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Thread: Zenith Z-171 Boot Problems

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2003
    Location
    Northwest (UK)
    Posts
    408

    Default Zenith Z-171 Boot Problems

    Happy New Year!

    I'm currently having a few problems with a Zenith Z-171 portable and I'm wondering if I need any special boot disks for it as I can't seem to get it to boot correctly from a standard MSDOS disk. Boot starts normally but after a few seconds the drive starts making a clunking noise as if its struggling to read a sector. Left long enough, it does get to a DOS prompt but the disk keeps spinning with the drive door locked. I can switch to drive B but then have a similar problem on that drive.

    I've tried swapping the floppy drives over and also tried another known good drive with the same results. Also tried different DOS versions (3.3, 5.0 and 6.22)

    Cheers,
    Dave

  2. #2

    Default

    Logic says that if it comes up with a DOS prompt, then boot up worked.

    Keep in mind it originally came with 360KB 5.25" drives. It originally came with MS-DOS 2.11, later models were delivered with MS-DOS 3.1

    If you get to the prompt then try formatting another blank disk in Drive B:. Normally these like disks most if they were formatted in their own drive.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2013
    Location
    Marietta, GA
    Posts
    3,237

    Default

    If you search for 'ms-dos 3.10 zenith pc oem' you should find several links to a Zenith version of DOS that probably is the version used on these.

    It could be that it does something slightly different with the drives. I used to have a drive that only worked unmodified with DOS 2.11 because the drive required a lower stepper rate and later versions sped that up. In that case it would sometimes get to a command prompt using later versions, but fall on its face when it had to do heavy seeking. (There is a workaround for step rates on later versions of DOS)

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jun 2003
    Location
    Northwest (UK)
    Posts
    408

    Default

    It did boot with a standard 6.22 disk but it took 3-4 minutes and didn't sound too healthy. It didn't want to format drive B either.

    Good news though. I managed to download a Zenith version of DOS 3.2 and that seems to have done the trick and now works great. Once booted, it can read & write standard disks without any problems.

    Cheers,
    Dave

  5. Default

    Hi Dave.
    I have noticed the same problem with my z171 and msdos 5.00.
    I recently came across a photo of a z171 running msdos 5
    00 though. Makes me wonder if there is a way to get it to work normally.

    Did you ever find out how to run 5.00 or 6.22?

    Thx

  6. Default

    Hi,
    What is the fix for slow step rates?

    Thx!

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