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 Forum index » House Training » Beginners Help ( Start Here)
Getting Puppy onto an OLD Dell laptop.
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greengeek

Joined: 20 Jul 2010
Posts: 2596
Location: New Zealand

PostPosted: Fri 05 Oct 2012, 01:57    Post_subject:  

BJF wrote:
the HDD is an 1997 item it says, and has a connector that takes the form of pins on about 1mm spacing arranged top and bottom inside a hollow socket 25mm x 4mm (approximately)
Any chance of posting a pic of that connector?
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Mercedes350se

Joined: 16 Apr 2008
Posts: 635

PostPosted: Fri 05 Oct 2012, 03:30    Post_subject: Re: Getting Puppy onto an OLD Dell laptop.  

BJF wrote:
... but the optical drive doesn't boot. ...


Back in the dark ages there was a small floppy program (DOS?) that allowed selection of which device to boot from regardless of the system BIOS. I tried to load DeLi Linux this way on my 486 machine which did have an optical drive. Getting that, the optical drive, to work was a saga as I recall!.

I know you are unable to format a floppy but If you are really desperate I could "possibly" find the floppy and post it to you. I do have 98se installed on the other hard drive.

I am on the big island to the West of you.
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Sylvander

Joined: 15 Dec 2008
Posts: 3463
Location: West Lothian, Scotland, UK

PostPosted: Fri 05 Oct 2012, 03:50    Post_subject: Re: Getting Puppy onto an OLD Dell laptop.  

Mercedes350se wrote:
Back in the dark ages there was a small floppy program (DOS?) that allowed selection of which device to boot from regardless of the system BIOS

See SBM Boot Manager = SBM = "Smart Boot Manager".

It's a bootable floppy.
You boot the floppy...
It detects all the bootable devices and displays them in a menu...
You choose the bootable optical disk in its drive...
If the drive isn't yet ready with a bootable disk in place [BIOS communication with the drive not yet->(complete, and file system on disk detected/readable)] the attempt will fail [big red warning displayed].
Wait 'till the optical drive LED stops blinking, and retry.
When the BIOS has established communication with the drive the attempt should succeed.
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BJF

Joined: 24 Mar 2008
Posts: 186
Location: Lower Hutt, New Zealand

PostPosted: Fri 05 Oct 2012, 05:47    Post_subject:  

Sylvander: I am rumbling about with Grub4DOS and SBM both of which I can get onto the laptop via the CD, but I have no idea if they can or how to make them work, except for a floppy installation. The readme instructions pass some distance above this noob's head. If it can be done from files loaded onto C:\ then some hand-holding would be required.
Mercedes: I have a drawer of useful things going back years that needs investigation as it just might (cross fingers) have a data or application flop that goes back to my 98 years. If not, may I call upon you in the West Island and take up your offer please?
All: I'll see about a picture of the mysterious HDD socket for identification. Of course if the HDD gives up, where would I ever get another???

Thanks again.
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starhawk

Joined: 22 Nov 2010
Posts: 2943
Location: Everybody knows this is nowhere...

PostPosted: Fri 05 Oct 2012, 10:40    Post_subject:  

It's a very standard hard drive connector, attached to a little bit of Dell wizardry that is fooling you.

What you have is not one part, but TWO. You have a hard drive in a metal and plastic shell called a "caddy". Here's how to dismantle it. Read the instructions CAREFULLY, this thing (stupidly) has a fragile part in it.

Take the four screws off the sides (and SAVE THEM CAREFULLY -- they are tiny and you will need them to put the drive back in later!). Should be two per side. Then tilt the hard drive so that the front (where the black plastic bezel is) is up a little.

You will see a brown bit of what appears to be circuitry at the back of the drive. This is a (rather fragile, unfortunately) flexible PCB connecting what's on the back of the drive to that special connector you mentioned.

Holding the flexible PCB and the connector where it attaches to the drive, so you don't rip it to bits, wiggle and tug the drive off the adapter.

You really do need to be careful, as that flexible PCB can rip very easily -- and there is no way to repair it except getting a replacement. The good news is that if you do rip it, replacements are cheap on eBay -- in the States they are $5.99 for a three-pack (or $5.35 if you only want one). That's US dollars of course.

Once you get the drive off so that you've got hopefully two parts and not three (which would be caddy and most of the adapter, the rest of the adapter that came off with the drive, and the drive itself) you'll see that it's got a standard 44pin connector as described.

...as for the floppy drive: give it up man, that drive is hosed. If you can get a parts machine from eBay you may be able to replace it, but you'll have to pull the laptop apart -- and that is usually a hair-raising experience the first time you do it. It certainly was for me. Doubly so for old Dell laptops -- jigsaw puzzles got nothing on how these things go together. I have a CPi and I hope I don't have to take it apart again any time soon!

