I purchased a cf 27 when I boot it shows no operating system. I can boot from a floppy but it does not find a hard drive. I physically looked and it does have a hard drive. Is there any other problem that this could be besides a bad HD?
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Yes, you can. Connect your hard drive and installed the operating system and drivers, That's it,Connect the hard driver whenever you want to boot from that Hard Drive.and change the BIOS to boot from that hard drive in Hard drive boot priority.
Why not you considered booting from a USB Pen Drive.It's most flexible than booting from an external Hard Drive.
Here are fews link on how to make a USB bootable Windows. 1.http://articles.techrepublic.com.com/5100-10878_11-6160062.html
Make A boot disk from a working Windows 98 machine. After you make the boot disk, copy the MS 'debug' to the floppy. Boot the laptop from the floppy.(this might not be possible due to a setting in the BIOS.) Search online for MS Debug +clear CMOS Run the Debug program and type in the commands exactly as written. reboot, and you should be able to go into the BIOS by holding F2. That's it. If you can't boot from the floppy, remove the hard drive. the computer should boot from the floppy, no matter what the BIOS setting is.
Two ways, 1- burn the pictures to disc using an external, since I'm sure your 27 doesn't have a burner. Standard issue burners are a little after it's time. 2- purchase an IDE to USB laptop hard drive cable. This cable will allow you to connect the 27's hard drive directly to your new computer as a slave or storage device, and will show up in "my computer" as another drive.