Compaq Portable - Software

cml37

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Quite possibly, you'll find what you need in the form of a SoftPaq... though I am not sure how far back they go. When I was a Compaq service tech in the 486/Pentium era, they had SoftPaqs for everything.

I think that HP has long taken them off of their server, but they have been archived elsewhere. Check out the link below. You can search through the text files on the server to find SoftPaqs for your machine. Sadly, they are not indexed like they used to be back in the day, but with some hunting, you can find all of the SoftPaqs that originally pertained to your system.

Site: http://cwcyrix.nsupdate.info/ftp-archives/ftp.compaq.com/pub/softpaq/allfiles.txt

I have a Compaq DeskPro 6000. I love that system!

I'm still on the hunt for a nice LTE 5000 series. Someday, someday...
 

Akimori

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Quite possibly, you'll find what you need in the form of a SoftPaq... though I am not sure how far back they go. When I was a Compaq service tech in the 486/Pentium era, they had SoftPaqs for everything.

I think that HP has long taken them off of their server, but they have been archived elsewhere. Check out the link below. You can search through the text files on the server to find SoftPaqs for your machine. Sadly, they are not indexed like they used to be back in the day, but with some hunting, you can find all of the SoftPaqs that originally pertained to your system.

Site: http://cwcyrix.nsupdate.info/ftp-archives/ftp.compaq.com/pub/softpaq/allfiles.txt

I have a Compaq DeskPro 6000. I love that system!

I'm still on the hunt for a nice LTE 5000 series. Someday, someday...
It appears there is nothing available there for the 8088 Compaq Portable, only the 80486 version, I need it for the 8088
 

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Markeno

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I guess maybe it used Compaq Dos "Compaq-DOS 1.12, a Compaq OEM version of MS-DOS (1.25 or higher) " I used to use versions of DOS 3.x on the old IBM and the IBM Portable which are long gone now. The non Compaq Branded DOS should work on it. Newer versions of DOS were then made to work off of harddrives, therefore they were larger and included more programs, but won't completely fit on a floppy disk, and certainly not a 5.25" Floppy. You could still make a boot disk from even 6.22 though I never did for a 5.25" drive. Then again maybe I did and forgot, I was a kid..

I wouldn't think there is much "specific" software for it, just the Compaq Branded Dos version. As to what it can run, whatever an 8088 with the amount of ram it has, and the display type it is has the most to do with that. There may be some setting programs or something like IBM used to do to do stuff like change BIOS type configurations for it though, but I don't know what that there are any settings to change and that it isn't all hardware based. I don't know about them specifically.
 
May 22, 2019
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Compaq DOS 3.31 is the one you're looking for. This is the best version for 8086 and 8088 powered PCs.

 
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May 22, 2019
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It appears there is nothing available there for the 8088 Compaq Portable, only the 80486 version, I need it for the 8088
That's just like mine! :)

The system doesn't turn on right now - I don't even get the background glow on the CRT, so I think the power supply is shot. I'm thinking of pulling out all of the inside parts and replacing them with modern hardware. In my more insidious moments, I've thought about putting in a MISTer running the ao486 core.
 

Akimori

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That's just like mine! :)

The system doesn't turn on right now - I don't even get the background glow on the CRT, so I think the power supply is shot. I'm thinking of pulling out all of the inside parts and replacing them with modern hardware. In my more insidious moments, I've thought about putting in a MISTer running the ao486 core.
It's probably the tantalum capacitors on the motherboard and drive controller, mine would not power on due to the capacitors overloading the psu. interestingly the PSU, Video card, and VDU were completely fine.
The PSU powers both the computer and VDU so you can try unplugging the motherboard and drives, leave it off for a few minutes and then try turning it on.
Watch for the filament glow on the neck of the CRT, if it glows after a moment then it should be good, the PSU fan might need a nudge to get it going as well.
If this works then try plugging it into the motherboard, if it fails then replace the caps, then proceed to try powering it up adding one device at a time to isolate any further issues.

Let me know the results.
 

Akimori

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Compaq DOS 3.31 is the one you're looking for. This is the best version for 8086 and 8088 powered PCs.

So now I have discovered I cannot format a 360K diskette with windows 10 which greatly complicates getting the disk image from the internet to the floppy.
 
May 22, 2019
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So now I have discovered I cannot format a 360K diskette with windows 10 which greatly complicates getting the disk image from the internet to the floppy.
Do you have a 360K drive that works on a Windows 10 compatible motherboard? A 1.2MB drive won't work.

I'd probably look at something like a GoTek. I picked one up a few months ago for DOS work, and it does the job. The only problem is that I'm not sure if the Compaq floppy BIOS can drive a 3.5" diskette. This will probably take some research to figure out.
 

