reformat & install win98 on Thinkpad with removable CD drive

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smith81gigem

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I'm trying to fix a win98 lockup problem on a Thinkpad 765L and have resorted to fdisk and reformat of the hard drive (with system files). With this thinkpad, I have to physically remove the a: drive to add the CD-ROM drive (for my win98 cd). I can't get the system to recognize the CD-ROM drive.
Using the win98 startup disk in a:, if I choose to start the system with CD-ROM support, it advises that there is no such device found.
How can I make my system (booted from the harddrive with win98 command.com file) recognize and utilize the CD drive?
Thanks for any help!
 
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LOL. A Catch-22.

Burn this CD image to a CD and boot from it. Remove the CD and insert your 98 CD. Your CD-ROM will be X:. Follow the prompts to install 98.
 
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There is also a CD ROM boot image you can download at:
http://www.onecomputerguy.com/software/win_boot.iso

There are a lot of the DOS utilities there that don't normally get added when you make one from Win98. For example Diskcopy, Doskey, Format, More, Move, Sys, Edit, Chkdsk, Deltree, Extract, Updated Fdisk, Attrib, Label, Mem, Scandisk, Scanreg, Smartdrv and Xcopy.

It automatically loads with support for a generic CD ROM and assigns it the drive letter of X:

In addition to all the other DOS utilities, the CD version also has:
DELPART - For deleting DOS and NTFS partitions. Can delete extended NTFS partitions.
FDISK121 - FDISK with additional options - See the documentation, and
READNTFS - Read and Copy files on a NTFS partition.

The CD image needs to be burned using a program that recognized ISO images.
 
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Since you will need to do the installation from a RAMdrive and a GUI is very useful, you should have no problems with the first choice. No further utilities will be needed but the CD contains many if needed.

You can burn the ISO image to CD with this:

ftp://terabyteunlimited.com/burncdcc.zip
 
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Having a ramdrive hopefully isn't a requirement for installing Win98 ;-)

From your post, the main problem is that you "can't get the system to recognize the CD-ROM drive"

So at this point you probably just need a bootable CD that will also load your CD ROM files.

=======================

Information on a variety of ways to install (or re-install Win9x) can be found at:
http://www.onecomputerguy.com/install/win9x_install.htm

Topics covered are:
Overview
FDISK and/or FORMAT
First Time Install
Simple Re-Install - (Over Existing Installation)
Clean Installation or Upgrade - (Keeping Windows & Program Files Directories)
New Installation - (Removing Original Files without a Format)
 
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The CD-ROM drive is only not recognized when removed---to be expected. The machine can only have a floppy or a CD-ROM but not both.

If that version of 98 is not bootable, then, "Yes", a RAMdrive is a requirement for installing 98.
 
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Yes. That is why you need a bootable CD ROM. But it doesn't need to have a RAM drive. Just one that boots with the CD ROM drivers. Simple and easy. The link provided earlier works great if the standard CD ROM drivers are all that is required. Some laptop CD's need their own in which case it becomes a bit more complicated.

But so far I have not seen a single instance where a RAM drive was necessary for installing Win98 (or any other Windows based OS for that matter).

For example, you could boot with a CD that has the necessary drivers, copy the source files to a directory on the hard drive and install from that directory...all without any ramdrive at all. Mostly they slow the boot process from floppies way down since they then have to expand all the utilities (whether you will actually need all of them or not) to that ram drive. With just that madboot floppy which creates a ram disk I did a little timed comparison. I fdisked, rebooted and formatted a 10 gig drive with a disk that didn't need to go through all that before the madboot even finished booting once.
 
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Elvandil said:
Since you will need to do the installation from a RAMdrive
Elvandil said:
If that version of 98 is not bootable, then, "Yes", a RAMdrive is a requirement for installing 98.
In all these years I haven't seen that a ramdrive was a requirement to install any Windows OS.

But just as a test, I again started a computer with a bootable CD ROM that does not create a RAM drive and installed Win98 just fine. Then I did the same with a bootable floppy that does also not create a ramdrive and the install went fine again. Been doing it like that since Win95.

Now you can have a RAMdrive if you want. Some floppies create one and take extra time to extract all the utilities there whether you need them or not. But you don't need one.
 

smith81gigem

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Thank you so much for all of your help. I struggled through making a bootable CD and tested it on my desktop, so I know it boots win 98.
I can get into setup on the Thinkpad, and everything - including the CD-ROM tests 'okay.' When I look at 'startup' (I think this is BIOS), it doesn't even show a CD-ROM. It is set to boot from floppy, then hard drive. The other options are network, Floppy 2, Hard drive 2, 3, and 4.
So, even though my CD is bootable, the Thinkpad is ignoring it!
Any ideas?
BTW - when I boot from the floppy, the RAM Drive is set up, but it still thinks the CD-ROM doesn't exist.
 
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If you absolutely can't get it to boot from a CD, and since you do have a desktop, there is a very inexpensive adapter that will let you connect a laptop's hard drive to a desktop's IDE controller.

Then you could format the laptop's hard drive with the /s switch so it will boot when you put it back in again.

Also copy the Win98 source files to a directory on the hard drive.

Then when you boot with the laptop, you won't even need the Win98 CD. Just go to that directory and run Setup.
 
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smith81gigem said:
Thank you so much for all of your help. I struggled through making a bootable CD and tested it on my desktop, so I know it boots win 98.
I can get into setup on the Thinkpad, and everything - including the CD-ROM tests 'okay.' When I look at 'startup' (I think this is BIOS), it doesn't even show a CD-ROM. It is set to boot from floppy, then hard drive. The other options are network, Floppy 2, Hard drive 2, 3, and 4.
So, even though my CD is bootable, the Thinkpad is ignoring it!
Any ideas?
BTW - when I boot from the floppy, the RAM Drive is set up, but it still thinks the CD-ROM doesn't exist.
Does the BIOS recognize that CD-ROM at all (in any other area that may have drive settings)?

What kind of BIOS is it? Usually there is none accessible on the Thinkpad except through Windows. Does it say who made the BIOS (Award, Phoenix, etc.)?

If you have a manual, check to see if a key-press is needed on boot to boot the CD.
 
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smith81gigem,

What startup are you looking at? From a little searching around there Internet for you, there were a few articles suggesting to press the F1 key to get to the Easy-Setup menu. Is this what you tried? If so, where there any other options available that might seem useful like Config?
 
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