Party like IT’s 1999!

While cleaning out my over crowded garage this past week, I came across a dusty box labeled Toshiba Portege…and low and behold, that’s exactly what was in there! Not only was there a Toshiba Portege 3110CT complete with software and all available accessories in the box, but also inside was a Toshiba Libretto 110, also complete with software and all accessories!

I can almost hear the groans and sighs of “who cares” through cyberspace…but I do care. These two systems were handy little systems. And, for the IT traveler, carrying either of these systems is much easier on your shoulder, since they weigh about the same as the netbooks of today.

But these systems have Windows 95 or 98 on them. And they work great! That said, I recall putting Windows 2000 Professional on one the Portege, so I’m going to do that again, for old times sake. Journey with me now, as I return to the days before Y2K…

Some of you older IT folks recall those days spent in mild panic or complete annoyance at the massive preparation being done to update software and check hardware systems for compatibility before the year 2000 struck. All that hard work and overtime paid off when everything continued to function, networks didn’t crash, and the world did not end.

But I digress. Let’s get back to why I made this post – I’m going to install Windows 2k on a Portege 3110CT, with a whopping 64MB of RAM, and a spacious 6 GB hard drive. Some of you may ask why bother to do that? Well, Windows 95 rev A didn’t support USB. Windows 98 did support it partially, but flash drives were not auto-detected all that great. Windows 2000 (Win2k) did a much better job supporting USB flash drives. Since I want to leave the external floppy drive and CD-ROM at home and just take my Portege laptop, I wanted to first install Win2k so it works great with USB flash drives, should I need to share files or install something on the laptop while I am traveling, or away from home.

So here’s how I installed Windows 2000 Professional. In the box was a complete recovery CD-ROM set, complete with Windows 95 (rev A) and Windows 98, plus the drivers for the external PORT 24x CD-ROM drive. I don’t need the CDs, but I’ll need those CD-ROM drivers.

1. I powered on the Portege, and simply canceled the login prompt (you could do that back then) and reached the Windows 95 desktop. I opened Control Panel, clicked on Add/Remove Programs, and clicked the Startup Disk tab. I then located an inserted a blank 1.44MB floppy into the drive, and chose to Create a Startup Disk. Clicking that button created a bootable Windows 95 floppy diskette.

2. I took that bootable floppy and also copied the PORT 24x CD-ROM drivers to the diskette. I needed to modify the autoexec.bat and config.sys files to insure that the CD-ROM, which is an external PCMCIA one, wouldn’t be recognized without a specific driver loaded first.

3. Next, I used the Recovery CD to format the drive into two drive partitions, one formatted as FAT, the other as FAT32. From a command prompt, I inserted the bootable disk, and typed “SYS D” to create a bootable partition on drive D.

4. Next, I loaded the Windows 2000 Professional CD into the drive. Using My Computer, I opened the CD, and copied just the I386 directory into the partition formatted as FAT32 (aka as drive D).

5. I then loaded Diskette 1 of 3 for MS-DOS 6.22 and installed MS-DOS on partition 1, the FAT drive. After switching out each diskette, I rebooted into MS-DOS.

6. From the C: drive, I changed to the D drive (>C: cd D:), and opened the i386 directory (>D: cd I386), or alternatively, I could have just typed cd D:i386.

7. From the D:i386 directory/folder, I typed “WINNT”, and wallah, the Windows 2000 setup began. From there, I simply followed the prompts as requested, accepting all default suggestions.

8. When the Windows 2000 Professional installation is nearly complete, you are asked to enter an administrator password. DO NOT FORGET THIS PASSWORD. You’ll need to login when the installation is complete.

Well, that’s all there is to it, now a couple hours later, and I’ve got a lightweight laptop that I can use for writing in coffee shops, and I can easily transfer my Word 97 documents to flash drive and print or edit them to my heart’s content on my other systems at home.