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Installing MSDOS Networking (IPX, NDIS-2, LAN Manager) on a legacy-free PC Card (PCMCIA) Device - SONY VAIO PictureBook PCG-C1XE

  • Introduction
  • Method I: Support files on hard drive
  • Config.sys, Autoexec.bat and System.ini
  • Alternative: NT 4.0 Server Generated Startup Disk
  • Running Ghost
  • Discoveries
  • Links
  • History
  • Footnotes
  • Rev: 01 Nov 2004.


    In June/July of 2000 I had to solve a very annoying problem. The solution is presented here as it may be of interest to others, though few will face exactly the same issue. [1]

    I needed to use Symantec's Norton Ghost to install a disk image onto a legacy-free SONY PictureBook PCG-C1XE. The only method I could use to do this was to boot DOS, mount a network drive on a Windows 98 machine, and install over my LAN. This page describes how I did this.

    This machine was imported by Dynamism from Japan -- it is a Japanese PC that was configured for US use. It originally came with Japanese Windows 98 and Japanese versions of the SONY VAIO utilities and machine-specific software. US Windows 98 was installed on top of it.

    In June 2000 a mysterious Windows glitch resulted in the failure of several of the SONY VAIO OCX modules. Attempts to reinstall from disk failed, Dynamism was unable to help. (Overall their technical support was quite disappointing, particularly considering the cost of this imported machine.) The only fix was a complete image replacement using Norton Ghost.

    I attempted to get SONY's CD player to work with this machine, the PCG-CD51. After days of labor I finally gave up. I could not locate the appropriate Phoenix PCM drivers -- these are available only to OEMs.

    I could not use the usual Ghost solutions, such as a parallel port. Even the NETBIOS approach in the Ghost manual failed (that approach sets up simple two machine LAN where I think both machines are booting DOS and maybe running Ghost -- but I couldn't get anywhere with it.)

    I needed to use a DOS boot-disk based networking solution -- I tried several variations without success. This is the variation that worked. The resulting "Microsoft Networking" is variably described as "LAN Manager client", NDIS-2, or IPX based.

    Method I: Support files on hard drive

    This method works best, but it requires access to the hard drive on startup.


    1. Download Microsoft's Client for MS-DOS 3.0 from Microft's FTP site. Double click to expand each.
    2. Download a diskette with appropriate drivers for your PC Card based NIC. I had a Linksys card, so I downloaded EC2T2.EXE. Expand files and store on a diskette.
    3. From a Windows 98 machine, use the format a: /s command to create a bootable diskette that's been freshly formatted. Delete drvspace.bin to save room unless you need it (unlikely).
    4. On the machines you want to connect to, use the Networking control in your "Settings" folder to install support for NetBEUI and IPX protocols (I suspect one really needs only the IPX protocols). Enable the usual file sharing, Microsoft Client, etc.

    Boot Diskette Setup

    These steps are not performed by the installation but are essential. The Enabler.exe program allows DOS to work with a PC (PCMCIA) card.

    1. From the linksys drivers diskette find enabler.exe and copy it to a:
    2. From Windows find himen.sys and copy it to a:
    3. Change config.sys as follows:

      DEVICE=a:\ENABLER.EXE /IRQ=11 /IOP=320

    Network Installation

    1. Put the Microsoft Client files (above) on the PictureBook C: drive in DSK3-1 and DSK3-2 directories.
    2. Copy the linksys files to the C: drive as well.
    3. Boot the PictureBook using a DOS bootable diskette.
    4. In the DSK3-1 directory click on setup.exe.
    5. Since the linksys is not listed, choose the 'not listed' option and provide the path to the driver files.
    6. Follow the directions. I chose to put the networking files first on the C: drive in netdos. The installation asks for the boot diskette (DOS, as above) and modifies the files there.
    7. Before restarting, choose the "Names" option and rename the domain and workgroup settings to your settings (this is not done automatically, the default settings will usually be incorrect).
    8. Restart.

