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getting into compaq bios (presario 4110)

Posted on 2003-03-27
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Last Modified: 2012-05-04
I have a Compaq Presario 4110 and want to change some BIOS settings but I can't get into the bios setup area. (first and foremost I wish to enable the serial port, which windows says is disabled in the bios but there are other bios setting I'd like to take a look at).

Pressing any of the usual F keys (or Delete, Backspace or Escape) at boot times does not work. I have gathered from looking around the internet that Compaq employ some less common methods for accessing their bios. These include a special partition at the start of the primary hard drive for the purpose or a special start up disk.

I can not, for the life of me, find information on exactly how to do this for the Presario 4110. I can't find instructions / information or any downloads for the mentioned start up disk. Compaq's site provides very little, so I'm turning the question to everyone here, at experts exchange. any ideas?
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Question by:ads_
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21 Comments
 
LVL 13

Expert Comment

by:oldgreyguy
ID: 8218761
have you tried F10?       you are right about the HP/compaq site.... curious... what country are you in?
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Author Comment

by:ads_
ID: 8218928
I'm in the UK.

F10 has no effect at startup.
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LVL 13

Expert Comment

by:oldgreyguy
ID: 8219010
something I have tried in the past.. open the case, remove the cable from the floppy drive, boot the system... it should complain about not finding the floppy, and offer a setup option

bill
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Author Comment

by:ads_
ID: 8219131
yep, it complains but doesn't offer the bios. I get:
601-Diskette Controller Error

(then after a brief pause)

The following configuration options were automatically updated:
Diskette Controller
F1 - Save Changes
F2 - Ignore Changes

I'm beginning to think that I need the rumoured Compaq sartup disk, or some way of setting up a Compaq 'system' partition to actually be able to view/change bios settings. All/any ideas are appreciated
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LVL 13

Expert Comment

by:oldgreyguy
ID: 8219188
aaaaaaaaaargh, sometimes I wonder what diabolical plot Compaq was up to when they sent their engineers into the lab.

did you try F10 at that prompt?
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Author Comment

by:ads_
ID: 8219367
Yep, i tryed F10. As i said it had no effect. You might have a point about Compaqs engineers!
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LVL 4

Expert Comment

by:stretchsp
ID: 8219584
found this on the Compaq site:

1. Check the power cord for physical damage (crimps, slices, exposed wires). The monitors power cable is exactly the same type of cable as the computers power cable so if the monitor receives power, you can switch the monitor power cable for the computer power cable to determine if it is an issue with the power cable itself.


2. Try powering off the Computer and plugging directly into a wall socket if plugged into a surge protector/power bar.


3. Unplug the power cord from the system and hold down the power button in on the front of the tower for one minute. Reconnect the power cable while holding the power button in. This will serve to drain all the power from the computer. Try powering unit on after this has been done.


4. On the back of the unit close to where the power cable plugs into the back of the computer, you should see a voltage select switch (not a protruding switch but a switch sunken into back of system usually red in color.) This switch should be set to 115 and not 230. If the switch is set to 115, try re-setting it by switching it to 230 then back to 115.


5. If it does not serve the purpose, try powering off the Computer again and disconnect everything (Keyboard, Mouse, Printers, Scanners, Cameras, etc.) except the Monitor. If the Computer boots at this point it most likely was something that was connected. Start by re-connecting the devices one by one until the faulty device is determined, and replace if necessary (keyboard, mouse, usb devices etc.)


6. If still the same result, remove the cover and disconnect the hard drive, CD-ROMs, floppy drives and any other devices, which you may have added. As well remove any cards that are installed such as modem, network card, sound, and again any cards that you may have added except for the video card. This will allow you to determine if it is a card/device that is connected inside the computer. If the computer boots without anything attached or connected inside, again re-connect/re-insert the cards/devices one at a time until it can be determined which device is faulty and replace as necessary.


7. If it fails to boot past the Compaq logo, clear the CMOS (Complementary Metal Oxide Semiconductor) via the jumper. To do this requires opening the computer. This method may vary pre model. Some will require that the screw around the edges on the back of the computer be removed, then remove the hood from the top. Some will slide out from the back once these screw are removed. Newer systems will only require that the screw be removed from the right side of the back of the computer. Then lift the plastic release clip and remove the side panel. Once that is done, look for the battery on the system board. This will be a round silver disk about the size of a quarter. Next to it you will see 3 pins but 2 will be covered by a plastic jumper. Remove the jumper from pins 1 and 2, then place the jumper on pins 2 and 3. wait 3 seconds and put the jumper back on pins 1 and 2.


NOTE: Jumpers settings may differ for different model.