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Sylvander

Joined: 15 Dec 2008
Posts: 3463
Location: West Lothian, Scotland, UK

PostPosted: Fri 05 Oct 2012, 12:26    Post_subject:  

BJF wrote:
Sylvander: I am rumbling about with Grub4DOS and SBM both of which I can get onto the laptop via the CD, but I have no idea if they can or how to make them work

1.
(a) Download sbm.zip...
(b) save it somewhere convenient...
(c) Unpack sbm.img from within it.

2.
(a) Write the sbm.img image to a floppy disk.
I probably made the SBM bootable floppy I have, years back when working within Windows, but I had a go just now using Slacko-5.3.3.1 using my present USB-connected floppy disk drive.
Used the following dd command using a terminal run within the Xfe folder [/00] holding the sbm.img file.
dd if=sbm.img of=/dev/sdb
[sdb is the name my Slacko has given to the FDD, so that's what I used in the command]
Don't know if my present brand new PC would boot a bootable floppy residing inside a USB-connected FDD. Confused
So I cannot test it, although the floppy now seems to have the files written to it.
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greengeek

Joined: 20 Jul 2010
Posts: 2596
Location: New Zealand

PostPosted: Fri 05 Oct 2012, 13:11    Post_subject:  

BJF wrote:
I have a drawer of useful things going back years that needs investigation as it just might (cross fingers) have a data or application flop that goes back to my 98 years. If not, may I call upon you in the West Island and take up your offer please?
Which 98 floppy are you looking for? I have a W98 startup floppy if that is of any use. And that 32mb edo if you are still interested (although the module seems taller than you mentioned)
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BJF

Joined: 24 Mar 2008
Posts: 186
Location: Lower Hutt, New Zealand

PostPosted: Fri 05 Oct 2012, 14:19    Post_subject:  

Dear All: In summary hopefully covering the high spots...
Laptop boots either from floppy or HDD. Win98 uses a different, non-legacy, floppy format(?). -Post 2000 formatted floppies aren't recognised or formatted by laptop. Seemingly only IBM format post 2000 floppies are about now or produced by formatting app's. Data written to one cannot be read by laptop. Wrong format. CD drive works but is non-booting. BIOS won't allow it. A BIOS flash, even if available, needs the floppy drive active. Data can be written to 98 via CD but not accessed as a Live CD. A Boot Manager can therefore be written onto the HDD but presumably not installed on it to supplant the WinBoot and access the CD as a bootable medium. Some hope lies in obtaining a few 98-formatted floppies including a start-up disk PROVIDED that it will permit the boot of a Puppy LiveCD, and PROVIDED that putting eg SBM on a 98 floppy doesn't make it unreadable. The solution to that might lie in asking a 98 owner to write a n SBM disk for me. The HDD may yet (thanks for that Starhawk) be able to be plugged into my old Compaq and installed to.
Thanks to all who have joined in with some really useful suggestions. Greengeek: I'll be in touch!
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saintless


Joined: 11 Jun 2011
Posts: 2580
Location: Bulgaria

PostPosted: Fri 05 Oct 2012, 15:14    Post_subject:  

Hi, BJF,

check out this option - Puppy linux for Win98. From what I read Puppy could be started from ms-dos direct or from Win98. At least you will see if it works for your hardware:
http://puppylinux.dreamhosters.com/versions/pupwin98/puppy.htm
I will write one more time your easiest option to have Puppy on this laptop. Choose some puppy version and copy the files in a folder on your hard drive from Win98.
Install Grub4Dos from here and try to find the right boot code to boot puppy. I'm sure someone who has grub4dos will help you with the right boot code.

BTW PupNgo is not easy to boot this way as frugal install with grub. You might or might not be able to boot it with grub4dos. It has some problem finding the main sfs file when it boots from grub legacy. I've tested this my self and it is also written in the forum thread.

Cheers

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Mercedes350se

Joined: 16 Apr 2008
Posts: 635

PostPosted: Sat 06 Oct 2012, 02:13    Post_subject:  

OK. I have Smart Boot Manager on a floppy that was formatted under 98se.

PM your details and I will post it across to you.

Using the floppy is a cinch - I will include details with it.
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Mercedes350se

Joined: 16 Apr 2008
Posts: 635

PostPosted: Sat 06 Oct 2012, 12:57    Post_subject:  

Just a thought.

Have you checked, or altered, the boot order in the BIOS so that the CDROM drive is the first boot device and the hard drive is the second?

Edit: Once you do this it will not matter if the CDROM is left as the first boot device.
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starhawk

Joined: 22 Nov 2010
Posts: 2943
Location: Everybody knows this is nowhere...

PostPosted: Sun 07 Oct 2012, 11:34    Post_subject:  

A couple points...

