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Old 11-27-2009, 09:23 PM   #1
jeditalian
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pure HD install, how?


I have an old AST ascentia P series laptop which runs windows 95, having a 3gb hard drive, a pentium with MMX at 166mhz, and 32mb ram. back in 1997, this thing would cost you over $4000. lol.
i recently found an old floppy disk, fixed an old floppy drive, and used them to put some drivers on the old laptop so that i could use the "16-bit Xircom creditcard ethernet 10/100" pcmcia card. now i can get on the internet, but with windows 95 bogging me down, the only things that really work are wikipedia and forums. no youtube, facebook, anything that uses flash. no updates for windows 95 anymore. so i downloaded a puppy linux iso and a DSL iso. the only problem is: i have no idea where the cd rom drive went. i can't find it. and it was created before the development of USB ports, so i have to find a way to install linux solely from the hard drive.
First, i should probably ask for recommendations, which operating system will work the best on a 166 mhz pentium with MMX (MMX is a math co-processor, right?) with 32mb ram because i dont really know the specific model, just Ascentia P-series, so i have no idea what the maximum amount of ram is for this thing. i'm guessing its EDO because what else did they have in 1997?
but i dont want to go through all the trouble searching for antique components, i just want to get this thing running more efficiently. it really needs a peltier because i have never seen that little laptop fan run, and it gets pretty hot. but those old pentiums can take the heat. i'm not going to bother with all that right now, just this seemingly simple task of installing a linux operating system from files on the hard drive. i only have 32 mb of ram so if i use puppy, i want it to use the hard drive instead of trying to cram everything into memory because i wont be using the majority of the utilities that i would normally use(such as anything involving CDs, DVDs, USB anythings) it will be mainly for internet use, so it has to have support for my pcmcia modem, and preferably install to the D:\ (my second partition) incase i need to use the ol' winders to connect to the internet and find hardware support. The Partition is FAT.
I have fooled around with the latest version of GRUB4dos and i can't figure out how to load a kernel. i know vmlinuz is the kernel but trying all sorts of commands, i always get messages like you need to load the kernel before you can run that, or you need to load a multiboot kernal before you can do that.
if i type find, it says (hd0,0) (hd0,3) and (hd0,4). and the fd which i cant use because winimage destroyed my last surviving floppy disk.
so i'm guessing 0,3 is C and 0,4 is D.
i have read some things about these files that mount an iso image as if it were an actual cdrom. i cant find those files. if i did, maybe i could have something installed right now. but there has to be another way. i found a win.95 compatible winrar and extracted the iso to C:\ and D:\ as well as D:\pup431 .
but i need you smart people's help.
what could i put in autorun or any of those .bat, .sys, or .ini files to make the extracted puppy iso, or the iso itself, if necessary, do what the cd would normally do on boot?
sorry if this is confusing. im not the best at translating thoughts into words.
but the best way i can put this is: i need help installing a lightweight distro to HD, from HD, not using floppy, CD, or USB. The lightweight distro of choice is puppy4.31, because i have tried it and its good, but anything that will run nicely on ancient hardware, having a browser that supports adobe flash player, and that has support for PCMCIA ethernet adapters and touchpads would be acceptable.
i have been using the xircom # ce3b-100btx, because i have the card AND connector, but i also have a 3com Etherlink III Lan Pc Card (3c589D-TP) that looks like it should work with the xircom's ethernet connector cable.
Any takers?
p.s. i am sick of "illegal operations" and BSODs lol.
 
Old 11-27-2009, 09:42 PM   #2
colorpurple21859
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there is a program called loadlin that allows one to boot linux from a dos prompt. Google loadlin for more info on it.
 
