win98se boot/format.exe issues---newbie please help.

By volcano
Nov 13, 2005
  1. so there is this computer that lives in my house. it is a dell dimension XPS T450, it has win 98se on it and a pentium III. it got very sick before i moved into the house and someone else ran something (anti virus/spyware software most likely) on it that made windows ask for a product key upon restart.

    today i opened up the case, cleaned out all the dust bunnies and tried to start it up. i got the product key prompt and put one in. windows didn't fully boot, there was an error with windows explorer, so it quit and left me looking at the desktop wallpaper, with no taskbar.

    I decided to start over.

    i made a boot disk onto a 3.5 in floppy using another compy. restarted the 98 machine, and ran fdisk.exe. i deleted the primary DOS partition, then created a new one. i restarted and tried to run formet.exe. i get this message:

    cdr101: Not ready reading drive F
    Abort, Retry, Fail?

    is this because there is no cd in the cd drive to boot windows off of?

    i don't actually have a copy of win98se to install, but am getting one off a bit torrent as i type. i do have a copy of XP pro it even possible to install this onto the 98 machine? (the little sticker on the front of the 98 machine's case says it will run NT, and as xp is NT based...maybe?)

    i don't want this computer to be amazing i want this computer to connect to the internet and be able to print. my house needs another compy as the house one is going away soon.

    what else. i have never done this before so i'm flying blind and getting intructions/ideas of the internet.

    thanks, i hope that i gave enough info. if not please ask.

  2. just_a_nobody

    just_a_nobody TS Rookie Posts: 182

    Just enter: format C: at the a: prompt

    On that sticker, did it not have the Win98 product key#s printed on it?
  3. iss

    iss TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 1,994

    Whether XP would install or not depends ont he hardware on the machine some older hardware is not compaitable with XP. yuo should be able to look up the model at the dell site and see if it is XP compaitable.

    I once put XP on a 400 mhz celeron (gateway) and it worked.
  4. volcano

    volcano TS Rookie Topic Starter

    how to intall windows at this point?

    So i have reformatted the the drive, and have a copy of win 98 that is burned to a cd. I took out the boot disk and put the CD into the drive, but the compy didn't like it. so i put the boot dist back in.

    i'm not sure how to install windows at this point.

    i have read the help file on the boot disk, but nothing is jumping out at me as the thing to do.

    thanks for the very simple help with the formatting comand.

  5. just_a_nobody

    just_a_nobody TS Rookie Posts: 182

    So, you're going to install win98se? Just put both the boot disk and the CD in the computer, and start it up. The computer should boot from the floppy, if it doesn't, then you need to go into the BIOS setup, and set the first boot device to the floppy drive.

    Upon bootup, it will ask about starting with, or without, CD support, you want to start with CD support.
    Now, at the A: prompt, just type in setup and you should be good to go.
  6. RealBlackStuff

    RealBlackStuff TS Rookie Posts: 6,503

    Get a proper bootfloppy (Windows 98SE-OEM) from
    D/L the file, run that program, it makes a bootdisk.
    Start from that floppy, WITH CD-support.
    Insert the W98-CD and start the install (Setup.exe probably, can't remember)
  7. volcano

    volcano TS Rookie Topic Starter

    didn't manage to remove the OS

    I have a boot disk that i made from, and a copy of win98 that i got off a bit torrent that i burned to a cd-rom (from cue/bin files).

    both boot disk and cd are in the compy.
    i run the setup (A:\>setup)
    it checks some stuff and then tells me that there is already an operating system installed on the computer and i need to get the upgrade cd.

    i wanted to start over and completely wipe the hard drive.

    i though deleteing the primary dos partition and then creating a new one and then formating the drive would completely remove the operating system.

    I'm so confused :confused:

    anyway i'm going to try again.

    any ideas about what i may have done wrong are appreciated.

    also i don't know how to get into the BIOS to check the boot order.
  8. RealBlackStuff

    RealBlackStuff TS Rookie Posts: 6,503

    Use FDISK from that same bootfloppy to delete all current partitions, then create a new one (max. 32GB for W98) and set it Active
    Reboot from floppy with CD-support and do setup.

    To get into BIOS, most PCs use the Del key. Press it a few times right aftwer switching the PC on, resp. rebooting
  9. volcano

    volcano TS Rookie Topic Starter

    more info about system

    So I fooled around with this system some more, looked into the BIOS and tried a few things. I still haven't gotten it to work, but i think i have some more intellegent questions now...

