Question Installing windows witouth optical drive

Jun 30, 2019
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I've been asked by a good friend of mine to blow life into his old laptop. This laptop was so ridiculously outdated (been off for at least 6 years) that it couldn't be connected to the internet anymore, even when I applied countless drivers and updates I downloaded externally. So without the possibility to update, I decided to reinstall windows. That didn't quite work out as I planned either. To keep this short, I triple nuked the hard disk drive (Darik's Boot and Nuke - DBAN) in order to make a new, clean install. Without a optical disk drive, one is forced to make a bootable usb drive.

I tried a few windows XP variants, and a bunch of Vista variants, but all installs gave the exact same error. I can't recall the exact error at the moment, but it comes close to this: ''Windows install cannot continue because no previous version was found.'' I understand the error, theres literally nothing on the HDD anymore, but what I don't understand is why I'm not able to reinstall any kind of iOS anymore.

This laptop is an ancient Compaq Presario CQ50, 1 GB RAM, processor AMD Sempron SI-40 and a GPU Nvidia Geforce 8200M G (and a 120 GB HDD).

So nothing out of the ordinary. This beast came with a windows Vista Home Basic. It should be possible to install XP on this laptop, and if not, Vista would be fine as well.

The owner didn't install the laptop himself, and can't remember anything about it, so I'm left with the puzzle. Probably factory settings/install. Even if I bought a legit CD with XP or Vista, I still would have nothing since this laptop doesn't have an optical drive - plus it would probably give the exact same error I keep getting. So without those options, I turned to piracy in the hope I could accomplish anything at all, but to no avail. I used Rufus to make bootable usb drives, but none of them worked.

The owner doesn't want me to take out the HDD by the way (I was thinking about hooking it unto my own pc for further options). Taking out the HDD would really be the last resort I want to go to.

What do you guys know about this issue, and what would you suggest? The laptop is utterly useless in the state it's now in. I really feel like I'm missing something
 

USAFRet

Titan
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Mar 16, 2013
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''Windows install cannot continue because no previous version was found.''

You were trying to install an Update, not a full OS.

Finding a valid XP or Vista install will be problematic.

XP or Vista on it would be both useless and slow.
Install a Linux distro on it, give it back, and say "I wish you the best of luck!"
Or, point him to a new $300 laptop from Dell Outlet or similar, which comes with a valid, recent OS, and blows that old thing away for performance.
 
Jun 30, 2019
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Thanks for the quick response. The laptop isn't meant for speedy games or heavy graphic software, just to stream youtube to his tv with a hdmi cable from what I understood.
Never did a Linux though. I suppose you can make a bootable disk of linux too then?
 

USAFRet

Titan
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Mar 16, 2013
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This laptop is an ancient Compaq Presario CQ50, 1 GB RAM, processor AMD Sempron SI-40 and a GPU Nvidia Geforce 8200M G (and a 120 GB HDD).
To be perfectly honest 1 GB of RAM and a single core CPU is unusable for anything that doesn't stay offline. Even lighter Linux distros like Puppy and Lubuntu are pretty slow on a machine like that. XP and Vista are simply not safe to install and get online with unless you have an AV running all of which leaves 1/4 of your RAM up for a browser in an age where all browsers are resource hogs.

You have to ask yourself is it worth the headache to get something working that is so slow it's barely usable?
 

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