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First post, by john_popani

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Hello,

I have an old HDD connected to a laptop via docking station (usb2.0). Is it possible to install Win95 on it without a floppy, directly from the windows image file?

Pentium I 133mhz
32MB RAM
AWE64
S3 64v+ / Voodoo 1
DOS 6.22

Reply 1 of 7, by Jorpho

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That would require you to get the hard drive recognized in DOS. While there are USB mass storage drivers for DOS, I'm not sure they work well enough to satisfy Windows 95.

But even if you could install Windows 95 on the drive, how would you boot from it? You can't boot from another drive, load the USB drivers, and then boot Windows 95 from the USB hard drive.

Reply 2 of 7, by john_popani

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Jorpho wrote on 2020-11-28, 19:07:

That would require you to get the hard drive recognized in DOS. While there are USB mass storage drivers for DOS, I'm not sure they work well enough to satisfy Windows 95.

But even if you could install Windows 95 on the drive, how would you boot from it? You can't boot from another drive, load the USB drivers, and then boot Windows 95 from the USB hard drive.

Understood, I'll just scrap the whole thing and try with a different HDD.

Thanks

Pentium I 133mhz
32MB RAM
AWE64
S3 64v+ / Voodoo 1
DOS 6.22

Reply 3 of 7, by cyclone3d

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Best bet would be to partition the laptop's internal drive and then use a bootmenu to choose what partition to boot from.

Even better would be if the laptop has an mSATA in addition to the regular SATA connector (guessing it is SATA since the dock has USB 2.0). That way you could always just install a second drive and then use the built-in boot menu to choose which drive to boot from.

What is the brand/model laptop you have?

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Reply 4 of 7, by john_popani

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cyclone3d wrote on 2020-11-28, 20:55:

Best bet would be to partition the laptop's internal drive and then use a bootmenu to choose what partition to boot from.

Even better would be if the laptop has an mSATA in addition to the regular SATA connector (guessing it is SATA since the dock has USB 2.0). That way you could always just install a second drive and then use the built-in boot menu to choose which drive to boot from.

What is the brand/model laptop you have?

It's a Dell but i was just using it at that particular moment. I can also try doing the same with my desktop. The issue is that i want to install Win95 and put that HDD in a different machine because I'm having trouble doing it the normal way. Maybe some bios settings are problematic. But at this point I think I've had enough of this HDD and I'll get a new one or try a CF card + adapter solution.

Thank you for the help.

Pentium I 133mhz
32MB RAM
AWE64
S3 64v+ / Voodoo 1
DOS 6.22

Reply 5 of 7, by yawetaG

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No all external enclosures (USB, Firewire) are bootable. This depends on the enclosure's chipset AND the system's BIOS AFAIK. The enclosure's chipset should support booting, and the system's BIOS must support booting over the chosen interface (i.e. USB or Firewire).

Reply 6 of 7, by Jorpho

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yawetaG wrote on 2020-11-30, 07:37:

No all external enclosures (USB, Firewire) are bootable. This depends on the enclosure's chipset AND the system's BIOS AFAIK. The enclosure's chipset should support booting, and the system's BIOS must support booting over the chosen interface (i.e. USB or Firewire).

That's true. But you'd also have to find some way to transfer the boot sector and necessary boot files to the hard drive first. Not sure how you would do that without a different computer – the "sys" command might not work with the DOS USB mass storage drivers.

Reply 7 of 7, by gex85

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john_popani wrote on 2020-11-30, 06:16:

[...] The issue is that i want to install Win95 and put that HDD in a different machine because I'm having trouble doing it the normal way. [...]

There's one more solution to the problem that I have used successfully myself:

  1. Attach the whole raw disk to a VirtualBox VM
  2. Copy the Windows 95 CD contents to the disk (I usually create a "Win95CD" directory on a separate partition and dump all the CD's contents there)
  3. Optionally make a second directory for drivers and software that you want to install later, so you can just copy the setup files over while the disk is still attached via USB. That will make your life much easier later on.
  4. Boot the VM from a virtual floppy drive (Win95 boot disk images are available for download everywhere)
  5. Run the first part of the setup in the VM - until first reboot (run the setup.exe from the Win95CD directory on your hard drive, not from a virtual CD drive!)
  6. Do not actually reboot. Instead, shut down the VM and put the disk into your actual retro machine
  7. It should now happily boot from the hard drive and finish the installation without needing any additional media

For the first step, Google:

VBoxManage internalcommands createrawvmdk

Or read the respective chapter in the VirtualBox manual: http://www.virtualbox.org/manual/ch09.html#rawdisk
Here's a nice writeup, too: https://superuser.com/questions/495025/use-ph … -in-virtual-box
You need to be careful to attach the right physical disk.

Edit: Once you have finished the setup process, have all drivers installed etc., it would probably be a good idea to attach the disk to your modern PC via USB once again and make a full image of it. So in case the Windows installation gets screwed up at some point later in time, you don't have to do this rather complicated setup process again but can restore from the image.

Edit 2: Thinking about it some more, it should probably be possible to use a regular VDI disk in VirtualBox for the first steps of the installation, then convert it to a RAW image using the VBoxManage clonemedium command and write it to the physical disk with Win32DiskImager or Rufus. I will try it and report back... --> Edit 3: My first attempt gave me an "invalid system disk" error when trying to boot on the actual retro PC. Will try again with a different image writing tool.

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