wanting to buy a hardrive for an old 286 comp

July 9, 2011 at 10:48:47
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I would like to continue to use my IBM Writing Assistant word processing program that was installed on my old Premier 1100, (1986) PC. I can no longer use it as it tells me that my extended memory is OOOO, and it says extended parity failure. I have no room to extend memory. I was able to delete some programs once and it extended the memory. Is there some sort of translation disc that would enable me to install this old IBM program in a more modern PC? The other alternative is to buy, if I can find it, an old PC and reinstall the writing program, but e-Bay had nothing. Thank you so much. db

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July 9, 2011 at 11:15:01
That era PC the hard drive and controller were separate units that had to be formatted together, as well as getting the correct type (MFM RLL). That is a DOS based machine. What's funny is I probably have a drive that will fit, if not a similar complete PC. I think I have an IBM 386 tower in storage. Those machines were made like tanks! Heavy.

Question - why have you not upgraded to a different word processor? There are several that are free, and just as good.

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July 9, 2011 at 16:45:14
"an old 286 comp"
"Premier 1100, (1986) PC."

Not enough info.
Is Premier the brand, or the model series of another brand ?

286 computers often came with a MFM or RLL hard drive and a hard drive controller card to match, but they also often had a bios that would accept you using an IDE drive controller card in an ISA slot and using one of certain sizes of IDE hard drives ,selectable in the bios, rather than a MFM or RLL hard drive .
Usually you had to use a specific floppy disk to access the bios Setup on early 286s - do you have that for your computer ?
If you don't, there are generic floppies available on the web that will probably allow you to see your bios Setup.

Your extended memory has nothing to do with the hard drive. That's either installed in the mboard, or installed on an extended or expanded memory card in a slot plugged into the mboard.

Early 286 computers had sockets for individual memory chips, rather than ram modules that had more than one memory chip on the module that plugged into a ram slot. If your mboard has the individual chips in sockets on the mboard, or if you have an extended memory card that is installed in a card slot that has that, they were notorious for developing parity memory errors because of "chip creep" - the chips moving in the sockets because of the warming /cooling cycles the computer was exposed to, causing a poor connection of one or more chip to it's chip socket..
If you remove the power to your computer and carefully pry each chip upwards a bit and push it back down, your parity memory errors will probably go away.The chips for extended memory would be in a specific area - for above 640kbytes.
Or you could try just pressing all the chips down in their chip sockets.

Some mboards had only enough chip sockets to install max 640kbtyes on the mboard - some had enough to install 1mb (1,024kbytes ) on the mboard.

286 mboards made slightly later had individual chip sockets and SIPP or SIMM slots for ram modules.

If you wanted more ram than that, you usually had to have an extended memory card installed in a card slot and have memory chips installed on that.

How much ram do you have installed, total ?

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July 9, 2011 at 19:12:42
Yeah, those sound like ram error messages but I suppose as a separate issue your hard drive could be full.

Another system--up to about a 486 or P-I--should work fine as a dos computer. Finding something like that would be a lot easier and cheaper than doing whatever it might take to get the 286 going. You'd just need to make sure it has the floppy drives needed to install your particular software.

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Related Solutions

July 10, 2011 at 10:13:39
If you can get the program off it may work in dosbox or a virtual machine running windows xp or below.

If you had the original disks that would help. Some of the old dos programs did some weird things to prevent copying.

If you can't copy it off directly you could make an image of the hard drive using G4U to a file. Then you can run that file in qemu or convert to a different VM. Dos is easy to copy and if you get the complete disk image the program would work.

There is a slim chance that you could use a compact flash card with an ide to cf adapter.

You'd have to set bios to the cf card and the card would have to be a very small card.

This is if you can't find a mfm or rll disk.

1/3 of highway deaths are caused by drunks. The rest are by people who can't drive any better than a drunk.

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July 10, 2011 at 10:45:16
This computer would probably not have any PCI slots.
I don't know of any CF or other flash card adapter ISA card.

For a flash card to IDE adapter....

The bios may or may not support an IDE connected drive, but if it does
- he would probably have no IDE header built into the mboard and he would need a 16 bit ISA IDE drive controller card. Those cards, and IDE headers on old mboards, often have all 40 pins on the headers - they're not compatible with using a data cable connector with a blocked pin hole.
- the CF or whatever flash card capacity may need to be 512mb or less
- there would be a short list of IDE drive types he could select in the bios, probably no custom type settings possible. (When you have only (a) MFM or RLL hard drive(s) you don't need to select any drive type in the mboard's bios.) He may need to select one of those. There may be no drive type of more than 32mb or similar.

Which Dos version are you using ?
You may be limited by that.
Dos 3.3 was the first one that supported up to 32mb drives

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July 10, 2011 at 18:07:10
I guess we really need to know how many pins are on the drive before we get too far along.


You can simply format a cf to a smaller partition or use a jumper to limit cylinders.. Hey, I didn't say it was the best way. And yes an older CF would have a better chance.

You connect the cf card to the adapter and then the adapter connects to the ide channel. You'd then have to either use a custom bios hard drive or just use one. I have before just used wrong ones and it usually works but is a stinker to figure out if it breaks.

1/3 of highway deaths are caused by drunks. The rest are by people who can't drive any better than a drunk.

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July 11, 2011 at 10:46:13

Have you read any of these reply posts ?

If yes, we need comments and/or answers from you.

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