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get into the bios on a compaq

Posted on 2000-03-18
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Last Modified: 2008-03-04
Hi all I need to access the setup (bios) on a compaq deskpro XE 560, and I am told that I have to have a specific key sequence. Del, does nothing, I have lost the operating system, for some strange reason, and the PC is not recognising the C drive when I try to boot and reinstall from a windoes boot disk. I ahve ben  told that in the bios there will be a auto detect for the HD and I need to run that so the HD can be re sat or something, can anyone help? Thanks, Mal.
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Question by:malfisher
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by:tonnybrandt
ID: 2632154
when you start your computer, look for a white square in the upper right corner of your screen. When it appears hit the F10 button. This brings up bios and you're right, there's a diagnostics facility, that will automatically configure the bios, when it autodetects HD, cdrom and the other things in the computer.
Hope this helps.
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by:jjeff1
ID: 2632159
Maybe. The Compaq systems brilliantly put the BIOS on a lot of their computers on the hard drive. So if the hard drive fails, you no longer can get into the BIOS to change anything. However, you should be able to download the BIOS from compaq and run the setup software off a floppy disk.

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by:malfisher
ID: 2632329
Hello Tonny & Jeff

I have tried all types of way to get F10 to access the setup, but all I get when I push it is a keyboard error.(44 something) And on occaision, a blue box at the bottom left of the screen saying to boot, F1, so no luck there, and there is no white box on the screen at any time.

I have been to the compaq site, but as I am no expert, found the description of the downloads were confusing, I have downloaded a diagnositcs which dont seem to want to do anything , A rom firmware update, and F10 setup, none of these mention bios of course but there was nothing else and I am not sure if these are even relevant to my problem (for me they need to put) "here is the bios you need" LOL, But they are for the right model PC. Well, so far no good, any ideas? I am off to bed now it is 2am here in the UK, thanks , Mal
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by:rayt333
ID: 2632378
You can go here to see what is available for your system:
http://www.compaq.com/support/files/desktops/us/10_77.html

This is what you are looking for:
F10 Setup for Older Systems
http://www.compaq.com/support/files/desktops/us/software/220.html

Since you said you already got the F10 setup then you can now see there is very little you can change in the CMOS setup with these computers.

This really sounds like your HD has quit on you, if you cannot see the HD when you boot up to a bootdisk then I would say it has failed on you.
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by:trekie1
ID: 2632509
try the keys,ctrl/alt/esc
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by:jjeff1
ID: 2632533
Ok, you turn the PC off and then back on again, and hit F10 when you see the white box cursor in the upper corner.

The Diagnostics is what you want. You should be able to make a bootable diagnostics disk and boot your PC with it. Run the little instection utility and see if it finds and sets up a hard drive for you.

As long as it finds it it means the system is setup correctly to use the hard drive, but your OS may still be corrupted. You would then be at the point of reinstalling whatever operating system you use.

Also, is the system making any odd noise? Usually hard drives will make noise when they fail.
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by:malfisher
ID: 2633168
Hi Rayt, got those things, and no go, there is not enough memory available to DOS to run the program ! in fact while I was there i also downloaded the firmware update and the diagnostic tool, but again no joy the response to the diag tools was invalid sys disk. C: is recognised, and there is some minor activity at power up, but, when i tried to scandisk it from the win boot disk, it reporetd that it could not. fdisk shows C; as 325 meg. I have also tried to load dos from the boot disk, (worked) but anything at all that I try with the c: is met with invalid media type? So, I am guessing that somehow the boot instructions to the C drive have gone awry, It will load win 98 right up to the registry check, then it halts.
Thanks but it is the disk boot sector I think that has been lost, how I dunno the kids just report to me dad it wont work ?????

Hi Trekie I tried it but it had the same response as all the other combo's nothing but a few beeps, thanks anyway.

Hi Jeff there is no way to actually access the setup, the closest I have got is to disconnect the ide ribbon anf get the sys to repot the erroe, then reconnect and power up, and it found a disk type 65 but even then I had only 2 options, to accept the decision or not to e.g. save the changes, which I did. On the subsequent power up, i got the same response missing O/S blimey! what a ****ter! I have learnt since that with some of this compaq stuff you have to have a special tool to gain access to the setup! Thanks anyway, it looks to me like a new H/D,
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by:jjeff1
ID: 2633191
Ok, that's good actually. it tells us the system finds the drive and sets it up automatically for you. When it prompts to accept or reject the hard drive setup you want to choose accept.

The invalid media type message typically means the FAT has been corrupted. This can happen if you create a partition, but don't format it. It can also happen if you have a drive setup incorrectly in the BIOS, format it, then set it up correctly.

At this point, there is probably no way to get the data off the drive. You just need to get it setup again and get a working Operating System installed.

First grab a copy of WD_clear from cdrom.com
ftp://ftp.cdrom.com/.3/sac/utildisk/wd_clear.zip

This is a drive testing util made by Western Digital. This is an older util, but it works great. Boot from a floppy disk and run the util. It should show you your hard drive. Choose the write test. This test completely wipes all the data from the drive, including partition data, viruses, and anything else.

Reboot the machines and use fdisk to recreate your primary partition. Then format your drive and reinstall the OS. This should get you backup and running.

