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Thread: Packard Bell 386 Desktop computer floppy and hard drive Issues

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2014
    United States

    Default Packard Bell 386 Desktop computer floppy and hard drive Issues

    I have a Packard Bell 386 XH desktop computer that I have been trying to get running. It posts, however i have been unable to get it to boot from a floppy or recognize any hard disk I install.

    The machine has a 3.5 floppy and a 5.25 floppy installed. I appear to be able to get the 5.25 floppy working, but i lack another machine with a working 5.25 floppy at the moment, i was counting on the 3.5 floppy to get software installed. I have only the 3.5 floppy installed. No matter what i set for floppy A in the bios, i get a floppy disk seek error, although i do see the drive seek during post. After post, i get a boot failure, press any key to retry, but i do not see activity on the floppy.

    A second issue is the hard drive. A rather old drive was installed small, early AT drive, that failed. I do not have any other drive that age that the controller will recognize.
    I do have many WD and Seagate drives that are newer 1 - 2 GB capacity, however the controller fails to recognize them. I also have many IDE to CF adapters, but the controller fails to see those as well.

    There are plenty of open isa slots, is it possible to install an isa card that provides a more modern IDE controller, that would recognize newer IDE drives, and cf cards? I had a few IDE/floppy/serial Combo ISA cards laying around, however at post, i do not see any information concerning the newly installed controller or any attached drives.

    I have already replaced the backup battery on board, thankfully it was not causing damage. I also have the slightly newer version of this machine, with the 486 running without issue, however the 386 is giving me more trouble, as the bios and controller functionality seems more limited. Any help is much appreciated.

  2. #2


    Have you tried the FDD out of the 486 system? Perhaps the drive is bad.

    You can install the XT-IDE BIOS to get around the 528MB BIOS limit, alternatively manually set the IDE drive to a lower capacity, FDISK and format it.


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