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How to Install OS to computer with no USB or headers?

Last response: in Systems
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April 11, 2013 1:15:42 AM

Hi,

Recently got a bunch of ex Supermarket AIO touchscreen systems, They are pretty old hardware, but i figure they'd make perfect DOSBox's for abandonware games etc & I'd like to set at least one up like this. Perhaps with ReactOS a windows like shell OS.

The only internal port it has is laptop 44pin IDE for the internal hard drive.

External are sound ports, Floppy port, PS/2 for keyboard, Ethernet port, 3x RJ45 Serial Ports & a Parallel Port.

Seeing as there is no inbuilt cd drive, no usb, no headers on the motherboard, no option for selecting boot off network in bios... How would I go about installing an operating system on one of these?...

April 11, 2013 1:57:55 AM

One possibility, if you know what Ethernet chip they have, would be to use a network boot ROM image on a floppy disk to netboot them. You can generate floppy-bootable ROMs using ROM-O-Matic.

Another possibility, assuming the BIOS can be configured appropriately, might be to attach a CD-ROM drive as a slave drive on the IDE interface, with the hard drive as master. I'm not sure where you'd get the appropriate cable to do this with a 44-pin laptop-style header, though. You might have to get a bit inventive with 40/44-pin adaptors.

Alternatively, you might be able to install an OS on the hard drive by attaching it to another system. Some OSes are more conducive to this than others, though. It's not usually a terribly successful method with Windows unless the hardware is quite similar; Linux, on the other hand, can be set up this way quite easily with a bit of knowhow, even on a system with a totally different processor architecture (e.g. installing ARM Linux via an x86 PC).

Hope one of these ideas helps!
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April 11, 2013 6:42:50 AM

Thanks for your answer :)  While it has a floppy port, It's like none I have seen.. I cannot find a pic of it in google images and It might be pretty hard sourcing a cable / floppy drive to match..

I'd like to be able to do that with the primary/slave on a 44pin ide cable... But i've never actually seen a cable for a laptop hard drive.. And i imagine it would be near impossible to modify it.. Might be able to find one on the net though..

I think i'll go for the Install the OS on the hdd using another laptop, set all teh drivers to standard and hope for the best when i plug it in.. Will post how it goes. Cheers
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