Akimori

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Do you have a 360K drive that works on a Windows 10 compatible motherboard? A 1.2MB drive won't work.

I'd probably look at something like a GoTek. I picked one up a few months ago for DOS work, and it does the job. The only problem is that I'm not sure if the Compaq floppy BIOS can drive a 3.5" diskette. This will probably take some research to figure out.
My motherboard supports 360k and 1.2m 5.25 drives and all 3.5 drives, however if I try to format a 5.25 drive windows 10 gives an input/output error.
It also has a number of other issues with the older 5.25 drives such as getting data stuck in the cache even after manually shorting the disk change signal.
Seems it can read a formatted 5.25 disk but that's about it, 3.5 disks are fully functional. (and yes I configured the BIOS accordingly when changing floppy drives)
I had first tried an old 360K drive I had on a shelf and after that wouldn't work I tried connecting directly to the drives in the Compaq and had the exact same problem with both of those.
I might need someone else to do it who has a compatible system and send me the disks. Or I might be able to get a Windows 98 machine to do it if I can get a floppy image writer for it.

Also I've used GoTek floppy emulators, not much of a fan.
 
May 22, 2019
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Yeah, i don't even think I'd try to use an onboard floppy controller with Windows 10 at this point.

If you can connect areal 360K drive (not a 1.2M drive) to a Windows 9x or XP machine, that will be your best bet.


I'm not a fan of the GoTek, either. In fact, I kind of hate it... but it's at least a reliable way of getting a bootable OS loaded on to my DOS machine.
 

Akimori

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So after several hours of messing with hardware and configurations so far no version of DOS I have found (last tried 2.12) will boot on the Compaq.
I have been able to connect the Compaq's drives to a Pentium computer and DOS 2.12 booted fine on it so I know the drives are good and the disks I have been writing are good, the Compaq just won't boot from them. It gives an error in whatever language the OS is saying floppy disk fail or some variant so it is definitely able to at least read far enough to get language data.
The BIOS gives errors in English which is how I know for sure this error was read from the diskette.

Additionally it has been giving an error code AB 301 which I cannot find in the resources I currently have. This started after swapping the drives around in an attempt to see if one was bad (currently back to how they originally were).
Again, they are currently in the Compaq and I am able to use an extension cable to plug them into a Pentium machine and boot from them fine.

EDIT: Ok so it seems the 1.2M drive I had used to write them wasn't providing the real 360K drives with a good enough data track.
I did more testing and was able to get one of the 360K drives to format and write the boot disk, it seems drive B might have an issue (I did have to do some work to it when I first got the computer, spindle was jammed) but drive A seems all good. Apparently even 98 has issues with actual 360K drives, invalid instructions and illegal operation errors, however I was able to get an alternative program to forcibly write it (even though it had a weird hardware issue and swapped drive addresses).
I now no longer get the odd error code (in fact no error codes appear) and it boots.
As a result of all that, I have discovered a section of the keyboard does not work but I think I can fix that easily.

EDIT: So apparently not so easy, I need to find replacement contact film or something for it because it's not switches or membrane. Apparently diodes work too but I'd like to avoid having to modify it.
 

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May 22, 2019
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Ok so it seems the 1.2M drive I had used to write them wasn't providing the real 360K drives with a good enough data track.
yeah, that's why I kept saying "360K drive." 1.2MB drives cannot write a disk that can be reliably read on a 360K drive. If I recall, this is because the write head creates a narrower track, but it's been a while since I've messed with floppy diskettes, especially 5.25" models.
 

Akimori

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Alrighty, So I have restored the keyboard and now I'm back to the main system, I'm suspecting a faulty chip but I'm having not much luck with the error codes, I get 55 301 most of the time (sometimes AB 301 or FD 301) which I'm not finding in the documentation I can find, one time I got Parity Error 1 once which suggests a memory chip issue but no error for location, and I sometimes get nonsense on keyboard input (shows garbage on the screen) even though the keyboard is working correctly and it gets worse the longer it's on.

EDIT: Managed to run several diagnostics passes and found nothing wrong. I might just start replacing chips on the keyboard interface until the problem stops unless someone can provide more information.

EDIT: So it seems to only mess up if the keyboard tries to send too much data at once (like holding and waiting for the typematic repeat, presing and releasing a button too quickly or too many times in a short period or pressing multiple keys at once) and stays messed up unless you either do a cold boot or know exactly which keys it thinks are still being pressed and press them accordingly to send the key-release code (discovered that in keyboard diagnostics and proceeded to experiment)
 
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