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Macmaster2000
April 7th, 2016, 07:50 PM
Hello VCF!
I have recently gotten a Compaq Portable i from eBay, but it didn't come with any disks or software. I have tried numerous images that I have found online, and written to a 360k 5 1/4 disk, but not a single one will boot. The farthest I've gotten was a message that the Command Interpreter was missing or corrupt. I don't know why I get that error, I have even replaced the COMMAND.COM manually.
Is there a user who has an image of something that it will boot? I've tried looking on eBay for actual DOS floppies, but no auction that is under $50 gives a detailed description of the auction, and often is untested.

Anyone here able to help me out? :(

(Also I've never posted on this forum before, if this is in the wrong category, I apologize)

SomeGuy
April 7th, 2016, 08:21 PM
Welcome to pure vintage madness! :) And congrats on the Compaq Portable.

What are you using to write the 5.25" disks?

If you are attempting to write a 5.25" low density (360K) disk using a high density (1.2mb) drive, you must completely degauss the disk first or it will not work, and even then can be flaky.

modem7
April 7th, 2016, 08:34 PM
Anyone here able to help me out? :(
Tell us where you are. If you are in Australia, I will freely post to you a known good 360K sized DOS boot floppy.

Macmaster2000
April 7th, 2016, 08:37 PM
Welcome to pure vintage madness! :) And congrats on the Compaq Portable.

What are you using to write the 5.25" disks?

If you are attempting to write a 5.25" low density (360K) disk using a high density (1.2mb) drive, you must completely degauss the disk first or it will not work, and even then can be flaky.

The Compaq had 2, 5 1/4 360K drives, and I took one out and installed it on a newer DOS machine I have, so that I could write images to it. I have setup the BIOS on that machine to the correct parameters of the drive as well.

Macmaster2000
April 7th, 2016, 08:43 PM
I've added it to my bio now, and sadly I do not live in Australia. :/

Caluser2000
April 7th, 2016, 09:48 PM
I find 360k disks and drives can be tempramental at times, even when made on different drives in the same system. Just be patient, you'll end up with good disks.

modem7
April 7th, 2016, 10:12 PM
Some things that I can think of:

Hardware

* Are you confident that you are using the correct type of floppy? See the 'Incorrect floppies' section at [here (http://www.minuszerodegrees.net/5150_5160/tandon_tm100/tandon_tm100-2_problems.htm)].

* Your transplanted 360K drive has yet to be proven good. Among other things, it may not be stepping properly. On old 5.25" drives (unused for many years), the lubrication may have deteriorated. See the 'Deteriorated lubrication' section at [here (http://www.minuszerodegrees.net/5150_5160/tandon_tm100/tandon_tm100-2_problems.htm)].

Software

* I know that at least one DOS based disk imaging program requires to run in 'true' DOS in order to propery write. If the program is run in a DOS box within Windows, or run in DOS that is initiated from Windows, the program goes through the motion of writing, but in the background, writing is not happening properly.

Macmaster2000
April 8th, 2016, 05:09 AM
Are you confident that you are using the correct type of floppy?
Yes it was an unused box of DS/DD disks.


I know that at least one DOS based disk imaging program requires to run in 'true' DOS in order to properly write.
I am writing to the disks on a true-DOS machine, running 6.22.

SomeGuy
April 8th, 2016, 05:27 AM
What software are you using to write the images?

Try reading the image back in on the DOS 6.22 machine, do you get any read errors?

Exactly what image(s) or DOS version(s) are you trying to write?

Also, how much RAM does the Compaq Portable have?

Macmaster2000
April 8th, 2016, 05:37 AM
What software are you using to write the images?
FIRM.COM, that I got from here: http://www.bttr-software.de/freesoft/disk2.htm


Try reading the image back in on the DOS 6.22 machine, do you get any read errors?
Nope, the image seems fine, I've even used some of them before.


Exactly what image(s) or DOS version(s) are you trying to write?
I've tried everything from PC-DOS and various versions of MS-DOS.


Also, how much RAM does the Compaq Portable have?
Not sure, but I assume its the standard 128K that Wikipedia says.

Something I'm going to try is to take the floppy drive that I installed in the newer computer, put it back in the Compaq, and see if it works better.

Macmaster2000
April 8th, 2016, 06:24 AM
Well sure enough when I tried booting with the other drive it works great! :D

Thanks for the advice you guys!

SomeGuy
April 8th, 2016, 06:37 AM
Nope, the image seems fine, I've even used some of them before.

What I meant was read the floppy disk back in to see if there were any unreported write errors. I've encountered that before, where writing a disk will seem to have gone smoothly but in fact the contents were garbled.

If you do switch drives around and reconfigure it to use this drive as "A", try one of the disks you already wrote.

Officially MS-DOS 4.00 and later require 256K, although they may boot with less. For this machine I'd recommend a vanilla MS-DOS 3.30 or the Compaq OEM of 2.x.

Edit: didn't see that last post. Glad to hear you got it going.

Macmaster2000
April 8th, 2016, 06:44 AM
Thanks, and also:


Officially MS-DOS 4.00 and later require 256K
Turns out someone upgraded it to 256K of ram, according to some diagnostic software.