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Install Windows 95

Copyright (C) 1996 By Steve Litt: Steve Litt's email address 
LEGAL NOTE: I have done my best to make this document complete and accurate. However, any hardware or software installation carries the possibility of problems, including possible data loss and possible irreparable hardware damage. I take no responsibility for any problems you might encounter as a result of your use of this document, including errors and omissions in this document. If you cannot accept this, do not use this document.
This document is copyrighted, but I hereby give you permission to print a paper copy for yourself, to refer to while your computer is taken apart. Be sure to print the sub pages also.

Install Windows 95

This is a tough step for both you and the computer. Start with a clean slate. Power the machine off, wait 15 seconds to clear all memory, then power it on. Make sure you have two diskettes, which you feel comfortable about formatting, handy. These will become your Windows 95 Startup diskettes.

Place the Windows 95 CD in your CD-ROM drive, switch to the root of the CD drive with DOS commands, and type SETUP. Follow the instructions, and make choices as best you can. Windows 95 is pretty forgiving about anything you do. Since this is a from-scratch installation, the worst that can happen is you start over from booting to A: and running FDISK (or more probably just format).

If setup repeatedly errors out it's probably a hardware problem, probably in the form of incompatible BIOS settings. Follow the instructions in the footnote section on "Dumbing Down" Your BIOS.

If the setup crashes in the middle, reboot the computer with the Windows 95 CD in the CD drive. The computer will probably start back up in Win95 safe mode, and continue the setup. Win95 setup is very smart, and usually recovers from problems once the underlying hardware issue is resolved. Worst case, reboot to A: and reformat C:, following all the instructions to this point.

Assuming the minimal Autoexec.bat and Config.sys described in this document, and assuming no .INI files existed on the system, repeated installation failures usually point to a hardware problem, probably in the motherboard. Bring the computer to the shop that sold you the motherboard. If they can't get Win95 to install, they should give you another motherboard.

Once you have successfully installed Windows 95, you're not done yet. Copy your C:\AUTOEXEC.BAT to C:\AUTOEXEC.95, and your C:\CONFIG.SYS to C:\CONFIG.95. Delete all lines out of CONFIG.SYS except the one loading DRVSPACE.SYS. Specifically, delete the line loading the CD-ROM driver. It isn't necessary in Windows 95, and it will hurt performance. If that one isn't in there, delete the file itself. From Autoexec.bat, delete all lines except the @ECHO OFF, the reference to DOSKEY, and any PATH and SET TEMP statements. Specifically, delete the line referencing MSCDEX. It shouldn't be necessary in Windows 95, and it will hurt performance.

Reboot the computer several times, and make sure everything works each time, including the CD-ROM and the mouse. If there are problems, troubleshoot them. Intermittent or reproducible loss of the CD-ROM's drive letter (in the absence of the DOS CD drivers) is often a BIOS setting problem. If the CD-ROM is absent or intermittent, perform the steps in footnote section Dumbing Down Your BIOS. If your mouse doesn't work, make sure your mouse is plugged into serial port 1, and that serial port 1 is configured as COM 1, 03F8-03FF, IRQ 4. I'd highly recommend you use a Microsoft Compatible mouse that doesn't require any special software. If you must use a special mouse, at least test with a generic mouse during installation.

If for some reason it won't boot, press F8 during bootup to go into safe mode, or boot to the Windows 95 Startup Diskette you made during installation. Copy back the original autoexec.bat and config.sys, and start troubleshooting. When you can boot the computer to the Config and Autoexec described in the last paragraph, and have everything including the CD-ROM work, you're ready for the next step.

[ If All Else Fails ]

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Copyright (C)1996 by Steve Litt. -- Legal