Forum Rules and 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.

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.
  • 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.
  • Do not "necro-post" unless you are following up to a specific person on a specific thread. And even then, that person may have moved on. Just start a new thread for your related topic.
  • 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:
  • "PM Sent!": Do not tell the rest of us that you sent a PM ... the forum software will tell the other person that they have a PM waiting.
  • "How much is shipping to ....": This is a very specific and directed question that is not of interest to anybody else.

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.
  • 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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Compaq Portable ii boot disk

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    Compaq Portable ii boot disk

    Picked up a very nice Compaq Portable ii today. Doesn't want to boot off the provided boot disk. I found this executable file (SP0316.exe) googling around. It seems to unpack two more files when you run it. I am assuming they are disk images that I should be able to just write to a 360K disk in my 5170?? Doesn't seem to be working. Get a "non-system disk or disk error" when I power on.

    The two unpacked files have kind of strange extensions. Not something I have seen on a normal disk image before.

    The unpacked files are


    Any help is greatly appreciated. Thanks, Chris

    They're in Compaq QRST (Quick Release Sector Transfer) format. You'll need to write them to a floppy using Compaq's tool (qrst.exe) or LibDsk.


      Found it, thanks.

      That is what I get for running the extraction in a folder that already had some files in it. Didn't even see that little QRST file hiding in plain sight. Making disks now, wish me luck


        No luck with the new disks. Guess I need to accept the possibility that if could be the drive that is the problem.

        Any recommendations? The drive light comes on like it's trying to read the disk. Then it gives a "non-system disk or disk error" message.

        I should also add that the CMOS battery is out. Was dead as a door knob. Wouldn't think that would stop it from booting up though?


          If your Portable II has the push-button floppy drive, make sure you push the button in after inserting the disk, this clamps the spindle and moves the heads into position...

          Ask me how I know... :P

          BTW, I've read that if the battery is too low to hold the settings, you can put a AA alkaline in place... it will hold the settings but the clock will run slow. The Tadiran 3V lithium battery is available on Amazon.

          My 20MB hard drive is bad, but I put a compact flash to IDE adapter in one of the card slots and it works great with a 1GB Sandisk CF card being used as a 503 MB hard drive.


            Yeah, I figured out the push button about an hour ago. Boots up fine now. I did just order a new battery from Amazon a few minutes ago. May try sticking an AA in to see if it will hold the settings short term till the new battery arrives. Would make it easier to play with if I don't have to go through the setup every time I turn it on. Machine seems like it has seen remarkably little use. Doesn't even have the usual dust collected inside the power supply. Still need to wipe it down and scrub a little but expect it will clean up very nicely. Only real flaw is the cracked and deteriorating keyboard cable. All of the keys seem to work for now. Guess we will see how long those foam discs hold up. Any ideas on where to source a new keyboard cable??


              Does anyone know if the keyboard cable is the same between the Compaq Plus and Compaq II?