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DOS lives on!!
May 31st, 2011, 02:08 PM
On most vintage computers hard drive settings page in the BIOS, you have to set the correct hard drive type from a list of pre-defined drive types. Most of the time when I try to enter in the settings, my hard drive type isn't listed and the heads, cylinders, megabytes, etc., on the hard drive don't match up with any on the list. For example, I'm trying to get a Seagate ST-157a to work in my Compaq Portable III. Is there a way to add custom entries to the list so the computer and hard drive can cooperate together? Or is there some type of software that can add a custom entry.

JohnElliott
May 31st, 2011, 02:19 PM
Short of burning a new BIOS ROM, no, there isn't any way of adding custom types to a Compaq Portable III.

The software solution is to select a hard drive that's smaller than your real one (usually type 1) and then install an overlay such as the Ontrack Disk Manager.

DOS lives on!!
May 31st, 2011, 02:36 PM
If I were doing this on other systems, which I am, how many megabytes lower should I go on selecting the closest type. Also, which version of Ontrack Disk Manager would work for these types of computers. I have to do the same on a Dell System 310.

g4ugm
May 31st, 2011, 02:51 PM
Its been a while, but often there used to be free versions of OnTrack that only worked with particular brands of disk. So for a seagate drive you might try looking for a seagate tool...

Ole Juul
May 31st, 2011, 04:08 PM
Just use ANYDRIVE.EXE, it's small free and easy.
http://files.chatnfiles.com/Modem-Madness/modem.madness/smmutils/00index.html

DOS lives on!!
May 31st, 2011, 04:46 PM
I haven't tried it out yet, but it sounds like it is going to solve a LOT of trouble with dealing with this!

strollin
May 31st, 2011, 05:51 PM
Short of burning a new BIOS ROM, no, there isn't any way of adding custom types to a Compaq Portable III.

The software solution is to select a hard drive that's smaller than your real one (usually type 1) and then install an overlay such as the Ontrack Disk Manager.

Technically, even by burning a new BIOS ROM, you can't add custom types, you have to overwrite one of the types already there.

modem7
June 1st, 2011, 01:33 AM
The ST157A has three possible geometries: 560/6/26 (native) or 1024/5/17 or 733/7/17
To switch the drive to one of the two non-native geometries, one low-level formats the drive using that geometry. I know because I have an ST157A.

Looking at the drive table in the Compaq Portable III, one of the drive entries is 980/5/17, very close to (and not cyl/head/SPT exceeding) the 1024/5/17 option on the ST157A.
980/1024 = 95%

Therefore, what should work (without using a drive overlay) is:

1. Put ST157A in Compaq Portable III.
2. Boot from a floppy that contains SpeedStor.
3. Use SpeedStor to low-level format the ST157A as 1024/5/17. That will switch the ST157A to the 1024/5/17 geometry.
4. Set C: drive in CMOS setup/configuration to type 10 (type 10 in a Compaq Portable III is 980/5/17).
5. FDISK
6. FORMAT

You'll end up with access to 95% of the ST157A's capacity.

Be wary though. If you run something that interrogates the ST157A, the ST157A will always reports itself as 560/6/26.

Although some sources indicate that IDE drives must never be low-level formatted, that information is misleading. Some IDE drives are designed to be low-level formated. The ST157A is one. In fact, the ST157A manual includes, "the drive should be low-level formatted". And so the general information about low-level formatting an IDE drive should be something like, "Don't low-level format an IDE drive, unless the manufacturer specifies that a particular model of IDE drive can be low-level formatted. " Note that drives such as the ST157A are probably not actually writing new sectors during a low-level format operation. They're sure to be faking it.

JohnElliott
June 1st, 2011, 11:17 AM
Technically, even by burning a new BIOS ROM, you can't add custom types, you have to overwrite one of the types already there.

Type 15 is an empty slot, so you can put your custom definition in there.

JohnElliott
June 1st, 2011, 11:27 AM
If I were doing this on other systems, which I am, how many megabytes lower should I go on selecting the closest type.

That's not particularly important. The only reason to select a smaller size is just to stop the BIOS accessing a nonexistent sector if the disk manager isn't resident.

DOS lives on!!
June 1st, 2011, 03:30 PM
Boot from a floppy that contains SpeedStor.
Where would I find SpeedStor. Or for JohnElliot's suggestion, how would I go about entering in the custom settings for Type 15

JohnElliott
June 1st, 2011, 11:37 PM
Or for JohnElliot's suggestion, how would I go about entering in the custom settings for Type 15

Create a new BIOS ROM image, edit the bytes at offset 64E1-64F0h to hold your new definition, split the ROM image into odd and even bytes, program the results to two 27128 chips, and plug those chips into the motherboard. Not for the fainthearted :-)

As far as I can see, the meanings of those bytes are:


64E1-64E2 Cylinders
64E3 Heads
64E4-64E5 RWC
64E6-64E7 Write precompensation
64E8 WCC
64E9 Control byte
64EA-64EC do not appear to be used
64ED-64EE Landing zone
64EF-64F0 Sectors per track

modem7
June 2nd, 2011, 12:13 AM
Type 15 is an empty slot, so you can put your custom definition in there.
There is a risk with using type 15, because of the way in which type 15 ended up being used as a flag in late model IBM 5170s, and most 5170 clones.

