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Old 10-12-2008, 11:31 AM   #1
marcel7
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Registered: Feb 2007
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Can a Linux Live CD help me install Windows on an external HD?


I have an old laptop running Windows ME that crashed and will not boot anymore because Windows is corrupted. Also I can't boot it from either CD or floppy because both drives are broken.

I need to reinstall Windows ME on the hard drive. I would like to put the hard drive into an external USB box and connect it to a desktop running Windows XP. But I understand from my research that Windows won't allow you to install Windows onto an external HD, only onto the C drive.

I have the whole Windows ME install CD copied on my hard drive. If I could access setup I could try to overwrite my existing nonfunctional Windows.

What if I ran a Linux live CD on the Windows XP desktop? Would I be able to access the Windows setup file on my external USB HD, and get it to install on the same external HD, in the Windows folder?

I know that the Windows setup has to detect my laptop's hardware, but I also know that the trick is to let Setup copy all the files to the HD, then, when it says "finished copying files, restarting Windows," to turn the computer off, remove the external HD, put it back into my laptop and power on, at which point the setup process should automatically resume, detect hardware and finish (I did this once before in a different context and it worked)

However, will setup still say "finished copying files, restarting windows..." when Windows is not even running, Linux is???

Hmm...this is more complicated than I thought...How can my external HD be running a Windows install when Linux is the live OS?

Is this going to work? Is there another way to utilize a live Linux cd to do this?

Incidentally, I plan to buy a new laptop next year, and I'm definitely going to run a Linux distro on it, as I've had quite enough of Windows.
 
Old 10-12-2008, 03:17 PM   #2
pinballwizard66
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i dont understand why do you want to use Windows ME, that is the worst os ever created. as far as installing windows the way you want to i dont think you can.

Debian Development

Last edited by pinballwizard66; 10-22-2008 at 12:35 PM.
 
Old 10-12-2008, 03:20 PM   #3
Unknown_User
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Wow that sounds like a complicated approach!

Do you have a working USB and/or ethernet port? Does your laptop support network boot PXE?

You could put ME (if you really want to - easier to go straight to a superior OS) on a U3 thumb drive so that the laptop will 'see' an external CD ROM and boot from it or use PXE with TFTP run from your XP machine to boot to the ME installation disk over your ethernet port.

PXE is easy if you know how but will take a little work as you will need to set up the TFTP server. There's a world of information out there about this, just google.

Alternatively you could save yourself a world of pain, install something cool like the Ubuntu 8.10 beta and be roundly admired and smug about your fabulous OS...
 
Old 10-12-2008, 04:50 PM   #4
i92guboj
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Quote:
Originally Posted by marcel7 View Post
I need to reinstall Windows ME on the hard drive. I would like to put the hard drive into an external USB box and connect it to a desktop running Windows XP. But I understand from my research that Windows won't allow you to install Windows onto an external HD, only onto the C drive.
I don't know what windows does these days. However, one thing is true: if the ordering of the drives changes once you have installed it, then it will break for sure. Windows is not smart, and fixing that manually would requite lots of work, which in turn, makes it not worthwhile. It would be just easier to temporarily rip one of the working cd drives from the other pc, and plug it into your box.

Quote:
I have the whole Windows ME install CD copied on my hard drive. If I could access setup I could try to overwrite my existing nonfunctional Windows.
I don't know about windows Me, but if my memory serves correctly, it's based on win98, and win98 could be installed by using install.exe from command line. Look on the dir where you have stored the installation files, and use "dir *.exe" to see what's around. If there's an install.exe, setup.exe or similar file in there, just boot on DOS (f5 or f8 at boot time when the OS is loading, I guess) and run that exe file. Don't run it from within windows, cause it will probably screw the things a bit.

If you want to be cleaner, you can move your c:\windows and c:\program files directories to a temporary location so no cruft will remain. Once windows is reinstalled you can delete these.

Quote:
What if I ran a Linux live CD on the Windows XP desktop? Would I be able to access the Windows setup file on my external USB HD, and get it to install on the same external HD, in the Windows folder?
I don't understand you. Why would you run a linux livecd on the windows desktop to install windows on an external drive? The whole idea is odd to me. And, anyway, you can't run a windows installation from linux at all, unless it's inside a virtual machine like wmware or virtualbox. In any case, the resulting installation would still be invalid for a real box.

Quote:
I know that the Windows setup has to detect my laptop's hardware, but I also know that the trick is to let Setup copy all the files to the HD, then, when it says "finished copying files, restarting Windows," to turn the computer off, remove the external HD, put it back into my laptop and power on, at which point the setup process should automatically resume, detect hardware and finish (I did this once before in a different context and it worked)
Mmmm, then it's a laptop. Then I think that your best bet would be to find an usb cdrom drive and use it.

Quote:
However, will setup still say "finished copying files, restarting windows..." when Windows is not even running, Linux is???

Hmm...this is more complicated than I thought...How can my external HD be running a Windows install when Linux is the live OS?
Mmm, as said, you can't run a windows installation from linux, and it would really make no sense either. There's nothing magical about linux that will let you install windows when it would naturally fail due to the windows own limitations (i.e. not being able to install or boot on anything that is not the first primary partition on the first master disk, or something like that).

Quote:
Is this going to work? Is there another way to utilize a live Linux cd to do this?
Not any easy one that I am aware of. And, as said, it really makes no sense.
 
Old 10-13-2008, 12:11 PM   #5
marcel7
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Registered: Feb 2007
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Um...yeah. Thanks for the replies. Problem is, I can't boot the laptop. Can't even get a C prompt. No floppy, no CD drive, can't boot from USB port. I know Win ME sucks but this old laptop doesn't have the resources to run a newer Windows, though I could install 98 SE.

Doesn't seem to be a solution except to put the HD into someone else's functional laptop and try to install from there.

Thanks again.
 
  


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