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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I just got a used laptop (Dell Latitude 433). It's pretty old (built in 1994). Anyway, when I turn it on it says "Missing Operating System" and it won't allow me to use the dos prompt. So i put in my Windows 98 Boot disk from my main pc in order to run scandisk etc., but whenever I try to do something with the c drive it says "invalid media type reading drive C" under that it says the usual "Abort, Retry, Fail?" Do I need a new Hard drive? Also, when i tried to use an external cd-rom drive, which plugged into the parallel port, the drives provided by the boot disk would not work.
 

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Unless someone here can provide specific and exact directions on how to configure a parallel port CD-ROM drive to work in DOS mode, you're looking at devoting a significant amount of time and effort to get it to work. Standard boot disks will not recognize such a CD-ROM. You need to get DOS drivers for the drive and get them on the boot disk so they load when you boot from it. Very tricky if you've never edited a boot disk before.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Well, I tried the fdisk from the A prompt and it worked, but I don't know if it is info for the A drive or the hard drive. Anyway, here it is:

Partition - C: 1
Status - A
Type - PRI DOS
Volume -
Label -
Mbytes - 163
System - UNKNOWN
Usage - 100%


Total disk space is 163 Mbytes (1 Mbyte = 1048576)
 

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Well,

From the looks of that fdisk readout, I can tell 1) that it doesn't apply to drive a: (that is, unless you've got a 163 Meg floppy drive!!!) so it's for drive c.

2. Since everyline in fdisk says something specific except the "SYSTEM" line, what you have here is a drive where the partition exists, but doesn't have a file format of any kind. Otherwise the "SYSTEM" line would have as it's second part, not an UNKNOWN, but rather it would say "FAT" or "FAT16".

So, what you need to do is format the partition, then you can install DOS/Windows to this hard drive, and it should run just fine.
 

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An addendum, now that I'm thinking about it, since you mentioned using your Win98 boot disk.

I hope you don't think that you're gonna be able to get Win98 to install on a measly little 163MByte hard drive, but it ain't gonna happen, as the base Win98 installation requires somewhere in the neighborhood of 350 or so Mbytes just for Windows.

So the deal is: HD capacity - 163 Megs
Win98 needs - 350 Megs
______________________
"Houston, we have a problem!"

Now, I don't know how much value that 6 year old laptop holds for you, but it sounds like, in order for it to run current OS and software, you'll need to upgrage the HD size and, probably, add some RAM.

That being said, if you need RAM, you might want to check with Dell and see if they have some available for that model, as Dell built a lot of their stuff around semi-proprietary lines.

Best of luck,


Joe Krolikowski
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Thanks for the info. jkrolikowski. The lack of hard drive space was something that I was worried about . I have a hard drive spotted that has about 810 meg for $15, but it is from an IBM laptop. Do you know if this would would work for my computer?
 

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Yeah, that 810 meg drive would work - for a while, anyway. Once you start adding software to the basic windows installation, however, you'll find yourself running out of drivespace *real* fast.

Take my current Win98SE installation, for instance. I have all the business/recreation software that I currently need/use and because of all the shared files like *.dlls, *.vxds and such, my Windows directory is currently 1.1 GBytes in size. (that "G" ain't no typo.) :D

However, on the bright side, it certainly sounds like you're hooked into a source where you can get slightly older hardware at a pretty good price, so you might want to try for a hard drive that's at least 3 GBytes total size. You might even go higher, if your BIOS can handle it. The higher in size you go, the longer you'll be able to run that laptop.

Even if you do get a HD whose total size is bigger than your bios can handle, you can always fiddle with that by perhaps upgrading the BIOS or even (and this trick I haven't used in years) creating your Primary DOS partition (C:\) to the maximum your BIOS can handle, then partitioning the rest into logical drives that Windows will be able to see and utilize.

Again, best of luck.



Joe Krolikowski
 
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