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Compaq LTE Elite 4/75cx Non-System disk or disk error

SmallWars

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My Compaq LTE Elite's original hard drive (810mb) crashed so I replaced it with a compatible 1gb hard drive. It is giving me a non-system disk error, which I think is because there may be no OS on the new HDD. I tried installing DOS 6.22, but it gave me the same error. Later I thought it may be a BIOS issue, (there may not be a BIOS on the HDD) so I copied a compatible BIOS onto a floppy and tried to install it, but it gave me the same error. The FDD does indicate there is a disk in the drive, however it makes a very loud noise while there is a floppy inside (it may be broken, I don't know). Also, I tried pressing the F10 or F1 key repeatedly while it booted, but it gave the same error. I have no idea what is wrong with my computer. Please help! :D
Thanks! :D
 

SmallWars

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Aren't FDISK and activating partitons DOS based tools? There is no DOS prompt while booting, shortly after checking "KB OK" it beeps twice and gives me the error.
 

DOS lives on!!

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Try booting from an MS-DOS 6.22 (or preferred DOS version) diskette and accessing the tools. You probably want to take a look at the floppy drive insides first before you insert diskettes. Don't want it to eat any diskettes.
 

MikeS

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My Compaq LTE Elite's original hard drive (810mb) crashed so I replaced it with a compatible 1gb hard drive. It is giving me a non-system disk error, which I think is because there may be no OS on the new HDD. I tried installing DOS 6.22, but it gave me the same error. Later I thought it may be a BIOS issue, (there may not be a BIOS on the HDD) so I copied a compatible BIOS onto a floppy and tried to install it, but it gave me the same error. The FDD does indicate there is a disk in the drive, however it makes a very loud noise while there is a floppy inside (it may be broken, I don't know).
Where to start...
- Depending on where it came from there's probably indeed no compatible OS on the HD.
- A loud noise from the FDD definitely sounds like "it may be broken"; how does it "indicate there's a disk in it"?
- The BIOS is on the computer's main board, not on the HD; how did you "copy a compatible BIOS onto a floppy and try to install it"?
- For that matter, how did you try to install DOS?

If it can't boot from a bootable floppy you may have to FDISK, FORMAT and install DOS on another computer.
 

Stone

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The BIOS is on the computer's main board, not on the HD; how did you "copy a compatible BIOS onto a floppy and try to install it"?
You caught that , eh? :) Well, when I first read it, it caught me and I figured that this was a good one not to get involved in. Good luck. :)
 

MikeS

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You caught that , eh? :) Well, when I first read it, it caught me and I figured that this was a good one not to get involved in. Good luck. :)
Thanks!

Actually, I wasn't going to either, especially since I have a policy of not replying to anyone who can't be bothered to put their location into their profile.

But I do have an LTE Elite 4/75cx and love it because it's one of the few laptops that are line-powered (no wallwart), so I felt a certain responsibility ;-)
 
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SmallWars

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I do think there is something wrong with the FDD, it makes a very loud noise when a floppy is inside...Is there anything in particular I should be looking for when I look inside the FDD (I know almost nothing about the insides of a FDD)?
 

twolazy

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Sounds like the drive needs a good cleaning. I start with a floppy drive cleaning diskette, and see if that clears up any read problems... The loud sound your hearing is most likely the drive having seek errors from being dirty, or a worn out drive, hard to say without seeing/hearing it. If memory serves me correctly, it was a panasonic drive, which was fairly common in alot of compaq/toshiba machines. So a replacement be easy to find if you dont mind surgery. :)

As for the whole bios issue, I could have sworn these machines had a bios that was kinda gui based. I do recall it was stored on the hard drive, and could not enter bios unless it was installed on the hard disk. God its been ages, but it is not like modern computers where you press xx key to enter, with the utility being stored in bios. It was similar to how Compaq configured bioses on earlier 386/286 machines, and numerous others. Only difference was this had a gui instead of text based, which was stored on a particular sector of the hdd, and if found upon boot, the feature would be available. The bios itself yes is onboard, but the config utility rested on the hdd. Once you install the software correctly, and if the drive does indeed work, f10 to enter bios will be available...


So before you run your mouths and knock this poor guy, at least know what you are talking about please, not to be harsh. The OP is somewhat correct, as a portion of the bios does sit on the hdd, the bios config utility. When it comes to ancient dells or compaqs... LOL! I've owned/used most models through the years. :)

http://h18007.www1.hp.com/support/files/LTE/us/locate/3_870.html

You will need that config util. You will also have to make sure the disk partition for boot is set to active. An os need not be installed for the bios config util, but the partition must be created before installing the program if I recall correctly. Its been over 10 years since i used one... Neat machine though! Once you get it working, try to find an older 16 bit pcmcia soundcard. Only downside to these machines, and the active matrix was a bit hazy but for the day they were impressive. Talk about the first subnotebook.

:gets off soapbox:
 
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SmallWars

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It indicates there is a disk inside because the Floppy Disk drive lights up, meaning the drive is occupied. I didn't know the BIOS was on the main board (I read somewhere it could be installed). Are you saying I should use an adapter to hook up the laptop hdd to another computer (desktop) and then install from there? It will take a while to get a hold of an adapter, but that seems like it'll work.
 

SmallWars

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Unfortunately I don't have a cleaning diskette, how do you suggest I do "surgery" on the floppy disk drive? As in, what should I clean? (I've never done this before)
 

MikeS

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It indicates there is a disk inside because the Floppy Disk drive lights up, meaning the drive is occupied.
I think you'll find that the FDD LED will light regardless of whether there's a disk in it; the LED just indicates that the computer is trying to access it.
Are you saying I should use an adapter to hook up the laptop hdd to another computer (desktop) and then install from there? It will take a while to get a hold of an adapter, but that seems like it'll work.
If you can't boot from the floppy I don't see any other way. Most of those FDDs used a tiny drive belt which has usually stretched out of shape after all these years.
 

twolazy

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Well you could remove the drive, clean the heads with alcohol, clean and lube the rails/slides and cross your fingers.
 

