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 SLT/286 Diagnostic Disk

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    Compaq SLT/286 Diagnostic Disk

    Hello All,

    I have recently purchased a Compaq SLT/286 from Sphock. The seller sent me a video of the computer attempting to boot, it currently has no OS or a faulty hard drive so sits with the “NON SYSYEM DISK OR DISK ERROR” however another things I noticed was a configuration message after the memory check “SYSTEM OPTIONS NOT SET, INSERT DIAGNOSTICS DISKETTE INTO A:” I understand that this message is raised when the CMOS battery goes flat, due to it been one of the infamous Dallas clock chips I know that I will have to do some slight modification to get this working.

    The computers comes with no software and I wondered if anyone had or knew where I could get a disk image of the Compaq SLT/286 Diagnostic Diskette to write onto a floppy disk so that I can try to get this item back up and running?

    Many Thanks,



    Did you ever find a diagnostic disk? I need one too.
    Sattinger's Law: “It works better if you plug it in.” Corollary: “It works even better if you plug it in correctly.”
    "The simplest solution is the most likely solution." --My paraphrase of Occam's Razor
    "You can get [a computer] like yours at a garage sale for, like, fifteen dollars," --Strong Sad, sbemail #33


      Download and write this to a 720k 3.5” disk.

      Edit: wait, that may be a modified one, as it says “conversion of the official.” there’s another on this page:

      Ignore that it says “Deskpro 386S specific,” there’s no such disk. Compaq diagnostics are universal.
      Last edited by compaqportableplus; November 26, 2021, 02:00 PM.
      Compaq - It simply works better


        For COMPAQ SLT/286 (and certain others - see [here]):

        OPTION 1

        Requirement: A pre-formatted 720K diskette.

        1. Download SP0308.ZIP from [here].
        2. Unzip SP0308.ZIP to get SP0308.EXE
        3. Execute SP0308.EXE, and follow the prompts. That will create files QRST.EXE and DIAGS80B._01
        4. Execute QRST.EXE
        QRST.EXE will take you through a process that makes the pre-formatted 720K diskette a 'SETUP/DIAGNOSTICS Version 8.00 DP256' one.

        OPTION 2

        Alternatively, an image of the above 720K diskette is at [here].
        Use something like Winimage to create the diskette from the image file.


        Post #4 at [here] suggests a possible issue with DOS 6.22