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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.


Rule 1: 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.


Rule 2: 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.)
  • If you are responding to a thread, stay on topic - the original poster was trying to achieve something. You can always start a new thread instead of potentially "hijacking" an existing thread.



Rule 3: 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.
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  • Use the Private Message system for posts that are targeted at a specific person.


Rule 4: "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.

Rule 5: 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.
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  • Spelling and grammar are not rated, but they do make a post easier to read.
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Zenith Z-171 Boot Problems

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    Zenith Z-171 Boot Problems

    Happy New Year!

    I'm currently having a few problems with a Zenith Z-171 portable and I'm wondering if I need any special boot disks for it as I can't seem to get it to boot correctly from a standard MSDOS disk. Boot starts normally but after a few seconds the drive starts making a clunking noise as if its struggling to read a sector. Left long enough, it does get to a DOS prompt but the disk keeps spinning with the drive door locked. I can switch to drive B but then have a similar problem on that drive.

    I've tried swapping the floppy drives over and also tried another known good drive with the same results. Also tried different DOS versions (3.3, 5.0 and 6.22)

    Cheers,
    Dave

    #2
    Logic says that if it comes up with a DOS prompt, then boot up worked.

    Keep in mind it originally came with 360KB 5.25" drives. It originally came with MS-DOS 2.11, later models were delivered with MS-DOS 3.1

    If you get to the prompt then try formatting another blank disk in Drive B:. Normally these like disks most if they were formatted in their own drive.

    Comment


      #3
      If you search for 'ms-dos 3.10 zenith pc oem' you should find several links to a Zenith version of DOS that probably is the version used on these.

      It could be that it does something slightly different with the drives. I used to have a drive that only worked unmodified with DOS 2.11 because the drive required a lower stepper rate and later versions sped that up. In that case it would sometimes get to a command prompt using later versions, but fall on its face when it had to do heavy seeking. (There is a workaround for step rates on later versions of DOS)

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        #4
        It did boot with a standard 6.22 disk but it took 3-4 minutes and didn't sound too healthy. It didn't want to format drive B either.

        Good news though. I managed to download a Zenith version of DOS 3.2 and that seems to have done the trick and now works great. Once booted, it can read & write standard disks without any problems.

        Cheers,
        Dave

        Comment


          #5
          Hi Dave.
          I have noticed the same problem with my z171 and msdos 5.00.
          I recently came across a photo of a z171 running msdos 5
          00 though. Makes me wonder if there is a way to get it to work normally.

          Did you ever find out how to run 5.00 or 6.22?

          Thx

          Comment


            #6
            Hi,
            What is the fix for slow step rates?

            Thx!

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