Microsoft OSs (was: Install Floppies)

Grant Taylor cctalk at
Sat Jul 24 11:41:13 CDT 2021

On 7/23/21 6:43 PM, Fred Cisin via cctalk wrote:
> Well, maybe similarly to how you did with AIX, by the total size divided 
> by number of images.  Although what I was referring to was people's 
> memories of the size of the box that they kept the install disks in :-)

Maybe someone who is more versed in the possible disk sizes and more 
accurate (non-rounded) count.  I'm extremely foggy when it comes to 
5-1/4 inch disk capacities.  720 kB and 1.44 MB disks I can deal with. 
But the minutia between 320 kB and 360 kB, combined with rounded 
measurements, things get foggy for me.

> The "Tools" CD-ROM was a third party commercial product containing a 
> large collection of CD-ROM drivers.

Talk about a chicken and egg / priming problem.  How do you get the 
CD-ROM drivers off of the CD-ROM that you need a driver to access.  ;-) 
The quintessential answer is to have (access to) another system (or 
driver) assist.

> In August 1991, I attended a Microsoft Developer conference in Seattle. 
> Bill Gates didn't show up, because he was in NYC on TV about the 
> birthday of 5150 (August 11, 1981).  They gave us copies of Windows 3.10 
> (which couldn't load on the 286 laptop that I had brought along, because 
> it didn't have A20 support, and gave those of us who asked that 
> international distribution Windows 3.0 CD-ROM.  Never saw it before or 
> since. It had Windows 3.0 installation with at least half a dozen 
> different languages.

Windows 3.x was relatively easy to streamline the installation by doing 
-- what I think is called -- an "administrative" install such that it 
copies all files off of the floppies into a single directory, presumably 
on a network share, in a way that means that you can subsequently run 
setup therefrom.  I don't remember if simply copying all the files into 
a single directory also sufficed.

> Actually, you can, and easily.
> MS-DOS 6 had an "INSTALL" program, which was demented.  It INSISTED on 
> installing on drive C:.  But, some of my machines had four floppies, and 
> I didn't want it to install on the 8" drive, or 3.25" drive, . . . Once 
> you install it on SOME/ANY OTHER machine, then, with that OTHER machine 
> booted up to DOS 6, just do a FORMAT A: /S of a boot floppy, and copy 
> files onto that, specifically including FORMAT.

Ya.  I know that I can manually install MS-DOS by sysing boot media 
(floppy or hard disk) and copying the contents of the DOS directory. 
But that seems like more of a hack than should be necessary.  Though it 
can be made less annoying.

> FORGET ABOUT THE "INSTALLATION" files.  with extreme prejudice.
> Boot your target machine with the DOS 6 boot floppy;  it has FORMAT.COM 
> on it (which IIRC was actually a .EXE file renamed .COM), and then use 
> that to FORMAT C: /S .

I feel like there /should/ be a way to streamline the MS-DOS 6.22 
installation using methods from Microsoft.  But, maybe I'm asking for 
too much.  Or more likely, I've simply not found it yet.

I do sort of like the installer from the 3rd party MS-DOS 7.10 CD-ROM 
that's floating around the Internet.  That's the general idea of what 
I'd like.

> Once that system format is done, and CONFIG.SYS and AUTOEXEC.BAT are up, 
> then all of the rest is just copying files, which can be COPY *.*.


> For learning any language, it helps a LOT to have a copy of something 
> that you are familiar with in that language.  When she started to learn 
> Spanish, I gave her a copy of McCracken FORTRAN in Spanish (she was 
> familiar with, and had a copy of, the English edition), and loaned her 
> the international Win3.0 disc.  She then setup one machine with Win3 in 
> English, one in Chinese, and one in Spansish.
> Win3.0 could run on an 8088, which were then a dime a dozen.
> I don't know whether you could put more than one copy on a machine.  I 
> think that you could - we had a copy of Win3.1 on a Win95 machine!

I think you definitely could put more than one copy of Windows 3.x on a 
single machine.  The biggest point of contention I see would be parts of 
CONFIG.SYS that reference drivers inside of the Windows directory. 
However there are plenty of ways to deal with that.  Beyond that, it's 
just another directory that consumes disk space.

Aside:  I've got a virtual machine with the following installed and 
bootable using Microsoft boot options:
  - MS-DOS 6.22
  - Windows 3.11 (on top of MS-DOS 6.22)
  - Windows 95
  - Windows 98*
  - Windows NT
  - Windows 2000
  - Windows XP

*I'm just shy of 100% certain that both 95 and 98 were on there.

I did it as an exercise to see if it would work, and it does.  I think I 
did the install in that order.  MS-DOS 6.22 vs Windows 3.11 was simply a 
matter of starting Windows (WIN) at the command prompt.  Windows 95 
brought in it's MSDOS.SYS based boot menu and allowed booting "MS-DOS" 
(or something like that).  I think Windows 98 had an option to augment 
95's boot menu to allow both 95 and 98.  Windows NT / 2000 / XP brought 
in BOOT.INI and another "Older Windows" (nomenclature?) menu option as 
well as NT / 2k / XP.

> But, the Windows 3.10 BETA program sent us tons of floppies.

I bet.

> It had an even more demented problem: it installed Smartdrv first.  
> Then, if it hit any error, the installation would fail, without the 
> usual option to IGNORE and manually copy the failed file later.  
> Instead, SMARTDRV cut out the options, and you could only R(etry)!  If 
> the error wasn't transient, then you could only power down the machine!  
> But SMARTDRV had told DOS that stuff was ALREADY written that it hadn't 
> done yet, so powering down wiped the whole installation.  I had one 
> machine that had an error that neither SpinRite nor SpeedStor could 
> find, but the Windoze installation consistently found it!  The work 
> around was to put a lot of extraneous files on the disk, so that the 
> sector with the error was used by something else.  I reported the 
> problem to the BETA support; their response was "That's a HARDWARE 
> problem, NOT OUR PROBLEM."  My comment that 1) any program should exit 
> gracefully even from a hardware problem, not lock up the machine and 2) 
> that SMARTDRV's actions would end up costing them substantially.  (It 
> DID; DOS 6.20 was written primarily to deal with SMARTDRV causing 
> problems!)  'course my comment also meant that I wasn't invited back for 
> any other BETA programs; they only wanted cheerleaders, not critics nor 
> actual testers.

Ya.  Thankfully (?) I started with computers after that and avoided 
things like that.

> It eliminated another LARGE box of floppies.


Grant. . . .
unix || die

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