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.)
  • 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.

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.

"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.

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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Reset the BIOS in an IBM PS/2

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    Reset the BIOS in an IBM PS/2

    The BIOS in a PS/2 is maintained by the CMOS battery. When this battery fails the BIOS is lost and must be reset. Resetting the BIOS varies depending on the specific model though all models require a reference diskette to restore the BIOS, if your computer did not come with one, you can find them here: [footnote][/footnote].
    How to identify the problem

    If an IBM PS/2 shows error's 161 and 163 in POST then this guide should be used, if not and other error cods are seen please consult the forum here:[footnote][/footnote]. Error 161 is a dead CMOS battery. Error 163 is called configuration error and usually occurs when the BIOS is reset from a dead battery. Usually the PS/2 will also show a message that looks like a crossed out ok with an arrow pointing to a stack of books.
    How do I repair the problem

    This problem can be resolved in a number of ways, varying depending on the model. BEFORE you start the procedure below I recommend testing the diskette image from the website above to confirm that the disk image is correct and that the drive itself is operational (any mechanical device is prone to failure).
    1ownload the reference disk on another computer, run the file and follow the on screen instructions to make a reference diskette for your specific PS/2.

    2:Test the reference disk to confirm operation.

    3:Open the computer (Take note of any removed screws/IC's), in most cases you will see a visible battery, in some cases however such as in a PS/2 model 55sx a Dallas clock module was used containing the battery. If the battery is visible, order a replacement and install in the computer. If you have a Dallas clock module see here: [footnote][/footnote]

    4:Once step 3 is completed, reassemble the computer being careful to note the placement of screws and any removed cards/semiconductors.

    5:Start the computer, if step 3 was done correctly error 161 should no longer be present, though error 163 will appear.

    6:Turn off the computer, place the reference diskette you created in step 1 in the drive of your PS/2.

    7:Turn the computer on, this time error 161 will appear, but the computer will then load the BIOS off the disk.

    8:The diskette should allow you to restore the BIOS, do so now.

    9:Allow the computer to restart normally, your computer should if you followed the steps above boot into the Operating System on the disk (if present).

    Hi: I have a P/S 2 Model 55X, that needed the Dallas Clock Module, I replaced it and then used the reference Disk to get rid of errors 161, 162, now i get an error 165 (options not set), I run the automatic configuration and it tells me that I need a file for a card installed in slot number 4, I don't have that file, so my question is how do it get around this problem??


      I assume that you've looked for the .ADF that's required here or here


        Error 165

        Originally posted by Chuck(G) View Post
        I assume that you've looked for the .ADF that's required here or here
        I did look but don not which ADF file I need, and I don't know where SLOT 4 for is, my computer has only 3 slots.


          I don't have any option cards installed on the computer, so I don't know which ADF file to download, also the message says this adapter is on slot 4 but I only see 3 slots on my particular machine.


            Originally posted by lancelot1959 View Post
            I don't have any option cards installed on the computer, so I don't know which ADF file to download, also the message says this adapter is on slot 4 but I only see 3 slots on my particular machine.
            Your Model 55SX has only three slots. The fourth "slot" is actually connected to the hard drive via a long cable running from the top of the expansion slot riser and its 72 pin connector over to the hard drive. The hard drive is basically connected via a pared-down Microchannel slot to the rest of the system.

            As the hard drive and controller were both made by IBM, their ADF (and diagnostics) files are already on the reference diskette. If you are getting this error, the hard drive may be bad or its connection is faulty. A common problem is that of the mylar ribbon cable--it can be easily torn if mishandled.

            You may also have one of the (rare!) aftermarket riser cards that was made for the 55SX to enable the use of a standard IDE hard disk. Procom Technology manufactured such a thing. In that case, there will likely be several ICs on the riser board and the 72 pin connector that should be at the top may not be there any longer. If you have one of these, you will need to find a separate ADF. The QBMCA software, which can be turned up with a web search, can be downloaded and placed on a bootable floppy diskette. As long as the floppy disk drive works, it will tell you exactly what ADF you require.