Installing NT Workstation 4.0: The installation itself

Installing NT Workstation 4.0:
The installation itself



NT 4.0 supports FAT and NTFS partitions. I chose to leave the 260MB PCMCIA drive formatted as one primary FAT partition, for ease of maintenance. NT sees the drives within the PC110 as follows during the installation:

4MB Flash Device/Harddisk(0)/Partition(1)
260MB PCMCIA Device/Harddisk(1)/Partition(1)

This is even after experimenting with the start-up sequence. This means that, although NT boots off the PCMCIA drive once the installation is done, it sees the flash drive as C: and the PCMCIA drive as D: - this in itself causes no problems, and from past experience I don't recommend changing the drive letter assigned to the operating system partition. No files seem to be added to, or altered on, the 4MB flash drive.

Installation media

I chose to copy the i386 directory from the NT CD to the PC110 hard drive. I like to keep a local i386 directory on any NT box, in case I need to reconfigure the machine and can't find/use the CD. To do this, I used the PCMCIA adapter which I'd recently installed in my desktop machine, since the drive was already formatted with a primary FAT partition. Note that you can only perform an installation from the hard disk with NT if the hard disk is FAT formatted - I've tried but never succeeded in doing this from an NTFS partition. Still, if you want, you can convert your FAT partition to NTFS after installation.

Note: Later copies of the Windows NT 4 Workstation CD have already got ServicePack 1 incorporated into the installation image. Using this version, as opposed to the base NT 4 CD, I had no problems with the STOP errors in PCMCIA.SYS that I encountered after installing the base version.

I copied over all contents and subdirectories of the I386 directory, except for the following:

DRVLIB.NIC\ Contains network adapter device drivers, and I'm not planning on using any networking other than RAS via a null-modem cable, so these are 20MB of unnecessary space.
INETSRV\ Contains the installation code for Peer Web Services / Internet Information Server. Not something I was planning to use, so another couple of wasted megabytes.

This occupies 53MB, and NT Workstation requires a further 110MB or so of free drive space to install. That makes a total of around 175MB of hard disk space just to install the operating system. Fortunately, the 260MB PCMCIA drive accomodates this with ease. Once the installation is complete, the operating system only occupies around 80MB.

Installation tips

Set the PC110 up so it boots from the PCMCIA hard drive first. That way, during the installation, the first active primary partition will be located on the PCMCIA drive, rather than the flash drive, and so the boot files will be copied to the PCMCIA drive, as you'd want.

Once the source media is sorted out, you must run SmartDrive or you'll be installing for hours. Since I was installing from C: to C:, I chose

to give me maximum cache size and read/write caching on drive C.

Start the installation by typing

from within the i386 directory, which is assumed here to be on drive C: when you're booted from DOS. This starts a diskette-less installation (saves you creating three boot floppies), and specifies the source to be C:\i386. The files are copied across into the $WINNT$.~LS directory, then a $WINNT$.~BT directory is created which contains the boot files for the next sequence of the install, and then you are prompted to reboot.

The NT Loader pops up on boot, and again you hit a blue text screen. I skipped the detection of mass-storage devices, selected the appropriate target hard disk partition, and started it on the next copying phase. A word of warning here: my first hard drive (the flash drive) contained one 4MB partition and 248MB of unpartitioned space according to the NT installer. Now, either that got confused, or I was sold a machine with several thousand pounds worth of free Flash storage... the point here is that it was damn close to the capacity of my PCMCIA hard disk, so I verified what I was selecting by partition labels - my flash drive is called Flash 4MB. At this point, the core operating system files are copied to the \WINNT directory, and the real boot files are installed.

Onto the graphical phase of the install, and no further difficulties. Select options as appropriate to your setup.


Written by Daniel Basterfield. Images found on the internet. Enjoy!