Thank you so much for your help with this problem. I followed your instructions
and Windows XP installed just fine! I can't thank you enough
for helping me fix this laptop!
I am planning on taking this laptop and donating it to an orphanage in
Russia. I went out yesterday and purchased a new CD Burner for it and
a external hard drive.
You are more than welcome, I'm sorry it took so long!
I think donating the laptop is a wonderful thing to do. My fathers side of the family are from Russia (2 generations back) so it's really nice to know that I've been able to make a tiny contribution by helping to fix the laptop.
I was wondering if I could ask you a couple of questions about the
steps that we followed:
1. Can you give me a brief description of what we did and why
we did it?
I will try & answer your questions as clearly as I can, but tell me if something doesn't make sense.
You had started by copying XP i386 folder to the laptop drive using desktop pc but when backin laptop, you couldn't access the C drive from the boot disk.
I guessed that this was due to the drive being set up to use NTFS file system (not supported by OS's other than XP,NT,2000).
Next I asked you to check the 'system' parameter in fdisk. Fdisk should have reported that the drive type was 'primary' & system was 'non-dos' if the drive was ntfs.
Instead fdisk reported the type as non-dos (instead of primary) and the system as 2 (instead of non-dos). Also it had recognised the drive sizes incorrectly.
Suspecting that something was very wrong, I asked you to use partition magic on the desktop to repartition the drive. PM recognizes far more drive sizes & file formats than win98 or DOS so was the best option.
We couldn't perform a 'copy system files quick format' in XP (to copy the boot files) so had to leave the drive blank. I was hoping that this wouldn't be a problem as the XP install should copy these to the drive itself.
Back in the laptop, you were still weren't able to access the drive from the boot disk. You correctly concluded that you were using the wrong boot disk - clearly one which doesn't support FAT32 (so probably a proper DOS disk instead of a Win98 Dos disk)
You then created a win98 boot disk & as a result had access to the drive.
When you ran the setup.exe for XP, you received the error 'program cannot be run in dos mode'. This was due to me being a pratt & telling you the wrong setup file. XPs setup is winnt in the i386 folder.
Also I recommended you downloaded a winXP boot disk to initiate the install instead. The install started but locked into a loop on reboot.
As the install files were copied into \options\i386 folder, I advised that you copy them without the options folder so that it resembled the directory structure of the CD.
This worked but instead of looping, it rebooted to 'No OS found' error. As XP should have put the boot files on the drive for you but hadn't, I guessed the reason may be because we were installing from the C drive to the C drive. XP expects to be installed from a different location (normally CD) so I suggested that you repartition the drive into 2 partitions thereby creating a D drive which would act as the CDROM drive.
The instal still resulted in the 'no OS found' error on reboot so I told you to run win98 fdisk & check the partition was active ('A' under status). Then I asked you to format the C drive using the /s switch. /s places the boot files on the drive, /q performs a quick format instead of a full one.
This time it worked.
2. What is the difference between a logic partition and a
A primary partition is the first partition on the drive (not all drives have a primary partition & it is also possible to have more than 1 primary partition but in normal circumstances there will be one & only the one). If you wish to create more than one partition, then the following ones are logical partitions, meaning they are not bootable. The primary partition is the only one which you can boot from (ie contains the boot files). You can install an operating system on the logical partition but its boot files will still reside in the primary.
3. What is an extended partition and why does Partition Magic create
it automatically (after creating a logical partition).
The extended partition is a container for the logical partitions.
The reason for the extended is this : you can have upto 4 primary partitions on a drive because the partition table in the boot sector has space for 4 entries but it cannot hold the details for more than 4 partitions in total. Because this is limiting & sometimes you want to create more than 4 partitions on a drive, the extended partition was devised to overcome this limitation.
What you would now have in the partition table, would be the physical address etc for the primary & the address for the extended, nothing more. The info about the logical partitions is stored inside the extended instead of the main partition table. This overcomes the 4 partiton restriction. (its still not a good idea to create more than 8 partitions in total though as this can cause problems with some OS's)
I guess Partition magic creates the extended automatically to make partitioning simpler for people who don't understand it.
4. We have 2 partitions on the hard drive now. When the computer boots,
it asks which partition I want to boot with. If I remove the partition
all of the files on the D drive will this damage anything or should
I just leave it as is?
You should be able to delete the files on the D drive now. The advantage though of having the i386 folder somewhere on the system (C drive or D drive) is so if windows ever needs them (eg when add/removing windows components or installing certain drivers etc) it has them there. This is not really an issue though if you have a CD drive & a copy of XP on CD with the laptop. You can also remove the option to boot with the D drive by editting the boot.ini file.
Before you delete any files, you had best let me see the boot.ini file just to make sure that removing them won't be a problem. I can also show you then how to remove the reference to the D drive from the boot menu. The boot.ini file is in the root of the C drive and is normally hidden, so you need to change your settings so you can view hidden/system files. When you have located the file, open it in notepad & copy & paste the contents in a post.