8. If the Computer continues to not boot past the Compaq logo at this point, or gets freezed, the only items left are the system board, processor, memory, and video Card."
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LVL 13

Expert Comment

by:oldgreyguy
ID: 8219649
well, I am now fresh out of ideas... hope another member of this tribe will be able to help you.

good luck,
bill
0
 

Author Comment

by:ads_
ID: 8219766
Thanks for trying oldgreyguy.

stretchsp, my compaq boots fine and runs ok. i just can't get into it's bios.
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LVL 4

Expert Comment

by:stretchsp
ID: 8220042
try pulling the CMOS battery.  This should restore BIOS defaults.  Then HOPEFULLY pressing F10 will work.
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LVL 4

Expert Comment

by:stretchsp
ID: 8220076
and just to make sure your pressing the F10 key continuously, right?
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LVL 4

Expert Comment

by:stretchsp
ID: 8220093
halfway down this article you may find some help

http://www.iomega.com/support/documents/2157.html
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LVL 4

Expert Comment

by:stretchsp
ID: 8220117
this may be of some disappointing interest as well

http://www.techspot.com/vb/showthread.php?s=&threadid=1588
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Expert Comment

by:nigelcwm
ID: 8221495
ads
Try - Press <Alt> <Ctrl> <Esc> at boot when you see the "Compaq" log in big letters.
Hope this works
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LVL 7

Accepted Solution

by:
dxf224 earned 800 total points
ID: 8222292
this may or may not help ..reference and theoretical places to find ".the rumoured Compaq sartup disk"??? ...Softpaq????
http://www.wimsbios.com/

0
 
LVL 7

Expert Comment

by:dxf224
ID: 8222421
click on manufacturers link  then click compaq for explan etc
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Author Comment

by:ads_
ID: 8223723
I am pressing F10 (or whatever key I'm trying at the time) continuously. I'm also trying by tapping it and also pressing it a few seconds after starting the machine because this avoids the 'keyboard stuck error'. When I press the f10 button, or any button, continuously the computer seeps to pause its booting up until I release it for a fraction of a second. The computer then does it's next job in the boot up process, for example checks the FDD, and then hangs again until I release the key for a fraction of a second, I can continue like this and make the boot process last several minuets! I guess this is just a quirk and not really relevant to the problem.

I tried <Alt> <Ctrl> <Esc> but it didn't work.

Resetting the CMOS seems to have been a good idea. I removed the jumper and turned the machine on and off, then with the jumper back in place I started the machine again to be greeted with a memory check (which didn't happen before) and a few errors (162-system options not set; 163-time date not set). It said the hard driver was automatically configured but if I was using UNIX I would need to use the "Compaq user diagnostics diskette". I also found that the Serial port was enabled again, which solved one of my problems. Hooray!

So I booted from the Compaq user diagnostics disk, which gave me the choice to do: computer setup; computer checkup; view system information; manage diagnostics partition. The help text for 'computer setup' was interesting and kind of funny:

"Compaq personal commuters use a battery powered memory device to store the current date and time and the system configuration. This option [computer setup] displays a summary of the current settings for your system configuration. Follow the instructions on screen to change settings. When you exit the setup procedure, this information will be stored in the memory device"

I guess they mean the bios setup!!! However when I select this option I get the following error:

"Warning: The program, SETUP.EXE was unable to execute. Please insert the SETUP diskette."

The reason I get this error is because the disk I have in is the "User Diagnostic Diskette". I do not have the Setup diskette. So it seems the answer to my problem will be to get the setup disk for my machine. Any ideas?

i'm just about to look at http://www.wimsbios.com/
(PS thanks for everyones help so far)
0
 

Expert Comment

by:PaulD_UK
ID: 8223945
Ads,

Just reading this thread and I don't think anybody has mentioned it yet.

Some of the earlier compaqs setup information was held on a seperate partition on the fixed disk.

When the PC was original built or restored from the build CD's / floppys you first had to setup a 15 - 20MB partition and create the setup partition when this was created you then installed your operating system. If this isn't installed you don't get the option on boot to enter in to the bios.

If at anytime the PC has been rebuilt and this partition has been overwritten you will not be able to alter any of the setting you want to (this might explain why all of the key combinations you are trying are not producing anything).

Also By installing the Compaq Diagnostic software you may have access to these settings as well through windows.

Not sure what operqating System you are using, but here is the link for the 4110 Win95/98 softpaq.

http://www29.compaq.com/falco/sp_detail.asp?Model=2649&Div=4&Os=8&SoftwareVer=12739

Hope this helps

0
 

Expert Comment

by:PaulD_UK
ID: 8223984
Me again!

Just contacted Compaq...

There answer was: -

At the 'Compaq' logo, hold down the F10 key, till you see the BIOS setup.

So if this doesn't work.... it sounds as though it may be the missing partition after all.

0
 

Author Comment

by:ads_
ID: 8224036
The software which gives access to the bios is Compaq's sp2141.exe, I searched high and low on the internet and Compaq's site but neither turned up this piece of information. I found it at http://www.wimsbios.com/, thanks
dxf224.

It's true about the diagnostic partition but it is not necessary. The setup/diagnostics can be run from a disk. I found that the 4110 Win95/98 softpaq does not run on win 2000, but then I guess that's expectable.

Thankyou everyone for your help.

I've now got another problem relating to this machine for which I've started a new thread. Is has no USB but windows 2000 seems to be finding USB devices on it - go figure!

Thanks again.
0
 

Author Comment

by:ads_
ID: 8224045
my new thread regarding the this machines phantom USB in win2k can be found at: http://www.experts-exchange.com/Hardware/Desktops/Q_20566272.html
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