90 minute installation of Windows 98?

Recently my Pentium 450 with Windows 98 (first edition) decided to give me the blue screen of death every time I booted up as a result of removing components from my Network Neighborhood properties.

I had little choice but to reinstall Win98 from the original CD.  However, since the CDROM drivers were not being loaded from C:\AUTOEXEC.BAT I had to boot from the Win 98 emergency boot diskette.

Once I got to a A:> prompt, I was able to access the CDROM drive and Win98 CD, and went ahead and started the re-installation.

However, I noticed something odd.   The installation screen would display the "estimated minutes" for the installation on the left side of the screen, and it was showing 90 minutes during the first 10 minutes of the installation process.

I also noticed that my hard disk was THRASHING real bad.  As if there were no disk cache active.  Since I had other things to do, I left the PC to do it's thing while I went into the other room.  1.5 hours later, I came back, only to see the progress bar at 98%.  It was taking 90 minutes afterall!

My question is, this does not seem right.  90 minutes?  And why all the disk thrashing?  It sounded horrible - the hard disk, i.e..

Here's the config.sys on the emergency boot disk.   I suspect Microsoft forgot to put something in the config.sys/autoexec.bat files which caused the hard disk to thrash, and which caused an abominably long install.

Can anyone spot the problem?


menuitem=CD, Start computer with CD-ROM support.
menuitem=NOCD, Start computer without CD-ROM support.
menuitem=HELP, View the Help file.

device=himem.sys /testmem:off
device=oakcdrom.sys /D:mscd001
device=btcdrom.sys /D:mscd001
device=aspicd.sys /D:mscd001

device=himem.sys /testmem:off

device=himem.sys /testmem:off

devicehigh=ramdrive.sys /E 2048

------- autoexec.bat ------------
set LglDrv=27 * 26 Z 25 Y 24 X 23 W 22 V 21 U 20 T 19 S 18 R 17 Q 16 P 15
set LglDrv=%LglDrv% O 14 N 13 M 12 L 11 K 10 J 9 I 8 H 7 G 6 F 5 E 4 D 3 C
call setramd.bat %LglDrv%
set temp=c:\
set tmp=c:\
copy command.com %RAMD%:\ > NUL
set comspec=%RAMD%:\command.com
copy extract.exe %RAMD%:\ > NUL
copy readme.txt %RAMD%:\ > NUL

echo Please insert Windows 98 Startup Disk 2

%RAMD%:\extract /y /e /l %RAMD%: ebd.cab > NUL
echo The diagnostic tools were successfully loaded to drive %RAMD%.

IF "%config%"=="NOCD" GOTO QUIT
IF "%config%"=="HELP" GOTO HELP
LH %ramd%:\MSCDEX.EXE /D:mscd001 /L:%CDROM%

call help.bat
echo Your computer will now restart and the startup menu will appear.

echo To get help, type HELP and press ENTER.
rem clean up environment variables
set CDROM=
set LglDrv=
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nothing wrong with that.  after install, all good?   does it still thrash when in use?
I had a computer take over 90 minutes to install and it was because it was actually trying to fix the current windows.  Did you deltree windows first?  If not, it could have ran the fix/update instead of a fresh install.
SofttechAuthor Commented:
Yes, all was well after the 90 minute install.

No, the hard disk does not thrash after the re-install.

No, I did not deltree c:\windows.  There was no reason to trash windows when probably a single DLL or VXD or registry item was lost or missing or botched.

I still say there was something wrong.
true there may have been only one file with a problem but windows verified the size and datestamp of every file it installs (that could be upwards of 10000 files (over 14000 on my install) that windows had to check.  I agree, the thrashing shouldn't have happened.  P450 - so probably 128MB RAM?  I don;t understand the thrashing but the 90 minutes is not a surprise.
You could download a HD utility from the HD maker to be sure it is ok...
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Softtech, if you were running a P100 with 16MB of ram, 90 minutes would be acceptable, but not a 450 with 32 to 128MB of ram. Also, the thrashing is not normal. On a reload, presuming that you do not use any of the setup switches, the reload just uses SFC to check the files, and it won't over-write newer with older files, nor will it recreate your INI files. A load over from DOS does nothing but a verify of the files, VXD's and then the registry.

I would look real hard at that drive.
SofttechAuthor Commented:
My 450 Pentium has 256mb RAM.

I still don't see where a disk cache is being activated when booting from a 3.5" emergency boot disk.

Does the Win98 install procedure automatically load a disk cache system?
The Win98 boot disk loads a virtual drive, if that's what you mean.
SofttechAuthor Commented:
I'm not sure.

One can have a disk cache without having a virtual drive, no?  Can one have a virtual drive without disk caching?

To me, HD thrashing is a sign that disk caching is off or not loaded.

The Pentium 450 works fine (no thrashing) after Win98 was reinstalled, so I can't see how the HD is at fault in this instance.
If you're reloading Windows 98 using the Win98 boot disk, then there won't be any disk cache created. That's done within the Windows GUI. Actually, when using the Win98 boot disk, it is referred to as a ramdrive. Another issue that did occur to me was the possibility of disk read/write problems.
SofttechAuthor Commented:
I can't see how a drive which was working perfectly before and after the reinstall could all of a sudden have read/write problems during a Win98 reinstall.

Also, the RAMdrive is simply used to offload/store some of the most frequently used utilities.  The RAMdrive should have nothing to do with disk caching.

If there is no disk cache active when booting from the 3.5" boot disk, then would this not explain the thrashing?

If so, why does Microsoft not load a disk cache utility from the 3.5" boot disk?
For a disk cache to function, you would need to load the IDE bus drivers. Since these cannot be loaded from DOS, you can't load the disk cache. You can cache the memory though to make an install run faster.

If there is a possibility (any) that the drive may have a problem, run a low level format then a regular format and do a fresh install. If the drive has any problem, it will turn up during this procedure. There are also a few utilities that can be run to test the physical drive, Maxtor has one that is about the best out there and it runs on all type 27 to 97 drives. The downside is that you'll need to pull the partition and reinstall it and then format afterwards.

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SofttechAuthor Commented:
>>The downside is that you'll need to pull the partition
>>and reinstall it and then format afterwards.

No thanks.  Everything was fine before and after the reinstall, so I don't see any reason to make my life difficult now when all is OK.   I believe the disk thrashing was due to no disk cache, and there's no other reason to suspect a hard disk problem.
As long as there are no problems, that is all that matters. By the way, can you tell me why the "C" grade? I really would have preferred you not accepting anything as an answer.
SofttechAuthor Commented:
I thought you deserved some credit just for assisting me.  I could not give you an "A" because I really did not think the question was ever answered definitively.

In short, it was my way of saying 'thanks' while at the same time realizing I wasn't going to find an answer to my question here.  I thought a "C" was better than nothing.  Sorry if I guessed wrong.
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