Pointers on Building from Barebones

Posted on 2002-07-28
Last Modified: 2010-04-25
I've bought a Gigabyte GA-7DX+ motherboard with AMD XP 1800+ CPU that will arrive installed and in a case with fan.  I'm hoping to build a unit that uses components I've had laying around, including a 45GB 5400 RPM HDD, DVD-ROM and CD-RW ROM, as well as an AGP 32MB video card, with 512MB DDR RAM.  I've substituted hard drives, installed additional RAM memory and put in PCI cards before, but never started more or less from scratch.  I have a 4GB HDD from an old computer that has Windows 98SE and thought I might use that as the primary and the 45GB as a slave.

Any helpful advice?  I'll offer 25 or more points a shot (by posting additional "questions" to which I'll give credit for your already given answers" for tips that expand my knowledge on what to watch out for, and could probably use pointers on things like adjusting voltage, requirements for cables and the like, whether I can expect to just put the old HDD into the new unit and have plug and play get me to where I need to be re: the rest of the installation.  Are there possible incompatibilities I may discover.

Question by:justasking
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LVL 23

Expert Comment

ID: 7184897
First, you will probably have to reinstall 98SE in the new system to have everything recognized.  Generally, the best advice when putting together a new system is to put the cab files in their own directory on the hard drive (I use C:\CABS) and install from there.  The installation goes faster and smoother when this is done.
Just make that directory on the hard drive and copy the entire contents of the \WIN98 directory into it.  Now run setup from that directory.  You will not be asked for the 98CD since all default drivers are on the hard drive.
Another useful tip I have encountered is to install 98SE with the bare system (no special sound, tape drivers, etc) because it loads the drivers for the CD last.  It will find the sound and ask for the CD when it hasn't even loaded the CD into the system yet.

Author Comment

ID: 7185260
Thanks, slink9.  Would I increase my chances of the Win98 recognizing the new system (unit "B") if before I install the old drive in unit B I put the drive in a computer that it will recognize (unit "A") and use Device Manager to "remove" all components (then move the drive into unit B before any further rebooting in unit A)?  I could probably find the original recovery/reinstall CD for the computer that once had the hard drive, but I'm worried (not sure why) that that CD may have proprietary features that prevent simply installing Win98.
Do I need to install my CD-ROM into unit B first if I do it your way?  If so, how will the drivers get into the system for purposes of using the WIN98 CD/recovery disk?
LVL 23

Expert Comment

ID: 7185287
You are building this from the ground up.  The old recovery CD is out of the picture.  You need drivers for the new parts and pieces.  The surest way of having a smooth install is to copy all drivers to your hard drive and then install.  Another option is to start with the basics (hard drive, floppy, CDRom, video) and install 98.  Then after that is functioning properly you add all of the other pieces.
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Author Comment

ID: 7185421
I'm about to further show the ignorance of a non-techie who simply dickers with these things.
I understand the "ground up" concept, but if I simply put the hard drive in and boot, won't win98 try to recognize what is in the computer?  It will recognize the HDD that the win98 is on.  As for the new video (I plan on using a 32MB AGP card), can't I expect slipping the AGP card into place to at least give me a low resolution image until win98 asks for drivers I can load into the CD-ROM?  How else do I manage to get to get anything on the monitor?
LVL 23

Expert Comment

ID: 7185922
I have had AGP videos that will not work at all unless you have the proper drivers loaded.  I had to put a standard VGA in and get everything set up and then uninstall the video and shut down.  Of course, you should be able to bring the system up in safe mode (F8 while booting) and then update the drivers there.  Keep in mind that safe mode doesn't have CD access so you will have to load the drivers off of the hard drive.
By putting an existing system (even though you delete all devices) in a new hardware config, you will probably encounter problems at the beginning.  If not, you will still most likely have problems in the future.  The best thing to do is rebuild the OS from scratch.  The last system that I upgraded was an AMD 1800+.  I had major problems with all of the new stuff and had to do a system rebuild from scratch.  Maybe you will get lucky, but it will still be much less hassle if you start from scratch.

Author Comment

ID: 7185971
Slink9, you've earned these points, but I'm keeping the question open so I can also give points to others that are helpful.
I have a 16MB PCI video card (although the drivers wouldn't yet be on the hard drive) that I could pop in for the initial configuration rather than the AGP card.  Given what you said above, would you recommend that?  (I can at least assume, can't I, that the AGP card will give me a minimum resolution/color image on the initial boot, or did you even have blank screen problems?)  
I also have an old CD-ROM that used to be in the same computer as the HDD, so the drivers must be on the HDD.  Do you suggest I install that first (even though my ultimate plan is to install a DVD-ROM and CD/RW-ROM, not a CD-ROM, in the new computer).
LVL 23

