Compaq Deskpro boards/hard drives from the late 1990s

Liam Proven lproven at
Tue Jul 27 05:21:45 CDT 2021

On Tue, 27 Jul 2021 at 02:29, Grant Taylor via cctalk
<cctalk at> wrote:
> On 7/26/21 5:36 AM, Liam Proven via cctalk wrote:
> > I got it down to 14MB and it would, just barely, boot from the 16MB
> > SSD, although you could barely do anything as there was almost no
> > free disk space. It was a vain effort in the end -- being so minimal,
> > it booted in a few seconds from any medium. It did make the point
> > for the magazine that an OS would boot from SSD in a fraction of the
> > time of from hard disk -- and so that in some years, when SSDs were
> > common and cheap, they would be very desirable.
> Interesting.

It was a fun and interesting project to do, actually, and made more
enjoyable by the knowledge that I'd get paid for it. :-D

The general idea lived on in many ways (almost certainly _not_
inspired by the article that came out of my work).

98Lite was a useful tool that let you strip unnecessary bits out of
Win98 & 98SE:

I used this to run 98SE minus IE and other junk on my Thinkpad 701C,
the famed "butterfly keyboard" laptop, for a while. It took more
resources than 95, but it let me have more than 4 IP addresses, which
was a hard limit in 95. Around 2000 I was travelling internationally
with that laptop and needed networking via multiple Windows network
adaptors: PCMCIA Ethernet, plus dial-up modem + PPP, plus AOL, plus
Direct Cable Connection, plus IRDA for my cellphone, and that became a
deal-breaker with Win95. That's 5 network adaptors and they can't all
run TCP/IP, even if they're not active.

98Lite inspired N-Lite, which could do the same for NT derivatives,
including WinXP.

I used N-Lite to build a custom installation CD ISO for the
volume-license edition of XP SP3, which left out all the MS internet
tools except IE (which you needed for Windows Update), removed Movie
Maker and some other cruft you can't uninstall, turned off the Themes
engine and set the Classic theme and a few other things. It made for a
smaller, cleaner installation that was entirely compatible and could
be used and updated as normal.

I also made one for my own use which moved /"Documents and Settings"
onto another partition and so on, but you had to make the partitions
_just so_ in advance which crippled it.

I later discovered someone else had had the same idea and distributed
it, under the name TinyXP. I had this running in a VM under Linux and
in base form it took just 40MB of RAM. Even with IE, updates and
antivirus I had it running in 70MB of RAM.

It's long obsolete but there is a copy on the Internet Archive which
AFAICT is clean:

TinyXP became Tiny7:

... but I think in deliberate retribution, Win7 SP1 needs a complete
install and so you can't install SP1 on Tiny7. At this point, the
creator, known as eXPerience, gave up. Damned shame IMHO -- I'd love
to see a Tiny10.

> I've not really tried to do this on Windows.

I have. :-)

>  But I would wonder if you
> could mount an alternate file system on top of the Users / Documents and
> Settings folder using -- what I believe is called -- Dynamic Data
> Overlay.  Very much like you would mount /home as a file system
> independent from /.  I don't know if there would be any dependency on
> Administrator's profile being accessible before DDO mounted everything.

Interesting idea. For me, TBH, more trouble than it's worth. I mostly
run Linux on my PC kit now.

> I suspect that more time is spent finding them and traversing the file
> system meta-data than reading the actual config files.

True. Even so, I have found that there's no perceptible difference, to
me, on something like a Core i5 laptop, between / on SSD + /home on
HDD, and the whole thing on SSD.

> I've never tried to do anything like this with OS X.  I would naively
> think that you could mount another file system on /home.  But, maybe
> there's dependencies that I'm not aware of.

Not easily. OS X dispenses with most of the Unix config files and it
does not respond well if you try to half-nelson it into behaving like
a traditional Unix.

But after I emigrated to Czechia, I had enough money to stop using a
Hackintosh and buy used Macintels. I moved my Toshiba laptop's 120GB
SSD+ 1TB HDD into a Mac mini. I manually moved the home directory to
the HDD and it worked fine.

Until I bought the Retina iMac I am typing on, when I discovered I
couldn't migrate my apps/settings/data. The migration tool can't
handle a home directory on a different volume.

And I couldn't reproduce the setup, as Apple fitted a 12GB SSD and you
can't fit OS X onto that.

So I had to manually copy everything, and then reset millions of
files' permissions. It was a nightmarish job.

> The only rare exception would be like having /home be a symbolic link to
> /path/to/home which is on another file system.  This is how I have my
> VPS use LUKS encryption.  /home -> /var/LUKS/home; /var/spool/mail ->
> /var/LUKS/var/spool/mail; etc.

Whatever works for you. I do not like LVM and I do not use encryption.

> /me looks at the mailing list and the things that are discussed and
> reject the "obsolete" portion of that comment.


> > As the DOS PC conquered the industry in the West, it did not in Japan.
> > DOS could not handle Japanese fonts well enough; VGA is not really
> > enough for readable kanji, hiragana and katakana. So Japanese PCs
> > stayed non-IBM-compatible.
> Interesting.

Only into the Windows era. After GUIs took over, they could handle
logographic/ideographic writing systems just fine and the Japanese
computer industry gradually converged onto the same standards as the
Western world.

It's a great shame IMHO. We need more diversity. I recently discovered
an interesting example but maybe I should make it a new thread.

Liam Proven – Profile:
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