@Mercedes350se: this system is incapable of booting from CD-ROM. There will be no option present to do that within the BIOS, simply because the programming within such to make it happen does not exist.

@BJF: you keep talking about Win98 floppies vs. other floppies. I suspect if you put a Win98 floppy in the drive you will find it also not to work.

There are two overarching kinds of floppy drives: those in PCs, and those not in PCs. If you were trying to read a PC 5.25" floppy in a Commodore 1541 disk drive, it will not work because of the low-level encoding of the drive. The way the information is placed on the disk is different between those two. I spent my last semester in college programming assembly on a C64 with two of those drives. It was painful and I didn't learn anything terribly useful (except: assembly code is a pain in the ... ) but it was enjoyable in between frustrations.

However... PC floppy drives are generally fungible within their size category. That is, any 3.5" floppy drive will be able to read any 3.5" floppy disk, given the proper software on the OS end. Therefore, your normally-formatted DOS boot floppy, or Plop boot floppy, or any other bootable floppy, will read and boot if the disk and drive are both functional.

That gives either of two possibilities: one is that your BIOS is hosed. Possible but I would say unlikely. If the system boots and operates normally from the hard drive, then you do not have a bad BIOS -- that little chip controls a lot more than the clock! In fact, BIOS stands for Basic Input / Output System and tells the rest of the computer how to access drives and controllers and such, so that you can have these things work and work well. If your BIOS is toast, it wouldn't boot to Win98 in the first place. (At this point, if it IS toast and the machine doesn't boot anything -- recycle the system, there's not much else to be done, as the BIOS must be updated from the [obviously non-working] floppy drive.)

The other possibility, of course, is that the floppy drive itself is no longer operable. That is far more likely. It is of course a mechanical device, and laptops and notebooks lead rough and tumble lives. So it is likely to have lost its calibration at least, if not fallen entirely to bits inside.

Unfortunately, it is likely to be a 'slim' model that is entirely proprietary (in interface, not operation) to your system, as opposed to simply plunking a desktop drive into something more portable. You would at this point, assuming you want it to work, be looking on eBay for an inexpensive but functional machine for parts, and then you would be looking to learn laptop disassembly -- which tends to have quite the learning curve, especially on older models! (This would definitely be the advanced course.)

My suggestion of pulling the hard drive stands. Forget the floppy drive, you're almost certainly wasting time.

_________________
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Custom Build: HP MOCA-AR + Core2Duo T7200 + 4gb RAM + 256gb SSD
...just needs a pretty case Wink
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BJF

Joined: 24 Mar 2008
Posts: 186
Location: Lower Hutt, New Zealand

PostPosted: Tue 09 Oct 2012, 14:16    Post_subject:  

Stahawk: Thank you. Guess I knew your conclusions from early on but the different appearance of the HDD made that course look unlikely. The fear of bricking the lappy sent me off in big circles!
OK. Removed drive and separated it from its caddy. Now it looks just like the Compaq drive here in my right hand once its adapter plug is removed too. It's an IDE drive all right. What's with all these adaptors??? I've put the Compaq back together because it's needed but the Dell drive will go into the Compaq and get PupnGo applied. Report follows.
Somewhere I have a floppy lens cleaner in my bag of old useful things. Hope against hope, I'll give the flop a shampoo one day and see what happens.

Thanks again.
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starhawk

Joined: 22 Nov 2010
Posts: 2943
Location: Everybody knows this is nowhere...

PostPosted: Tue 09 Oct 2012, 15:34    Post_subject:  

Floppy drives are magnetic... by "lens" I hope you mean "head", otherwise what you have is a shiny disc with brushes on the bottom, which is very good for scratching the lenses of optical drives.

The adapter is a cheap way to fool gullible and/or non-tech people into thinking that the laptop manufacturer is the only company on Earth who can replace their drive for them. It doesn't work very well Wink

...once more I'll remind you that the flexible PCB in that adapter is quite fragile and cannot be repaired once damaged. One hairline cut in one wire counts as "damaged" BTW. Handle that thing with kiddie gloves!

Good luck! Keep us posted.

_________________
Loving X-Slacko 2.1!
Custom Build: HP MOCA-AR + Core2Duo T7200 + 4gb RAM + 256gb SSD
...just needs a pretty case Wink
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Dewbie

Joined: 15 Apr 2010
Posts: 1783

PostPosted: Wed 10 Oct 2012, 07:03    Post_subject:  

BJF wrote:
Quote:
Somewhere I have a floppy lens cleaner in my bag of old useful things. Hope against hope, I'll give the flop a shampoo one day and see what happens.

Try cleaning the heads with a Q-Tip saturated with isopropyl alcohol.
Then use another Q-Tip to dry them.
And don't energize the drive until it's completely dry.
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