I have a Personal Workstation 433au that currently dual boots Debian Linux and OpenVMS. It's working well in all respects. This has the Cypress PCI controller, IDE CDROM and floppy drive installed. Hard disks are external, in a hot pluggable tower that has space for two more units. I also have a couple of standalone SCSI boxes that are compatible.
I have a complete installation kit for Windows NT Server 4.0, with serial numbers, license card and all, but have been unable to get the Alpha installation to run to completion. It starts up fine from the CD once I switch to the ARC console firmware, but after asking me if I need to load any extra drivers it goes just a few seconds before complaining that it can't find the CDROM (that it just booted from!) This sounds as if some special driver was needed for NT with the controller that's in the PWS box. Does anyone know the answer to this?
The installation kit does support the Alpha line, that's clear from both the manual and the directories on the CD. The PWS hardware was intended to work with NT as well as UNIX and OpenVMS, so I must just be missing some tiny piece of information here on how to get the install to run. Or am I completely wrong?
Thanks! I hunted on HP's site for information and failed to find anything, so I figured this was such an outdated issue that they had just deleted it. I'll print that for future reference, because it probably does relate to my problems.
Not that I really need NT for anything, but I was curious to see it running on the Alpha. This may be a can of worms too large to bother with, though. After posting this, I realized the problem might be that the drive I was trying to use wasn't pre-formatted with a FAT partitition, but I haven't gotten around to hooking it up to another machine to run fdisk and format on it.
Edited by Altivo on March 31 2009 07:01
I downloaded the driver diskette and the additional drivers and tried the NT installation again this morning. This time I got much farther. The installer formatted the chosen disk partition with NTFS and started copying files into it, but got an error copying ntoskrnl.exe that couldn't be recovered. I told it to skip that file even though obviously the system would be useless without it, and it nearly finished the rest before again complaining that it couldn't copy ntfs.sys. Visual examination of the CD shows no scratches or dirt, and inspecting it on another machine finds no error. I'm guessing that the repeating errors were caused by the designated target rather than the source, so I'll try again later and this time let the installer do the full inspection of the disk drive so it can find and mark any bad blocks. I skipped that step this morning because I knew it would take an hour or two.
If I finally succeed, I will post a step-by-step here for future reference. I have a second CD in the box with the installation kit. This one is a CD-R and is labeled "Windows NT Service Pack 6a" which I believe is the last cumulative SP Microsoft provided. Hopefully I'll be able to apply it too.
Edited by Altivo on April 01 2009 08:40
After about a dozen tries, give or take one or two, the planets aligned properly and I got NT to install and boot. It's amazing how primitive an old friend can look after a decade. But it's functioning as a domain controller and server, at least at the level we expected back in 1999. And it's not Y2K compliant.
Now I understand the latter can be fixed by applying the final Microsoft service pack, 6a. Unfortunately, though there are dozens of references to that service pack on the web, they all seem to consist of pointers to pages on Microsoft's support sites that have since been removed. You'd think Microsoft would realize that keeping the patches around benefits everyone, since users with old machines and in poorer countries will continue to run the product for a long time. Best to have as many security holes plugged up as possible, no? But evidently marketing prevailed in the hopes they could force everyone to buy XP. Oops, Alpha users can't run XP can they? Well, let them buy a new computer then.
If anyone still has a copy of service pack 6a for the Alpha, I'd be happy to hear from you. My installation kit had a CD in it for SP 6a but it turns out to be only the Intel version.
No, I won't be running NT on the Alpha as a regular thing, but I'm something of a collector and it's worth having it available for testing and demonstration purposes.
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