Installing windows on a junked pc

I came into possession of a pc that was going to be junked for an upgrade.

It has a pretty much everything except NO cd-rom drive and the hard drive is wiped. No driver disks either. I would have to get the drivers from the internet, but how do I get the pc up and running well enough to access the net?

Is it possible to purchase the Windows OS and install it on this system? Is Windows available on 3.5 floppy for installation. See, I’d buy a cd-rom drive and try to install Windows as a cd product, but how do I get the system to recognize a newly purchased cd-r drive when I don’t have the OS installed and can’t install the OS without a cd-r drive? Would a boot-floppy usually included with Windows have the cd-rom driver?

Lastly, what is your opinion regarding the Windows OS disks available on eBay that people sell–specifally the disks that came with a computer that already had Windows installed. I think they call them Original Equipment Disks–disks that are included with the system even though Windows came pre-installed. Do they not come with proper documentation or drivers? $70 for a product that runs $150 on storeshelves sounds… too good to be true?

Thank you!

the original win95 came on i think 13 disks, while the releases after that were up in the 50’s, and 98 was even higher. no matter what it’s slow, and if you have a bad disk you’re scewed. best thing to do would be buy a cdrom and use the disk that comes with it to load cdrom drivers. if it doesn’t come with a disk, make a startup disk from a machine running win98 and boot to it, and it will load dos cdrom drivers. if installing 98 is an option, the cd is bootable. if you have problems with any of this, lemme know.

Make sure that this machine is at least a 486. Yes, you can run Windows 98 on a 386, but it will be painfully slow. It won’t run at all on a 286.

Muppetsoup is correct about creating a startup diskette using an existing Win 98 machine. I do this all the time, since I’m always losing my boot disk. All IDE CDROMs use the same drivers. If you already have a PC with a CDROM, you could borrow that drive temporarily to get this machine running. Just make sure you configure everything you need before you remove the drive, since Windows will ask for the CDROM when it wants to configure something (like networking). If you’re planning on putting this machine on a network, you could access a different PC’s CDROM drive remotely if you needed to do more configuration afterwards.

Regarding the Windows OEM disks sold in eBay, they are technically illegal, since it clearly states on the packaging “to be sold only with purchase of a new machine” or something to that effect. However, they will do what you need. I don’t know if they include a boot disk, though.

I realize that I didn’t fully answer your last question. OEM disks don’t come with much or any documentation. However, I don’t think Win 98 comes with much either - just an installation guide (someone who’s bought Win 98 off the shelf as opposed to having it come with a PC could answer this better). I wouldn’t worry about it, though; any bookstore will have a good, inexpensive book on Win 98.


eBay sellers placing OED software include either a hard drive or a mother board with it in order to satisfy eBay’s legal requirements. There’s a ton of “code words” included in a typical description of these drives/boards to indicate you’re just getting a handful of junk parts solely included to satisfy eBay listing requirements.

If OED software is just like store-bought, I may go this route.

This is just for a home-pc to access the internet. Nothing fancy, I just didn’t know how to work out getting Windows installed when a wiped hard-drive and an out-of-the-box cd-rom are involved.

What I usually do is just copy the W95 or W98 folder to a Zip disk & copy that to the new PC & run setup from the PC itself.

How fast is this computer??? Pentium 233?

In consideration of the fact that you can buy working, used Pentium 100/120 boxes with 16 meg RAM, 1-2 gig HD, floppy and 4X CD-ROM for as little as $60-$85 dollars you need to think hard about how much time you want to put into this system.

Yes you can install Windows (from a CD) right from DOS as the boot disk will have the DOS CD driver statements. If you don’t want to buy a CD at least borrow one for the install portion and then remove it when you are done. You can alternatively use a network card to copy all the WIN98 Cabinet files from the mapped CD of another networked PC into a c:\WIN98 directory on the CD-less PC and install from the c\win98 hard disk directory. CD-ROM drives are typically $25 to 35 with rebate at most major electonics stores (see staples). A network card will set you back about 20 and an ethernet cross over cable (if you don’t have a hub) goes for 5-10 dollars.

I can send you the appropriate DOS driver boot and config files to do a DOS based CD install if you wish.

Quite frankly the fastest/cheapest/easiest thing to do would be to take the junked PC’s bare hard drive to another PC, attach it as a slave- format it and then make a C:\win98 directory and copy all the windows cab files from that PC’s windows install disk to the slave hard c:\win98 directory and you then have your OS install files without using a separate CD. Any future programs needing windows CD drivers needed will then look to that directory for the install files. This assumes you have about 200 spare megs on the drive.