I need suggestions and whatnot for installing an OS on a Compaq Contura 400c I just dumpstered. It's got the standard QWERY keyboard layout as well as foreign characters on the keys. My brother suggested to get an adapter so that I could install the laptop HD in a desktop and install windows from there. Any ideas??? Maybe a different OS? All I have is Win98 and XP (I know I can't get XP on it ;))
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Windows 3.1, or, if you're feeling lucky, Linux.
It was running Windows ME when I first turned it on...then I nuked the drive. I've looked into Linux...ummmmm, yeah...little over my head.
From what I can tell it's a 486, so 98 will run on it. Don't be expecting miracles though.
95 would be best for that IMHO (not too slow, useable, and kind of modern-ish), but you could put anything from DOS to XP on it if you really wanted.
LOL.. imagine XP on an old 486 laptop. Yes, you are right, it could be done, but wow.
I wonder if that would be worse than the people who attempted at putting windows 95 on their old 386's back in the mid 90s? Yeah, i bet it has to be worse, since 95's minimum footprint was 4 megs (yes, you could get windows 95 running in 4 megs of ram, *i think*, its been a long time) but Windows XP's minimum footprint is 64 megs of ram. I really don't think I have seen many 486 computers that had 64 megs of ram (other than servers).
I personally would go the win95 osr2 route myself on that laptop.
i had a 486 with 128mp(!) of ram and it wouldn't even run anything later than win95b so i think thats as far as you can go, whatever just my 2 cents :coolmac:
Well I think there are certain unlisted command line swtiches (for setup.exe) that you can use during the setup process to bypass the cpu checker. I know i have gotten windows 98se to run on old laptops in the past, but never tried it with anything newer than 98se.
Yeah. Like I said the only reason I was even pushing the 98 route was because it's all I've got. Guess I could scour ebay for a used copy of 95. I'm really not planning to do all that much with it because the only way it functions is when plugged into the wall (the batter was shot and had to be removed or else if you plugged it in it wouldn't turn on). I'm pretty much keeping it because the keyboard is neat.
i have both a Compaq contura 400c and a contura 430c i have windows 98 on the 430c and 95 osr/2 on the 400c. i hope that helps. By the way there are great little laptops.
Problem solved. I just aquired another laptop with a CD-ROM from my girlfriends dad (yet another perk of dating her...don't tell her that). So what I plan on doing is just swapping out the HD's and copying the windows CD onto it, then swap back and install that way. Just hope I have enough room.
Hello everyone , I like the the way you are going to fix this problem ,but you are doing it a bit the hard way.I got the same problem on my IBM 760CD laptop.I had problem with a virus ,and after it the laptop didn't wanted to boot.I had to format the HDD ,but 760CD has non-bootable CD and I didn't have the floppy ,which is exchangable with the CD.I formated the hard disk and installed windows by using 2,5" HDD adapter and my desktop.Well if you don't want to dismantle the laptop you can transfer the windows setup files with laplink cable and LapLink 3 or 4 ,but it won't help if you can't boot to dos.
And for the old laptop and the Windows 98 I can say that you should use the 98lite! program.They used it in my school were we have 100Mhz Toshibas and on them we now have very fast 98.
But on laptops like 486 and 386 you should try Windows 3.11 - ugly - YES! But when you install Calmira it just turns into the Win98 interface.Check calmira.de.
And on the end :
Windows XP could work on under 100 Mhz and under 64 Mb ram - yes but very slowly it's not usable bu sure fun go to www.winhistory.de and then go to " Windows XP auf einen 20 MHz Rechner " link you'll see XP working on 20Mhz / 32Mb RAM computer. (hope you know deutsch)
Well that's from me ,good luck with the laptop hekc.
There are easier ways to do what I want to do. And probally better OS's for this particular machine, but the reason why I keep pushing for the route that I'm going is because it uses stuff I already have and costs no money...right now I'm an unemployed social worker so I kind of need to work with what I've got. Thanks to everyone for all your help. I'll keep you posted.
