Forum etiquette

Our mission ...

This forum is part of our mission to promote the preservation of vintage computers through education and outreach. (In real life we also run events and have a museum.) We encourage you to join us, participate, share your knowledge, and enjoy.

This forum has been around in this format for over 15 years. These rules and guidelines help us maintain a healthy and active community, and we moderate the forum to keep things on track. Please familiarize yourself with these rules and guidelines.

Remain civil and respectful

There are several hundred people who actively participate here. People come from all different backgrounds and will have different ways of seeing things. You will not agree with everything you read here. Back-and-forth discussions are fine but do not cross the line into rude or disrespectful behavior.

Conduct yourself as you would at any other place where people come together in person to discuss their hobby. If you wouldn't say something to somebody in person, then you probably should not be writing it here.

This should be obvious but, just in case: profanity, threats, slurs against any group (sexual, racial, gender, etc.) will not be tolerated.

Stay close to the original topic being discussed
  • If you are starting a new thread choose a reasonable sub-forum to start your thread. (If you choose incorrectly don't worry, we can fix that.)
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Contribute something meaningful

To put things in engineering terms, we value a high signal to noise ratio. Coming here should not be a waste of time.
  • This is not a chat room. If you are taking less than 30 seconds to make a post then you are probably doing something wrong. A post should be on topic, clear, and contribute something meaningful to the discussion. If people read your posts and feel that their time as been wasted, they will stop reading your posts. Worse yet, they will stop visiting and we'll lose their experience and contributions.
  • Do not bump threads.
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"PM Sent!" messages (or, how to use the Private Message system)

This forum has a private message feature that we want people to use for messages that are not of general interest to other members.

In short, if you are going to reply to a thread and that reply is targeted to a specific individual and not of interest to anybody else (either now or in the future) then send a private message instead.

Here are some obvious examples of when you should not reply to a thread and use the PM system instead:
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Why do we have this policy? Sending a "PM Sent!" type message basically wastes everybody else's time by making them having to scroll past a post in a thread that looks to be updated, when the update is not meaningful. And the person you are sending the PM to will be notified by the forum software that they have a message waiting for them. Look up at the top near the right edge where it says 'Notifications' ... if you have a PM waiting, it will tell you there.

Copyright and other legal issues

We are here to discuss vintage computing, so discussing software, books, and other intellectual property that is on-topic is fine. We don't want people using these forums to discuss or enable copyright violations or other things that are against the law; whether you agree with the law or not is irrelevant. Do not use our resources for something that is legally or morally questionable.

Our discussions here generally fall under "fair use." Telling people how to pirate a software title is an example of something that is not allowable here.

Reporting problematic posts

If you see spam, a wildly off-topic post, or something abusive or illegal please report the thread by clicking on the "Report Post" icon. (It looks like an exclamation point in a triangle and it is available under every post.) This send a notification to all of the moderators, so somebody will see it and deal with it.

If you are unsure you may consider sending a private message to a moderator instead.

New user moderation

New users are directly moderated so that we can weed spammers out early. This means that for your first 10 posts you will have some delay before they are seen. We understand this can be disruptive to the flow of conversation and we try to keep up with our new user moderation duties to avoid undue inconvenience. Please do not make duplicate posts, extra posts to bump your post count, or ask the moderators to expedite this process; 10 moderated posts will go by quickly.

New users also have a smaller personal message inbox limit and are rate limited when sending PMs to other users.

Other suggestions
  • Use Google, books, or other definitive sources. There is a lot of information out there.
  • Don't make people guess at what you are trying to say; we are not mind readers. Be clear and concise.
  • Spelling and grammar are not rated, but they do make a post easier to read.
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Zenith ZFL-181 booting problems

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    Zenith ZFL-181 booting problems

    Hi all, been a while since I posted here.

    I went scrounging around the local university's surplus sale and hidden in with all the printers, past the overpriced Pentium 4 Dell desktops, hid this gem. I know they are not particularly desirable, but the thing is in pristine condition and I got it for a song. I think it was maybe used once or twice, then put away. It still has the new electronics smell, has no yellowing, and the battery even holds a good 2 hour charge!

    Anyways, I have been having problems getting it to boot. It, of course, only has 720K drives but unfortunately I only had 1 true 720K floppy. It has been in my floppy caddy since before I was born. I tried writing a Zenith OEM DOS 3.21 boot disk to it, but it only comes up with the "Non-System disk" error. So I go to goodwill and find a 30 pack of brand new 1.44MB disks for $2 and the computer gods must have been shining on me that day, because there was a 31st disk that got stuck in there somehow, and it was a brand new Sony 720K disk. So I tried writing the same 3.21 boot disk to that, and I am still presented with the same error. Wondering if it is maybe the drive on the computer or something special that needs to be done to get it to boot?

    I now tried a DOS 3.30 Zenith OEM boot disk, and now I can hear disk activity from the drive and it doesn't come up with the non-system disk error, but It does seem to just lock up and not do anything at all.


      Does that require that the drive is closed by pushing it back down in the case before the floppy will try to read?


        Originally posted by RJBJR View Post
        Does that require that the drive is closed by pushing it back down in the case before the floppy will try to read?
        Yes. Makes a very satisfying click too when closing.


          Originally posted by l.neidlinger View Post
          Yes. Makes a very satisfying click too when closing.
          Maybe the 720k disk is bad, I have nothing but trouble with the old 3.5" diskettes.

          You can try to format the 1.44MB disks to 720k by covering the hole with tape and then write the disk image. Are you using a real 720k drive to make the boot disk?