help (re) booting xenix after cmos battery failure

Eric J Korpela korpela at
Thu Oct 2 22:20:09 CDT 2008

The Linux sysv file system (as it existed a couple years ago) would
mount a clean 80386 Xenix partition if given the proper flags.  You
should mount read only.  I have fortunately never had to try it on a
dirty filesystem.

On Thu, Oct 2, 2008 at 2:25 AM, Gordon J. C. Pearce MM3YEQ
<gordonjcp at> wrote:
> On Wed, 2008-10-01 at 21:24 -0400, Brad Parker wrote:
>> A friend of a friend has an old xenix machine; Compaq DeskPro 386
>> running Xenix.  He shut if off after running for years and it won't
>> boot because the cmos battery is dead.
>> The disk is an ESDI drive attached to a Compaq ESDI/FLPY controller
>> (copyright 1989) ISA bus card.
>> He says can't see any way to enter a "setup" mode in the BIOS.
>> Anyone know how to fix this?
> Argh.  I used to know this.  If it's like my 386N then you need to hit a
> key - possibly F12 - when the cursor scoots across to the right-hand
> side of the screen.  You've got about a second to do this.  Don't blink.
>> apparently it has his Alfa Romeo motor club data on it (so it's clearly
>> +10yo :-)
> It's probably well outlived most of the 10-year-old Alfas, although
> there's an early 80s one parked near my office that's not quite a Tetley
> teabag yet.
>> Anyone know if the xenix fs can be mounted on linux? (I doubt it, but
>> I thought I'd ask)
> Probably.  As someone else mentioned, SysV rings a faint bell.  There's
> bound to be some way to do it.
> At worst you can dd off the entire image and play with the image,
> leaving the disk alone.
> Gordon

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