Here's how I do it:
Note: These instructions will work only with a Windows 98 or Windows Me startup disk. Also, this process will only work if the laptop computer has only one hard disk or partition. If your laptop has multiple partitions, you will need to remove them before proceeding with the instructions below.
To do a clean install, follow these directions:
Start your computer with the floppy disk drive in place, and with the startup disk in the drive. When asked if you want to start with CD-ROM support, select Start the computer WITHOUT CD-ROM support.
You will eventually see the following prompt:
(Above that, you should see a line reading "The diagnostic tools were successfully loaded to drive X:". Throughout these instructions, replace X: with the drive letter specified by this line.)
At the A:\> prompt, type:
format c: /s [press enter]
This command will take a moment to complete, and at the end it will ask you to specify a disk label. Enter an 11-character name or simply press Enter.
Once you are back at the A:\ prompt, type:
copy oakcd*.sys c: [press enter]
When the A:\ prompt appears again, type:
X: [enter] (Make sure that you type in the letter specified in the ......successfully loaded to drive X: line)
You should now see an X:\ (or whatever) prompt. type:
copy mscdex.exe c: [enter]
Type edit [enter]. This will open the text editor in DOS. Type the following line:
Press Alt-f and select Save As... . Name this file c:\autoexec.bat .
Press Alt-f again, and select New.
Type the following line:
DEVICE = C:\oakcdrom.sys /d:mscd001
Press Alt-f and select Save As... . Name this file c:\config.sys .
Turn off the laptop, insert the CD-ROM drive, and restart. The computer will come back up with the A:\ (or possibly C:\ ) prompt as before. Now, type D: and press enter.
Put the Windows CD in the CD-ROM drive, at the D:\> prompt, type setup then press enter. This should start Windows Setup.
Hope it works for you.