Old Laptop Fixer-Upper

In the process of trying to set up an old hand-me-down laptop – DELL 433C (A.D.1994) – with Damn Small Linux, I came across this Infoworld review (archived by Google).

This machine had: a 33MHz 486processor, 4MB RAM, and a 170MB hard drive, and retailed for only: $2699.00 – Wow!

In fact, I haven’t figured out exactly how to get the new OS installed (to replace Win95). There is no CD drive, and no network card. So it’s booting off and installing from a 3.5″ floppy. I’ve had a hard time finding a functional floppy drive around the office to write a boot disk. Looks like I will have to start with http://www.toms.net/rb/. Wish me luck.

UPDATE: 10/16/2009

Mission accomplished. I have a Linux version running that booted off a single 3.5″ floppy. The hardest part was getting the 1.7MB file (tomsrtbt-2.0.103.dos.zip) on a floppy. This entailed tracking down a functioning drive connected to a functioning computer. Then rather than playing fdformat to create a 1.7MB disc, I had to find a Win95 and WinXP compatible (16bit) file splitting utility (only succes was JSPlit.exe, 168KB) that would create files smaller than 1.44MB in WinXP, copy them to Win95, join the files under DOS and start the *.bat to create a 1.7MB Linux img file that’s written back to the floppy and then booted – or something like that…

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