Recently, Cactusland was trying to install Microsoft Windows Me on a laptop that met the minimum requirements, but she kept getting an error message that told her the machine didn’t meet those requirements.

Instead of throwing the computer out the nearest window, Cactusland posted a question in our Technical Q&A. Within a couple of days of posting her question, a member offered a solution to her problem—the kind of solution that you can get only from someone who has been there and done that.

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She thought she had the answer, but no…
Cactusland’s problem began when she attempted to load Windows Me on her laptop, a Compaq Armada 7770 with a 233-MHz processor. She received the following message: “Windows cannot be installed on this computer because the processor is not at least 150 MHz.”

She checked out Microsoft’s Knowledge Base, where she found an article titled “150 MHz or faster processor does not pass hardware check during setup.” Apparently, this exact problem has been known to occur in the Compaq Armada 7330T, the Compaq Presario 1220, the Toshiba Satellite 2510CDS, the Toshiba Tecra 750CDT, and the Tecra 740CDT.

The article said this error message is received when the computer has been running for some time and has heated up, or when it is running on battery power alone. Under these two conditions, the processor heats up and slows down, dropping its clock speed below the required 150 MHz.

She followed the article’s recommendation to shut off the computer, wait for it to cool down, remove the battery, and then start it up under AC power.

“I have done this several times, and I still get this error message,” she said in her Technical Q&A question. “How do I get past this?”

Another worthless Microsoft Knowledge Base article and an answer
Microsoft’s Knowledge Base article wasn’t much help, so Cactusland tapped into the collective knowledge of her peers at TechRepublic and got a response from Bean Baggins.

Bean Baggins told her that there are modifying switches that can be used on running the Windows Me Setup.exe program.

“If you are running setup from the CD, exit setup. This will leave you at the X:\win9x\> prompt [where X is the letter assigned to the CD-ROM drive],” Bean Baggins wrote. “Type setup /nm and press [Enter]. The /nm switch bypasses the CPU speed detection.”

It turns out there are a number of switches that support techs can use if they are confronted with a computer that the OS install disk doesn’t like.

Bean Baggins pointed Cactusland to another Microsoft Knowledge Base article, “Description of the Windows 95, Windows 98, and Windows Me setup switches,” for more information about switches. This article warns that some of the switches can be used only with specific OSs.

What is particularly interesting for Cactusland in this case is that the switch she needs to use to ignore the CPU clock (/nm) is not listed in the switches in this article.

So where did Bean Baggins find out about the right switch?

His first recommendation to Cactusland for setup switches for Windows Me was to a site called The OS Files. Specifically, he pointed her to the Windows Me Secrets page that lists the switches that can be used during setup.

Cactusland’s response, “This worked perfectly!” was probably as rewarding as the 245 TechPoints Cactusland awarded Bean Baggins for answering her question.