows where to find the cab files. I like to put linux on older pc's.
I am running kubuntu on this laptop. I just installed emc 2 on it, it put a real time os kernel image on it as a bootup option. Man, linux just rules!