Solved How to start up a compaq portable 2 machine

January 17, 2016 at 06:37:49
Specs: Windows 7
I found my old compaq portable 2 machine and tried to start it up. It asked me to put a diagnostic disk in a: and strike the f1 key.
I downloaded the image file for the diagnostic disk and then writed it to an 3,5 inch disk with the program rawwrite.
Then i tried to restart the compaq machine with the diagnostic disk in it. When i striked the f1 key, the only thing that appeared was "loading..."

Does anyone have an idea what i can do to make it work?


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✔ Best Answer
January 20, 2016 at 18:34:27
"They don't tell something about using a DD or HD.... Why do you think that makes the difference?"

It does make a difference because the only 3.5" drives available around the time of the Portable II were 720K. If your machine has a 3.5" drive then you'll need to write the Softpaq to a 720K disk (which can be made from having taped over the open window portion (not the "lockable side") of a 1.44MB FDD.

This older post may prove of some value (the 386/20 and Portable II used the same Softpaqs) :

http://www.vintage-computer.com/vcf...

"Channeling the spirit of jboy..."

message edited by T-R-A



#1
January 17, 2016 at 14:09:40
I've not used rawwrite but suspect it didn't burn correctly.

Try using this freebie instead:
http://www.imgburn.com/

Use the "Write an image file to a disc" feature.

EDIT:
Sorry, missed the crucial bit about it being a floppy.

message edited by Derek


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#2
January 17, 2016 at 14:15:13
I don't think imgburn writes to floppy disks, does it?

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#3
January 17, 2016 at 14:43:19
ijack

Thanks for reading post with both eyes open. No, I doubt it touches floppies. I've struck out my response.

message edited by Derek


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Related Solutions

#4
January 18, 2016 at 00:09:06
I think the old compaq diagnostic disks were self extracting--you'd run the downloaded file and it would tell you to put the floppy disk in and then write to it. But since you're getting the 'loading' message after booting the disk you may have done all that right. Are you sure you're using the right one for that computer? Compaq had so many different versions of their diagnostic disks.

The portable II had a 286 cpu so the drive was probably a 1.44 but the disk image may have been for a 720. If so I assume you used a 1.44 drive to create the disk. Possibly that's a factor.

It's also possible the old drive is bad.

After all this time I'm sure the cmos battery is dead. It may be hard to find an exact replacement but it's usually pretty easy to make on. Just get a AA battery holder from some place like radio shack and then buy some AA batteries of equal voltage--either rechargeable nicads or alkaline, whichever the original battery used,


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#5
January 18, 2016 at 04:00:24
Indeed, i've heard about replacing the batteries. Thats the next step to take i think.

I'm 99% sure after reading the readme file in the diagnostic disk i have the right version.

I will let you know if there is any progress. Greets


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#6
January 20, 2016 at 09:56:01
Hi Maarten,

at this stage I think batteries will NOT help.
Also may not be so easy to change!

You mention a 3.5" floppy - please confirm this is correct. (and not 5.25")
If so, the 3.5" may need to be DD not HD.

If the battery has died, (and the pc has a hdd) it will probably have reset the hdd params to default and thus cannot now open the hdd.

To overcome, on booting, enter the bios and input the hdd params.
This should allow it to boot from the hdd.

Good Luck - Keep us posted.


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#7
January 20, 2016 at 12:29:28
Hey Mike,

I checked the readme file again and its the 3,5" floppy for sure. They don't tell something about using a DD or HD.... Why do you think that makes the difference? I hope I can find that kind of floppy somewhere to try it.

Then maybe its possible to make the hdd work again by adjusting the parameterers in the bios....

message edited by maarten34hotmail.com


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#8
January 20, 2016 at 18:34:24
DD stands for 'double density' and would refer to 720K drives/disks. HD is 'high density' and would be 1.44. To tell which drive you have you can google its model number or push open its drive door cover--where the disk goes in. At the front of the drive on the side will be a pin sensor. On a 720 drive there will be one sensor. On a 1.44 there will be 2, one on each side of the opening. One sensor is to determine what position the read/write tab on the disk is set to and the other--only found on 1.44--is to determine if the disk inserted is a 720 or 1.44. A computer with a 286 cpu is capable of using a 1.44 drive but that doesn't necessarily mean that's what was installed in it.

As I mentioned above, the fact it says 'loading' when you boot from the disk you created means the drive is seeing it OK and but there may be a problem with the drive itself or the way you created the disk. You may want to make a new disk using one that's freshly formatted with no bad spots.

The diagnostic/setup disk is the only way you can enter bios setup on those old models. There's no keystroke you can use. Also the disk will only allow certain hard drive types identified by number. There is no 'user definable drive type' or 'auto detect' as there was on later models.


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#9
January 20, 2016 at 18:34:27
✔ Best Answer
"They don't tell something about using a DD or HD.... Why do you think that makes the difference?"

It does make a difference because the only 3.5" drives available around the time of the Portable II were 720K. If your machine has a 3.5" drive then you'll need to write the Softpaq to a 720K disk (which can be made from having taped over the open window portion (not the "lockable side") of a 1.44MB FDD.

This older post may prove of some value (the 386/20 and Portable II used the same Softpaqs) :

http://www.vintage-computer.com/vcf...

"Channeling the spirit of jboy..."

message edited by T-R-A


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#10
January 21, 2016 at 04:35:53
Hi Dave,

although Maarten advised it 'appeared to be loading', I suspect it was just 'looking' at the disk. This would happen if an HD disk was placed in a DD (only) drive.

Maarten - a DD disk only has one square hole in a corner, whereas a HD has 2 square holes, each in a separate corners.

If you do not have a DD disk, you may be able to format a HD to DD, by blanking the 'extra' hole with black insulting tape. It needs be this tape as the detection method may work though clear sellotape and the like.

If the format fails, possibly because the disk is HD, 'break' it by formatting as HD, and immediately after formatting has started, eject the disk or switch of the pc.
The disk is then unrecognisable as it is unformatted and thus able to be formatted as DD.

As a matter of interest, where are you based? I am in West London.

Good Luck - Keep us posted.

message edited by Mike Newcomb


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