Diskless Windows 98
This reports about several steps I've taken in order to be able to obtain a stable and
usable configuration for Windows 98 in a diskless PC. I hope this can be of any use to
- NetBoot/EtherBoot package
- MS-RAMDRIVE compressed with Drvspace 3
- 100 Mbps Network
- Windows 98 is installed on a local disk and compressed with ms-drvspace3 creating a
volume file named drvspace.000.
- We found out the drvspace.000 file can be copied to an ms-ramdrive and then mounted as
drive C: with scandisk /mount (*).
This is a local setup for Windows 98 with at least 128 Mb RAMDRIVE
For "high-performance" new machines (minimum Pentium 200 MHz with 256 Mb),
because we use high compression the CPU must be fast. Depending on how much of the
file-system you are able to move to network servers the RAM required may be much less.
This configuration, intended for high performance, doesn't require any special changes
to a "standard" installation. The motivation for this type of configuration is
that RAM cost tends to decrease much faster than HDD cost. Currently you can buy 128 Mb
RAM for a lower price than an HDD.
- This is a totally local set-up; files available in the ramdrive grant the normal boot of
windows without requiring any files from the network. So Windows 98 network drivers are
- Because the network isn't available at boot time, the swap file must be local (the swap
file will be compressed too).
- The compressed volume file must be copied from the network and mounted, to achieve this
we use again ODI/VLM, however when the copy is done we unload the drivers, the steps at
boot are very similar:
- Load the ramdisk (in config.sys). Because of drvspace3 high compression,128 Mb this will
result in more than 250 Mb in C:.
- Load ODI/VLM Shell (or any other shell that you can unload later)
- Copy drvspace.000 from the server to the ramdisk
- Unload the Shell
- Mount the compressed volume with scandisk c: /mount.
- Configure registry, remove NetBoot ramdisk and other minor settings.
- Start windows
How to setup and manage
You must use a local disk for instalation and administration, say at least 250 Mb.
- Install Windows 98 on the local disk.
- Compress the local disk using maximum compression.
- Copy drvspace.000 hidden file from the root of your uncompressed drive to a network file
(*) - yes we´ve tried to mount a compressed volume on a network
drive unfortunatly scandisk doesn´t allow this. However this would be very interesting
because network trafic would be compressed.
Departamento de Engenharia Informática (DEI)
Instituto Superior de Engenharia do Porto (ISEP)
Instituto Politécnico do Porto (IPP)
Rua de S. Tomé, 4000 - Porto, Portugal