Old 11-27-2009, 10:40 PM   #3
jeditalian
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thanks but i forgot to mention i tried loadlin first, and when i loadlin vmlinuz it goes .................................................................................................... ...............................................................realfast then ends up like
- blinking at the top of a blank msdos screen, like i could type something but i cant. maybe i got an older copy of loadlin. its pretty hard to navigate the internet on win95 where alot of modern websites dont work because of new technologies and flash.
and searching for solutions to my problem i have come up with 99% broken links. i just found the online manual and i could upgrade it to 80mb ram if i can find the ram. it would be nice to have the cdrom drive again too, but ebayers want too much for stuff that is probably defunct. now while reading the manual pdf it called my hard drive an ide hard drive. i am going to take the hard drives enclosure off if i can, then i can hook it up to my computer if it really is ide. theni can run puppy linux or DSL onto it. any recommendations for the perfect distro? 32mb ram. 166mhz Pentiumw/mmx
http://www.ari-service.com/blender/d...1/3677_001.pdf
 
Old 11-27-2009, 11:16 PM   #4
jeditalian
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i think a " Laptop 2.5" to Desktop 3.5" IDE Hard Drive Adapter Converter" will get the job done, nice to know that i have a spare hard drive for this laptop too, from the compaq one that is all jacked up because the backlight is stupid. i can short out some pins that go to the backlight and it will work fine for awhile, i guess until the computer gets too hot then it starts turning white from the edges then it is completely white and you cant see. if i dont short the pins you can actually see the display if you look at just the right angle, but its too invisible to get anything done. thats because i disassembled it with a battery still inside or something, and shorted it out when i was taking that plug off. *spark!* but i did a complete teardown and rebuild and it runs fine, for like 10 minutes.
but thats the other laptop, 133mhz compaq piece of crap i took it apart because of one blue line down the screen and now its much worse. plus, the only parts that could be considered spare parts are the crap ram and the floppy drive. its amazing how small the motherboard is. there are like 3 boards and a floppy controller. all about the size of a videocard or smaller. the processor is on board and small as crap. it also gets hot as hell.

so. i'm either waiting for someone to share their personal experience on installing completely from the hard drive, or im waiting for me to buy a notebook to desktop ide+power adapter. or i could just wait for a laptop that has a cd rom drive, plug in the hard drive to that laptops adapter, and install linux that way. that is assuming i know someone with a broken laptop that has a cd drive.
once i do get linux running on this thing, do you think there is a program that would allow me to use the IR port as a universal remote?
maybe even monitor ir signals and capture codes sent from a remote, ..nevermind. back to the original problem.
so i have two choices now. wait until i can interface the hard drive with another computer, (ooh heres a bad idea, how about i go get the soldering iron, an old ide cable, the other laptops convertor, a molex connector from an old fan..[and most likely start a fire]) or doit the original way. maybe i can find a more recent loadlin, or something better. loadlin and grub4dos accomplish the same thing dont they?
loadlin seemed easier for the linux uninitiated. but it accomplished nothing for me. i will go search for a more current version. and a bios update while im at it.,
 
Old 11-28-2009, 12:32 AM   #5
rikijpn
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tough

Just making sure though... you have only 3Gigs right? Do you want to delete windows too? Because that kind of would really help...

I've installed Debian from hdd to hdd on my old mobile laptop(it has nothing but 2 usbs and an ethernet port). It wasn't very hard. But the thing is, in your case, having 3G of Hdd wouldn't allow you to install Debian/knoppix with a commonly used graphic user interface like Gnome or KDE... And it would be kind of hard to install because you'd have to watch what packages you are installing very closely.
In Debian you would just use the /hd-media install, get an ISO file on the root dir of some partition, and then tell GRUB to run the kernel got from /hd-media. The ISO file could be in fat partition, so no problem there.

I think you should give Damn Small Linux (DSL) a try. It's like 50MB large, and apparently you can get the flash plugin running too. No worries about your ethernet connection, I don't think there is any distro that won't support it.
You can just get the ISO file, and extract it in a FAT partition(has to be about 50MB large). Then simply tell GRUB to boot from it.
If your "D:" is your second partition, on GRUB it would be refered as hd0,1 (your master ide hdd + second partition), if you think you are getting the wrong partition, use the "find" command to check which partition has the files needed, or just press TAB when typing hd... a couple of times and it will tell you the filesystem of the partition.
Add this to the menu.lst file, or just type it on the GRUB command line.
Code:
title Damn Small Linux
root (hd0,1)
kernel /boot/isolinux/linux24 root=/dev/sda1 ro lang=us toram noeject frugal
initrd /boot/isolinux/minirt24.gz
boot
This should give you a running DSL from your own hard disk. Check the DSL installation manuals for more info.
 
