Of course, I was forgetting about that, apologies.
Get the boot disk, load it then format the C drive (format c:/s)
then copy the following files from the floppy disk to the C drive :
then switch to the c drive by typing C:
then type edit config.sys
this will open config.sys in text editor - delete everything except for the lines :
& leave all lines under the [common] heading in tact but delete the [common] tag itself.
Save & close
Next type edit autoexec.bat
delete everyting except the lines :
then add the line :
c:\mscdex.exe /D:mscd001 /L
save & exit
shutdown laptop, remove the floppy drive & replace CDROM & reboot.
system should now boot from hard drive & load CDROM drivers. If sucessful, you should see a message flash up re. cdrom being found & assigned drive letter 'D'