This is my first post on Experts-Exchange and I apologize if it is too long, but I'm not sure what the problem with my computer is. This site has indicated that I should not worry about giving too much information, so I'll try to keep it as informative as possible without going into unnecessary detail. (for those of you who just want the jist of my problem I have included a summary at the bottom...)
I own a Pentium I 166MHz non-brand computer with 32MB RAM that is running Windows 98SE. I bought it quite a few years ago (it came preloaded with Windows 95) and not surprisingly, it did not come with USB ports. I am very interested in installing USB on it so that I can use one of my USB devices on it as well as use a Wireless USB Network adapter to integrate it with my wireless network at home.
I recently bought a brand new USB 1.0 PCI card for the computer (ADS Technologies, Model #USBX-500-EF) and tried inserting it into an empty PCI slot. However, when I turn on the computer it will not load properly...it does power on but it "hangs" before displaying anything on the screen. As soon as I remove the card, the system boots fine.
I tried exchanging the USB card at the store I bought it from but the new card still exhibits the same problem. In fact, this *exact same* problem also occurred when I tried installing a network interface card months ago. (DLink DFE-530TX)
I am fully aware that PCI cards must be *completely* inserted into the PCI slot to function, and I have tried using other available PCI slots for my USB card, but this does not solve the problem.
I visited usbman.com and they suggested that the problem may have to do with my BIOS. The first thing the site told me to check was to make sure that USB is enabled on the BIOS, and I have changed it so that it is *now enabled*. Unfortunately, this did not seem to change anything (though I'm sure it was probably a good first step).
The second thing the site told me is that if the BIOS is older than 1998, then this is likely to be the source of USB trouble. I believe this is a strong possibility since my computer was bought in 1996-1997 and aside from this issue, all the PCI slots are functioning perfectly with their devices.
From my research, I am aware that updating the BIOS can be very damaging to the motherboard and it should only be done if necessary. However, this computer is useless to me if it can't support USB, so I appreciate any professional feedback Experts-Exchange can offer.
I used BIOS Wizard 2.10 to retrieve some information about my BIOS. This is a snippet of its output:
BIOS Manufacturer: Award Modular BIOS v4.51PG
BIOS ID : 03/03/97-i430VX-02071997C-
BIOD Date : 03/03/97
BIOS OEM Signon : Release 03/03/1997S
BIOS ROM Size : Unknown
Chipset : Intel Triton 430VX rev 2
Super I/O Chip : UMC/ITE 8669 found at port 108h
(Note: BIOSWizard was not able to detect ACPI or a valid DMI...I'm not sure if this may be the problem)
Unfortunately, I do not have the manual for my motherboard. However, after some research I realized I had a PC Chips motherboard. In fact, the PC Chips Lottery website (http://www.stud.fernuni-hagen.de/q3998142/pcchips/pccjs.html
) indicated that based on my chipset and available PCI and ISA slots, my motherboard must be one of these models:
But the site also notes that these boards share the same BIOS:
So it means that my computer could only be one of two BIOS types:
1. A101 v1.1
2. A101 v1.4, M525/30/35/38/49
The former is highly unlikely because a picture of it looks very different than my motherboard.
The M520 BIOS seems to be the most popular to cover all of the latter types. This is confirmed by Houston Tech (http://houstontech.topcities.com/586_M5xx/M530_M539/index.html
). As a sidenote, I should also mention that a sticker on my computer's motherboard reads:
Houston Technologies HT12888A.
and I know from the PC Chips Lottery that Houston Technologies is affiliated with PC Chips.
I have already read an excellent reference on updating the BIOS from Comp Techs (http://www.comptechs.org/hardware/biosflashingfaq.htm
). I have also obtained the latest Award flasher (Awd814c.exe) and the latest BIOS binary file I could find was the 12-07-98 version from BiosDrivers.com (http://www.bios-drivers.com/drivers/48/48792.htm
However, when I ran the Award flash program with the 1998 Award BIOS file from DOS mode, the program hanged and kept blinking "Please Wait !" (I waited for three hours...nothing) I turned the computer off, back on, and nothing changed. It was as if I never ran the Award flash program.
- I have a Pentium I 166MHz non-brand computer with 32MB of RAM.
- I am having trouble getting USB to work. My system "hangs" when I insert the card into an available PCI slot and power it on.
- I have tried exchanging the card, using a different PCI slot and I have enabled USB in the BIOS. My computer uses an Award BIOS for a PC Chips Motherboard whose BIOS Type shares with the M520 model. The chipset is an Intel Triton 430VX.
- I have tried updating the BIOS using an Award flash program but this program also hangs and does not update my BIOS.
My main question would be:
How can I get USB to work on my computer, given my situation?
If anyone can help me with this problem I would greatly appreciate it. Thank you for your time in reading this post.