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Old 11-28-2009, 12:39 PM   #6
jeditalian
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cool. yea i was gonna keep windows until i was sure that i could get online, but what im about to do will preserve this windows just incase, and give me much more free space to work with.
i have another harddrive with a windows i like better, its older than this one but you can do the net user administrator password change in the commandprompt, and some other stuff this one cant. im just going to swap hard drives and put that onein this one's enclosure so it can plug into this ones hd controller.
the company that made this thing (AST Research) closed down a few years back. im sure they had a monopoly going on with replacement parts, i cant find what specific type of ram module i would need to upgrade with. i can have up to 80mb and that would be really nice to have this thing maxed out. but alli can find are 2x16mb ram replacements that dont tell if its EDO or what. i have never disassembled this thing, but i need to replace a fan that doesnt work and i was thinking Peltier lol. you can tell when its too hot because performance drastically declines.
anyway, ima do a hard drive swap, hope i can find trackpad drivers, etc. for this thing. because i cant find any info online. then ima download an .iso onto that hard drive after i delete some stuff. and follow your instructions. if i could put windows 98 on here i could run virtualpc or virtualbox or something like that, and lots of things that i've downloaded that i cant use. but when i got shsucdhd it sayd it wasnt installed so i gave up on that, and i wouldnt know where to get a windows98 iso without a torrent client. so ima shut 'er down and swap the hard drive. theni'll be back if it works.
 
Old 12-07-2009, 12:47 AM   #7
jeditalian
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so i gave DSL a try. should have used a cdrw because its my least favorite lightweight so far. there is one called slitaz that is better than dsl. not so great with the wireless support, but neither is DSL and that old thing doesnt have wifi anyway, and there is no reason to buy a wifi pcmcia card because i will still have a power cord in it most of the time anyway. i am using antix right now, but on a diff. laptop. i cant download things for some reason, but i can use the browser without it crashing. its a bit slow but it is running live and it is full of stuff, running on a 215mb ram setup.
Slitaz, i will probably test first on my prehistoric laptop, because i really liked it except for some issues with the browser closing, like puppy linux. antix seems pretty stable, but it requires more space than i have on my flash drive, for a light hd install.
i have learned to avoid anything that mentions 'ubuntu' in its description. too big. slitaz is a little unresponsive when in loram mode, but it still looks alot better than dSL and is easier to navigate.
I am getting a 2.5 inch to 3.5 inch ide adapter, so installing and testing will be easy with no cd drive. plus, i will be able to backup the existing hard drive image as an iso or something, just in case i really have to revert to win95,
 
Old 12-07-2009, 07:32 AM   #8
Joe of Loath
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Have you thought about feather linux? I've never tried it, but it seems similar to DSL. It's based on knoppix too.
 
Old 12-09-2009, 11:23 PM   #9
jeditalian
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i have tried feather linux. i hope i burned it to cdrw too because it sucks. DSL sucks more, but at least it doesnt freeze up when i try to open a browser.
featherlinux couldnt even open firefox. i would see a big empty window labeled firefox, then i couldnt move my mouse. and this was on a 1.3ghz with 256 mb ram, so no way it is going to work on the dinosaur i am looking for a distro for.
i just got this one called mitrax. i cant find a package manager but its based on slackware. it looks like a cross between windows 3 and 95, but i cant figure out how to get flash player yet. i think i read that it requires about 3x as much ram as my old computer has, that i am going to try SliTaz on, to see if its more stable on that hardware., or find out how to stabilize it.
unless anybody can tell me of a linux gui that was made like 10 years ago that supports flash player.
because usb and cd technology is not a requirement. no burning, no ripping. just surfing, with flash player/java. thats all that old computer needs. nothing but net. if windows 98 supports flash player i might have to go with that, because i always heard linux was less resource hungry and better than windows, but i will give freeBSD a shot, with the pc98 iso.
 
Old 12-11-2009, 12:37 PM   #10
Joe of Loath
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I doubt flash will work on your machine. I can't get it working with any speed on a 433mhz celeron with 128mb of ram! (and hell, on my 550mhz smartphone it's choppy playing flash audio). I'm sure java will be the same.
 
