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Compaq Portable 486/ 486c - wont boot MS-DOS after EISA reset

hagelaars

Member
Joined
Jun 27, 2016
Messages
22
Location
The Netherlands
Hi,

I have another problem with my compaq portable. I was trying to setting up another hard drive in it. I couldn't find the right SoftPaq to setup my system in a right way. Finally I found the right softpaq, but I couldn't write over the settings. For this reason, a forum member told me that it's possible to overwrite the settings by switching a jumper. It worked but after rebooting I got another problem...

I cannot start MS-DOS anymore. I tried a lot of different MS-DOS floppy's, but when the floppy tries to boot, it stays on the message "Starting MS-DOS" and the floppy stops loading.

I found some guy on the internet with the same problem.. It seems like resetting the EISA switch is also a BIOS reset and the system has problems with reflashing itself.. Pleas also read this, it's exactly the same problem as I have: http://www.abxzone.com/forums/showthread.php?t=14083

I really hope somebody can help. Thanks in advance.
 

Krille

Veteran Member
Joined
Aug 14, 2010
Messages
979
Location
Sweden
I've experienced a similar problem myself, albeit on a different type of machine. See this.

I would try booting the machine with a different DOS first, try DR-DOS 7.03 for example. Different DOS versions seem to trip up differently depending on how screwed up the configuration is. It might also be worth trying Wangboot on your machine though finding a suitable backup of the Compaq's configuration data could be a challenge. Someone with a Compaq Portable (or similar) might be able to provide a copy for you. If not, maybe a backup from just any random AT-machine is sufficient to get the machine going again.
 

hagelaars

Member
Joined
Jun 27, 2016
Messages
22
Location
The Netherlands
Dear Krille,

Thanks so much for your help!

Meanwhile, I already found a solution today (just before your reply). The MS-DOS "hang" is caused by the system that gives hdd and floppy drive the same value (because there are no bios settings). Wat I did: plugged of the hdd and booted from floppy - worked! Meanwhile system is running, plug IDE cable in again and go further with the config disk. The new settings are saved in the bios, and system boots up normally again.

So otherwise I tried your solution for sure, but it's already solved. Thanks.
 

Krille

Veteran Member
Joined
Aug 14, 2010
Messages
979
Location
Sweden
Meanwhile system is running, plug IDE cable in again and go further with the config disk.

This is a dangerous thing to do because IDE interfaces do not support "hot-plugging". You might fry something (the drive or the controller/motherboard) by doing so. That said, I'm glad you got the machine working again.
 

SpidersWeb

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Joined
Feb 16, 2012
Messages
2,697
Location
New Zealand
This is a dangerous thing to do because IDE interfaces do not support "hot-plugging". You might fry something (the drive or the controller/motherboard) by doing so. That said, I'm glad you got the machine working again.

I was talking to him from another source (twitter), and passed a link to this post from Google Groups:

https://groups.google.com/forum/#!search/Compaq$20486C$20EISA$20reset/alt.sys.pc-clone.compaq/wbmRYhRyi3A/Zxqj55s5uykJ

In hindsight I'd probably recommend in the future to do the config, power off, connect HDD, and see if the config disk will boot before trying it hot.

I guess if you got the plug in upside down you could fry it, but I haven't had issues with IDE hot swaps other than OS handling and we used to do it quite a bit with those IDE HDD trays, so didn't really blink an eye at it at the time.
 

hagelaars

Member
Joined
Jun 27, 2016
Messages
22
Location
The Netherlands
I was talking to him from another source (twitter), and passed a link to this post from Google Groups:

https://groups.google.com/forum/#!search/Compaq$20486C$20EISA$20reset/alt.sys.pc-clone.compaq/wbmRYhRyi3A/Zxqj55s5uykJ

In hindsight I'd probably recommend in the future to do the config, power off, connect HDD, and see if the config disk will boot before trying it hot.

I guess if you got the plug in upside down you could fry it, but I haven't had issues with IDE hot swaps other than OS handling and we used to do it quite a bit with those IDE HDD trays, so didn't really blink an eye at it at the time.

Yes, thanks for your help SpidersWeb!
 
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