Win98 to xp home have disc and key... FAIL

I am trying to revamp an old win98 system I have and I'm running into some problems.

So here's the situation: I have a 2 or 3gb HD with '98 on it. I also have a 80gb HD with XP on it. the only problem is that the XP drive is an expired trial version which needs a format. I tried hooking it up to the '98 HD as a slave but I think the expired XP stuff is confusing it and the computer won't boot.

What I need to do is find a way to access the XP 80gb HD and format it so I can reinstall XP (I have a key now).

Also, when I hook up the XP HD alone, the computer won't boot. I have two install discs (both require keys) Professional and Home and neither will boot. Tried practically every BIOS boot order settings to get things going.

Any help will be much appreciated. Thanks.
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  1. It is very possible that the mobo can not work with that HDD.
    If you want to access the HDD as an external drive you can set it in an enclosure. But you will need access to a PC that has USB ports on it in order to access and format the drive.
    Win98 does not natively support USB, it needs drivers for that.
    If you want to keep that system running, your best bet would be to keep the OS with it, namely Win98. That would make it a classic. For daily computing, just save some money and get a system that supports WinXP. And I mean, you don't need a lot of money for that.

    Of course, it would be helpful if you told us what system you have.
  2. Let's get to how to boot and install from a Windows Install CD. First step I recommend is, disconnect the small HDD that contains Win 98, leaving only the 80 GB HDD and your optical unit connected. This may involve changing jumpers on IDE devices, if that's what you have. If you are not clear on how to do this, post back here. The essentials are:
    1. Each IDE port and cable MUST have ONE Master device on it (plugged into the END of the ribbon cable), and MAY have a second device on it IF that device is set to Slave. (An IDE port can have NOTHING connected to it if you're not using it.)
    2. Especially on older systems, if you mix an HDD and an optical drive on one IDE port / cable, it is recommended that you make the HDD the Master, and the Optical the Slave.

    Once those are set up, place your Win Install CD in the optical drive unit. Boot and go directly into BIOS Setup and verify that the ports for your devices are Enabled and they show up properly. Now find the place where you specify the Boot Priority Sequence (if there is one). Ensure the optical unit is the first boot device, and the HDD is the second one. (On some really older machines you don't get to set the priority - they just assume you will boot from the Primary IDE port's Master device.) Save this set of settings and Exit. The machine should boot from the optical drive and offer the 80 GB HDD as the install destination. Proceed.

    AFTER you have Win XP installed and running you can re-connect the old HDD. Depending on exactly where, you might have to adjust jumpers again, then make VERY sure your boot sequence is correct. Although Win XP should have Formatted the 80 GB unit to the NTFS File System, it still can understand and use a FAT32 system on the old HDD.
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