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Thread: Restoring Compaq Portable 386

  1. #11

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    Quote Originally Posted by MrArgent View Post
    How'd you get it using a cF card? I tried to fit my Portable 386 with both a cF card/adapter and DOM but it ultimately refused to speak reliably to anything but a mechanical HDD. Stock IDE controller.
    It was surprisingly easy - you have to get a powered CF card to IDE adapter (the power plug is a 4 pin type that 3.5 floppies use), then connect the HDD IDE cable to a separate working computer that has a floppy. If you boot DOS off a floppy, you can run FDISK, and it should see the drive - create a dos partition. Then what I did was FDisk /MBR to create the right master boot record info, then do FORMAT /S then I think I also did SYS A: C:

    When that's all done, you will need to boot the 386 with the Compaq boot disk (Find it here in the pull down menu - while you are here you can also get the original compaq DOS if you like, but it will run 6.22 just fine) I found that using a non HD floppy 3.5 inch (720k formatted) worked best, formatted from another computer

    Inside the diagnostics, hit setup, then make sure you change the fixed drive type to something a little smaller than your CF card (at least this worked for me) - I had a 512 MB so I chose type 38 (I think that tells the BIOS / CMOS my drive is something like 318 MB) and its been working like a charm ever since. Only HDD error I get is if I run the compaq diagnostics and then it tells me the hard drive is not configured properly, but other than that it works fine (also can remove the CF and using a usb reader add files to it from my 2015 macbook air, and no problems afterwards)

    Let me know if that works

  2. #12
    Join Date
    Oct 2016
    Location
    Illinois, USA
    Posts
    259

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    Huh...on non-physical media mine just couldn't touch the partition table under any circumstances, even when properly formed ones had been provided by other machines.

  3. #13

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    Quote Originally Posted by MrArgent View Post
    Huh...on non-physical media mine just couldn't touch the partition table under any circumstances, even when properly formed ones had been provided by other machines.
    I read somewhere that certain CF -> IDE adapters don't work as well as others, or maybe the CF card is too new, maybe try with an older CF card.

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