I'm restoring an old Thinkpad E310ed from c. 1997 and running into an issue I can't seem to find a workable solution to: installing Windows 98SE to a new "hard drive." The original HDD seems dead (BIOS detects but drivehead/platters sound awful to the point it's ear-grating) and I've purchased both a 2.5" IDE-CF and IDE-SD adapter. The CD drive in the laptop seems dead as well; it spins up and makes a liquidy sound for about a minute before going idle. Booting from the CD drive has been unsuccessful with every ISO I've tried. There is no floppy drive to make use of. So what I'm left with is the need to install Win 98SE to either a CF or an SD card--through the adapters--and to use that as the disk drive as well. Here's a mostly-complete list of everything I've tried that hasn't worked:
- Booting MS-DOS (installed via Rufus) from the CF drive
- Booting MS-DOS (installed via Rufus) from the SD drive
- Installing Windows 98SE to a similarly-spec'd virtualbox machine, converting to VHD, then using hddguru's raw disk tools to "flash" the virtual Win98SE install to the SD card
- Same as above except I interrupted the Win98SE install right after the copying files to drive step before actual set up begins
- Any and all CD-ROMs will not boot
- Partitioning the SD drive and flashing the Win 98SE ISO to it, then attempting to boot from HDD
- Setting HDD to "none" in the BIOS (this was a fix that worked for some CF card users when it came to older BIOS's not recognizing drive dimensions, like heads and cylinders)
All of the above resulted in the same error: DISK BOOT FAILURE, INSERT SYSTEM DISK AND PRESS ENTER.
- Installing 98SE without USB/CDROM to IDE drive - Invalid System Disk
Responses to Comments (as of 10/31):
- I do not have an extra IDE hard disk, unfortunately. I also do not have any other boot options besides those listed above. There is, annoyingly, no non-proprietary floppy connector (and I cannot find compatible pin-outs for the proprietary external floppy connector). There is also no internal FDD header.
- I had this thought about CD-R compatibility but, unfortunately, do not have access to a pressed OEM CD (the only bootable Win 98SE discs).
- Windows 98SE OEMs were bootable. See https://winworldpc.com/product/windows-98/98-second-edition ("Important: Only the OEM Full version is bootable. All others require an appropriate Windows 98 Boot Floppy.").
- The 310ed's BIOS actually explicitly supports boot from CD-ROM which was a surprise! Just too bad the drive is either busted and/or I don't have a compatible CD.
- The error message is definitely from the ROM BIOS as it is present regardless of attached drive.