I have got an old laptop compaq LTE 5300 and trying to restore it. Ofcourse, original HDD was broken. I have replaced it by CompactFlash card with adapter. And now I have a challenge: how to install system!

  • I can't create bootable floppy disk (and I don't want to search for it).

  • No CD-rom on the laptop    

  • But I can connect "HDD" to my modern laptop with Ubuntu and format/copy anything.

I have tried to find disk images with installed win 98 or at least with ms-dos. And have found nothing =)  

I have ISO with win98 disk.

Any ideas?   

  • 3
    You might be better off asking on retrocomputing.stackexchange.com :)
    – DavidPostill
    Commented Feb 5, 2020 at 19:20
  • If you copy the files to the hard drive you will still need to boot into dos somehow to start the setup.exe.
    – Moab
    Commented Feb 5, 2020 at 19:23
  • What on earth are you trying to do. You said "format/copy anything". To format and to copy are pretty much opposites. Format would delete everything. What are you trying to do and Why.
    – barlop
    Commented Feb 5, 2020 at 19:25

2 Answers 2


You can install Windows from a Hard Drive (or perhaps a CF with adaptor - effectively a hard drive.. I haven't used it but I guess it's effectively a hard drive).

There's a directory in the ISO called i386, and in it is a file maybe called setup.exe or winnt.exe or something like that. And you can run that from DOS.

You can plug two hard drives in there and run the install on one and install to another.

Or you can set up one hard drive with a small partition with the windows installation files.

You also need to make the hard drive bootable and from DOS you'd then run that EXE I mentioned.

There are DOS boot disks online, you can get an image of a DOS Boot disk and use Rufus to make a bootable DOS USB. You'd use the SYS command sys c: to make the c partition of the hard drive bootable, that puts command.com msdos.sys and boot.ini on there and writes a boot sector so it boots. That puts a minimal DOS onto the hard drive so the hard drive boots. And from there you'd start the windows installation.

The windows installation will run very slowly and you'd solve that by loading smartdrv in config.sys but deal with that if/when you get there!

A windows 98 boot disk is good https://www.allbootdisks.com/ or https://www.bootdisk.com/ From what I recall, the allbootdisks site is better. It doesn't matter whether you choose win98a or win98b for your boot disk.

If the system doesn't support booting from USB stick, you could get a USB floppy and (I don't recall but it may even treat that as booting from a floppy). I know with a USB floppy it actually goes to A: just like a regular floppy drive would. But probably it will support booting from USB stick.. Systems from the early days of USB sometimes even had issues with running a USB keyboard and mouse! They often had ps2 ports and ps2 was very reliable and USB was flaky! That was even in the early 2000s, it took some years before USB became more reliable, generally when Ps2 got completely phased out.


At result, I have mounted disk to virtual box by creating transparen image file

sudo VBoxManage internalcommands createrawvmdk -filename drive.vmdk -rawdisk /dev/sda

And installed Windows on virtual machine in usual way.

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