VOGONS


First post, by Pajeroking

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Hello,

After asking some questions in this post : Your opinion on buying my first "Retro" PC .....

.......

I bought my first "Retro PC".

I remember the old days when i had a 386 and i played GP2, Duke Nukem and Another World. So my objective with this PC will be creating a DOS Machine that will run as many games from the '90s.

Specs:
- Pentium MMX - 233 mHz;
- Genius Sound Card ISA ;
- 2 mb GPU.
- Price :~ 20$.

But nothing is perfect. There is no Hard Drive.
After arriving home, i started opening it up and cleaning as much as possible. The upper right pin from the front panel was missing and i also broke the lower right one.
The controller board which was attached to a metal plate was very hard to remove and reinstall after cleaning.
The floppy disk had no screws so it's not fixed in place, it's sliding all over its bracket.
Neverteless, after removing all components one by one, cleaning them and reassimbling them, the PC started. I was finding it very strange that only the PSU fan was spinning. DUUUH, there is no active cooling on the CPU and GPU, that's why 😁.

So, next step is to find and IDE/ATA hard and maybe a CRT monitor. After that, and supposing everything works, i need to find a way to write OS/games on disks. I guess a easy way is to buy an external Floppy disk, "burn" the software using my modern PC, and then install it on my retro one.

I think that's all for today, sorry for my rambling, it's 2 AM and i just finished cleaning the damn thing.
Big success, excepting the broken pins on the front panel and the fact that the upper metal cover does not slide into place perfectly. No worries, for 20$ i was not having too high expectations.

I will update this thread once i make progress.

--
Andi

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Last edited by Pajeroking on 2020-10-08, 22:46. Edited 1 time in total.

Reply 1 of 11, by Pajeroking

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More pics

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Reply 2 of 11, by Pajeroking

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And more pics 😁

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Reply 3 of 11, by Pajeroking

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Hello again,

So, next day and another 40 bucks spent ( as with old cars, you need money to buy it, and more money to make the darn think to work properly) i bought a 1 GB IDE Hard Drive, bunch on floppies, RAM sticks and 1 USB Floppy Disk.
The hard had Win 98 installed and the first thing that i noticed was it seems there is no MS DOS on the machine. Can you install Windows without having DOS first?
Anyway, after plugging in the Floppy Drive and the CD Drive as well, the Windows does not boot anymore, i get the "Type the name of the command interpreter" error.
It doesn't matter, i want to install MS DOS either way. I tried creating a MS DOS bootable floppy but apparently Win 10 on my modern PC does not have that feature.
Tomorrow i will try making a bootable USB to see if the USB slots from the Deskpro4000 recognizes anything. If not, i think i need to install an older Windows (XP) on another PC and create a bootable Floppy from there.
My second problem is that the Compaq does not have the BIOS installed. I found the software that apparently installs the BIOS menu but again, i cannot create a bootable floppy. I tried simply copying the Executable on a Floppy but when booting the Compaq it just says " Please remove any media. Press any key to continue".
I am a bit rusty with old software so any piece of advice is highly appreciated.

Have a great day,
Andi

Reply 5 of 11, by waterbeesje

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Just make sure to get a few things at hand:
- Windows 98 CDROM
- Windows 98 startup disk image (Google is your friend)
- the program winimage (30day trial will do)
- Verified good floppy disk

I guess it's legal to get a win 98 floppy image from the net if you own a win98 license... In case you worry about this. I also think ms wouldn't mind.

Write the Windows startup disk image to a floppy disk using winimage. Copying files won't do, it won't write the boot sector.
Enable write protect on the floppy disk, just in case your new hard disk may contain any virus.

