View Full Version : How to load an OS without CD Rom Drive

29-08-2003, 02:45 PM
I have a spare PC but the CD drive just won't read CD's, hence I am unable to load any OS off a CD. The hard drive is formatted, ready to go.
How can I load an OS on to this machine? I could network the two boxes together but how do I set this up with a blank HDD?
Any help would be greatly appreciated. NB: the CD drive is knackered and too expensive to replace (compaq slimline needed at about $200) - portable CD drive not an option at the moment either. Thx in advance!

Jen C
29-08-2003, 02:52 PM
Why don't you just temporarily install the CD-ROM drive from your other machine to get the OS loaded?

29-08-2003, 03:04 PM
install CD Drive for meantime while its hanging out - install windows. therefore less fuss and at the end disconnect the cd drive. no need to buy a slimline cd-rom.

or u could create a DOS network bootdisk. do a google search.. it is complicated. this process prob take more time than to install windows from the CD, cos its not a automated process. it needs user intervention.

one's here:

29-08-2003, 03:15 PM
I have tried a number of CD drives and none seem to work - box just shuts down as soon as I plug them in - dunno why (power prob perhaps)! May take a look at the DOS network boot scenario.

29-08-2003, 05:22 PM
try to pull the floppy out and any not essential cards then put the cdrom back in - does it fix it?

29-08-2003, 06:52 PM
You could set up a network with a Dos network driver. I have found out how to do this in the past.


There are very good step-by-step instructions, even though I never managed to get it going.

One way - disk-span the OS's CD(s) onto floppy disks, and transfer it bit by bit - could take hours, but it would get the job done.

Terry Porritt
29-08-2003, 08:44 PM
Most people are missing the essential basic fact.
If the CDROM wont work then there is absolutely no point in loading an OS (other than a basic dos system and cd drivers off floppy), until that problem is resolved.

29-08-2003, 09:00 PM
Why don't you take the hard drive out and connect it to another PC and installl the OS, and copy all drivers into hard drive as well. And then put it back, i think it probably the easiest way to sort it out.

29-08-2003, 10:26 PM
Hah? You can have a PC with a fully functional OS without a CDROM installed.

Terry Porritt
29-08-2003, 10:42 PM
Well, I suppose you can Mark, but these days most software, drivers, etc come on CD not floppies.
Also if the CD drive/IDE controller has an inherent fault then that may reflect back on satisfactory operation of the system.

I would have thought it was a question order of priorities.

29-08-2003, 11:05 PM
Desdog mention the cdrom is haddit and hdd is formatted , raring to go and would like to install an OS. There are plenty of ways of doing this incuding the long winded copying *.cab files to DMF formated floppies an copying them to the hdd. Time consuming I know but can be done...........................

Terry Porritt
29-08-2003, 11:34 PM
Well, another way would be to jury rig a standard CD drive using a standard IDE cable connected to an IDE socket, and one of those psu extension type leads. The box cover would need to be off, or maybe the connections could be brought out through the space left by removing the drive.

The Dell Optiplex has a similar problem of having a $200 CD slimline drive.

29-08-2003, 11:50 PM
Or use a dos terminal proggy to transfer files via parrallel(prefered) or serial
transfer cable between PCs-http://members.cox.net/dos/communic.htm

30-08-2003, 12:14 AM
The best option will be to take the drive out and install the OS on another PC - just copy the CD across to the HDD first so if you need the files later, you don't have to pull out the drive again.

I know that some of the Compaq Deskpros will not let you have another CD drive plugged in (power supply is too small - the slimline ones run off the the motherboard somehow) so you may be stuck without a CD drive for a long time.

Robin S_
30-08-2003, 12:16 AM
Along the lines of mark.p's idea, if you have access to something like Fastlynx II (which requires a special cable called a laplink cable and various other names) you could hook the 2 cptrs together and tranfer the installation files from the one with the operational CD to the one without. Fx II is DOS-based so you would need to watch out for long filenames but if you have any of those you could download the free trial version of Windows-based Fastlynx (? Fx III) and use that for the long file names. Fx III (or whatever) demo version will only copy 10 files or 10MB at a time (whichever is the greater) so it would not be practical for the whole job. There are other file transfer progs that would presumably do the job as well.

30-08-2003, 12:20 AM
ZK, don't do that. If its winME or win9x it may work but u get bombarded with all these errror screens once its back with the original PC with different hardwares. Fix the errors and should work.

If its NT4/2k/XP - the thing won't even boot. I know, as I have forced a ghost image onto a foreign PC before.

The best: maybe is to power the cd-drive on other pc and connect the drive thru the IDE cable on that PC. Then boot CD and install windows.,

30-08-2003, 02:50 PM
An option would be to use another computer to copy the actual installation CD onto the hard drive, and reinstall it in the problem computer and run it from there.

30-08-2003, 03:11 PM
And if you are keen enough to make your own laplink cable go here (http://www.lpt.com/windowsnetworking/regusers/dcccable.htm)

31-08-2003, 01:40 AM
I for one have installed Win95 by copying the cab files from CD to the other PC (Without a CD-ROM or NIC.. and there were no COM or Parallel ports) via Floppy only.. took a while, but It worked!

I can vouch for FX as a great program!
Well worth the look into, even just 10 Megs at a time.. better than nothing surely!

A Null-Modem Cable from DSE will do the job for transferring it, and cost around $10-15 :-)

Robin S_
01-09-2003, 02:11 AM
If you are considering transferring the files via floppy discs check out the installation file sizes first. I have just been looking at the files on a Win 95C CD and one is 1.9+MB and another is 11+!

01-09-2003, 07:12 AM
Win95C includes IE4 as part of the istallation process. Just thought of another way-use a freinds externatl parrallel port zip or superdisk drive to transfer the installtion files using dos divers.