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How to get Win 98 Install CD to recognise existence of external PCMCIA CD drive?

Posted on 2007-07-23
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I have an old Sharp Actius A280 sub-laptop with 64MB RAM. This originally ran NT but has been running XP Pro recently on NTFS file system
Understandably, it is very slow, although it does run.
I have tried twice and failed to buy a 64MB memory extension which might have solved that problem.
I have been thinking for some time to get it running Win 98 SE, which should be much less bulky as an OS and therefore quicker. It is a decent, stable OS from about the right hardware "era" and covers essentials like USB ports, which 98FE does not.
It also contains two logical drives on a 7.8GB disk - SysDrive and AppsDrive. AppsDrive has useful, but not irreplaceable data and some specific Sharp utilities.
I managed to shift the data off the AppsDrive and re-format AppsDrive as FAT32, then move the data back, then format the SysDrive as FAT32 using the XP installation CD.
Now, when I try to install Win 98 SE, I am prompted as to whether I want to boot from CD or Hard Disk. Select CD. Then asked whether to Set up 98 or start the computer with or without CD support. Select Set up. The set up then tries to load OEMCD001, cannot find it, cannot find a CD drive and aborts the installation with the message that it cannot find the Win 98 setup files.
Doing a similar process to install XP, everything works fine, but this is not what I want as it is too resource intensive an OS for this old laptop.
I take it the fact that the CD drive is an external one attached through a PCMCIA card rather than a standard internal CD drive is part of the problem. Also that XP is able to cope with such peculiarities, whereas Win 98 was not.
Any suggestions how I can get the Win 98 CD to run?

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Question by:obuckley
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Alan Huseyin Kayahan earned 1000 total points
ID: 19546993
     Hi obuckley    
          I wish you posted here before you formatted XP, you could have easily copied the WIN98 CABs to appsdrive in XP and you wouldnt need WIN98 CD.
          Finding the correct mscdex driver for your PCMCIA, then creating a new WIN98 CD which the PCMCIA drivers slipstreamed, or booting from floppy that PCMCIA driver integrated may be a long an painfull way. I suggest you installing XP back, make sure appsdrive is FAT32. Then copy the WIN98 folder in CD to appsdrive. Now format C from XP cd in FAT32, boot from WIN98. Mscdex will fail again, not important. Locate appsdrive in MS DOS then cd win98 then type setup. Installation begins, no need for CD.

Regards
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by:BrandonTaylor
ID: 19548186
What we used to do is pull the hdd out, put it in a desktop, format the drive making it bootable, then copy the cabs to a c:\windows\cabs folder.  Restart, and run the install from C:.  Much faster and keeps your cabs local if needed.
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by:Alan Huseyin Kayahan
ID: 19548348
       You are right brandon, but this is a notebook and notebook HDD needs special equipment for being connected to PC.
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by:BillDL
ID: 19548556
The special equipment is very cheap, however, and there isn't anything particularly complicated about its use.  There are various different types, but this gives you an idea of what is needed:
http://www.cablestogo.com/product.asp?cat_id=906&sku=17705
Some are like very short ribbon cables with different connectors at either end and no power plug, so you need a spare power connector in the PC.
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by:BrandonTaylor
ID: 19548611
If you don't have the adapter - don't buy it - go by one of your local PC shops and see if you can get one on loan.  One word of caution - some of the older adapters will let you plug the drive in either way so make sure you line up the 1 pin on the adapter to the 1 pin on the hdd.  Power goes across this so you can mess up your drive.  But all this aside, it is a super easy, super fast way to get it done.
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by:Alan Huseyin Kayahan
ID: 19548625
       Why would he pay while he can do it by the way I mentioned?
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by:BrandonTaylor
ID: 19548653
It's all about having options!  Now he has a few great ways to get it done!
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by:obuckley
ID: 19552188
OK Mr Husv's solution worked perfectly.
I used XP to load the contents of the Win 98 SE CD onto AppsDrv, then used the XP Installation CD to re-format SysDrv, aborted the re-installation of XP, shut down and re-booted from Win 98 SE CD so as to start the computer to a DOS prompt. From there, directing it to Set-up was easy and Set-up worked fine.