Old 12-13-2009, 02:06 AM   #11
jeditalian
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yea, i saw the minimal requirements for flash 10 some time later. RAM is really important. i just discovered the benefits of RAM while fixing this laptop. it had 256 minus 32 for video. hulu ran choppy. threw in 512 on top of that, hulu is smooth now. and thats only at 3/4 maximum capacity that i was going to upgrade it to. im sure actually having a hard drive helps too, since it makes virtual memory possible if necessary.

i think i should rephrase my main question now. something like "is there a gui that will operate on 166 mhz w/MMX and 32 mb ram. and a 2 gig HD.
i thought windows xp took up 2 gb but apparently it is dynamic in size. it took up less than 1/4 of 2gb when i installed it on a 2gb FAT hd.
but i did it just for kicks, to see what would happen on the 166mhz 32mb ram. operating system not found.
tried slitaz. same message. maybe im doing it wrong. i unhooked my hard drive, hooked up the laptopp hard drive, popped in a cd and installed on it both times. but that old bios doesnt recognize. i would try dos and windows 3 but then i would have no driver support. i know windows 95 and 98 can run on it. i am asking here because i know there has to be some linux gui that is a better choice than those two.
i really just want it for internet.. i mean the hard drive is 2 gb. i probably start off with 3/4 free after adding windows.
i backed up the drive before i started the experimenting, im not sure if the backup will work really. i just showed hidden files, select all, copy to a folder in my hard drive. did the same for the other partition, then did the same for the other hard drive. what i want is to get the drivers off the slow windows 95 onto the fast windows 95, and hopefully just pasting the original contents back onto the hard drive will make it run just as fast as i did before i took them off.
but i really want linux. i thought slitaz said it could operate in 16mb ram. i dont know where to look for linux built specifically for pentium 1 or below. i'm not even so sure that linux had a gui back then..
 
Old 12-13-2009, 09:03 AM   #12
colorpurple21859
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DSl linux is about the only distro that will run a gui on 32mb. It uses the older 2.4 kernel verses the larger 2.6 kernels used by most other distro,s. It is possible to get wireless to work with DSL, just take's some work, will have to compile wireless drivers, or use ndswrapper to get wireless cards to work. One thing you can try, is use one of the other distro's that uses a 2.6 kernel that will run on 32mb without gui is to recompile the kernel to make it as light as possible, which will take some time and then try it. As for adobe flashplayer, version 9 will work with windows 95 and IE 5 on 48mb ram, Don't know about 32mb but it might. I just installed it yesterday on someone else's computer. not very good, but it did work.
 
Old 12-13-2009, 09:22 AM   #13
colorpurple21859
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slackware 11.0 uses a 2.4 kernel, minimum requirements is 32mb of ram, and is still availabe for download at various mirrors.
 
Old 12-14-2009, 03:48 AM   #14
jeditalian
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i like the hardware recognition of lots of linux distros. dsl and slitaz make it hard for the wireless. if slitaz would work on that, it would be the best lightweight i have ever used. or whichever one came with aircrack. maybe that was antiX. so i have had the aircrack but never been able to use it. i wouldnt mind finding a windows version because who i want it for prefers windows. but i don want to give then a virus because i know its much easier to find a virus than a good program when you're looking for someething like that.
i will check out the slackware 11. if i ever find the iso.
i wish i could find the bios updates/ etc. for the old old laptop.
no worries about wireless there. it doesnt even have usb, the only wireless it has is infrared. so it wont need wireless, usb, or rip/burn/dvdplay programs.
on nimbleX website they make building a customized livecd easy enough that a toddler could do it.
but it wouldnt be suited for 32mb ram.

i still havent tested it since i moved all the original files back on the disk. i am waiting until i know what folder to copy if i want all the installed drivers from the other hard drive, because the one on the 2gb disk is really fast. it just lacks pcmcia bus and some other drivers required for the ast laptop to function properly
 
Old 12-18-2009, 02:17 PM   #15
jeditalian
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so i need to find something with a 2.4 kernel, and so far the choices are DSL and Slackware 11. I would like to try slackware 11, but i cant find the .iso in the heap of files that they (http://www.slackware.com/announce/11.0.php) have thrown in the ftp they link to. i have played with slackware before, that was smaller AND better than DSL. it is just really hard to find minimal system requirements for distros for some reason, so i am asking here, to save time and cds. i am about to go test out DSL on the old laptop although i prefer graphics to text.
 
  


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