Start the computer, boot from w98 floppy disk with fdisk remove any partition on the hard disk. Exit fdisk.
Reboot with same boot disk.
Run fdisk again and create new partition.
Reboot, make sure to boot with CDROM driver enabled, and format hard drive.
Go to CDROM drive and install windows 😀

To get there bios into the hard disk I'm not sure. Usually Compaq had a setup file ("softpaq") to create a floppy that installs the bios into the hard disk. Most softpaq files are still available for free on the HP website, but searching for the right one can be a pain.
The procedure could be a little different from here 😀

Stuck at 10MHz...

Reply 6 of 11, by Pajeroking

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Hello,

@Waterbeesje : At the moment i only want to install MS Dos, no need for Windows.
So, i made some progress.
I was able to create 3 working floppy disk with MS-Dos Version 6 using winimage.
The PC sees the bootable floppy at start but it says "Unable to install MS DOS. This might be because of a bad HDD/Cables or because you are missing some software/drivers". The Hard is working so i am pretty sure it's because the PC does not have the Bios installed. Furthermore if i write fdisk i get the "No fixed disk present" error. Again that makes me think without Bios installed I am unable to do much.
I found a way to install the Bios, down below, but i have not tried creating a bootable floppy using Win7 (you have that option there, unlike Win 10). I will try this step next and will let you know.
Pretty tricky so far, but i will get the hang of this.

http://seriss.com/people/erco/compaq-deskpro-2000/

I will keep you up to date.

--
Andi

Reply 7 of 11, by Hezus

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It's quite annoying how these Compaq systems still used diagnostic programs for their BIOS settings instead of a proper bios menu. I can image that on a 80s XT class machine, but not a 90s Pentium system. Ah well, at least you can still download the floppy disk images.

As soon as you've set up the HDD in the bios, you should be able to use install MSDOS. Good luck with the build!

Reply 8 of 11, by chinny22

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That's actually a really good guide.

I know a lot of the old Compaq softpaq's don't like Windows x64 and this has no chance booting off USB, but if you have a XP PC with a disk drive you should be on the right track again.

Reply 9 of 11, by Pajeroking

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chinny22 wrote on 2020-10-12, 12:29:

That's actually a really good guide.

I know a lot of the old Compaq softpaq's don't like Windows x64 and this has no chance booting off USB, but if you have a XP PC with a disk drive you should be on the right track again.

Unfortunately i only have a Win 7. The Floppy has the option to "Create an MS-DOS startup disk" but it writes some bunch of files on the floppy and it's kind of confusing. I need to investigate the problem more.

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Reply 10 of 11, by Pajeroking

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So, I made some progress, but i did not fix the problem.
I tried creating a bootable Floppy like Debs told me, and the floppy boots and the install starts. But i understood how this shit works, when you run the "Driver".EXE, it only unzips and install the true driver (ROMPAQ) to another Floppy. So, i cannot install it because i need two floppy disks. the first exe installs the program to another floppy at the same time. I tried a bootable CD so when running the installation I can install it on a blank Floppy, but unfortunately the CD does not boot. It starts spinning, the ~ appears flashing, but then nothing happens and enters a "loading loop".

I also tried installing DOS BOX on my Win 10 PC, i mounted both installation folder and my external USB floppy disk. I am able to start the wizard, and when it prompts me to enter a floppy into A , it just says "Unable to recognize media" when entering a blank floppy.

Now, i have 2 options left. I either Install Win XP on another computer so i can run that exe and burn the Floppy and then use the floppy with ROMPAQ to boot the damn COMPAQ.
Or i can ask somebody in the Bucharest area who has access to an older windows and a floppy disk to run the installer for me so i can write the floppy and boot the darn thing.
Other than that, i am out of ideas.
Hope you understood the problem.

Thanks again,
Andi

Reply 11 of 11, by chinny22

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Both your posts were getting painful for what only takes 5 minutes on my retro fleet, Actually surprised no ones done this already.

I've repacked the disk creation tool so you should now be able to create a disk in x64 version of windows.
Creating the disk tested fine on my Win7 machine but don't have a Deskpro to test further.

Let me know how it goes and if it works I'll post it to vogondrivers, can only see this becoming more and more common

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