VOGONS


First post, by xboingx

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Hi,

I hope it's not against any rules here and this is a right forum.

I have a problem. I managed to get my hands on working examples of the following old laptops:

Compaq Armada M700 (AM7 P3700T4X12VC64N2 - dual Windows NT/Windows 2000 install)
Dell Latitude C640 (Windows XP)
Compaq Presario A900 (Windows Vista Home Basic 32bit)
MSI GX600 (MS-163A version, Windows Vista Home Premium)

I would like to restore them to their original factory conditions (including software). Those computers were reinstalled multiple times and as such they have their recovery partitions/recovery cds lost. Dell laptop is not a problem, as I have recovery CD from other dell systems that work, however the original image would be better, The Presario and GX600 can be reinstalled using standard vista systems (minus activation problems as the servers no longer works) but once again the original branded image would be better. The Armada is the biggest problem as even the bios setup utility was located on a special partition on the HDD (the BIOS is very minimal and does not allow to setup anything, even date).

So the question is: do any of you have access to images of original HDDs/recovery CDs? Every help would be appreciated. I found image of setup partition for the Armada but the system refuses to bat the image 🙁 The systems have all the required stickers etc. I just need the software to install the OS and activate it properly.

Reply 1 of 6, by Jo22

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Hi, the Compaqs had their "BIOS" (the CMOS Setup Utility) on a hidden partition.
It usually looked similar to the WinBIOSes. Perhaps, because they sometimes used a real - albeit cut-down - copy of Windows 3.1, actually. 😀

Speaking of them, I remember that my Compaq SLT/286 also had a setup diskette.
It predated Windows 3.x, so it did not have a Win3-ish GUI yet.

My Pentium 75(?) also had its CMOS tool on a secret partition.
Back in early 2000 (or was it in '99 ?) I called Compaq's hotline because of this.
Unfortunatelly, they had no idea what I was talking about and so they couldn't help me.
And I tried so hard to explain them my problem.. *sigh*

Anyway, the ROMpaqs and SOFTpags can be found on the HP servers. ^^
They include some self-extractors, which do create bootable disks.
With them, you can re-create the hidden setup partitions.

Upgrading Compaq Deskpro

"Time, it seems, doesn't flow. For some it's fast, for some it's slow.
In what to one race is no time at all, another race can rise and fall..." - The Minstrel

//My video channel//

Reply 2 of 6, by Stiletto

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For 90's-early 00's HP/Compaq systems, is it no longer possible to order recovery discs?
http://support.hp.com/us-en/document/bph07143
http://support.hp.com/us-en/document/c00707939
http://partsurfer.hp.com/
https://parts.hp.com/hpparts/CountryChoice.as … ode=ZZ&lcode=ZZ
... I STRONGLY doubt you will find them pirated.

Anyhow, what you really need is the part numbers for the discs.

Back when VOGONS was new, I worked for an HP/Compaq authorized service center. We subscribed to their partner program (forget what it was called) and got hundreds of CDs/DVDs mailed to us yearly in huge binders for restoring any system they had. Eventually we quit the program or they discontinued it, I forget which.

If there's still such things as HP/Compaq authorized service centers, find one that's been around since your machines were new. They may still have an old crusty technician with binders full of discs.

Best case scenario, you find out what part numbers for restore discs your Compaqs used, and that helps you find a source for discs on the Internet.

But it will be extremely challenging.

"I see a little silhouette-o of a man, Scaramouche, Scaramouche, will you
do the Fandango!" - Queen

Stiletto

Reply 3 of 6, by xboingx

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Thank you for all the links.I'll try to somehow upload them, especially that the system does not have a floppy drive (only dvd).

Getting the recovery images will be hard, especially in Poland... However thank you for the information and the links, they are a good start.

Reply 4 of 6, by Tommaso72

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I was looking through my original OEM CD collection and I found one of the install disks that came with a system you need software for. It is for the DELL Latitude C540 and C640. I donèt know if your still interested, let me know.

Tommaso

Reply 6 of 6, by xboingx

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Bump 😀

Ok, there is little progress. In regards of the Armada so far I only managed to upgrade the bios itself. I downloaded Softpaqs for diagnostics and setup. The diagnostics work, however there is no option to restore the recovery partition. The setup disk boots but it cannot enter the setup (error in setup.exe) and transfer to hdd does not work as there is no recovery partition...

I found the recovery disks on ebay. The seller does not marked my country as the possible destinations and is not responding to the PM's. Nevertheless the postage costs would be an overkill. The auction allowed me however to find the part numbers. I hope it will help somehow, but yet the Internet gives nothing 🙁 Those disks are: 195249-001/W2K - DISK1, 195291-001/W2K - DISK2, 227086-A11/W2KSP1 - for recovery purposes, 195247-001/NT4.

I'm still looking for disks for the other two systems.