chublord wrote on 2020-08-13, 15:54:
The Windows 98 installation on my 486 got corrupted and it will no longer boot.
I have a USB HDD enclosure. Can I somehow pre-install Windows from a different computer on this HDD using the USB enclosure?
The 486 won't boot from a CD directly, and I don't have any boot disks that work.
I overlooked not having boot disks when I replied the first time around. Doing all the work in a VM and writing the resulting disk image to your HDD is a great way to go, but if you're not familiar with that sort of thing, I had an idea...
Maybe you could use a bootable Win98 CD on a modern computer. I have not done this before, but I know you can still boot to DOS on modern computers and, if I'm not mistaken, newer BIOSes will present USB HDDs to DOS as traditional IDE drives. Connect the 486's HDD via USB to your modern computer and boot the Win98 CD. From a DOS prompt, use fdisk to find the HDD and partition it. Reboot and run format /s to install DOS to the HDD, then boot back into your modern OS to copy the Win98 CD to a folder in the HDD. This hopefully results in an HDD that boots to DOS so that you can run the Win98 installer.