Time for plan B. So I pulled the drive out of the Contura and put it in the "new" Transport with the CD-ROM. I then copied the windows cd onto the drive so that I could switch the HD's back and install Win98 on the Contura...only to find out that Win98 will only install on a comp. with a 66MHz processor. A quick look on the web shows us that the 400c is a 486 with a 40MHz processor. I'm down...but not out.
you can skip the processor test by starting setup with the /nm switch
( example : c:\winsetup\setup /nm )
then you'll be able to install windows 98 even on this computer
I already have done it on a 386.:)
You can install 98 on any Compaq Contura 400 series laptop I have a 400c and a 430c with 98 on them and it installed with no problems just make sure yo have the right amount of ram to run 98.
I forgot to mention in my 400c laptop I replaced the stock 240meg harddrive with a 2 gig one and in my 430c i put in a 4 gig harddrive i also switch a 802.11g wireless card i got as a gift between them and it works with 98. On the 400c I have it dual boot 95 osr2 and 98SE and on the 430c it just has 98SE on it both of them I ahve maxed out with ram. The one downside is the 400c is only 50mhz 486 DX2. The best part about the 430c is it has a active matrix screen plus a 100mhz 486 DX4 and more video ram.
Well sweet. Thanks for the sugestions guys. I'll give them all a shot. One question I have is how much RAM does it take to run 98? I have a feeling that I don't have enough...but hey...it's worth a shot. And another thing...anyone know what a 168 cmos checksum invalid error means?
Yes I know ,on my ancient Compaq LTE 286 I was getting the same error this means that the CMOS battery is flat.And for the needed RAM WIn98 would run (hardly offcourse) on 8Mb.I had Compaq Contura 3/25 and it rant it on 4Mb but when I installed it with 98lite!.However it was SLOW.16Mb are just enough for normal work.
You could also try the free embedded Linux demo disk from QNX. It is optimised to run on *really* old hardware (386 and up) and includes the OS, a web browser and a mail client (and a couple of other things) all on a 1.4MB floppy image.
I had a link but I can't find it now.
There's a lot of DOS stuff around if you don't mind single-tasking.
Other options include LOAF (Linux on a Floppy) and GEM. You could also try one of the DOS based Mac emulators from emulators.com. It should emulate a Quadra adequately
Have some linkage:
The 168 error just means the cmos battery is dead or missing it uses a regular button cell cmos battery. If you open it up it should be around the trackpad. If you whant a new battery laptopparts.com has one for the contura 400 series for $69.00.
link to the battery http://www.laptopparts.com/item.asp?pnum=20030000000042&ml_brand=Compaq&ml_series=Contura&ml_model=400&ref=mylaptop
Sorry about not being able to link it but the linking feature is not working.
If you have any other questions about the contura 400 series laptops you can e-mail or pm me.
If you have about 128mb of ram, you can boot it from a CD to a ramdisk. Or you can install it. It's a very good distro.
I think that Contura 400C are having only 20Mb RAM at maximum so I don't really think that Linux Live distro would be the best for it.I think that hekc would have to check http://www.linux-on-laptops.com if he wants to try with linux.There is a article for linux on his model.And for the battery prob - 69$ !!?? This is something new for me When the battery of my LTE died I bought a new one from my local photo shop for only 1.50$.
Alright. First off thanks to boby_dg for the command to skip the processor check. It worked great and I now have Win98 loaded and functioning on the bugger. Granted it takes a bit to get going and having no kind of NIC it doesn't do too much. But I do have the satisfaction of saying that all the computers in my apt do infact function. About the CMOS error, it's not to serious a problem...just have to reset the clock everytime I turn it on. Not too big a deal. Also as far as getting a replacement, if it was $1.50 then I might consider it but anything much more than that would seem to me to be kind of foolish. Everything I've done so far as been done at no cost on a free computer. I mean how could I justify spending any money on a laptop with no battery that I pulled out of a dumpster.
Anyway...thanks to everyone who posted.
