Install win 2k/xp/vista on computer without cd and admin rights?

By SodR ยท 28 replies
Feb 25, 2007
  1. Hi there, I'm new to these boards but not to computers in general ;)

    Let's get to the question:
    I have a laptop which originally had a cd drive but it was replaced with a floppy (the compaq multibay thingy). The computer was also used as a workstation at my job, and therefore I have no administrative rights on my account on the computer. I would like to change this by simply formating the harddrive re-installing windows 2k/xp/vista on the computer.

    My first thought was to create a fat32 partition and dump the xp cd to it. Then I could use a bootdisk to execute it but since I have no administrative rights I can't use partition magic (which I always use for stuff like these). So I can't create the fat32 partition which I need (currently there is two partions on the drive, both ntfs).

    I have searched all over the web for a tutorial of installing windows over a network but I had only found some network bootdisks (like barts) which I don't really know how to use.

    So what should I do?

    A few things to note is that the current OS is win 2k pro and I can access the bios (it isn't password locked).

    Thanks in advance for all answers!
  2. Nodsu

    Nodsu TS Rookie Posts: 5,837   +6

    Use any floppy-based partition manager. A simple DOS boot floppy with fdisk and format will do. Download the Win98SE custom floppy from for example. Also, Partition Magic allows you to make bootable floppies too.
  3. SodR

    SodR TS Rookie Topic Starter

    I started fdisk which was unable to format my harddrive. Now I can't even start the computer (I just get a flashing _)... Can someone tell me detailed what to do now? Maybe step-by-step? Cause right now my comp is as useless as a brick...

    Edited by Moderator: Removed quote. There`s no need to quote the post directly above your own. ;)

    I just followed this guide and everything worked fine except my computer don't want to boot from usb since it's not supported by my bios :s So is there any bootdisk that can do this (ie. you simply put the floppy into the drive and when the comp boots the floppy the floppy starts the stuff on the usb stick). Please I need to fix this asap so every answer will be welcome!
  4. alidabiri

    alidabiri TS Rookie Posts: 441

    do this:
    1 - get a win 98 boot disk from
    2 - in your bios set it to start from floppy first
    3 - start your machine with 98 boot disk
    4 - type fdisk
    5 - delete any partition and create new partition
    6 - restart the same way again
    7 - format with this option: format c: /s
    8 - this will drop the sys parms on the hard disk.
    your pic will now boot into dos with a c: prompt.
    you can install a cdrom drive and navigate to the i386 directory
    once there, execute winnt.exe to start xp install process.
  5. SodR

    SodR TS Rookie Topic Starter

    I did this:
    1. Took out my harddrive from my laptop and used a converter to put it in my desktop comp.
    2. Formated the drive into 1 ntfs and 1 fat32 partition.
    3. Dumped the winxp cd on the fat32 partition
    4. Booted with the win98se bootdisk and started up smartdrive and executed winnt.exe in the i386 folder
    5. Setup started copying files.
    6. Setup told me to remove the diskette and restart my computer.

    This is where it failed. The setup didn't resume after I rebooted my comp :S It just gave me a blank screen and a flashing '_'.

    Any ideas why? I also tried doing the same thing with one primary fat32 and one extended fat32 partition. The setup didn't resume but the comp told me "Non system-disk or disk error". Press enter to reboot. To note is the there is no problem with my harddrive so that can't be it.

    Now I'm gonna try with two primary fat32 partitions and with xp sp1 pro instead of win xp sp2 pro and see what happens.

    EDIT: Man, I swear, this computer is EVIL! I just tried the thing above and the same "Non-system disk or disk error" message :S

    Edited by Moderator: Removed quote. There`s no need to quote the post directly above your own. ;)
  6. alidabiri

    alidabiri TS Rookie Posts: 441

    in order for a hd to be bootable, it must be primary, master.
    try creating just one fat32 partition, to see if it works.
    so, you have connected this hd via some cable to the desktop pc, that has a cd drive, etc. your method (smartdrv, etc. is cool - makes copying faster).
    create a directory in the hd called i386
    copy everything into this directory.
    you have to disconnect the hd now, and install it on the laptop. i have done this many times.
    your lap top must start with 98 boot disk.
    then run winnt.exe
    when you run winnt.exe what happens? does xp start install process?
  7. SodR

    SodR TS Rookie Topic Starter

    That's exactly what I do, but I have always tried with two different paritions (C: with nothing on it and D: with the i386 folder). I plug my hdd into my desktop comp and format the drive and copy the i386 folder over. Plug the hdd into my notebook and boot with the win98se disk and execute The winxp installation starts with "please select where the installtion files are located" I select d:\I386. The installer accepts it and starts "copying files to harddrive". When that is don the installtion tells me to "remove all disk in the A: drive and press return and the computer will reboot and the installation will continue". So I do that, I remove my diskette and press enter but the setup doesn't continue! The computer just gives me a "Non system-disk or disk error" message.

