Cannot perform tak in DOS

Jun 26, 2006
  1. Please bare with me I am not very good at this stuff and probably am not explaining it well, but I could really use some help!

    My husband is currently trying to install windows XP onto our computer. He crashed the computer and deleted everything off of it. Now when he tries to install the XP, while in Setup EXE in DOS, he get's an error message that says, Cannot perform task in DOS! Does anyone know why it is doing this? I really need help!

    Thank you so much!
  2. tomrca

    tomrca TS Rookie Posts: 1,000

    press f11 when you reboot your pc, keep pressing f11, you will then get an option for boot up, select cd, insert xp disc press enter, that should fix thatr
  3. fastco

    fastco TS Booster Posts: 1,122

    Just to add to what tomrca said, you can't install XP through Dos....Must boot from the CD..
  4. CAKE82

    CAKE82 TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Thank You So Much!
  5. tomrca

    tomrca TS Rookie Posts: 1,000

    your welcome!!!!!
  6. Spike

    Spike TS Evangelist Posts: 2,168

    XP CAN be installed from DOS.

    In WinXP, Setup.exe is only run from a windows environment. The correct file to start an install from DOS is winnt.exe or winnt32.exe in the i386 forder of the installation CD.

    Where there is no OS installed on your Hard drive...

    Boot with a Windows 98 Start Up disk
    Insert the Windows 98 CD into the CD drive
    Run smartdrv.exe from the Win98 directory on the windows 98 CD
    Type "cd.." to back up to the root directory
    Insert Windows XP CD into the CD reader
    Copy the i386 folder to C:\
    Go into C:\i386 folder on C: and type winnt.exe to launch the setup from the hard drive.

    Where you have booted from a Win98 startup disk with no OS installed, and do not have the win98 CD...

    Copy i386 folder to C:\
    Go into C:\i386 folder and double click on winnt.exe to launch the setup from the hard drive .

    I've never done it myself as I've never needed to. I've just booted from the CD to install.
    Startup disk can be found here if you don't have one...
  7. CAKE82

    CAKE82 TS Rookie Topic Starter


    What if I have the Windows 98 start up cd but no Windows XP CD can I use only the 98 to install the XP?
  8. Spike

    Spike TS Evangelist Posts: 2,168

    OK, what have you got? I can't understand how you could be trying to install XP without an XP CD? Could you possibly explain exactly what you are working with, and I'll see if I can answer your question.

    To clarify though, You use the win98 startup disk (which is a floppy) to start the machine into DOS. There is a link above to obtain a tool to create the floppy if needed.

    If you are using Win98 on the machine currently (ie, you haven't formatted yet), at a guess I would assume that you could choose the "restart in DOS" option, and do everything from there, even if it is messier.


    Boot with the 98 startup floppy with CD support...
    Insert the win 98 installation CD in your cd drive...
    Change to the CD drive, and change to the win98 directory on the win98 installation CD...
    Run smartdrv in that directory...
    Type "cd.." and hit enter to go back to the root of the CD
    Remove the win98 installation CD, and replace with the winXP installation CD...
    Copy the i386 folder on the cd to your hard drive...
    Switch directory to the hard drive (c: usually)...
    Type "cd i386"...
    And run the file winnt.exe. Done.

    If the files are already on the Hard drive, it's a simple matter of browsing to the i386 directory, and starting the file named winnt.exe. Done.
  9. alidabiri

    alidabiri TS Rookie Posts: 441

    you can get a win98 boot floppy from here:
    and the actual executable file for dos is winnt.exe not winnt32.exe
  10. Spike

    Spike TS Evangelist Posts: 2,168

    Very true - my apologies. It appears that I have made a mistake in one part of my first post here.
    The winnt32.exe file is used from within a windows environment (ie, usually for upgrade rather than a straight install) and is used to invoke the recovery console with the appropriate switch, whereas winnt.exe is a DOS mode program, and the one that should be used here.

    The link I posted earlier goes directly to the page with the 98 boot disk rather than the sites front page.
  11. alidabiri

    alidabiri TS Rookie Posts: 441

    you posted correctly on your 2nd post. no problem.
  12. Spike

    Spike TS Evangelist Posts: 2,168

    Thanks for pointing it out. :D

    It seems I have a problem with adding "32" on to the end of filenames, just like my problem with adding "e" onto the end of words where it doesn't belong. :p
  13. iss

    iss TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 1,994

    You mean your name is really Spik? :haha:

    :haha: Ssshhhhh! It's a secret! :haha: - Spike
  14. alidabiri

    alidabiri TS Rookie Posts: 441

    good one iss :)
  15. CAKE82

    CAKE82 TS Rookie Topic Starter

    That was good iss!! Thanks guys! (I'm assuming you are all guys?)
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