Forum Rules and Etiquette

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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.

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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.

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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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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

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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
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Compaq Portable 486/ 486c - Setup new harddisk - need right diagnostics

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    Compaq Portable 486/ 486c - Setup new harddisk - need right diagnostics

    Dear forum members,

    First of all, I'm very happy that I found this forum. I love vintage computers.. but it takes a lot of time to repair and maintain them.

    I got a Compaq Portable 486 with a broken harddisk. It had a Conner 120 MB in it. I replaced this one with an IBM 320MB. The disk seem to work in the system, but when starting up I get the message "disk does not support block mode" run diagnostics.

    There begins the problem.. I need the right diagnostic software to set-up the system in a right way. I tried a lot of SoftPaqs, but they all don't work.. some of them work, but ask for utility disks? The utility disk I downloaded will not support on the SoftPaq version and so on...

    For this reason I hope to find someone who has more experience with this, and can help me further.. I almost give up trying to get this beautiful machine working again.

    Thanks for reading!


    Use the diagnostics disk.

    You can make one from this file: (Setup)

    ALso get this one: (Test)

    Instructions here:

    There is also a set of compaq disks which contains various configuration and diagnostic disks (older versions) here:

    Not sure if a HDD without block mode will work.


      Dear Kyodai,

      Thank you so much for your kind help! Vielen dank!!

      I tried SoftPaq 1363 before. After booting, I'll get the message "The SETUP program does not support this machine"

      The set of Compaq disks seem to be a lot more effective.. thanks! But..

      After running "Compaq EISA Configuration Utility Ver. 2.06" disk, I'll choose "Configure computer" from the menu. Unfortunately, after loading I'll get this message:

      When choosing "Continue" brings me to the main menu again...

      So it seems like the owner before used newer software that avoids me to configure the system. Any idea how to fix this? Will a bios reset help?

      I hope to hear from you. Thanks in advance!


        Go here and download the PDF:

        On the last page SW6 allows the configuration to be overridden, by your setup version.



          Originally posted by ldkraemer View Post
          Go here and download the PDF:

          On the last page SW6 allows the configuration to be overridden, by your setup version.

          Thanks Larry, I'm going to try this and let you know!!


            Thanks Larry, it seems like I can go further in setup.. However, the software warns me that the version is not compatible to the hardware..

            In attached image, you can see the different windows i'll get through.

            Screen 1: I can now just press enter, and it leads me through screen 2;
            Screen 2: When I press escape, it leads me to screen 3;
            Screen 3: It seems like there is no right CFG file that matches the system board. When I press ENTER leads me to screen 4;
            Screen 4: I can select the right CFG file out of this list. I tried them all, but none matches my system board.

            My system is a Compaq Portable 486/66 (so no color), Series 2711.

            Can anybody help me further to get the right config file?
            Thanks in advance!



            Last edited by hagelaars; June 28, 2016, 07:24 AM.


              Maybe try these:
              What about SP1363.EXE from

              & maybe SP1456.EXE

              Maybe SP2054.EXE



              That is about all I can find.



                Dear Larry,

                Thanks again for your help, already tried those.. they al don't work.. But thanks for your effort.

                I hope someone can find the right CFG file that suits my system board.


                  Finally I found the right SoftPaq! SP1855 does the job! It's an older version of the configuration utility..
                  One step further, but again another issue..

                  Yesterday I runned the config utility of this SoftPaq. I couldnt save the new settings for some reason, so I decided to reboot and run the utility again.. The utility uses MS-DOS, and with booting the system stopped when it tries to load DOS. I tried another DOS boot disk, but it gives the same problem..!

                  Anyone common with this issue?

                  Thanks again!