    When I deleted and then created a new primary dos partition i was only allowed to create one that was 16% of the capacity of the drive (this is with both drives plugged in). the rest of the drive seemed to be inaccessable.

    I don't think i mentioned this before, but the system has 2 hard drives. the one plugged into the master end of the IDE cable is an IBM OEM 13.6gb drive. plugged into the slave bit of the IDE cable is a samsung vg36483a 6.48 gb drive.

    the IBM one looks like one would expect a hard drive to, but the samsung one doesn't------>there are pictures @

    when i tried to reformat just the IBM one plugged in at the master spot. the computer wouldn't do it. I was told first that there wasn't a partition on the drive and then second that i couldn't create one. also getting into the boot disk stuff took a lot longer without the samsung drive mounted. i didn't try to reformat just the samsung one by itself.

    I'm thinking of just getting a new HD but i don't know if there is something on the slave drive that is needed for the computer to run at a reasonable rate.

    sorry for being such a newbie, but i'm trying learn how to do this without much help from anything other than the internet. :)
  10. volcano

    volcano TS Rookie Topic Starter


    Also i forgot to mention that when i created a new partition on the drive(s) that it automatically was set to be an active partition.
  11. RealBlackStuff

    RealBlackStuff TS Rookie Posts: 6,503

    Take the slave drive out and leave only the 13GB IBM disk in it. Check that it is set to Master (or single drive), NOT cable-select.
    As you have an older BIOS, remove the second HD info from BIOS.
    Set the boot-sequence to 1)floppy 2)CD 3)HD
    Boot from the floppy.
    At boot-time the floppy installs a virtual drive for its helpfiles, and MSCDEX installs for the CD. You'll see the Drive-letters during booting. Remember for later.

    Use FDISK again to delete all partitions. Then create a new partition with the whole 13GB or whatever it has.
    Exit FDISK and reboot from floppy (with CD-support).
    Type in format c: /s /u and hit Enter.
    When done, type in D:\setup.exe or E:\setup.exe, whichever is your CD.
  12. volcano

    volcano TS Rookie Topic Starter

    working sort of

    so i actually got windows up and running on the compy. (sort of anyway, the version of it that i got doesn't appear to be complete...i had to skip some cab files that were missing during setup.)

    both drives are plugged in but it appears that only the 6gb samsung drive is active.

    I'm going to try and do what RealBlackStuff said because i really have no use for a computer with only a 6gb hard drive.

    Thanks for the help.
  13. volcano

    volcano TS Rookie Topic Starter

    different tactics--new hard drive, similar problems

    I tried what real black stuff said to do and it didn't work.

    so i bought a new hard drive. a maxtor D740x-6l

    i figured that might be easier that trying to deal with the possibility that one of the other ones was dead.

    now what happens is when i attach the HD, boot up the computer and try to run fdisk it tells me that there are no physical disks attached. (I set the jumper so that the drive is the master)

    the HD spins up and there is a little green light that comes on, but the computer doesn't recognize it.

    I'm assuming that because it is new it has no partions on it (the computer also tells me this).

    do i have to run fdisk or can i just format the drive directly.

    i'm starting to think that there is something else that i'm doing wrong because this message is what made me think the other hard drive was dead.

    i don't think that a new hard drive was a waste of money b/c the one i got is much bigger, but i'm confused as to why getting it up and running isn't easier.

    also is there some way to check to see if the other parts of the computer are running ok?

  14. patio

    patio TS Maniac Posts: 482

    A new HDD has to be partitioned and formatted before it can be recognised by Windows...
    Follow the above advice to prep that new HDD for the system and or use the disk utilities that shipped with the HDD.

    patio. :cool:
  15. volcano

    volcano TS Rookie Topic Starter

    no fixed disks present

    my boot order is set as above.

    the disk is attached--plugged into the ide cable and the legacy power cable. there are NO hard drives showing up in the BIOS.

    when i try to run fdisk i'm told:
    no fixed disks present.

    when i try to format as above i'm told:
    format not supported on drive C:
    format terminated

    I did get the 6gb drive up and running before. so i know that the MoBo/cpu aren't fried. (also i'm assuming that i wouldn't beable to get into the BIOS if they were)

    would it be a bad idea to get the 6gb up and running and then add on the new 40 gb drive? (if possible)

    thanks for everyones help
  16. RealBlackStuff

    RealBlackStuff TS Rookie Posts: 6,503

    Newer harddisks need an 80-wire IDE cable (which still has only 40 pins).
    Did you try to let the BIOS detect the new harddisk?
    Set the jumpers to Master (NOT cable select CS)?
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