Im glad to hear you got the laptop working, Windows 98 does support the 486 nativly. Yah the two I got were free and they are a great machine if you ever have the chance to get a 430c get it. It is the best of the 400 series
Yeah ,I am also happy to hear that it worked.And for the battery it is a CR1220 lithium battery so for you wouldn't hard to find it.
hey all after reading the threads I went downstairs and dug out a contura 430c which closely matches yours (no cd less than 32 ram...700 mb drive...it had a non system disk message. spent the day fooling with it for a dos install with no success...removed the hd and using another laptop installed windows 95 on it. once the hd was swapped back in the little monster complained about card config and video drivers but it basically is in working fashion now. This laptop was given to me by a friend and I used it for years to word process...went to barnes and noble and found a few books that had a neat project for these old conturas...you basically gut them and remount the parts in a deep picture frame then with a bit of software and some configuration you can have them cycle your favorite pictures....not bad for a laptop that you found in a dumpster, had given to you, or bought off ebay for under 12 bucks....thanks for posting everyone...it keeps the admin's mind a working.
Well I got a copy of windows 2000 from my dad and have been wanting to install on the contura. The reason for windows 2000 is because 98 isn't supported by this little jem"
It turns your mother board speaker into a litte drum machine. Turning a dumpstered laptop into a lo-fi drum machine...how cool is that?
Anyway for anyone looking for more info on these things (seems there has been a little interest surfacing from this thread) they have the full tech manuals (along the lines of manuals for people that repair them) here:
2000 won't work but 95 or 98 will as i have 98 on me contura 400c and my 430c and they work just fine.
Is there no way to get it on there? I was so looking forward to doing this project.
Win2k on a 486/50 with only 20MB RAM = worse than 3.1 with pretty-fying patches.
Speed aside, I don't think Windows 2000 *can* run on anything less then a Pentium. Or at least I imagine the installer will puke.
I know NT 4.0 *will* install on 486's with at least 16MB of RAM, but the results ain't pretty. The minimum Microsoft-specs for 2000 are a 133Mhz Pentium with at least 64MB of RAM, but I don't know how strictly that's enforced. (I seem to remember reading articles claiming 2000 actually used some Pentium-specific features, so it might, say, run on a Pentium 75 but not a 486/100Mhz of roughly comparable speed. Of course, that might have just been marketing hype.) I've certainly never heard of anyone installing it on a 486.
If it makes you feel any better, I can't imagine a drum machine simulator that uses a PC speaker sounding anything but terrible.
It's actually kind of cool. In a lo-fi sorta way...if that's what you're into.
It won't be an easy install, but you can run Linux on that thing,
and it will be stable and reliable and trustworthy and maintainable.
Try tomsrtbt. This is a usable Linux on one floppy disk. If that works, try Feather Linux. You could even use the X Window System with
a lightweight desktop like olvwm or twm. Don't bother with KDE or GNOME. Try the Dillo Web browser, much lighter than Mozilla.
Otherwise, try DR-DOS. 7.03 is a free download.
Also, www.freedos.org .
FreeDos and GEM would be amazing. I used the combo on my old 701c. Here's a link:
I can't access anything without floppy.
So how to interect with this laptop to install win98 on it?
I can't access anything without floppy.
So how to interect with this laptop to install win98 on it?
if its a 486, id suggest windows 95. and theres no way tht windows xp would run on a 486. i found a web site a long time ago that showed someone who underclocked a pentium to 20 mhz, and ran windows xp on it. they tried a 486, but the installer wouldnt even run.
There was a floppy install version of 95. Good times. Granted, the box weighed more than most desktop pc's due to the sheer amount of floppies, but it worked. And by the way, I was one of the crazies who ran 95 on his 386. Mine was one of the AMD 386 DX 40's with 8mb of ram, a pair of Western Digital Caviar 2120 drives (120 mb IDE), and had a 4x ide cd-rom drive with a knock off Soundblaster card. Good times. Strangely, it was around that time that I first got into macs out of frustration with the pc.
Heh, loading win95 from a box of floppies, that's 'good times' for ye?
Yer being facetious of course, right?
something like this:
will let you boot and use the CD. It comes with a PCMCIA Card i believe, and I have one of these (currently with my dad) and with a dos driver, allows you to boot from the floppy and get files off of the CD-Rom. It has a battery bay (requires 4-AA's) so you can take it on the run. These can run anywhere from 4x to 20x and are quite nice, even if you have one in the laptop, they can be useful as an extra CD-Rom
Very portable too.
But of course. Good times just like when my ford focus decided to consistent break. The real good time when was when I discovered the disk images on the 7.6 cd to make a floppy install kit. That kept me busy one spring afternoon in 1997.