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Turning old slow obsolete laptops into dedicated Classic 99 units

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Personally, I would test to see if classic99 can live inside a winPE environment.  (Easiest way would be to try running it from the command line "rescue terminal" from a win7 install cd)

 

If it works, then I would see about getting a winPE environment set up to run classic99.  While finding it might be a trick (since it is no longer supported or developed, but archive.org is your buddy, but this teacher keeps a copy available as well.), BartPE would be a good starting point.

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39 minutes ago, wierd_w said:

Personally, I would test to see if classic99 can live inside a winPE environment.  (Easiest way would be to try running it from the command line "rescue terminal" from a win7 install cd)

 

If it works, then I would see about getting a winPE environment set up to run classic99.  While finding it might be a trick (since it is no longer supported or developed, but archive.org is your buddy, but this teacher keeps a copy available as well.), BartPE would be a good starting point.

I used to work a lot with BartPE. There's a good chance Classic99 would work there, alternately, a true Windows Embedded image could be made to work (and actually could be licensed). It's an interesting option. Still boots Windows but it's a lot tighter. (In fact, if you made the Windows splash look like the TI master title page without the "PRESS ANY KEY TO BEGIN", then Classic99 as the shell, it might even be convincing.

 

Certainly easier than a raw OS approach like I was eyeing. But.. it does come with the security holes of the underlying OS. (I guess disabling networking would close out a lot of that though ;) )

 

Hmm. Tempting idea. I see it has 13 votes so far ;)

 

One of the OSs I was looking at is this single-floppy OS, Menuet, that has a GUI with drivers for USB and graphics: 

http://menuetos.net/screens.htm

 

There's appeal to the low level nature as well. ;)

 

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13 hours ago, Tursi said:

But.. it does come with the security holes of the underlying OS. (I guess disabling networking would close out a lot of that though ;) )

Yeah, networking security is not an issue in this case, besides.  I could easily sneakernet programs over via a USB stick.  Since Classic 99 does not support the WiFi port, I was not planning on running any telecommunications programs with it anyway.

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My last Windows Embedded was XP Embedded, so I took at look at the current state of things, and it appears to be Windows IOT. The options (for this case) appear to be Core and Enterprise... Core is (apparently) free, which certainly fits the budget, but Classic99 would need to be converted to a Universal Windows App. Again, it appears there is a path there. Enterprise seems to be the whole shebang, but for some reason the key MSDN (oh, sorry, it's not MSDN anymore. Stupid idea, MS) gives me doesn't work when I go to install.

 

Omega - see if that OS I posted boots on your laptop. ;) You can use Rufus (https://rufus.ie/) to burn the disk image to a bootable USB drive (it's a good use for a small one, since it's only 1.4MB). I tried it last night on my own spare laptop. ;)

 

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2 hours ago, Tursi said:

Omega - see if that OS I posted boots on your laptop. ;) You can use Rufus (https://rufus.ie/) to burn the disk image to a bootable USB drive (it's a good use for a small one, since it's only 1.4MB). I tried it last night on my own spare laptop. ;)

 

Okay, I downloaded Rufus and M32-086B... was that the correct image you wanted me to get?  If not do you have a direct link?

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You're not supposed to spend money on refurbishing old systems. ;)

Just go to a trade show and get a free USB stick from someone. ;)

 

I wonder why it failed - did you have it open in another window or something?

 

It's a floppy disk image. You could try writing it to a floppy if your laptop has that ;)

 

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I already ordered a couple more usb cards, but after I get home from work tonight I'll dig out my old USB disk drive and try again.

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On 12/29/2019 at 8:41 PM, Tursi said:

I wonder why it failed - did you have it open in another window or something?

It's a floppy disk image. You could try writing it to a floppy if your laptop has that ;)

 

Dunno why it failed either, but that's the story of my life these past few days.  The SD cards will not arrive until Friday.  I found my old Dell USB 1.44 floppy drive, but out of the three diskettes I have, none of them would format properly.  I'm assuming the drive has developed an issue over the years.  So I'm unfortunately in a holding pattern for the next few days.  :_(

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On 12/26/2019 at 4:36 PM, Tursi said:

There you go, I added the laptop idea to my tasklist. Now lets see how serious you are ;)

 

Would this be considered a monolithic architecture?