    Now I'm gonna try with one single fat32 primary partition and see what happens.

    Nothing have worked so far. I can only get to the "Copying files to harddrive" and when that is done the computer needs to reboot but the setup, as I said before, wont continue :/ Is there any way to manually start the next step in the setup, just like you boot the first stage by navigating to the i386 folder and type 'winnt'?

    Please, I really need to fix this!
  8. alidabiri

    alidabiri TS Rookie Posts: 441

    try with one partition.
    is your hd completely formatted?
    i have done this so many times. it works.
    why do you have to copy files? why don't you just let xp do all that for you. connect the hd to the desktop.
    insert xp cd
    navigate to i386 directory on the cd and run winnt.exe.
    for some reason, the xp install program can't format and re-configure your hd.
    how's the hd connected to the desktop?
    you will need one of these to do the connection:
  9. SodR

    SodR TS Rookie Topic Starter

    I have one of those adapters and this is what I have done all the time, (one or) two partitions with the i386 folder on one of them. Boot the computer from the win98se floppy, navigate to the i386 dir, launch setup by typing 'winnt'. The setup starts, "Please wait while setup copies files to your hard disk". After that the setup tells me to remove the floppy and press enter and the computer will reboot and the setup should continue, but I doesn't. I just get "Non system disk or disk error. replace and strike any key when ready" :S

    I have tried with both xp home, xp pro, win2k pro, one partition, two partitions, formated in fat32, ntfs, logical, extended, primary etc. The setup just wont continue...

    Edited by Moderator: Removed quote. There`s no need to quote the post directly above your own. ;)
  10. peterk

    peterk TS Rookie

    This reply may be a bit late. This is my idea on this, try it this way.
    Connect the notebook HDD with the ide adapter to the PC Ide1 as a single Master drive. With the win98 bootdisk Fdisk the HDD to <30GB FAT32. Format it as Primary, Active. Fdisk the next partition. Format as Extended and a logical drive.
    Reconnect the original PC HDD to ide1 as Master and Notebook HDD to ide1 as Slave (you'll need a jumper link). Copy the i386 off your WinXP cd to the 2nd partition i386 folder.
    Place the notebook HDD back into the laptop (don't forget to remove the jumper). Boot the laptop with a startup disk, start winnt.exe from the D:\ i386.
    That's it, hope it works.

    Note: If this all works you can convert to NTFS later and repartition as well with some other utilities.
  11. alidabiri

    alidabiri TS Rookie Posts: 441

    dude, notebook HDD doe not have a jumper - lol.
  12. peterk

    peterk TS Rookie

    That just goes to show how much you DON'T know.....DUDE!
  13. alidabiri

    alidabiri TS Rookie Posts: 441

    please, tell us where the jumpers are at on a laptop hdd. we all will be happy to know, since you know so much.
  14. SodR

    SodR TS Rookie Topic Starter

    This is what my harddrive looks like:
    And as you can see, it DOES have a jumper.

    Peterk: I did as you said; I connected it to my comper formated the hdd to fat32, primary and one logical, extended partition. But I didn't remove the jumper (it was there back when the computer acctually was working). Do you think I should try again without the jumper?

  15. alidabiri

    alidabiri TS Rookie Posts: 441

    what brand hdd is this and what laptop did it come off of?

    i'm looking at hp, ibm, and dell, there's no jumpers on these.
  16. SodR

    SodR TS Rookie Topic Starter

  17. peterk

    peterk TS Rookie

    You'll need to do it exactly as I wrote concerning the jumpers ( note that laptop HDD jumpers are smaller than Ide Hdd jumpers, the larger ones will not make proper contact). The links are usually stuck to the packet when you purchase a new drive and so they are hard to see that they are there. If you don't have the right ones then carefully wrap some wire tightly around the pins being certain that it doesn't touch any others. Then reconnect it to the PC. When you've done everything remove jumpers before putting it into the laptop.

    Since you are booting to a DOS floppy keep all partition sizes under 30Gb as DOS won't recognize anything larger.

    I'm not sure that just booting with a Dos boot disk will do what you want successfully because you aren't really booting up with an OS. Try it this way anyhow because I'd like to know myself. If it doesn't work then I've got the proper way to do it as I have done it lots of times, so get back to me.
  18. SodR

    SodR TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Do I really have to use fdisk (I have never really used it before :) ) or can I just connect my drive and use partitionmagic? If yes I'm planning on doing like this:

    1. Remove harddrive from laptop
    2. Connect harddrive to desktop as slave
    3. Create one primary, active, fat32 partition
    4. Create one logical, extended, fat32 partition
    5. Copy over the i386 folder to the second (extended) partition
    5. Remove harddrive from desktop, remove jumper and put back into the laptop.
    6. Boot with win98se bootdisk and execute winnt from d:\i386

    Is this what you mean or am I bound to use fdisk to make this work? Thanks for all your aswers :)
  19. peterk

    peterk TS Rookie

    You don't need to use any 3rd party partitioning s/w. On the PC you have booted to Windows XP (I assume). Go to Start/Control Panel/Admin Tools/Computer Management/Storage/Disk Management, there you will see your slave disk. Right click on it and choose Format, I have mentioned 3 times now but you haven't acknowledged this fact in your replies but your partitions need to be <30Gb, so I don't know whether you understand this fact, if you don't do it then it will NOT work!

