F6 Option: When installing an older Operating System when the install gets to a certain point you can use it to load device drivers that are not on the installation media...
I just woke up and found that my new computer doesn't have a floppy drive!
Whoa, how do you use the F6 option when installing Windows XP or older?
You have to make a work around...
Because Microsoft in it's infinite wisdom did not recognize the USB as a bootable device until Service Pack 2 for XP you can not use a USB device as a substitute for a floppy during the install even if you have the XP SP3 integrated cd.
Makes it a little tough on the 'ol DIYer, no?
I used a program called nlite.exe (Be aware that there is a virus out there that the thieves have used the nlite.exe as the file name!) and downloaded the XP drivers for the chipset that controls the SATA functions on the motherboard in question (it is an ASUS Laptop that has a i5 processor, I know, my Wife's computer but I traded her a netbook for the laptop - even-Steven).
This way is to 'slipstream' the needed drivers into an Installation cd is to extract the contents of the cd to a hard drive, extract all the files you need to add, then using nlite.exe add the drivers to the installation files.
Nlite does all the hard work, compresses the files and renames them then puts them in the i386 directory for the installation process to find on startup.
It modifies the HAL (Hardware Abstraction Layer) file with the information in
the text.oem file, this give the install process the information it needs to
start and install the drivers parameters in the registry also.
The next step is to build the bootable CD, if you leave your source cd in your drive you can point the program to that drive and it will find the boot.bin files for you.
Once you have your .ISO image made all you have to do is burn it then test it.
I added fifteen SATA Intel chip set drivers to my new cd, tested the cd to the point where the install was ready to do the drive partition, stopped there for now. (Faster and easier to use than Systprep by Microsoft for sure!)
Sure beats holding your finger over the key to press it when the step gets to
the F6 Option...
I tried to do the same thing to my ERD Commander cd but Nlite wouldn't do a PE (Preinstall Environment) cd. I would like to have all those SATA drivers on that cd in case I need to start a computer that the BIOS doesn't have the option to use Legacy or IDE protocols for the SATA drive. Some laptops are like that, my Wife's ASUS doesn't have this option
(the install didn't even get to the F6 Option) so that is what caused me to figure out how to make the install cd see the SATA drive.
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I've done it before, I may do it again with all the new drivers I have, it would make getting into those newer computers easier than with the Windows 7 ERD.
One problem I am having with making the cd is with the file structure, the directory that contains the manifest files and sub directories are over the 256 character limit for my cd burning software, it will not create those directories on the cd, it wants to truncate them down to 256 characters, this in turn makes the burned cd useless. I did it twice before but I don't remember how I did it so it will take some more experimentation to figure it out again.