I decided I wanted to restore the NES PC to a working usable PC games machine for playing old retro games. Linux proved to be too painful, so I set about re-installing Windows. Straight off the bat I found the CD Rom drive was no longer working. I went onto Freecycle Milton Keynes and posted a wanted for a laptop CD drive, and immediately got a response and offered a DVD r/w rom. Result, so I collected it and opened up the NES PC to fit it. You can see the motherboard on the right at the bottom of the case and the cd rom on the left opens through the NES cartridge flap at the top of the case.
Things are pretty tight in there and it was originally built by me to never be opened again i.e. the brackets were fitted to the cd rom and then glued in, and the hard drive (luckily) was velcrod to it. This meant accessing the tiny screws was all but impossible with a screwdriver so instead I used pliers to hold and turn the heads. Soon the hard drive and cd rom were out. The DVD rom drive was fitted and after much fiddling screwed in place. The hard drive and cables refitted then the case put back together. I put in the windows install disc and started it up. Nothing. Zip. Nada. The DVD rom also didn’t work (maybe it’s the ide to laptop interface thingy) so next I decided to try a USB boot and install from a pen drive.
The old Mini ITX doesn’t seem to want to boot from a pen drive, I tried many different ways and swore at it a lot but it wouldn’t work. So I set about a network install. The first time ever so I Googled it. I found a pretty simple guide at http://www.lockstockmods.net/2008/05/26/easy-way-to-pxe-boot-windows/3/ which guides you through step by step. I could eventually get the first boot on network screen but no further. This is because one of the downloads on the second page of the guide comes as memdisk.txt and shouldn’t have the .txt extension. Next I got to the point where I could start the network but it had the wrong drivers so took a little fiddling (but it was all in the guide how to change the drivers). One other thing went wrong and that was after the network boot and driver thing, it would lose connection if using DHCP so I had to set a manual IP address in the setup. Finally I had access to the hard drive to fdisk and format it.
Next it was using the Windows share from my PC to install Win XP onto the NES PC. This was going really well until the reboot, then it started booting back into Linux ???? Only it couldn’t boot Linux as it wasn’t on there, then dumbass here realised the MBR was still running a Linux boot loader, so a quick boot from the network into DOS and an “fdisk /mbr” command cured that. So now as I type I am waiting for XP to finish loading up. Shouldn’t be too much longer.