    Mounting the remote drive

    I was unable to browse my LAN (no browse master here, it's all Win98). I used the Net command to map a remote shared directory to my D: drive.

    Example: net use d: \\TIMBOX\IMAGES

    Method II: Everything on one diskette

    The original installation routine was designed for DOS 3.x. Windows 9x boot disks have much less free room and the installation does not work correctly. Providing you can put the Microsoft Networking and Linksys installation files on your c: drive (see Method I: Support files on hard drive), there is a way to get the installation to work. These abbreviated directions are strictly for experts, they are variations on Method I:

    1. During the installation, choose to put networking files on A:\NET (for some reason you cannot say: A:\)
    2. When told there is insufficient room for "MAIL" hit ENTER (default, omits MAIL).
    3. Installation will stop with a meaningless drive error; it will tell you what files were omitted (usually nswlink.exe) but will otherwise proceed normally.
    4. Delete unneeded files from A: such as setup.exe, setup.inf, expand.exe, readme.txt
    5. Copy the missing files manually to a:

    This file contains the results (omitting the system files). If you create the system disk (format a:) you could copy these files to it. Alternatively, if you've got Method I working, then after completing the intial Method II installation (with missing files) you can compare the files produced with Method I and fix up the diskette to include the missing Method I files (while deleting the unneeded files).

    Config.sys, Autoexec.bat and System.ini


    Note that enabler.exe is what allows the OS to talk to the PC card. This utility comes from Linksys and is NIC specific. IFSHLP.SYS is the key NDIS-2 driver.



    prompt $p$g
    path C:\NETDOS2;a:\
    C:\NETDOS2\net initialize
    C:\NETDOS2\net start

    Alternative: NT 4.0 Server Generated Startup Disk

    This suggestion was email to me by Shawn. It sounds simpler!

    I solved a similar situation for a CD-driveless IBM ThinkPad 560X by using a slight variation on your method that might be a little easier for some. The 560X was equipped with a 3Com Megahertz 3CCFEM556 10/100 LAN + 56K Modem PC Card.

    By using the Network Client Administrator utility on an NT 4.0 Server, one can generate a single Network Client V3.0 startup disk that loads NIC drivers. As the selection of NIC drivers is limited in this utility, it is necessary to modify the diskette with the appropriate drivers. I followed the instructions for my NIC card as provided by 3Com. It seems the startup disk can be modified for any NIC that has an NDIS driver.

    To view these instructions, search for "Creating a DOS bootable disk for Microsoft Windows NT" in the 3Com knowledgebase at http://knowledgebase.3com.com/. As the knowledgebase is dynamic I couldn't find a URL to link directly to the page.

    More general instructions for modifying this disk can be found at http://www.windows2000faq.com/Faq.cfm?FaqID=509

    The Network Client Administrator utility isn't very easy to use but instructions can be found in online help and in MS's knowledgebase.

    Of course, one needs access to an NT 4.0 server to generate this disk. I had a friend create and email me the image.

    Running Ghost

    Few persons indeed will need this part of the document, but perhaps one soul somewhere will be helped. Here's what I did.

    1. Put the ghost.exe file and the .gho image on my server and shared that directory as IMAGE
    2. net use e: \\timbox\image
    3. from e: I ran ghost.exe (it can't be running from the drive that you're about to write over)
    4. I then followed the pretty easy to understand directions.

    In the other direction, saving a drive image to a mapped remote drive, Ghost was unable to recognize a 35GB drive. It did well with a 7GB drive.



    Resources for configuring DOS PC Cards using PhoenixCard

    This set of links relates to an unsuccessfule attempt to get a CD to boot on this machine using DOS and PhoenixCard. It's included here because I had it at hand.



    [1] It is a bit disturbing that I actually got this working. The familiarity with DOS that this required dates me severely. It's also a sad waste of neurons to store the obscure, irrelevant, and mostly pointless knowledge this required.

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