Monday, July 18, 2005

Computers (#2) Computers (#2)

Well, things finally looked up. First, though, I did have a couple of wrong turns. The first one was probably sleep-deprived. I figured I needed a bootable CD for Win 2K. So, I created one, using a Win 98 bootable floppy as the boot stuff. About the time I was finishing, I realized that that was plain brain dead. First, the subject machine (#G) can't boot from CDs in the first place. And, second, Win 2K needs to install under Windows, and the Win 98 floppy loads DOS.

But that got me thinking about diskette imaging, so I went back to my laptop (#E) and looked at what I had there, including some software to create diskette images and write them to floppy. Slick software. But then I needed a Win 2K or XP image to start from, so I looked in the 2K install files and found a directory titled "BOOTDISK" that had four diskette images, that were incompatible with the software I had just been playing with. But it also contains two programs, makeboot.exe, and makebt32.exe. Tried clicking on them, and both copy those four diskette images to diskette.

All of a sudden, the light went on. Being short of diskettes, I reused the XP recovery diskettes. On #4, the process choked. Turns out that the reason I had problems earlier was that diskette was bad. So, I restarted the process, but realized that I really didn't need to rewrite the first three. So, just left the new 4th one in while it got written four times. Meanwhile, I was booting from the four disketttes. Surprisingly, the laptop (#E) was making floppies about twice as fast as the server (#G) was booting from the ones I had just made. Then, the boot process failed, again on the 4th floppy. Giving it one more shot, rewrote the whole series onto a fresh(er) fourth diskette, while I was rebooting the server. And, voila, got to the Win 2K installation menu. Went into recovery mode, and fixed up the first partition, ultimately formatting it as FAT32. Then, rebooted, using all four diskettes again, and when I got to the installation menu, installed Win 2K this time. Worked like a dream. Currently, as I write this (on my old computer, #D), intallation is wrapping up.

Oh, and what is slick is that Win 2K not only figured out what the Ethernet card was (SMC EtherEZ 8416), but appears to have found a driver for it. This is the good side of plug and play. Don't have as much hope for the video card, but, hey, its going to be a server.

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