MikeS

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...So before you run your mouths and knock this poor guy, at least know what you are talking about please, not to be harsh. When it comes to ancient dells or compaqs... LOL! I've owned/used most models through the years. :)
Sounds like good advice for yourself, especially since you don't seem to know the difference between a BIOS and a setup/configuration utility ;-)

A BIOS that can be copied or loaded is a fairly recent development and certainly doesn't apply to this baby.

You will need that config util.
That link doesn't work for me; anybody else have better luck?
What he needs first of all is a way to boot from the floppy and/or prep the HD on another machine.

Maybe I'd better follow Stone's advice and stay out of it.

It's not really that small and the display is not the greatest (especially when the backlight has faded with time), but it is indeed a neat little laptop.
 

twolazy

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BTW its a laptop drive not a desktop style. So it would not have a belt. Alot of machines have the same / compatible drive if you swap the bezels and top plate. :)
 

twolazy

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Mike you just got proven wrong but just cant let it go can you. THE BIOS ITSELF INTEGRATED CALLS UPON THE FUNCTION OF THE EXTERNAL PROGRAM ONCE INSTALLED. SO THEREFORE IT IS A FEATURE OF THE BIOS, AND PART OF IT...

Now please ... lets help the OP here.

BTW I know the difference. Good example be the good ole xt. That would be an external config utility , as it could reside anywhere and was never called upon. You didnt even need to have it installed... That would not count as part of the bios.

This laptop on the other hand went a new direction with a winbios style , where all features could be updated w/o flashing the bios, im guessing more to save cost? i dunno its half ass retarded if you ask me but hey I didnt engineer these machines. I can only think of a handful of other machines with this style setup. Full size desktops by this time had this function integrated. Old dells and compaqs are strange strange mutant beasts once you get to know em. :)
 
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MikeS

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Mike you just got proven wrong but just cant let it go can you.
Guess I missed it; I don't see where anybody has proved anything except, oh, let's be charitable, that they have a different opinion.

I have a (let me just double-check the model number ;-) ) Compaq LTE ELITE 4/75CX in front of me and its BIOS resides on the mainboard; yes, the original hard disks had a convenient 'service partition' but if that contained the actual BIOS you'd certainly have trouble installing a new blank hard disk since without a BIOS your computer would be a paperweight. F10 usually invokes the utilities in that partition, so with a blank disk F10 won't do anything AFAIK. I have also replaced the HD in it BTW.

Maybe you're confusing 'flashing' a modern BIOS with 'configuring' it and adding extensions.

BTW its a laptop drive not a desktop style. So it would not have a belt. Alot of machines have the same / compatible drive if you swap the bezels and top plate. :)
I can only refer you to the advice to "before you run your mouths and knock this poor guy, at least know what you are talking about"; I know that the FDD in my LTE ELITE 4/75CX definitely has a drive belt because I've replaced it, but obviously I must have a different version of the Compaq LTE ELITE 4/75CX than you do.

I thought I might be able to help but not if everything is going to be an argument, so I'll follow Stone's excellent example, bow out of here, and leave it to you 'experts'.

Good luck to the OP (sincerely)!
 

SmallWars

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Thanks for the help! This post really helped a lot! I believe my bios diskette is in fact the bios utility, and yes, the fdd is the problem. Unfortunately, even after cleaning, the fdd is still not working properly. I do have a SmartStation dock for the laptop though, and I think its possible to hook up an internal desktop fdd to the smartstation. The only issue with that is that the dock does not have the right psu connector for my desktop fdd, is it possible for the fdd to receive power from one computer and send signals to another (running 2 computers at once)? Other possibility is to connect the laptop hdd to a different computer with an adapter (is that possible?) and then install an OS from there...it will take a while to get an adapter though.
Thanks a lot! :D
 

twolazy

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Guess I missed it; I don't see where anybody has proved anything except, oh, let's be charitable, that they have a different opinion.

I have a (let me just double-check the model number ;-) ) Compaq LTE ELITE 4/75CX in front of me and its BIOS resides on the mainboard; yes, the original hard disks had a convenient 'service partition' but if that contained the actual BIOS you'd certainly have trouble installing a new blank hard disk since without a BIOS your computer would be a paperweight. F10 usually invokes the utilities in that partition, so with a blank disk F10 won't do anything AFAIK. I have also replaced the HD in it BTW.

Maybe you're confusing 'flashing' a modern BIOS with 'configuring' it and adding extensions.

I can only refer you to the advice to "before you run your mouths and knock this poor guy, at least know what you are talking about"; I know that the FDD in my LTE ELITE 4/75CX definitely has a drive belt because I've replaced it, but obviously I must have a different version of the Compaq LTE ELITE 4/75CX than you do.

I thought I might be able to help but not if everything is going to be an argument, so I'll follow Stone's excellent example, bow out of here, and leave it to you 'experts'.

Good luck to the OP (sincerely)!


LOL. Have fun in your ivory tower im outta this place. You knock the poor guy when he was close enough to correct. Yet you rather argue semantics. Have fun... I remember why I left. Pompous asshats that rather troll then help .

Have fun in your endeavors gentlemen.
 

DOS lives on!!

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I'm sure the OP enjoys stuff like this in his thread. Nice going.

To the OP, is the hard drive like the one in this picture?
mjxCJ9oJePSv8ebmH3Hp1tA.jpg

I have not seen an external way to hook this drive type up externally before. I've just always hooked them up to a laptop that'll accept these drives and go from there.
 
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