FIRST IBM 5170 BIOS

In the CMOS/RTC chip, only one byte (at address 18 decimal) is used to store the drive types for both C: and D: In that byte, the upper nibble is used for drive C: and the lower used for drive D:

Address 18 (decimal): C_TYPE_NIBBLE/D_TYPE_NIBBLE

Each nibble (being a nibble) can store from 0 to 15, and that is why the first BIOS only goes as high as drive type 15. Type 15 is reserved.

SECOND/THIRD 5170 BIOS

Drive types greater than 15 are now supported. IBM did this by using the reserved type 15 is a particular way.

If the C: drive nibble at address 18 is set to 15, it means that the C: drive type number is greater than 15, and is stored in a byte at address 25.
If the D: drive nibble at address 18 is set to 15, it means that the D: drive type number is greater than 15, and is stored in a byte at address 26.

Address 25 (decimal): C_TYPE_BYTE
Address 26 (decimal): D_TYPE_BYTE

Example:

With drive C: being type 34, the C_TYPE_NIBBLE at address 18 is set to 15, and the C_TYPE_BYTE at address 25 is set to 34.

modem7
June 2nd, 2011, 12:14 AM
Where would I find SpeedStor.
SpeedStor is at http://members.dodo.com.au/~slappanel555/software/speedstor.htm

modem7
June 2nd, 2011, 12:18 AM
Create a new BIOS ROM image, edit the bytes at offset 64E1-64F0h to hold your new definition, split the ROM image into odd and even bytes, program the results to two 27128 chips, and plug those chips into the motherboard. Not for the fainthearted :-)
What I would add to that is:
Before altering the desired drive table entry, calculate and note the 8-bit checksum (usually zero, but can differ).
After altering the desired drive table entry, alter the checksum byte so that the checksum matches the checksum that was noted earlier.

DOS lives on!!
June 9th, 2011, 07:54 AM
Boot from a floppy that contains SpeedStor.
There's where the trouble begins. The link to SpeedStor that Modem7 provided gives two versions of SpeedStor. I chose the one recommended for PC's. This version didn't contain COMMAND.COM, so I assumed that the way to go would be to boot off a DOS (3.3 preferably) boot disk and run SpeedStor that way. However, formatting and writing the DOS 3.3 files using Winimage still won't boot on my Portable III. The error is,

"Disk formatted with WinImage 4.00 (c) 1993-97 Gilles Vollant
Boot sector from C.H. Hochstatter

No Systemdisk. Booting from harddisk
Cannot load from harddisk.
Insert Systemdisk and press any key."

Then, I tried manually copying the files to the disk, still won't boot.:mad: I tried several different versions of DOS and still won't work. So, how am I supposed to make a "working" boot disk so I can finally get speedstor to work?

Ole Juul
June 9th, 2011, 03:33 PM
. . . However, formatting and writing the DOS 3.3 files using Winimage still won't boot on my Portable III. . . . So, how am I supposed to make a "working" boot disk so I can finally get speedstor to work?

I have no idea what this "Winimage" program is, but it sounds flaky. Just use DOS, that always works. Then copy Speedstor onto the disk after that.

DOS lives on!!
June 9th, 2011, 05:12 PM
I have no idea what this "Winimage" program is, but it sounds flaky.
WinImage is quite a useful program to write files to floppies, extract files from different extensions, and a whole lot more. As for using DOS, It will probably work better than using Windows to copy DOS files.

kishy
June 9th, 2011, 06:22 PM
I've found WinImage is hit/miss sometimes with vintage boxes...it depends what is being written, it seems. I've never had luck getting a 'fake' 3.5" 720K (that is, tape on the corner) to write properly, for example - it gives the same result. I think it isn't so much flaky software, as a flaky combination of media and drives between the systems.

You may find that if you 'scrub' the disk clean with something like KillDisk (I believe DBAN can do floppies also), then write once and only once to it, that first write will be more reliable.

Ole Juul
June 9th, 2011, 06:52 PM
I'm sure "Winimage" has some great functionality, however in this case it's obviously not up to the task, so why not use DOS? It runs on almost anything. Type format a: /s etc or for that matter just use diskcopy and delete the files you don't want, in order to make room for the ones you do want. That's how I used to do it before I got a working format program. The OP does have a copy of 3.3 right?

bartman2589
June 12th, 2011, 08:23 PM
Not entirely true, if there are unused entries in the table you CAN add NEW entries, not necessarily an easy task but it is possible. However it would be much easier to just use a pre-existing entry and use drive overlay software.

