Compaq diagnostic disks
tpeters at mixcom.com
Tue Jun 13 17:39:06 CDT 2006
At 05:03 PM 6/13/2006 -0500, you wrote:
>Hello All. I've recently acquired a Compaq Portable III (286, cool gas
>plasma display) and am having some problems with the hard drive. After
>powering up, the system says to insert a diagnostic disk in drive A. If I
>choose "Resume" by hitting the F1 key, it will boot PC-DOS just fine from
>the floppy drive (1.2 MB, 5.25") although it complains about the time and
>date not being set. The system doesn't show a C drive, however, and FDISK
>also says there is no hard disk. Here is my question - do I need these
>diagnostic disks to setup the hard drive on this system? Or is the hard
>disk just dead? Does anyone have a copy of the disks? Thanks for any
>help. John Reeve
Usually, there is no onboard bios setup code-- you had to have the blasted
diag disk. The big mistake many people make is using a non-Compaq hard disk
tool to partition the hard disk. Compaq creates a small dedicated partition
on the hard disk and stores the setup disk there, and sometimes the
If the setup code is present, you can access it by watching the screen
after the POST. At one point, the cursor will jump to the upper right
corner of the screen, and sit there for about 2 seconds. If you hit the
magic key when the cursor is sitting there, you should get the
setup/diagnostics menu, if the Compaq Diagnostic partition is still present.
The magic key is, hmmm, I forget. I think it's F10. Might be F1. ESC? Don't
think it's DEL.
If there's really no hard disk, then you'll have to download the disks from
the HPaq (Hp, formerly Compaq) web site and use another PC to build the
disks. They make you jump through numerous hoops-- download a zip file,
unzip it, sometimes to discover the zip file had multiple zip files in it,
run the program, which asks for a blank floppy...
When looking for the software, use the PC model number, not "Portable III".
There's a model number like 5166-10 or something (well, that's for a
Pentium II) but you get the idea.
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