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Project Request : Gateway Handbook 486

JPOESQ

Member
Joined
Jun 10, 2010
Messages
14
Location
Sacramento, CA
All,

I acquired a Gateway Handbook 486 for a project, and I'm at a roadblock. I'm trying to replace the HDD with a CF but cannot get the CF to boot. Since I do not have a FDD for this computer, I built the MS-DOS 6.22 boot system on the CF using another computer. I can boot on the system that I used to build the CF, but during boot on the Handbook, I only get to the point of "missing operating system". Therefore, I know that the boot code is executing most of the way, but hangs loading io.sys / msdos.sys - probably a drive geometery difference.

Since I cannot boot, I cannot get into the bios to check the settings and change the HDD geometry parameters.

If I had a FDD, I could probably solve this problem on my own, but I don't and I could really use the advice of the experts out there. Please help. Thank you.

John O'Banion
 

JPOESQ

Member
Joined
Jun 10, 2010
Messages
14
Location
Sacramento, CA
Thanks - I appreciate the reply. There "was" an external floppy available, but I have been looking high and low for one without success. The Handbook 486 does not have a USB port (too old), but has a combo FDD / parallel port. The port uses a proprietary connector, which also cannot be found. Basically what I have is a 486DX40 machine with a regular serial port, combo FDD / parallel port, PS2 port, and PCMCIA slot. The setup for this machine was to include the bios access software on the HDD, so if you do not have an FDD you cannot access the bios unless you can get an HDD configured in some other way.

I have tried everyway to Sunday to configure an HDD or CF drive on another machine, and can boot fine on the other machine. However, in the HB486, the boot hangs. I have tried various versions of DOS, including MS-DOS and FREEDOS on the HB486 without success. I can customize the MBR so that it looks like an FDD, but as far as I can get is "starting MS-DOS" - the machine then hangs. If I configure the MBR as an HDD, I only get to "missing operating system" (not as far in the boot code) before it hangs.

There are others on this forum who have configured their HB486 drives external to the computer without an FDD but they have not responded to my inquries. So far, I have rebuilt the battery back, replaced the CMOS battery, and otherwise brought this computer back to life - I just can boot. Any help would be appreciated - I'm about ready to throw my hands up in the air. Thanks.
 

glitch

Veteran Member
Joined
Feb 1, 2010
Messages
4,997
Location
Central VA
PM sent!

For any others in a similar situation, I solved the problem using a Dynamic Disk Overlay (DDO). The particular overlay I used was Quantum's OnTrack, some old version on a 720 KB floppy. I plugged the CF card into an IDE adapter and installed with a beige box 486 (though anything over a 386 will work). People without external floppies for their HandBook should also invest in a CF or SD to PCMCIA adapter and grab a copy of the PCMCIA card services from Gateway's site, as that will allow the flash card to be mounted as a disk drive under DOS.

If anyone has a hard time finding a DDO that works, PM me.
 

JPOESQ

Member
Joined
Jun 10, 2010
Messages
14
Location
Sacramento, CA
Update:

I sucessfully have this machine booting into DOS 6.2 after installing DDO software.

The next challenge, however, is that every time I boot the computer says that it cannot find the system software on the hard drive, to install BIOSxxx, and to press F1 to continue.

When I execute BIOS125.exe, it says that the update has been successful but I keep getting the above message. The software is not actually being written to the hard drive.

The next problem is with PCMCIA. I load the drivers successfully, and ATADRV assigns drive D to the slot. However, with an ATA card in the slot, if I change to drive D, I get an abort, retry, fail message.

Any ideas?
 
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