Additionally I know that many old drives used to list alternate head/sector/cylinder settings that could be used to configure the drive for use in a system that does not necessarily have table entries that exactly correspond to the actual settings for the drive.

bartman2589
June 12th, 2011, 08:32 PM
I don't know if this will help but my 5th edition of 'Upgrading & Repairing PC's' lists the following information for the ST-157a drive:
Cyls: 560
Heads: 6
Write Precomp: -1
Park Cyl: 560
Sectors Per Track: 26
Capacity: 44.7 Mb
Total Sectors: 87360


It goes on to list Optional CMOS Values (alternate configuration) as:
Cylinders: 733
Heads: 7
Write Precomp: 733
Park Cyl:733
Sectors Per Track: 17
Capacity: 44.7 Mb
Total Sectors: 87227

Maybe you can use the Optional CMOS Values I listed, not sure if maybe there might be an entry that has those same characteristics or not.

From what I can see from the Compaq Hard Disk Table entries in the Appendix A of the Upgrading & Repairing PC's book, it looks like entry 21 is the same in just about all versions and is very close to the settings you need to use though the Write Precomp is different (listed as 256 in the drive table instead of 733), and the Park Cyl (Landing Zone) is listed as 732 instead of 733, but the Heads, Cylinders, and Sectors Per Track all match up with the alternate configuration I copied from the Drive Specification list for the ST-157a.

Hope this helps,
bartman2589

modem7
June 12th, 2011, 08:40 PM
Additionally I know that many old drives used to list alternate head/sector/cylinder settings that could be used to configure the drive for use in a system that does not necessarily have table entries that exactly correspond to the actual settings for the drive.

I don't know if this will help but my 5th edition of 'Upgrading & Repairing PC's' lists the following information for the ST-157a drive:
I don't think that you realise that you are repeating the information provided in post #8.

bartman2589
June 12th, 2011, 09:46 PM
Type 15 is an empty slot, so you can put your custom definition in there.

Actually no you can't, quoted from 'Upgrading & Repairing PC's 5th Edition': "Table entry 15 is reserved to act as a pointer to indicate that the type is greater than 15."

bartman2589
June 12th, 2011, 09:47 PM
I don't think that you realise that you are repeating the information provided in post #8.

My bad, sorry, didn't catch that post when I skimmed over the posts.

modem7
June 12th, 2011, 10:41 PM
My bad, sorry, didn't catch that post when I skimmed over the posts.
Although there is always a temptation to 'skim' over threads, it can result in embarrassment for some people. I've been caught out myself.
Another example: Your post at #24 was already addressed at post #13.

bartman2589
June 12th, 2011, 11:27 PM
WinImage has been around for a VERY VERY long time as a program for manipulating 'disk images' and is one of the most desirable methods for most people to transfer exact duplicates of floppy disks electronically over great distances, there are provisions for making 'self extracting' disk images or for simply making disk images that you can use WinImage on another computer to write to a new floppy disk (note that WinImage is not limited to only working with floppy disk images and also supports a few CD/DVD ROM image formats as well!). One of the OP's problems may be due to a 'bug' in the way versions of Windows from Windows 95 on up to present handle non-write protected floppy disks, for some reason Windows feels a need to make a minor modification to any non-write protected floppy disk which in some cases can cause problems (in particular it can render disks for PS/2 systems inaccessible by those systems). Additionally versions of DOS prior to a certain version (unknown when the change was made) ABSOLUTELY required that a pair of hidden system files that are written to the diskette when formatting with system files be written to SPECIFIC locations of the diskette.

bartman2589
June 12th, 2011, 11:29 PM
Another example: Your post at #24 was already addressed at post #13.

Sounds like someone is nitpicking a bit, personally I'd rather see duplicated posts than no posts at all. At least it tells me that people are actively trying to help then.

modem7
June 12th, 2011, 11:42 PM
Sounds like someone is nitpicking a bit, personally I'd rather see duplicate posts than no posts at all.
Not nitpicking at all. Hey, if you are willing to essentially retype what someone has posted earlier in the thread, then go for it.

DOS lives on!!
June 13th, 2011, 04:16 AM
I'm sure "Winimage" has some great functionality, however in this case it's obviously not up to the task, so why not use DOS?
Just tried that and DOS works MUCH better. And hey Modem7 and Bartman2589, the posts are there to stay, and it doesn't help to argue about it.

