Sunday, November 8, 2009

Install win2k in my EeePC 4G

After waiting for more than 2 years, finally I got win2k installed to my EeePC 4G this weekend.

This has been a long story. Since I bought my EeePC 4G in Oct 2007, I have been thinking about dual boot Windows and Linux in my EeePC. But due to the limitation of disk space with the 4GB SSD, the idea was to boot either one of them from USB.

Initially, I wanted to boot win2k from USB because I expect to use Linux more often. But after studying the possibility, I finally turned to working on Booting Xandros from USB, because chances are that Linux can more probably be customized. Indeed, after working with other forum members of the EeeUser Forum, we worked out a solution to Boot Xandros from USB. And then I further worked out the hack to mount a SDHC as the USER partition of the union filesystem of the EeePC, so I could spare the 2nd partition of the SSD (/dev/sda2) for win2k. It was then I have purchased this copy of Windows 2000 Professional.

I wanted to install Windows on my EeePC because I own quite a number of commerical music softwares that are Windows only, and I wanted to make use of my EeePC as a portable music workstation. In fact, this was also the reason why I have purchased a copy of winxp for my desktop after having abandoned Windows for so many years. But after working some time with my EeePC 4G, I realized that the CPU and hardware is just not powerful enough to make any decent music. So I didn't bother to install win2k anymore.

Recently, after having installed the 16 GB 2nd SSD from my brother, there is now plenty of disk space in my EeePC and so I am tempted to work on this again. And so this Sunday, I spent the afternoon doing this.

With an USB CDROM and the win2k install CD which I have prepared 2 years ago slipstreamed with SP4 as per instructions here: Making a Bootable Windows 2000 CD with Service Pack Integrated, installation is straightforward though very slow. It took me more than 2 hours to complete the installation. The reason is probably because of USB 1.1 support only in the BIOS.

I didn't encounter the BSOD problem for ar5211.sys (wifi card driver) as mentioned by forum member sloppiE in this thread, probably because I have turned off WiFi in default Xandros. And as per his instructions, after Windows installation was completed, I installed the drivers from the Asus Support DVD running the setup.exe in each of the folders in the DVD:


I also installed the EGalax touchscreen Windows driver from its install CD, and then I extracted the Silicone Wave bluetooth wireless driver from I have downloaded to get my bluetooth tongle working under win2k.

Now that win2k installation was completed, I need to get my Linux back in dual boot. I choose grub as the default bootloader. So I need to put grub stage0 back to the MBR of the SSD. To do this, I booted up to the copy of default Xandros in my 1st SSD. [Note: I have set 2nd SSD as 1st boot device in BIOS, and have installed win2k and my working copy of default Xandros in the 2nd SSD. The copy of default Xandros in the 1st SSD is for experiments only.]

In default Xandros, I open a terminal as root to run grub:
asus-2134610915:/home/user> grub
Probing devices to guess BIOS drives. This may take a long time.
Then in the grub shell, I enter these commands to install grub to the MBR of my 2nd SSD:
       [ Minimal BASH-like line editing is supported.   For
the first word, TAB lists possible command
completions. Anywhere else TAB lists the possible
completions of a device/filename. ]

grub> find /boot/grub/stage1

grub> root (hd1,1)

grub> setup (hd1)
Checking if "/boot/grub/stage1" exists... yes
Checking if "/boot/grub/stage2" exists... yes
Checking if "/boot/grub/e2fs_stage1_5" exists... yes
Running "embed /boot/grub/e2fs_stage1_5 (hd1)"... 15 sectors are embedded.
Running "install /boot/grub/stage1 (hd1) (hd1)1+15 p (hd1,1)/boot/grub/stage2 /boot/grub/menu.
lst"... succeeded

grub> quit
A bit explanation here:
(hd1) is my 2nd SSD (/dev/sdb), and (hd1,0) is the 1st partition in my 2nd SSD (/dev/sdb1) where I have installed win2k; (hd1,1) is the 2nd partition in my 2nd SSD (/dev/sdb2) where I have installed my working copy of default Xandros.

Now, on reboot, the system will boot up to default Xandros. And to get win2k to dual boot, I also need to edit the grub boot menu to add an entry for win2k. You can do it now or after you have rebooted into default Xandros. Basically, you need to edit the file /boot/grub/menu.lst. Here is the entry I have added (at the end of the file) for win2k:
title Win2k
rootnoverify (hd0,0)
chainloader +1
Please be aware that if you still have union filesystem in your default Xandros, you need to edit the copy of menu.lst in the SYSTEM partition (i.e. sda1) instead of in sda2. In my case, I have already removed union filesystem, so just the one in sdb2.

There are a few settings you need to change to get win2k running smoothly which is covered in the section "Optimizing Windows XP" of the EeePC 701 User Guide.

But even after all that, win2k is terribly slow compared with default Xandros. So I don't think I will use it very often unless absolutely necessary.

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