The only problems I have now are that I have none of the Win 98 drivers for the Sharp hardware. So the screen resolution is only basic 16 colour VGA, I have no sound driver, no modem driver, no PCMCIA driver, no Ethernet card driver etc. I'll try the web, but it's a little diappointing that the Win 98 CD has so little on it whereas XP found all of them and got them all working. Still, the boot sequence has gone from over 14 minutes to 45 seconds, which is rather what I had hoped would happen.

Thanks Mr Husv
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by:BillDL
ID: 19553023
The notebook was probably manufactured after Win98se was pressed, hence the lack of drivers on the CD.  Lesson learned, source the drivers before formatting ;-)

http://www.sharpusa.com/products/TypeSoftware/0,1086,30,00.html

Drivers for Actius Ultra Lite Notebook PCs:
- Driver for external CDROM drive CD-CD01
- LAN/display/sound/VPM Windows 98 drivers
- Windows 98 video driver
- Boot disk for the A200 series notbooks

Interesting article showing guts of your notebook:
http://www.overclockers.com/articles1053/

I still suggest buying a 2.5" laptop to 3.5" PC IDE converter for future events.  It's a very handy and extremely inexpensive thing to have in your toolkit.
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by:BillDL
ID: 19553053
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by:obuckley
ID: 19555500
Hi Bill DL,
Thanks for your further comments.
Unfortunately, a number of sites (like the one you quote) offer memory for Sharp laptops. However, you will see from the memorystore picture that the RAM has a standard edge connector strip. You will see from the pictures on the Overclockers site that the additional RAM slot on the machine has a proprietary socket at right angles to the RAM board (I don't know what that type of connector is called. It looks like an oblong PLCC socket.). The memorystore product is also too wide to fit in the space available. This is exactly the problem I have twice faced when trying to buy additional memory.
I'll get an IDE converter as it looks as though I am going to need one (see below).
I did track down the software you mention from the Sharp site anyway, however, there is a minor problem: I have no current way of getting the software, or indeed anything else, into the machine. Although the XP and Win98 installation CDs both force the CD drive to operate (that's how I was able to get them loaded) the machine itself once booted from HDD will not recognise the existence of the CD drive, so I can't use that to load anything. Most of the programs required are too large for a floppy disk, the Ethernet driver and modem driver are both in the Sharp software package not on the machine, so it is not possible to get them in via network or internet, my wireless card needs to load software from a CD, and Win 98 SE has almost no native support drivers for USB devices like flash drives or external HDDs. I may be able to get the USB support in via a floppy. I had given up by 2 am this morning, but will try again. If woerst comes to worst, I'll load XP, copy the software in from CD, re-format the SysDrv and re-load 98, but it seems a long way round.
FWIW I emphatically agree with the overclockers guy who says this is really light and perfectly adequate for travelling - also where he paid $500 or so for his, I paid $60 - in fact the wireless card cost almost as much :)
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by:BillDL
ID: 19556897
$60 was pretty good for a dinky little notebook like that.  OK, so it's older spec now, but still perfectly usable.
I see what you mean about the memory now.  I usually use Crucial/Micron, but they don't even list that Sharp model.

An Iomega Parallel Port ZIP Drive could be used if you know anyone with such an older device.  I use mine for such situations, because the LPT1 port is usually functional using the standard drivers already present.  The Iomega drivers are small enough to first transfer to the notebook via floppy, and that would allow access to the Zip Drive on LPT1.  A 100 or 250MB Zip Disc would be a lot better than using multiple floppies.
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by:obuckley
ID: 19564289
Thanks again Bill.
I have managed to crack the immediate problem. The CD drivers did in fact fit on a floppy and the machine was able to recognise its own (external) floppy drive without further interference, so once I could get the CD to work, everything else fell into place.
I have got a further minor niggle, but that's best given its own question as this one has been answered.
If you are interested it will be under hard drives and titled Swap Active partition.
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