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Thread: AlphaStation 255/233: Installing AlphaBIOS + suitable hard drive

  1. #1

    Default AlphaStation 255/233: Installing AlphaBIOS + suitable hard drive

    Hello everyone, as this is my first post here!

    I recently got myself an AlphaStation 255/233 because I want to play with the Alpha versions of Windows NT. I have absolutely no experience with this architecture, so everything is really new to me.

    The machine that I got has SRM installed. I read on the internet that the 255 can only hold either SRM or AlphaBIOS but not both of them. So I guess I somehow have to flash AlphaBIOS.

    I did not get any media with this system, so I have to get it elsewhere. So far I found this link:

    I downloaded the firmware and just burned it to a data CD, but I guess this is not the way you do it. At least "boot DKA400 -flags 0,a0" told me that there is nothing to boot.

    Can anyone tell me what direction I should go to solve this problem? Is it easier to install a floppy drive and update it from there?

    My second problem is that the machine came without a hard drive. Sadly, 50 pin SCSI HDDs seem to be pretty expensive on eBay these days. I bought a 50pin to SCA adapter by a chinese vendor. Are these things known to work in general? I did a first test with a 36GB drive and it did not show up in the devices list on the SRM prompt.

    Thanks in advance for any help or thoughts on my problems!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Liverpool, England


    Hi, I have used and still do use the 50 pin to SCA adapters in many different machines without issue. Also if I remember correctly the BIOS can only be changed using floppy. Someone in the group may correct me.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Seattle, WA


    Try downloading and burning this .ISO image and trying booting from that CD.

     Volume in drive E is update_v57
     Volume Serial Number is 6DDA-D1D1
     Directory of E:\ALPHA255
    04/17/2000  05:35 AM    <DIR>          .
    11/09/2007  08:30 AM    <DIR>          ..
    04/12/2000  05:07 AM           416,768 ABBOOT.EXE
    04/12/2000  05:07 AM           417,280 ABBOOT.SYS
    04/12/2000  05:07 AM           579,072 AS255_PCI_V1_4.EXE
    04/12/2000  05:07 AM           579,584 AS255_PCI_V1_4.SYS
    04/12/2000  05:07 AM         1,232,384 AS255_V8_0.EXE
    04/12/2000  05:07 AM         1,232,896 AS255_V8_0.SYS
    04/12/2000  05:07 AM         1,303,040 AS255_V8_1.EXE
    04/12/2000  05:07 AM         1,303,552 AS255_V8_1.SYS
    04/12/2000  05:07 AM             2,183 FWREADME.TXT
                   9 File(s)      7,066,759 bytes
                   2 Dir(s)               0 bytes free
    E:\DOC>dir ALPHA200*
     Volume in drive E is update_v57
     Volume Serial Number is 6DDA-D1D1
     Directory of E:\DOC
    12/02/1999  05:02 AM            70,745 ALPHA200_V70_FW_RELNOTE.PDF
    12/02/1999  05:20 AM           191,747 ALPHA200_V70_FW_RELNOTE.PS
    12/02/1999  05:20 AM            87,256 ALPHA200_V70_FW_RELNOTE.TXT
                   3 File(s)        349,748 bytes
                   0 Dir(s)               0 bytes free

  4. #4


    TheRe could be an issue with cd drive compatibility and cd format compatibility. When you burn an iso, set the cd format to match that which an alpha bios can handle. Also you need to mount the cd drive (?) fron the >>> prompt?. You can choose which bios to use *I think* using the internal software. Use a HD that is not too large, eliminate variables that could lead to failure, I am unsure the max size an Alpha of this model can handle. Or like many systems it might just ignore that what but cannot read/use due to size limits.

    I may have some notes on my website about how to get started, after you download and read the manual to get the OS installation directions and specs let us know if you can't make any more progress. It may be that you need a BIOS diskette.

  5. #5


    Thanks for all your really useful tips so far! I was finally able to install AlphaBIOS, using the ISO image from HPs server.

    But now I am experiencing a really strange behaviour. I am using a cherry ps/2 keyboard (German layout) that worked absolutely fine on the SRM console.

    There is a prompt that says that the system time is wrong. I am supposed to press "Enter" to continue. Pressing any of the two Enter keys does nothing at all. I finally found out that I can continue by pressing the F9 key instead.
    The next message then tells me to enter Setup by pressing F2. Pressing F2 does nothing as well. Sadly, I did not find any key that makes it continue. Most keys make the system beep when pressed, some turn on the LEDs on the keyboard as long as I press them and some do nothing.

    I am really confused right now. Has anyone ever experienced this behaviour and can help me with it?


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