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Well, I added the program to the new micro SD card, as you can see below.  Pressed F12 at bootup and selected removable device... but the screen just went black and then after a few seconds Windoze 7 starts booting.  So I guess the answer is... NO.

 

FILES.thumb.PNG.6434981214711e739138dd33bf0b9fba.PNG

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3 hours ago, --- Ω --- said:

Well, I added the program to the new micro SD card, as you can see below.  Pressed F12 at bootup and selected removable device... but the screen just went black and then after a few seconds Windoze 7 starts booting.  So I guess the answer is... NO.

You know it's not enough to just copy files to make a bootable disk, right? that's why I recommended the RUFUS tool.

 

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Also, it's not clear to me when you say "SD card" that you mean a USB drive. I don't know if laptops can boot from external SD - I've never seen it.

 

Anyway, if you can't make that machine boot an alternate OS, it won't boot any custom Classic99 OS either.

 

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49 minutes ago, Tursi said:

Anyway, if you can't make that machine boot an alternate OS, it won't boot any custom Classic99 OS either.

A few years ago I ran it as a dual boot with Ubuntu (off of the hard drive).  I'll play around a little bit more tonight between other things I'm doing.

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As you can see, all Rufus did was copy the images over while essentially turning the 32GB memory into a 1.38MB disk image with 281K free.

 

MENUET.PNG.f8f640d06a9b90e3daa9f2768561db45.PNG

 

 

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I'll dig through the closet and see if I can find an old CD to burn it onto, that might work...

... if I can remember how to burn one, it been years.

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On 12/29/2019 at 3:38 AM, Tursi said:

the Windows splash look like the TI master title page without the "PRESS ANY KEY TO BEGIN",

"PRESS ANY KEY TO FLICKER HDD LIGHT"

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5 hours ago, --- Ω --- said:

As you can see, all Rufus did was copy the images over while essentially turning the 32GB memory into a 1.38MB disk image with 281K free.

 

MENUET.PNG.f8f640d06a9b90e3daa9f2768561db45.PNG

Rufus also sets the partition bootable and writes the boot sector, which isn't a file. ;) The size changed because you wrote a floppy disk image to a USB drive and asked RUFUS to set it up in FDD emulation mode, which is correct.

 

I don't see in the video that you tried to boot it. Don't worry about the files on the disk. The goal here is to make the OS boot, not to be all worried about what the OS does. You need to make that laptop boot from the USB drive - some BIOSs have a keypress that lets you select, but all BIOSs let you configure the boot order. :)

 

 

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4 hours ago, Tursi said:

Rufus also sets the partition bootable and writes the boot sector, which isn't a file. ;) The size changed because you wrote a floppy disk image to a USB drive and asked RUFUS to set it up in FDD emulation mode, which is correct.

 

I don't see in the video that you tried to boot it. Don't worry about the files on the disk. The goal here is to make the OS boot, not to be all worried about what the OS does. You need to make that laptop boot from the USB drive - some BIOSs have a keypress that lets you select, but all BIOSs let you configure the boot order. :)

 

 

Though I haven't done this in awhile, I believe you can got to the disk management  and click into the unused space and format that into another usable partition, with the floppy image partition being the first, but there are way to make the whole usb drive, bootable.

 https://neosmart.net/wiki/boot-usb-drive/

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No joy today either.  I used the original recovery disk on the old laptop today and now cannot even find a browser that will install on it.  It's pretty much a boat anchor.

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Let's go back to trying to boot that single floppy OS. However, I can't tell what the machine is to go lookup the BIOS settings. ;) What is it?

 

Meanwhile, here's a video showing my own steps to set up as instructed. I suspect you have the USB drive correct, and it's just a matter of making that laptop boot from USB. It's also possible, if it's old enough, that it doesn't do USB boot. But we'll step by step, since you only need to test one thing per day ;)

 

Today, it's tell me the make and model of that laptop. ;)

 

Video: https://pt.harmlesslion.com/videos/watch/1e80af75-eb0b-4fcb-bda9-070f664cff8a

 

Edited by Tursi

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