USB drive to install Windows Me

Microsoft / Windows me
November 8, 2010 at 05:23:33
Specs: Windows ME, Pentium II - 64MB RAM
Hi there,

You may know that most of Linux Distributions can be installed from a USB/Pen Drive. I've been away from Windows for quite a while and I've never done it before with Windows to begin with. My question is:

IS IT possible to Install Windows Me (or even Windows 98) from an USB Drive?
I have 4GB USB Drive and I used it to install Linux (Ubuntu and many other distributions) but I'm NOT sure whether I could do the same with Windows.

The reason I'm asking is because I have a very old laptop and it has no CD-Drive. It's not mine, it's for a friend and instead of keeping with the dust, I thought to use it. I tried my best to install Linux but the only OS that really worked was DSL (Damn Small Linux) and I don't like it at all. I want to install Windows Me but again I need an USB Drive to do so.

So, is that possible?

Kindly be informed that I'm not willing to spend 0.1$ on that old laptop (HP Omnibook 4150) as it's not mine beside it's old. It has Windows XP SP2 (the owner of that laptop installed it) and it's way slow. I was looking to install either Win 98 or Me, I prefer Me though.

So, if it's possible, please guide me through the steps.

Thank you :)

See More: USB drive to install Windows Me

November 8, 2010 at 12:01:44
Will it boot from USB? Probably not. Check this:

Or you need a 98 or ME bootdisk with USB support and then support for the drive you're connecting to the USB.

Real men don't use AntiVirus; they just reformat

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November 8, 2010 at 12:09:48
Thanks for the reply.
Problem is, that laptop which I need to install another version of Windows rather than XP (which is already installed) does not have:

LAN port

So the only option I got is USB port. I already have Plop so that won't be a problem at all.

I've been searching google for couple of hours and all what I found was talking about floppy + USB. I don't have Floppy drive on that laptop so is there any other way?

Shall I install Dos then from dos I could run Winme.exe or setup.exe and that's all? last time I used Windows 98/Me was 9 years ago or even more so I don't really remember anything :(

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November 8, 2010 at 12:56:05
Asking again does it support booting from USB Drive in the BIOS ??

If you have no bootable device attached to install from the rest of your ideas are irrelevent ! unless you take out the hard drive and install in another Laptop !

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November 8, 2010 at 13:01:28
BIOS does not support booting from USB and as mentioned, the CD-ROM is dead and there's no Floppy nor LAN.
However, I installed Plop and I managed to boot from the only USB port that laptop has.

I already mentioned that on my previous post!

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November 8, 2010 at 13:28:19
Maybe I'm missing something but it sounds like the only drive you can boot from is the hard drive. Even with Plop you need a booting drive

I know that people have invented ways to install 98 or ME from pen drives so I know it's possible. But it's one thing to say it's possible but quite another to be able to do it with the extreme hardware limitations you have. But let's assume you get it booted up somehow and have access to the pen drive. The partition on the hard drive will need to be FAT16 or FAT32. If the drive needs to be repartitioned or formatted you'd need to do that first. Hopefully you can do that with Plop as normally you can't partition or format the drive you're booting from.

What I would then do is copy the installation files from the WIN98 directory on the 98 cd or the WIN9X directory on the ME cd onto the pen drive using another computer. Then create a similarly named directory on the laptop hard drive and copy the installation files there using the pen drive.

Ideally you'd want that hard drive to be blank except for those files and maybe the system files to make it bootable. And the installation may balk when it sees another OS on the drive. But again, let's assume that's not going to be a problem. To start the installation you'd go the directory with the files you copied and run SETUP.

Another more realistic method would be to remove the drive and connect it to another PC via a 2.5/3.5 adapter. Partition and format if necessary and use the 9X or ME SYS command to make it bootable. (Try to avoid partitioning as there will be problems setting the drive active since FDISK won't set a second drive active in a system. You'll need something like AEFDISK to do that. But if the drive doesn't have a FAT partition then you have no choice.) Create a directory on the drive and copy the installation files from the WIN98 or WIN9X directory on the 98 or ME cd into it. Put the drive back in the laptop, boot it up, do a CD to the directory with the installation files and run SETUP.

Real men don't use AntiVirus; they just reformat

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November 8, 2010 at 15:06:23
Yes OK but how do you run PLOP if you have no Bootable Drives ????

Maybe create a RAM Drive ???

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November 8, 2010 at 15:12:48
Of course I do that from the HDD.

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November 8, 2010 at 15:26:22
DAVEINCAPS, thanks for your reply.

Luckily, the file system is FAT32 not NTFS.

As for Plop, I'm not sure what could happen if I'll format but most probably it will be removed. I mean I don't think it's in a reserved area or something.

For method 1, actually the USB drive will be used JUST to transfer the files, that's all. I thought I could use it as a bootable media but yes, sorry, if Plop will gone then I can't.

For method 2, I need to buy that adapter and as I previously mentioned, I'm not willing to spend anything for that laptop :)

I know I'm almost stuck with the most ancient laptops with very limited options but nothing is impossible :)

Any other possible way/method?
Just to make sure we covered the whole thing :)


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November 8, 2010 at 20:19:57
Yeah, if you experiment with the existing setup you may lose the Plop. You could probably reinstall it after installing 98 but 98 is not very USB-device-friendly so that might be a problem too.

Other than that and removing the drive I can't think of any other way.

Should you change your mind about removing the drive and using an adapter you can pick them up pretty cheap on ebay. Here's one:

Real men don't use AntiVirus; they just reformat

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November 8, 2010 at 22:26:08
It's a risky job anyway because I'm actually downgrading the laptop from XP to Me or 98 and both Win98 and WinMe are outdated and not supported anymore.
The whole thing started when I tried to find a Linux Distribution to install but ALL what I was able to get it up and running on that laptop was DSL and I really don't like it but everyone is telling me that's my only option or keep XP.
I know for sure Win98 and/or WinMe will be much faster than XP but I also know that I could not boot anymore from the USB which is a big problem.

It's not about being cheap or not, I don't have a Credit Card to shop online and ... never mind, it's a bit of long story.

I'll check where I live hope I could find one and really hope to find a CD-Drive but that laptop is +11 years old so I don't expect that.

What about WinMe? I remember it was a bit smarter than 98 especially with devices but again, that was long time back and I hardly remember other details :)

Thank you again!

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November 8, 2010 at 22:53:44
Yeah ME has better support for USB devices. The initial install of ME will be pretty much the same as with 98 and that's going to be the hard part.

Real men don't use AntiVirus; they just reformat

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November 8, 2010 at 23:51:22
Yes, all what I remember correctly is that Me has better support for Hardware (I still remember it was able to detect my Sound Card and other stuff without any effort) and I also remember that the initial step is almost the same as Win98.

The hard part is last time I installed Win98/WinMe was ages ago but hope that won't be a problem :)

I have some external HDDs, perhaps I'll use them to backup the current system but I need then to find a good backup program.
In the same time, I'll keep looking for that adapter.

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