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Work Around For Computers With Out Hardware Drives

Hardware Drives are disappearing from modern computers, so what is a owner to do when they need one?

Sometimes you have to use a different approach to getting a task completed.

A work around when the computer you are working on doesn't have hardware drives such as removable media:

  • Floppy Drive
  • CD/DVD ROM Drive

When I bought my Netbook (see review here) it came with XP Home edition. That is ok for a stand alone computer but I have a network and I want the computer in my Domain.

Any Home Windows edition Operating System can not be added to a domain, the necessary options are not part of the installation when the Operating System is installed.

The ASUS 1001 PBX (as most netbooks are this way) doesn't have room in the case for hardware drives like a floppy drive or a CD/DVD drive.

Your work around would be:

  • USB Pen/Flash Drive
  • USB Floppy Drive
  • USB CD/DVD Drive

I have all three but seems that the BIOS in the netbook doesn't have the Floppy settings, that is if you plug in a USB Floppy drive, pressing the 'ESC' key and go to the boot menu for the hardware it will not see the floppy drive, you can select 'Removable Devices ...' but it will not boot from the floppy drive, there isn't a floppy drive controller built in to the hardware.

To change the Operating System (OS) from a 'Home' edition to a 'Pro' or 'Standard' OS that can be added to a domain took some skull drudgery and manipulation.

When I bought the external CD/DVD Drive I wanted one that would burn CDs and DVDs also, what I didn't bargain for was the Blue Ray benefit it came with. Yes, it will read and write Blue Ray disks, but the little ASUS netbook can't see a Blue Ray device! [sigh]

Now I am in a quandary - What will it take to get this netbook with out hardware drives to boot with my XP Pro install CD?

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After messing with the CD/DVD/Blue Ray drive and the floppy (both USB drives) I pull out an older 1 GB Pen drive that I put XP Pro on several years ago.

Plug it in, power up, press ESC and voila' it boots.

Now we are in business!

Install went pretty smoothly, once it is installed my next step is to find drivers for all the hardware that XP can't see:

  • Video
  • Wireless Network
  • Sound

Note: If you are changing or upgrading a Operating System on a computer that is operational before you start use the Device Manager to get all the names/manufactures and model numbers for the hardware such as the video, network cards, sound, and any other features such as the web cam, etc. This will save you time and frustrations later, believe me!

Once I have all the drivers I finish off the installation, make an image of the boot partition (ya, I am kinda inclined to experiment) because I know it will get trashed while I try to get the hardware to work correctly.

All done, in the Domain, security completed.

Nice little netbook to carry when we travel. (A little endorsement for netbooks from my Wife. They are very nice to use on aircraft, she really loves it, she plays Solitaire while we are flying).



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If you are thinking that only netbooks have this lack of hardware drives think again, look at a tablet. (And try to back up your data... Not COOL!) [Yes I do have a tablet...]





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