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Author Topic: How to install a driver in XP Setup without a floppy drive ???  (Read 6459 times)

Carol Haynes

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I am trying to get rid of Vista on my Notebook computer and install XP instead.

The trouble is that booting from the setup CD gets to a point where it says there are no hard drives present.

I have downloaded a floppy based driver for the Notebook motherboard which you are supposed to use as an 'F6' driver disc during setup.

Unfortunately I haven't got a floppy drive on the Notebook and when I get to the stage where it asks for the driver disc I just get 'can't find a floppy drive'.

Anyone any idea how to supply a driver to windows setup without a floppy drive (I have tried using a CDROM with the driver but that doesn't work)?

mwb1100

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Re: How to install a driver in XP Setup without a floppy drive ???
« Reply #1 on: April 02, 2008, 03:20:49 PM »
I ran into a similar problem helping my father-in-law to 'downgrade' to XP from Vista.  It turned out that having the driver installed on the XP CD-ROM was not the solution to his problem - I had to go into the BIOS setup and change some setting on the SATA drive controller.  This was an HP Desktop computer, but maybe something similar will apply to your setup.

I don't recall the exact terminology for the setting, but it had something to do with turning on SATA IDE emulation or turning off SATA native mode or something (gee, I'm not sure how helpful I'm being here...).

This CNET thread gives the general idea:  http://forums.cnet.c...mp;messageID=2665617

If you do really need a driver for the XP install, the 'F6' portion of XP setup can only deal with floppies that can be accessed via the BIOS routines, so you'll need to either get a USB Floppy that can be accessed by the installer (not all BIOSes support this) or you need to build an XP Setup CD-ROM that has the driver integrated into it so the setup will find the driver without having to go through the 'F6' bit.  You can use using something like nLite to do this: 

http://www.raymond.c...-into-windows-xp-cd/


Note that I went the nLite-integrated driver route initially on my in-law's machine, but that didn't help.  The XP driver needed the SATA interface to be set up by the BIOS correctly, after that the standard XP drivers worked just fine (I didn't need the nLite customized version).



mwb1100

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Re: How to install a driver in XP Setup without a floppy drive ???
« Reply #2 on: April 02, 2008, 03:23:52 PM »
Oh, and I should mention that some computer OEMs will send you an XP 'downgrade' CD if you request it.  Not all will, and those that will may not do it for all models, but it's probably worth an inquiry.

pip2kk

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Re: How to install a driver in XP Setup without a floppy drive ???
« Reply #3 on: April 02, 2008, 03:29:15 PM »
http://www.nliteos.com/

that app will be able to load 3rd party drivers onto a xp cd...or more appropriately a iso that can be burned to cd

Carol Haynes

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Re: How to install a driver in XP Setup without a floppy drive ???
« Reply #4 on: April 02, 2008, 05:53:14 PM »
Thanks all - actually I found nlite soon after posting the original messge. Worked a treat.

For those not in the know nlite takes the original Windows Installation Media, rips it to the hard disk, integrates the required drivers (and allows lots of installation tweaks and customisations if you want them) and then lets you build a new ISO file which when burned to a CDROM can be used as an installer.

It hasn't got the most user friendly of interfaces but it works like a charm.

For Vista there is a similar program vlite (but that is still in its early stages of development).

nlite supports windows 2000, XP and 2003.

Daleus

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Re: How to install a driver in XP Setup without a floppy drive ???
« Reply #5 on: April 03, 2008, 08:20:22 AM »
Just to add some detail to this thread:

We have not switched to Vista, so the following applies to WinXP and only applies to SATA drives as far as I can tell.

Dell has started shipping their desktops with SATA AHCI enabled.  Previously, the default was SATA ATA.  The difference seems to the be that AHCI allows more efficiency for the drive as well as hot swap ability. Interestingly, what I was able to dig up suggests that in a lot of cases AHCI will actually degrade performance, but my impression was that the margin was very small.

Why does this make a difference?  Well, where I work we use Ghost to install preconfigured images to new computers.  With AHCI I was unable to boot from the Bart PE CD from which I run Ghost.  In fact, I couldn'ty even boot from the Dell provided Windows XP installation CD. Turns out, CD drives (even SATA) don't understand AHCI - or at least not yet. If you try, you'll get a BSOD!

The work around was to change the BIOS setting for drives to the ATA mode, just before creating the image, then resetting after image creation so that the machine can boot as normal.  When it's time to install a new image, the same thing - change to ATA mode before installing and then back to AHCI just before booting the newly setup computer.

What happens if you don't reset to AHCI before rebooting?  BSOD! This will not occur on Windows Vista systems.  Vista *includes* AHCI drivers by default, whereas WinXP does *not*.

Final word -  I was unable to observe any functional differences between the computers operation when in AHCI vs. ATA mode.

YMMV

Cheers!
Daleus, Curmudgeon-at-Large

Carol Haynes

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Re: How to install a driver in XP Setup without a floppy drive ???
« Reply #6 on: April 03, 2008, 09:15:15 AM »
Thanks thats a useful summary.

I too was trying to use a vendor (Belinea in this case)  supplied OEM Windows XP Pro SP2 CDROM. Beats me how any company can send out an installation disc that won't work on their machines - even when the system spec supports it and has it as a preinstalled option. Unfortunately my BIOS won't let me change anything much - most stuff is locked or invisible. I suppose I could look for an Intel BIOS for the notebook motherboard but I guess the OEM activation would then fail - and anyway I don't know if the mobo has been modded in any way.

Having said that Acronis True Image Echo Workstation works fine with this mobo in windows XP and Vista and the rescue disk boots and finds the SATA AHCI disc OK without having to change any settings. This would therefore make a viable easy alternative to Ghost if you want to migrate.

Acronis Disc Director Suite works OK too in Windows but only boots from the safe version from the rescue disc - otherwise it reports it can't find a hard disc.

Deozaan

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Re: How to install a driver in XP Setup without a floppy drive ???
« Reply #7 on: April 03, 2008, 10:26:01 AM »
I had this same problem two years ago when I got my new computer and decided not to include the ancient floppy drive. My PC wouldn't recognize my SATA drives without a floppy.

It was suggested to me back then to use nlite but after several ISO burns that led to BSODs during installation or immediately upon booting Windows for the first time, I declared it a failure.

But I'd love to get it to work. Should I ever need to reinstall Windows XP on that machine, I'll be very, very unhappy.