In the setup.txt file on the Windows 95 and 98 CDs (located in the \WIN95 [Windows 95] / \win98 [Windows 98] folder), which contains important information on setting up Windows and solving or working around problems that can occur thereduring, there is, as the first item under the “GENERAL SETUP NOTES” (Windows 95) / “HARDWARE NOTES” (Windows 98) heading, an alarming message about the consequences of installing Windows 95/98 on two specific models of laptops:

Sager NP8200 or Wedge Technologies 466/DX2


[WARNING (95) / IMPORTANT (98)]: If you install Windows [95/98] on a Sager NP8200 or Wedge Technologies 466/DX2 laptop computer, you will not be able to use your computer, even if you reinstall a previous version of Windows.

\WIN95\SETUP.TXT, Windows 95 installation CD; \win98\setup.txt, Windows 98 installation CD.

Generally, the worst that can happen during an (attempted) operating-system installation/upgrade is that the installation fails and you have to reinstall your previous OS, which is a far cry from rendering the computer completely and permanently unusable – a bricked computer is what one would expect from a major hardware failure or an interrupted/corrupted BIOS update, not an attempt (even if failed) at installing a new OS. What was so different about the Sager NP8200 and Wedge 466/DX2?

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    I don't see actual evidence that it will be "bricked", merely that WIndows won't run. The damage is done when you install Win98, right?. But if we believe the text, the computer is still alive enough to at least start to install an older Windows - which supposedly won't work. Still an interesting question though. Also, I note that calling a computer "Wedge" seems like asking for trouble. Apr 9, 2020 at 22:31
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    Guess: They meant that it changes files on the harddrive in such a way that even installing a previous version doesn't undo all the changes (for whatever reason, but it's Microsoft...), which means you are left with a harddisk that you cannot boot Windows from. That doesn't mean the system is "bricked", because you still can boot from floppy etc. But yes, it would be interesting to find out where this warning comes from.
    – dirkt
    Apr 10, 2020 at 10:38
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    I don't know the answer so I'll just speculate in a comment: those systems probably had a custom BIOS bootloader that depended on the disk being set up in a particular way to be bootable. Installing Win95 changed the boot process enough for the BIOS to no longer recognize the disk, or to fail to initialize properly, and there was presumably no way to recover on these systems (i.e. no floppy drive).
    – Ken Gober
    Apr 10, 2020 at 13:10
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    @dirkt No, the warning says even reinstalling Windows 3.x won't work. So it's possible that the manufacturer did something special during installation that made it work, such as loading a custom driver that was not available on the Windows 3.x disks. Apr 10, 2020 at 18:02
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    @dirkt Computers came with Windows 3.1 preinstalled. I'm having trouble finding any specific information about these two models...maybe they failed quickly in the marketplace because the OS couldn't be upgraded! Apr 11, 2020 at 16:53

2 Answers 2


I can only guess that it might be something like parts of the firmware being stored on the HDD that could get nuked by the Windows installer.

At least I have a Compaq DeskPro 486 that had a nice clicky graphical BIOS Setup utility (resembling current UEFI interfaces, completely out of place in the 90's) and that one was stored in a special hidden partition on the HDD. When the original HDD gave up the ghost, I ended up with a bricked machine because I can't get into BIOS to configure a replacement drive.

(Said Compaq ran Win95 OSR2 without any issues although installing it took a lot of attempts for some weird reason, so all of this is just my wild theory.)

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    I hope you kept it in case you could get a disk image from another owner? :)
    – knol
    Jul 4, 2021 at 10:13
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    Compaq published SoftPaqs to replace the BIOS setup on those models of computer; my ProLinea 4/50 needed the same… they should be available on the Archive.org Compaq FTP collection.
    – A. Wilcox
    Nov 21, 2021 at 2:33

Educated guess: The Windows setup routines probed hardware for non-PnP devices. Perhaps there was a "killer poke" in the BIOS of these laptops that caused damage when the probe ran.

Perhaps you could ask Raymond Chen? He seems to enjoy answering questions about the minutiae of Windows 95, and this seems like the kind of question he might just be able to answer.

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    This is barely an answer at all, it basically boils down to ‘I have no idea either, why not ask Raymond Chen?’ Nov 21, 2021 at 16:13
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    My answer is my educated guess that there is a killer poke being triggered by the Windows Setup hardware detection routines. The other answer on this question is also an educated guess.
    – A. Wilcox
    Nov 22, 2021 at 4:48
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    Everyone already suspects that much; it adds little value to write this down. A real answer would at least attempt to explain what is the killer poke. Nov 23, 2021 at 12:02
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    For those people who were not around for PCs before Plug-n-Play, it may not be as obvious. Additionally, I have always felt that documenting what may be obvious to one may help another make a connection they otherwise would not have. That said, this discussion seems to have diminishing returns, so that will be my last word on it.
    – A. Wilcox
    Nov 24, 2021 at 6:10

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