Accepted Solution

slink9 earned 100 total points
ID: 7186027
The drivers are for the controller, not the drive itself.  The controller will have changed and these are among the last loaded for some reason.
You may be able to get a minimum resolution from the AGP card.  Try that first.  If you have problems booting, pull it out and put the PCI in.
The best first step is to boot from a 98SE boot disk.  If you don't have one you can download it from
Then boot from that and it will load the DOS CDRom drivers and allow you to access the CD.  Then FDISK the 4G (if that will be your boot disk) and remove the current partition.  Add the partition back and reboot.  Next format it and make a directory there (C:\CABS is my preference) and copy the entire WIN98 directory from the CD (using XCOPY d:\win98\*.* /s/e/v  -  assuming your CD is drive letter D) and run SETUP from there.  The cleanest installation will be with only your hard drive, floppy, CDRom, and PCI video.  After everything is operating swap out the PCI for the AGP.  After all drivers are loaded and the system is stable add other parts and pieces and load the correct drivers for them.
LVL 16

Expert Comment

by:Kyle Schroeder
ID: 7186676
I don't know that you need to bother with the PCI video card, and you should be able to get basic AGP video support (including the drivers) right off the bat.  slink9's suggestion of copying the CAB files to the harddrive is a great one, it can really save you some hassle looking for the Win98 CD.  He is also correct that you can't use the "recovery" CD most likely; if this is from HP, Compaq, or Dell (etc) they CD checks to ensure that you're using it to install that company's computer by querying the BIOS.

The chipset drivers for your board are a bit tricky...the GA-7DX+ has a "hybrid" chipset from AMD and VIA, so you can't install the typical VIA 4in1 driver set.  The drivers are provided by Gigabyte at:
or you can use the CD that came with the board which will have the basic drivers on it for the AGP, etc.

The biggest "trick" I can share with you is to ensure you connect the case leads to the motherboard properly.  These are the 2-4 cable wires that come from the front of the case and plug into what looks like a jumper block on the motherboard (usually on the bottom/front (assuming you have a tower case)).  These can be tricky to attach properly, its mostly trial and error depending on the documentation for the system (which can be seen at: in case you need it)

You'll need to install the AMD AGP patch (which should be on the Gigabyte page or the board's CD)

I also second slink's suggestion of not trying to upgrade in place...the old Win98 install is likely from an Intel-based system, which is a whole different animal from VIA/AMD.  If you want to try it though (because it *can* work, its just not recommended):

Install the 4GB harddrive as primary master (C:) and boot from it.  Hold CTRL after POST, before Win98 begins loading.  You'll get the Win98 boot menu, choose Safe Mode. Once you get into Safe Mode, Start-Run-Regedit, then browse to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Enum and delete all the keys within Enum.  Actually you can just delete ENUM directly most likely, then be sure to recreate the Enum key under CurrentControlSet (I'm pretty sure that this is the location of ENUM, if not do a search F3 with SYSTEM selected for ENUM...I'm on a Win2000 machine currently)


Author Comment

ID: 7193693
Thanks, Dogz, but fortunately, I lucked out and the transferred HDD worked fine after I followed Slink's advice and used the bootdisk utility.  The AGP card has also worked to give me basic video. The HDD seemed to be able to access drivers for everything but the sound.

I do have a strange new problem.  Even though I installed a new floppy and used it for the bootdisk program, now that I have installed a new second HDD (with the intent of copying the content of the first to the second), I can't get the floppy to read the Western Digital program for copying one drive to the other.  Device Manager says the floppy controller is fine, and I've checked all connections, but the computer isn't reading the floppy drive as present.  (The bios says drive A is the floppy, but it does that whether or not I have the floppy cable on the floppy drive as A or B.)

This is a ridiculous mystery--to be held up by a new floppy that has already worked.

More points for help.

Author Comment

ID: 7193750
Thanks, Dog*.  Amazingly, the old HDD took over nicely after I used the bootdisk utility Slink9 recommended.  Your other info may yet be useful, in which case I'll direct you to a separate new question to get points.  These 100 will go to Slink9 when I close the question down.

For my new problem, even though I installed a new floppy and used it for the bootdisk program, now that I have installed a new second HDD (with the intent of copying the content of the first to the second), I can't get the floppy to read the Western Digital program for copying one drive to the other.  Device Manager says the floppy controller is fine, and I've checked all connections, but the computer isn't reading the floppy drive as present.  (The bios says drive A is the floppy, but it does that whether or not I have the floppy cable on the floppy drive as A or B.)

I've created a separate question in this area for those who want to help out on the floppy mystery.

Author Comment

ID: 7193757
Excuse the confusion and duplication on the floppy.  I thought the first submission didn't go through.  
LVL 23

Expert Comment

ID: 7194020
If you want to close this question out you need to click on the Accept Comment As Answer button at the top right of the comment that helped you.  I will look at the other question and see if I can help there, also.

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