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Thread: Compaq Deskpro XT restoration - help needed

  1. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Stone View Post
    Ditto... I still have several and they work reliably. That includes the ST-238R, as well.
    Another 2’. Mine too! Going strong since 1987. Speaks for the quality.
    Surely not everyone was Kung-fu fighting

  2. #12

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    Well I guess I'm just unlucky. I wouldn't use them except I have Xenix 8086 installed on them and it's hardcoded for that controller and drives. I have a stack I went through getting two to work semi-reliably.

    They're still slow, though.

  3. #13

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    Quote Originally Posted by resman View Post
    They're still slow, though.
    As were nearly all the drives from that era... DUH
    PM me if you're looking for 3½" or 5Ό" floppy disks. EMail “ ” For everything else, Take Another Step

  4. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Stone View Post
    As were nearly all the drives from that era... DUH
    The Seagate drives of the era were slower than most of the competition, probably the reason so many still work nearly 40 years later.

  5. #15

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bmurching View Post
    Amazingly, my experience mirrors yours. I tried again, putting into MS-DOS 5.0 and running Spinrite again. This time it blew past the RAM freeze and I started rejuvenating the disk surface. Stepping back a moment, I also discovered one of the two cables to the drive (the one with fewer pins) was upside down and when fixing this plus letting Spinrite do it’s thing, the computer was able to boot to DOS and run A directory listing! It was running DOS 3.30 (Compaq) and also has Windows 1.01. Super excited.

    Spinrite seemed to be freezing or otherwise getting stuck about 85% through the drive so not out of the woods yet. But, it’s late and it’s time to rest.

    Lesson for now: Spinrite 5.0 works better with MSDOS 5.0 than 3.3.
    When I installed Xenix, it was quite particular about the bad track list. I ran a low level format to ensure the drive was working and the list was accurate. That's how I ended up going through a few before finding good candidates. It does wipe the disk, that's the downside. If you are unable to make progress with spinrite, this thread has info:

    http://www.vcfed.org/forum/archive/i...p/t-49745.html

    Quote Originally Posted by Stone View Post
    As were nearly all the drives from that era... DUH
    Seriously?

  6. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by krebizfan View Post
    The Seagate drives of the era were slower than most of the competition, probably the reason so many still work nearly 40 years later.
    Agreed. I've got an ST-251 that's been running in a 286 since we got it in '88. It's definitely not quick, but has been a reliable workhorse all these years. Just add a bit of software caching and much of that speed deficit is mitigated nicely.

  7. #17

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    Mine's going strong! That drive and Spinrite together really impressed me.

    It took a while but Spinrite 5.0 was able to resuscitate every track and sector on this drive! It now boots and runs flawlessly--though not terribly quickly. The existing 5:1 interleave was optimal. As far as it getting stuck, I think it just needed time on one particular cluster... once past that, it worked at a good clip but found a number of other problematic spots. The computer boots and runs installed software w/o issue... it has Compaq DOS 3.30 and Windows 1.01 along with MS Word, Works and Lotus 123. There's a smattering of games and some old financial / trading apps. The computer is Everex-heavy.... the ST-225 has an Everex branding, the MFM controller is Everex and the computer also has an Everex EGA card. There is a smattering of other cards (a clock card, modem, and what looks like a 2 game port ISA) that I've currently removed.

    I've ordered an XT-IDE if only to back up the HD before doing anything further. Regarding the debate about storage, I prefer the best of all worlds... a boot HDD because I love those seek sounds, and a SSD as a D: for bulk storage, data transport and to serve as primary storage if the hard drive dies. I've followed this model on my 486 and P90 PCs w/success but it's been a long time since I worked with XT class hardware.

    Known issues:
    - Second floppy drive doesn't seem to work properly... doing a DIR B: spins the drive but either fails or shows a cached listing of what is in A:
    - Neither floppy have been cleaned in ~20 years... 5 1/4 cleaning discs seem scarce
    - Clock card is in unknown state; it does have a coin cell battery that appears removable.

  8. #18

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    When you ran spinrite and checked the interleave was the system in fast mode or slow mode? 5 seems like a lot. What controller are you using? I’ve got an IBM 5160 that I was playing around with and the stock mfm controller it suggests an interleave of like 5 but if I use a Seagate ST-11 it suggests 3. And the drive seems a lot faster. I’ve tried multiple drives with similar results. I’m tempted to do a benchmark of the drives and controllers to see what’s the best combination.

  9. #19

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bmurching View Post
    Known issues:
    - Second floppy drive doesn't seem to work properly... doing a DIR B: spins the drive but either fails or shows a cached listing of what is in A:
    - Neither floppy have been cleaned in ~20 years... 5 1/4 cleaning discs seem scarce.
    1) The B: issue is a familiar sounding problem that I am unable to currently recall the solution to but some people here certainly will and I seem to remember Chuck(G) having a remedy for this.

    2) Cleaning discs are available. I am always able to locate them on eBay. Try searching there.
    PM me if you're looking for 3½" or 5Ό" floppy disks. EMail “ ” For everything else, Take Another Step

  10. #20

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    Quote Originally Posted by jafir View Post
    5 seems like a lot.
    I agree. 3 should be optimal.
    PM me if you're looking for 3½" or 5Ό" floppy disks. EMail “ ” For everything else, Take Another Step

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