of mine (read as a friend of a friend) rang me one evening.
He came right to the point and asked me if I wanted a Pentium Laptop.
I looked at my humble little 486 Laptop sitting there.... and
said to him that I would love to have it.
(Apparently it didn't work and he was going to throw it on the tip!)
week later, the fellow turned up with the Laptop computer, a mouse, a
plug-pack, a disk and some cables.
The computer turned out to be an old Compaq machine.
It looked attractive, had stereo sound, and a CD ROM drive.
Definitely a step up from the old 486 Laptop!
The power supply was also built-in which meant no more power pack
lying around to be tripped over.
told me he had already tried it, (as we set it up).
All it did was flash a number on the top left-hand corner of the screen.
He thought he got it to boot up once from his floppy (a DOS 6.2 boot
I had a collection of assorted bootable disks to hand and was thinking
along the lines of installing either Windows 95 or Windows 98.
The number in the corner of the screen turned out to be the on board
48 Megabytes in this case.
something not quite right about it when I switched it on, but I
couldn't quite think of what it was.
It definitely wouldn't boot off the hard disk, and it took several
attempts to get it to boot from a floppy.
When it finally did, it reported that no fixed disks were
present, nor did the CD ROM work!
A poor little sick computer indeed!
I thought that its BIOS had got scrambled but, neither I nor the
friend could figure out what key/s got it into the CMOS setup program.
After a cuppa and half an hour, we gave up. My
friend went home.
still nagging me about it when I decided to tackle it again.
I remembered a trick I'd use with other computers with dodgy BIOS setup
If the back-up battery is removed for a while, it would have to go to
At least that was my hope.
Removing the keyboard gave access to the back-up battery and also
allowed me to check everything else.
I disconnected the battery, checked the voltage, and convinced myself
that there WAS a hard disk present!
it up again, this time the memory count started at zero and
slowly went up.
It then informed me that the default settings were now loaded.
That was it! Still no setup menu or screen
That nagging feeling suddenly became a dull roar!
The Hard Disk wasn't working!
I know laptop hard disks are usually very quiet but...
Nothing! It was as dead as a
I wanted to see what size it was anyway and so it was
It turned out to be a mini IDE style unit of 1.2GB capacity.
a note of the hard disk parameters and examined the contacts.
There was an adapter to convert the IDE connections to their own style of connector.
I gave the plugs and sockets a clean. I
then reinstalled the hard disk and fired the beast up.
Bingo! We now had the gentle whir and clicking
noises of a working hard disk!
I did the amnesia trick again and this time, it picked up the hard disk
as type 65.... So far so good!
let it run without the bootable floppy disk to see what would
The little hard disk icon flashed away and, lo and
behold, Windows 98 flashed on the screen!
I opened and closed a few icons and then it froze
up! "I am
making progress" I thought to myself!
I then ran "scandisk" off the booting floppy and it came back with the
After a few attempts, I got Windows to run long enough to run
"defrag"... Man, what a mess!
It took two & a half hours (no kidding) to sort it all
out! No wonder Windows froze up!
After that it worked fine. Plenty of stuff on
it and, about 200MB free.
It turned out to be a 133MHz Pentium 1. Not
exactly a speed machine but good enough for me.
program turned out to be on the hard disk, on its own little
I found all this out on the internet, plus, I downloaded the
Diagnostics and Set-up programs as well.
The web site also had a discussion session about this computer.
"F10" was nominated as the key to get to the setup utility.
Apparently HP took over Compaq computers and all this appears on their web site now.
My "new" laptop is up and running. I now use it
to write these ramblings!