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Windows 98 Installation freezes after setting up programs on the Start menu

When installing Windows 98 SE on a Dell Latitude D600, the installation freezes at the point after it finishes “Setting up programs on the Start menu” but before it installs Help. Rebooting the laptop does not help. It does a Scandisk, continues to setup, again wants the TimeZone settings, Control Panel and freezes again after finishing Setting up programs on the Start menu. The mouse cursor moves, but there’s no hard drive or CD-Rom activity at all.
Since this laptop doesn’t have an onboard floppy drive, I’m using an USB floppy and I left this connected for install. As soon as I realised that Windows 98 SE doesn’t have proper USB support, I disconnected the drive and rebooted. Surprise, surprise, setup finished and Windows properly loads up.