Laptop problem loading Windows

I have an old Olivetti Echos P100e laptop currently without an operating system. This particular machine has a side aperture that takes either a floppy disc drive, or a CD-Rom drive. In other words, I cannot have both a floppy drive and a CD-Rom drive at the same time. When I acquired the machine with Win95 this wasn’t a problem as I just switched drives, if necessary.

I wished to load Windows98 so I could add USB connectivity to my laptop. However, to do so I had to wipe the hard drive as my Win98 disc is for new systems only, and the HDD had some rubbish on it anyway. Unfortunately I didn’t forsee the problems that this would give me.

Now comes the problem. I insert the floppy drive so that I can use the Win98 startup disk which starts up as usual but then tells me that, as I dont have a CD drive attached, I dont need CD drivers, so it doesn’t load them.

The BIOS will only let me Boot from the A or C drives so whatever I have done up to now I cannot get the laptop to recognise the CD drive. I’ve tried copying the contents of the startup floppy to the now empty C drive and booting from that with the CD drive inserted, but it is still not recognised and it seeks for the floppy drive which is not there.

I’m not clever enough to work this out so thought I would ask if anyone out there could help me, even if I’m missing something obvious.

Check with the manufacturer and see if there is an update for the BIOS that will allow you to boot to the CDROM drive. With any luck, you will be able to upgrade the bios after you boot to your floppy disk.

If the bios isn’t stored in flash memory (that you can upgrade via software), you might be able to get ROMs with a newer version of the BIOS.

In your heart, you know that the manufacturer didn’t load a dozen diskettes when they installed the operating system. Instead, they put the OS on the hard drive while it was plugged into another desktop. If no other options work for you, you might have to follow this path too.

Assuming that you don’t have an internal network port, you might be able to transfer some files via a serial port using something like “laplink”. I used to do this with my pre-windows laptop. (I found some free software at

In this link he talks of connecting the floppy to the parallel port using the supplied cable , hope you still have it as the Win98 install will be the same .

you can do this by making your hd drive dos bootable and loading things like MSCDEX from there. From your win98 setup floppy do

format c: /s

which will copy the system files to make the HD bootable, then alter autoexec.bat and config.sys as needed (same as the floppy with cd support) to get your drive noticed. Then you should be able to run the install happily.

hth, and works !


:nod: That’ll do it.
Read this post before but couldn’t come up with a method. Top marks DT.

…I guess I missed the boat.

DT thanks for your suggestion. Tried it but it still didn’t recognise the CD drive.
Tom Wilson - unfortunately Olivetti no longer make computers and their support pages are no longer available. The last paragraph of your post is of interest to me ,if you could explain in more detail.
Mortlake - I have been to that page before and that is the only place that anyone has mentioned a cable, which I dont have incidentally. If I could get hold of that it may be the answer. I’ve sent an e-mail to Belkin hoping they might know of one, but I haven’t had a reply yet.
It would be good to speak to other Echos owners but all the links I have found seem old and dead, a bit like my laptop.
If anyone can think of anything else I’d appreciate it.

Cracked it.

I was sent this link which provided the answer.

The devil was in the details and with this easy to follow step by step instruction my laptop is now up and running Win98.

The only downside is the PCMCIA Cardbus USB adapter doesn’t fit, even though the manufacturers said it would. This was the original reason for the OS update. Ah well!:wave: