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Install Windows on a Laptop without a cd or floppy drive installation of Windows for under $25 (Canadian) Rate Topic: -----

#1 William_Wilson  Icon User is offline

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Posted 20 November 2006 - 08:30 PM

I will try to be as detailed as possible, including pictures as i go.
(My laptop is a Dell Latitude CSx, but this will work for any make or model with the same issue)

*Please be careful when playing with hard drives they are extremly fragile and affected by magnets, static and sudden impacts.

DIC or myself will not take the blame for your mistakes! You have been warned

*now for the fun part!

Approximate cost of this procedure is $20 canadian, for the converter.
You will need the following:

*use of a desktop computer
*a laptop hard drive to IDE converter (available at any major online computer store)
*DOS (preferably 7.10 for it's improved loading times, available online, or by request.. it was free when i got it)

*If you have not burned a copy of DOS 7.10 yet, do that first, you will need it before moving the hardware!

locate the drive bay on your laptop:

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open the bay by removing the screws and slide the hard drive and drive tray out.

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both the drive tray and pin to laptop converter will need to be removed, carefully unscrew the drive tray and VERY carefully pull the converter off, it may be stuck on very tight.

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Now connect the adapter to the hard drive

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Now with the desktop computer OFF and grounded (to prevent static) plug the IDE channel 1 cable into the adapter (it will only fit one way) and the power cable into the other plug on the adapter.

NOTE: the red and black wires on the power MUST line-up!!

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- attatch the drive to IDE 1, channel 2 and start up your computer.
- format the drive to FAT32 (you can always switch it to ntfs later, with a prog such as partition magic)
- shutdown the computer

*With the DOS cd in the drive

- switch the laptop drive to IDE 1 channel 1 for best chance of detection, DOS is not the smartest OS ever made

- power up and install DOS 7.10 when prompted. IT is your choice to add or not add all the extras with DOS, these will not affect your installation either way!

- shutdown the computer and rearrange the laptop drive such that it is on IDE1, channel 2 again. so that you can boot into the OS (psobably XP) on your desktop.

- remove DOS 7.10 cd
- replace with Windows XP cd after system has booted.
- Copy I386 folder from WinXP cd onto the laptop harddrive
*probably place this directly on the root of the drive to prevent confusion later.
- find and download smartdrv.exe and copy it to the root directory as well (speeds up dos transfers)

*IF you cannot find this file, it is also found on win98 boot disks :D

- put the harddrive back in the laptop, reversing all the steps you did in the first part. Be Careful here as well, i have seen many pins bent due to carelessness on connecting the laptop/pin converter.

-When you turn on the laptop DOS should load, otherwise select it from the list

- run smartdrv.exe (type C:\smartdrv.exe at command prompt)

- run 16bit Windows XP installer (type C:\I386\winnt.exe)

- now let the laptop sit! Even if it appears to stall, it will continue, some older harddrives do not spin very fast and need time to load (5-10min is not an unreasonable wait
*with smartdrv.exe installed, expect MUCH longer without it!

- follow the Windows installer directions!
(Total time, depending on computer speeds: 1-2hrs - though most of this is waiting for Windows XP to install)

*you will now have dos and windows on the drive, you can remove dos, or leave it, it is up to you!!

PM if you need help removing your dual boot screen or uninstalling DOS safely.

**The best part about this installation method is it is much cheaper than buying an external drive, as long as you have access to a desktop computer.

*NOTE most external drives will use a USB connection which cannot be accesed on an installation.

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Replies To: Install Windows on a Laptop without a cd or floppy drive

#2 born2c0de  Icon User is offline

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Posted 21 November 2006 - 11:23 PM

That's a neat hack.
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#3 William_Wilson  Icon User is offline

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Posted 22 November 2006 - 12:06 PM

View Postborn2c0de, on 22 Nov, 2006 - 04:23 AM, said:

That's a neat hack.


thanks, it took me more days than i'd like to admit to finally break down to this, but it always works.
I tried soooo many other methods to no avail, and for the small cost of the converter it really is worth all the time you'll save.

There are a couple of other ways to do this same method i should point out:
*if this method gives you trouble try these as well.
1) put the drive in your desktop and format, but do not install dos, simply start the installation onto the laptop drive, and on the first restart do not let your comp boot. Take the drive out and place in the laptop and the installation should go off without a hitch.

2) same idea as 1, if you don't want to use the converter you can do the same by placing the drive into another laptop which has a cd drive, then switch it back at the same point as in 1.
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#4 1lacca  Icon User is offline

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Posted 22 November 2006 - 01:31 PM

Really nice hack, I was using BartPE so far to get a boot on such systems, but using DOS seems to be an easier route!
This is really something that one cannot appreciate enough until they face this exact problem!!!!!
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#5 William_Wilson  Icon User is offline

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Posted 22 November 2006 - 03:21 PM

it really is, especially if you need to format for some reason, a careful unistallation of a few programs and just start the installer again. No need to go through the process again for a while unless you're crazy about complete formats etc. I've installed XP on this thing 3 or 4 times any only had to use the entire process a couple of times :)
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#6 William_Wilson  Icon User is offline

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Posted 23 April 2007 - 04:20 PM

I don't know why i forgot to include this, but after going through this process today a small (simple) addition coule make this that much better.

Simply create a 300-500MB FAT32 partition on the front of your drive and another for XP, install DOS with the I386 folder on the first. Thus you have a dual boot, which if XP is ever messed up, you can format and re-install without touching anything. If you feel like switching up the XP installer (i like nLite for mods myself), just replace the I386 folder before formatting.
*I also have an extended partition on the drive for data which can transcend the change of installations.
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#7 mozag  Icon User is offline

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Posted 01 April 2008 - 07:44 AM

I have tried this guide over and over and allways get the same error "ntldr is missing press any key ..."
finaly I found the solution- to format the HD in not on the desktop but on the laptop.
the procedure is to install the msdos on th HD of the laptop and then reattached it to the laptop and perform a formating and then do the procedure describe in the guide.
and that is it. no more error message:ntldr is missing...
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#8 unclefez  Icon User is offline

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Posted 31 May 2008 - 09:04 AM

hiya all, i have just tried installing windows xp pro sp3 onto my acer travelmate 351te using the method where i put the laptop hard drive into a desktop and install windows that way, i turned off the pc at the first restart screen and reinstalled it back into my lappy.

then nothing, it has just frozen, i get the bar come up at the bottem of the screen, but it just hangs, and does absolutely nothing.

what am i doing wrong???

any suggestions?
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#9 cain63  Icon User is offline

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Posted 22 February 2009 - 04:22 AM

Hi, This is Kevin From Ariz0na.
I think this is the main for the people those who wanted to learn some different things about this forum for them it will help.
=============================
Kevin.
Laptop Computers
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