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Registry file was not found


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I'm trying to set up a windows 98 machine to boot without harddrive. The goal is to make a noiseless media center that plays music stored on a network share.

The concept works like this.

1. Create a Windows 98 installation.

2. Use DriveSpace to compress C:

3. Put the contents of the "Host for C" drive on a network share (this includes the file drvspace.000 which now contains C:".

4. Create a bootdisk with tcpip. This bootdisk has to be DriveSpace-ed as well otherwise the DriveSpace drivers won't load.

5. Create an autoexec.bat for the boot disk that creates a RAM-disk big enough to hold the files on the network share and copy the files from the network share to the RAM-disk. In my case I have a 180Mb RAM disk (of 512Mb total RAM).

6. Use scandisk /mount to mount the compressed volume as C:

7. Start Windows 98 with win.com.

I've come as far as step 7, and I think I'm close to the goal. The problem is, when I run win.com, I get this message:

Registry file was not found. Registry services may be inoperative during this session.

XMS Cache Problem. Registry services may be inoperative during this session.

Windows then starts up, but without the registry, leading to all sorts of strange behaviour. The registry files SYSTEM.DAT and USER.DAT are in the C:\WINDOWS directory.

I have a theory that this might be related to the contents of the msdos.sys file and the use of DriveSpace. In msdos.sys there is a line HostWinBootDrv=X where X should be substituted for the host drive for the compressed volume. I have tried setting it to D which becomes the host drive for C when mounted by scandisk, but nothing changes.

I could use some help in figuring out how the boot process works, especially with DriveSpace involved. How does win.com know where to look for the registry?



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I found the problem! I had edited the wrong msdos.sys file. The msdos.sys that seems to be used is the file on the "uncompressed" bootdisk (the host for A).

I now have a computer running Windows 98 without HD, finally total silence! Hmm... almost... got to get rid of the cpu-fan too :)



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  • 1 month later...

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