If you do actually have a bad drive, wdclear will tell you.
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by:BJC031400
ID: 2633434
just looking; so I can get a responce if this question is updated; I have a Compaq as a server, and it's on all the time-I'll take a look at that tonight, since I shutdown the server every night-
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by:malfisher
ID: 2634005
Hi Jeff got the prog that was an excellent link by the way, but after booting to the A: from the windows boot disk all that I could accomplish is to get a sys dir up, and confirm the files were actually on the floppy. I unzipped and tested it on my PC, and it worked in a dos window, but there is no way that any exe file will run on the compaq, I think that the boot sector is lost on the drive. I had got to the registry check to install Windows, but as soon a hard drive access is required, the PC halts, there is no way that you can run any type of app at the moment, it will recognise the drives, and will run the boot disk, but beyond that, no go. Thanks I will keep you informed, Mal.
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by:malfisher
ID: 2634023
All this may sound REALLY dumb, but , I did this, and wonder could it have crashed my drive,

1,I set the swap file to 16 - 48 meg, (I have 16meg of ram)

2, set the file system as a network server,full ahead optimisation

I have done this with all the other PC,s but theyt are K6/2 450s and it does them good, but it is just a thought, I would like to know why the thing went down Thanks in  advance, Mal.
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by:malfisher
ID: 2634031
All this may sound REALLY dumb, but , I did this, and wonder could it have crashed my drive,

1,I set the swap file to 16 - 48 meg, (I have 16meg of ram)

2, set the file system as a network server,full ahead optimisation
It did seem to run better after I did the changes, but if it could be that these older PC's dont take well to that type of setup, I would like to know.
I have done this with all the other PC,s but theyt are K6/2 450s and it does them good, but it is just a thought, I would like to know why the thing went down Thanks in  advance, Mal.
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by:tonnybrandt
ID: 2634045
This sounds somewhat strange.
Try this approach:
boot on floppy
run fdisk and wipe out all partitions on HD.
reboot on floppy
run fdisk and create primary partition, and answer no to support large disc (fat32)
reboot on floppy
run format c: /s
reboot again this time on hd.

Did you get a prompt ?.
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by:tonnybrandt
ID: 2634061
Hi Mal
Our comments crossed, hadn't seen your newest comment when i replyed.
None of those things should have fried your hd.
However i have experienced that my HD-light hasn't shut off when windows tell me that it's safe to turn off my computer, when i set my computer main role as networks-server. If that's the reason, why my win95 crashed twice in two weeks, with only option to reinstall, i don't know, but after these incedents, i wait until hd-light is gone before shutting down, and it hasn't crashed since.

The crash you've experienced is probably the MBR beeing ruined as well as the fat-table.
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by:malfisher
ID: 2634183
Hi Tonny, tried the fdisk idea, this is how it went
booted to a: deleted pri par
rebooted to a: selected to set new pri dos par Fdisk reported partition alraedy exists! e.g. was never deleted, in spite of the fact that I got all the warnings, and deleted it anyway, which it said had happened. so I sel option 4 , and lo & behold the pri dos of 325 meg was still there, I think that the h/d just plain cannot be written to, thats why I cannot run the diags from compaq, the closest was softpaq to which rayt gave me the link to, but as soon as it tried to write to a cylinder, it halted and went back to the a: wow what a weird fault! I have had fun trying , and have learnt a thing or two though LOL, thanks for the effort see yoyu later , Mal.
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by:malfisher
ID: 2634195
Hi Tonny, you know what, that network setup Win 95 thing could be the answer, my 10 year old son was playing some old dos games was having trouble, and he rebooted it, but is not noted for patince LOL, well if thats the case I will revert back to a desktop when this is done, but, that could well have caused the crash, but he dont know what the HD light is, let alone if it was on! Thanks anyway, Mal.
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by:jjeff1
ID: 2634495
Were you actually able to run wdclear. After you download that zip file, you need to unzip it and get the actual executable.

You should be able to run wdclear off the floppy, even with no hard drive installed at all. I'm not quite sure what you did, but it does not sound like you were able to test out the drive with wdclear.

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by:malfisher
ID: 2634521
Hi Jeff, I unzipped it on my own PC then I booted the compaq to the A: prompt, using a windows 98 boot disk, I have tried 95 too,either will boot to the A: prompt, and I can run things like fdisk, and dir etc, but it will not scandisk C, or format it.  I then typed WDCLEAR as it says to do in the readme which I had printed off and took downstairs with me. I tried WD_CLEAR, WDCLEAR.EXE, ect ect, I ran the dir /s to ensure that the files were present on the floppy, and indeed they were, but everytime I tried to run it, the response was bad command or file name, or some such ****, So, I am really at a loss to know why the exe file would not run, BUT I have tried to run the other utils on there (the ones from compaq) and there is insufficient memory to run them. I really think that the boot sector is gone, and there is no way to run to the hard drive even though it is being recognised. Thank you, Mal.
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by:jjeff1
ID: 2634607
Hmm. I don't get it.

I have seen in the past where wdclear will not work on a drive. But that was only 1 drive. I don't know.

I guess if you can't delete a partition and have it stay deleted you may have a bad disk.

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by:rayt333
ID: 2634687
Who made your HD? Maybe if you got a low level format utility from them and run it, then start from scratch and run Fdisk, format, then reinstall your OS.
If the low level don't work then there will be no doubt the HD is bad.
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by:malfisher
ID: 2642046
Hi all the first two sectors on the HD were naffed, and that is why even wdclear could not write to the drive to examine it.So there is now a shiny but old 400meg (wow) drive installed. The kids are happy and I learned a thing or two, thank you for all the comments and help, Bye for now, Mal.
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rayt333 earned 100 total points
ID: 2642110
I am posting an answer since that is what I said earlier:

From: rayt333
Date: Saturday, March 18 2000 - 08:51PM EST
This really sounds like your HD has quit on you, if you cannot see the HD when you boot up to a bootdisk then I would say it has failed on you.
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by:malfisher
ID: 2642163
You sure did Rayt:) bye for now, Mal.
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