DOS lives on!!
June 13th, 2011, 04:39 AM
Another thing, since the Portable III is a portable computer, and you have to park the hard drive before you move it, does that mean that I have to park the hard drive every single time I move it?

paul.brett
June 13th, 2011, 05:17 AM
Most drives would be auto-parking.

DOS lives on!!
June 13th, 2011, 11:12 AM
A few more problems have came up since I started on this.

1. Whats the correct jumper settings for the ST-157a. I want to make sure I have it cooperating with the computer.

2. When low level formatting in SpeedStor, do I change the type before formatting or vice versa. And what does it mean when it wants me to select a "Sector-Interleave"?

3. Kind of off topic, but I want to mount the hard drive to the top inside of the machine, right next to the floppy drive. How does the top cover come off so I can access the screwholes?

At least the new Dallas battery keeps a charge!

bartman2589
June 13th, 2011, 05:19 PM
Here is the jumper setting information for the ST-157a from the Seagate Disc Drive Reference (a Windows help file with jumper setting information and other hard drive information from Seagate, http://www.seagate.com/ww/v/index.jsp?locale=en-US&name=Seagate_Downloadable_Disc_Drive_Reference_for _Windows&vgnextoid=4fef4a3cdde5c010VgnVCM100000dd04090aRCRD ):

http://farm6.static.flickr.com/5224/5831083186_b70fbf6bae_b.jpg
http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3654/5831083560_7f67792793_b.jpg

I would have posted just in text format but it uses a special line drawing font to draw the connectors and if I had just posted the text it would have just looked like a bunch of garbage characters instead of looking like the connectors.

bartman2589
June 13th, 2011, 05:45 PM
As for the Sector-Interleaving setting that's a little trickier and actually depends largely on the capabilities of the controller itself, for example according to my 5th edition Upgrading & Repairing PC's the standard interleave used in IBM XT systems with hard drives was 6:1, while on AT systems it was 3:1, the article goes on to say that

"The best interleave for these systems actually is one lower than what was set up as standard in each case: In other words, the best interleave for the Xebec 1210 controller in a 4.77-MHz IBM PC or IBM XT is 5:1, and the best interleave for the Western Digital 1002 and 1003 controllers in a 6-MHz or 8-MHz IBM AT system is 2:1."

The program CALIBRATE.EXE from Norton Utilities can check and change the interleave settings on some drive/controller combinations supposedly. I guess what I would do is to start with an interleave setting around 6:1 and run some read/write tests timing how long it takes to complete, you could probably find a utility program to do this I'd bet, then try working your way down towards 1:1, the way I understand it you can't actually damage a drive or controller by specifying an incorrect interleave setting all that happens is that either the controller is successfully able to read the data without having to wait between reads, or it has to wait between reads, the amount of time it waits will vary with what interleave setting produces the best results. This article on Wikipedia may help to explain it a bit better, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Interleaving#Interleaving_in_disk_storage

Hope this helps a bit,
bartman2589

DOS lives on!!
June 14th, 2011, 07:51 AM
I'm finally in the homestretch!! The ST-157A wouldn't work, so I substituted in a ST-1144A that works much beter. It has DOS on it. However, the computer won't boot from it even though it has COMMAND.COM on it. It seems to want to boot from the floppy drive instead of the hdd. Why won't this Portable III do something beneficial and boot from the hdd?

EDIT: When I ran Scandisk, it converted a lot of files to FILEXXXX.CHK (XXXX is any number) and said that the root has reached its limit of 512 files. How can I move all of these .CHK files into a folder? There is at least 415 of them!!

Agent Orange
June 14th, 2011, 09:18 AM
I'm finally in the homestretch!! The ST-157A wouldn't work, so I substituted in a ST-1144A that works much beter. It has DOS on it. However, the computer won't boot from it even though it has COMMAND.COM on it. It seems to want to boot from the floppy drive instead of the hdd. Why won't this Portable III do something beneficial and boot from the hdd?

EDIT: When I ran Scandisk, it converted a lot of files to FILEXXXX.CHK (XXXX is any number) and said that the root has reached its limit of 512 files. How can I move all of these .CHK files into a folder? There is at least 415 of them!!

Looks like your SYSTEM files may have been corrupted. Attempt to boot from a SYSTEM floppy. Enter "FDISK" and delete the existing partition. Now create a new primary partition and reboot with the SYSTEM floppy. You will now need to format your HD. Enter FORMAT C: /S to format your HD. The /S switch will put the system files on your HD and enable you pc to boot. On completing the format procedure, reboot and you should observe the C:\ prompt.

DOS lives on!!
June 15th, 2011, 11:40 AM
Thank you all!!! My Compaq Portable III is now working! I was sad to loose all of the neat but corrupted programs. Oh well, a reformat and DOS reinstall is what fixed it. Now I can tage Norton Disk Doctor and Wheel of Fortune wherever I go.