    Then continue as you have posted.
  20. SodR

    SodR TS Rookie Topic Starter

    My harddrive is just 12gb large, so will splitting it up into two 6gb partitions work? Or is that too small? Sorry for being retarded :)
  21. peterk

    peterk TS Rookie

    9Gb for Primary and 3Gb (remainder) for Extended will be fine. Xp is about 3Gb installed and i386 is 600Mb.
  22. rf6647

    rf6647 TS Maniac Posts: 829

    Track 0 needs boot code

    Let me begin with an disclaimer of sorts: I respect the spirit of software licenses and copyrights.
    Beginning with an XP cd, desktop computer, and CD drive, what happens if you adapt the HDD to this computer and disconnect the present HDD in the desktop? If the XP cd is an OEM copy, it is machine specific and it may not complete the installation. If the installation from CD succeeds in this machine, then you face the XP activation curse when moving the HDD to the laptop. Futhermore, XP installation may not have copied drivers needed for the laptop. Using the 2nd partition as you discussed may be workable to install needed drivers.

    A second strategy uses Partition Magic to create a bootable HDD. I recommend creating the bootable set of floppies. It is necessary that the source drive have Win2k or XP installed. Because of licensing agreements, Partition Magic complies with terms from Microsoft. Utimately, you end up with a bootable HDD for the laptop, but I do not know how successful you'll be when loading the XP files occurs as discussed in prior posts to this thread.

    • Make set of floppies for Partition Magic
    • Use floppies to demonstrate good copies were created
    • In the desktop, ensure present HDD will be master
    • Connect HDD (from laptop) as the slave
    • Boot from Partition Magic floppies
    • On the slave HDD, delete partition intended for XP (partition 1 assumed)
    • Note: Do not apply changes yet
    • From one of the menus, choose copy
    • Drive 1 is source,; partition 1 assumed
    • Drive 2 is destination; partition 1 assumed
    • If source size cannot be squeezed to fit destination - sorry; discard changes; exit;
    • Else, apply the changes
    • Upon completion, apply a new label to the slave drive; apply;
    • Exit the program. Remove Floppy.. Restart the computer.
    • Boot. ini has changed. Select the top menu choice.
    • After restart completes and appears normal, do another restart
    • On this restart, choose the 2nd copy of Windows
    • After this restart completes and appears normal, restart again.
    • Choose the top menu item.
    • Once stable, use Partition Magic to delete drive 2, partition 1.
    • Continuing with PM, create/format drive 2, partition 1. Apply changes
    • Exit PM

    The OS is removed from the laptop HDD as required by licensing agreements before moving the HDD to another computer.

    Note: I cannot prove or disprove that this dual HDD configuration must exist for each restart (above) because of secret/hidden changes to each drive. Extra restart are needed if the second drive is "not usable". This can happen for each drive as the other HDD is registered.

    Another way of creating a bootable HDD, involves snagging a copy of track 0 from a Win2k or XP computer that is not an OEM load. And of course, track 0 must be edited to fit the laptop HDD. On some computers, the bios prevents access to track 0.
  23. SodR

    SodR TS Rookie Topic Starter

    I can confirm that peterk's method did not work, but thanks anyway. Same error as before, the setup simply wont launch.

    One thing I havn't told you guys before is that after the splash logo of the computer brand (compaq in my case) the computer outputs this "initializing Intel boot Aget version 2.6 (build 004)". What does that mean? I'm gonna try to update that boot agent and see what happens.

    I havn't fully read through your post rf6647, but do you suggest I should copy my whole desktop harddrive to my laptop hdd and then try to boot? Or am I totaly wrong here?
  24. rf6647

    rf6647 TS Maniac Posts: 829

    Intel is your bios talking

    When the computer fails to find a bootable media, the Bios trys to work its magic, whatever it does makes no sense to me.

    I am working on this reply a 2nd time, since I cannot find it posted in this thread. If it shows up, you will understand.

    A copy of XP created on one computer will not work on a different computer (Microsoft is protecting its software).

    My suggestion was for a way to add boot code to track 0, then remove the XP OS from the slave drive. In the destination computer, then use the program you cite in this thread to copy files to the partition. I have never used this program directly. Since you are using a Win98 startup floppy, the destination HDD needs to be FAT32 for you to access the code in the 2nd partition. I need to consider a way to test my theory.
  25. SodR

    SodR TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Sorry to be a pain in the ***, but I don't think I understand :S
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