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Trying to install Windows 95 on a Dell Dimension 2400

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8pautzap

New Member
Joined
Mar 4, 2016
Well as you may know I'm trying to install Windows 95 on a Dimension 2400 and its very stressful :bang head But anyway I only have the cd-rom it never came with a floppy and online it says a floppy is required for partitions and what not bleh!!! So I also have a copy of Dos 6.22 that I figure can substitute the missing floppy because like most people I have 2 dvd/cd drives and the Dos is on a cd-rom.......... So I came for help on what to do. The only reason I am putting 95 on a computer in 2016 is just to say I did. Help is appreciated! Thanks.
 

c627627

c(n*199780) Senior Member
Joined
Feb 18, 2002
Welcome to the forums.
Just like you can't install Windows XP on newer computers without inserting SATA AHCI drivers into the installation ISO, you can't install Windows 95 on newer computers either because the installation has problems with recognizing newer hardware.

It may be less stressful to get a really old computer somewhere.


Now of course, you could always install virtual Windows 95 following one of the many guides on the internet, here's a quick search result hit:
http://www.cybertechhelp.com/forums/showthread.php?t=208008

But for a the real deal, the quickest thing to do is to get a very old machine, and be prepared to invest a lot of time and patience because using those things is like using a horse+buggy for interstate traveling. It can be done, but... you know... :)
 

Ben333

Folding for Team 32!
Joined
Feb 18, 2007
Go in the BIOS and set your SATA mode to "IDE" or "compatibility"

If dell doesn't have windows 95 / 98 drivers on their website, you're going to have to use PCI sound, video, ethernet, etc...

Its a pain in the *** but it can certainly be done. Also, if the CPU is over 2 GHz or something like that you need a patch. 98 Would be easier, and 98 SE would be my choice. No reason to use 95 on a system like that IMO. I'd even chose 98 over 95 on a 200 MHz system.

Also, check out youtube. There's other people, just as crazy as you and me! :chair: There's a guy running NT 4.0 and Windows 98 on a modern i5 system! (But he's using some PCI cards)
 

c627627

c(n*199780) Senior Member
Joined
Feb 18, 2002
...most importantly the hard drive has to be (very) small. If you are installing an old version of Windows 95, it has to be FAT16 formatted and no more than a couple of GB large. I think 3GB was the limit.

Later versions allowed FAT32 formatting and larger HD sizes but to avoid problems, you would still need to use small hard drives.
Less than 32GB to be safe...
 

Ben333

Folding for Team 32!
Joined
Feb 18, 2007
Please correct me if I'm wrong, but the hard drive thing is more of a BIOS limitation. Old PCs using disks larger than 120 / 130 GB will have issues. He should be fine using whatever drive he has, he'll just have to use another program to partition the drive to a FAT partition < 4GB. Then he can make a second larger one, or convert to FAT32 later and expand the main partition.

Powerquest / Norton's Partition Magic is an awesome Boot CD / program. If you can get a copy, do it.

This is why I suggest 98SE. The copy I have lets me make an 80 GB FAT32 partition right off the bat, and install on that :)
 

c627627

c(n*199780) Senior Member
Joined
Feb 18, 2002
It's also a Windows OS issue.
Yes, post-Windows95 OS's would be "better" but that's not the original poster's point, as he posted it, he just wants to do Windows 95 to say he did.

The smaller the HD, the less likely he'll have problems with it.
There are definitely OS limitation issues from file system type (cannot use NTFS, or even FAT32 on initial versions of Win95) to HD size.

I remember finding all this out the hard way ;)
 

Ben333

Folding for Team 32!
Joined
Feb 18, 2007
Well yeah. You'd need a late release of 95 to use FAT32. Either way though, I think you could use almost any size HD. Just make a small FAT16 partition, and if you need more room just make more small partitions? Or patch it for FAT32, and then make the largest FAT32 part that 95 can access with an update / patch. I don't recall having OS issues with large drives, as long as they were partitioned correctly. I'll have to test it out tonight I guess, hehe.

Anyway, this should help https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/kb/118335

Microsoft MS-DOS versions 4.0 and later allow FDISK to partition hard disks up to 4 gigabytes (GB) in size. However, the MS-DOS file allocation table (FAT) file system can support only 2 GB per partition. Because of this fact, a hard disk between 2 and 4 GB in size must be broken down into multiple partitions, each of which does not exceed 2 GB.

NOTE: Windows 95 OEM Service Release version 2 and later support drives larger than 2 GB using the FAT32 file system.

I think if you made a 2GB partition before trying to install windows, and left the rest of the drive partitioned, windows would just install and not care how big the rest of the drive is. I'm pretty sure I've even had to format larger drives down to 120 GB or so, because of BIOS limitations, and still successfully installed windows on them.
 

c627627

c(n*199780) Senior Member
Joined
Feb 18, 2002
As someone with direct experience doing this with every operating system since before Windows 95, I can tell you this is 100% incorrect.
Partitioning the drive will not resolve this.
It does not matter if the partition is small, you need a small physical hard drive when connecting the drive directly to an old motherboard.
Version release of Windows directly influences the largest physical hard drive size you can use. ;)
 

Ben333

Folding for Team 32!
Joined
Feb 18, 2007
It does not matter if the partition is small, you need a small physical hard drive when connecting the drive directly to an old motherboard.
Version release of Windows directly influences the largest physical hard drive size you can use. ;)

The OP is using a Pentium 4 era system. So an old motherboard is irrelevant. And I can't say you're wrong... but I'll be testing it personally by the end of the week ;) Probably telling ya you're right... but I have my hunches.

And I'm not talking about out of the box, MS recommended, whatever. But just winging it, or with tricks / patches. I do know windows 98 was happy to run on my 128 GB SSD, and a 160 GB hard drive. So I suppose I could be 100% wrong about win 95. This is why I recommended Win 98 to the OP. But people absolutely have ran Win 95 on P4 machines. Many, many people. So totally do-able.
 

c627627

c(n*199780) Senior Member
Joined
Feb 18, 2002
Of course, you should.
The absolute only reason I posted that twice is because I spent so many hours days following the same hunch back in the day and wanted to make sure whoever reads it doesn't go, "well maybe if I...."

Yes it is doable. They were using 20GB or 10GB or smaller drives... or there was a PCI card of some sort, which is the modern workaround too.

Please post results of your testing! ;)
 

Ben333

Folding for Team 32!
Joined
Feb 18, 2007
How would a PCI card help in this scenario? My idea is that if I take a pentium 3 / 4 machine with IDE and toss in say a 160 GB hard drive, I will be able to make a 2 gig fat 16 partition and install win 95 on it. And yes, I will post my results. Speaking strictly for the OS limit, not any kind of BIOS limit.
 

c627627

c(n*199780) Senior Member
Joined
Feb 18, 2002
Well, you would face additional problems of installing extra hardware on Windows 95, but, traditionally PCI cards were used to get around the 137GB limit for example in later versions of Windows, but that's just for storage, on every system I had I still installed Windows on a 120GB drives but used PCI cards to use larger hard drives for storage only.

Remembering that everything is excruciatingly slow on old machines, you are entering a WORLD of pain if you start experimenting with workarounds.
You need a very small physical drive to install Windows 95, and disconnect as many things form that machine as possible. These things can crash often, and especially if you do workarounds.

Directly connected small hard drive is worth the cost when compared to hours or days lost dealing with workarounds.