Solved

W98 hangs on found comm port

Posted on 2004-04-03
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Last Modified: 2013-12-28
With a lot of help from the hardware section, I've finally got my old Pentium I going again.
From nothing at all it now boots almost everytime and is up and running in safe mode.
(I get a blank screen when I come out of setup, though the changes are saved, and I can't reboot: I have to stop, wait till it "cools down" [about an hour seems to do the trick...] and then creep up on it... :)
When I don't opt for safe mode it hangs eveytime when it finds a comm port and tries to install it.
Is there any way I can stop it looking for the comm port like I stopped it looking for the keyboard? I don't really need it - when I took the MB out of the case i found a small socket next to the keyboard socket (hidden when in the case) and I plugged the mouse into it - it works...
All the best
Keith
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Question by:keithbraithwaite
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Expert Comment

by:jthow
ID: 10747053
Depends on the BIOS.  There may be an option to disable the COM port(s), which would stop it being detected as 'new hardware' on normal boot.

What does device manager say about ports when you are in safe mode?

[I'm not going to ask why you're going to all this trouble with a system of that age.... ;-) ]

JohnT
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Author Comment

by:keithbraithwaite
ID: 10747125
OK - thanks - I'll have a look in the device manager, but I think it said they were there and OK.
I've looked through the BIOS - don't think I saw how to disable com ports, but I'll look again.
I'm trying to get it going again to give to my grandson, but in any case, I like keeping old things going - I'm 64 myself...
K
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by:jthow
ID: 10747216
Does that mean I'll be an 'old thing' in about four and a half years? ;-)

JohnT
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by:jthow
ID: 10747222
Just checked out an oldish box wiyh an Award BIOS.  Serial ports are under Integrated Peripherals and there is a 'Disable' setting.

HTH

JohnT
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Author Comment

by:keithbraithwaite
ID: 10747308
Found it. Thanks. Trying a "comless boot"...
K
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Author Comment

by:keithbraithwaite
ID: 10749295
> Depends on the BIOS.  There may be an option to disable the COM port(s), which
> would stop it being detected as 'new hardware' on normal boot.

> Serial ports are under Integrated Peripherals and there is a 'Disable' setting.
### thanks both of you. That seemed like a good lead. However it hangs at the same stage even with the serial ports disabled in BIOS.

> What does device manager say about ports when you are in safe mode?
### that's interesting. I found a com 1 and two com 2's ! There were two LPT's as well.
I've cut that down to 1 and 2 and to one LPT and I'm going to try to boot like that. if that doesn't work I''l cut them our in safe mode and restart.

Any ideas on why everything blacks out when coming out of setup and also when opting for reboot when closing down windows?

Sorry to mess you about with questions about out of date materials but I'm trying to learn all I can about getting "old things" to function. I work in a centre for people who have lost their jobs and don't have enough money to live on, and I'm builing a computer lab with old machines so as to teach them some basic text processing and spread sheet techniques.
All the best
Keith
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LVL 32

Assisted Solution

by:_
_ earned 50 total points
ID: 10750884
>>> and I'm builing a computer lab with old machines <<<    As good a way to learn as any, and we will be glad to help with your questions.

As for the blacking out, most of mine blackout for a second or two.
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Author Comment

by:keithbraithwaite
ID: 10751046
> As good a way to learn as any, and we will be glad to help with your questions.
### Thanks for your encouragment.

> As for the blacking out, most of mine blackout for a second or two.
### When I say black out, when rebooting from windows or exiting setup, it really does stay that way. Like when I boot and I get nothing on screen.

I've tried a step by step boot up. Everything is fine of course until I get to "load all windows drivers" (I'm translating from the french so my terms will not necessarily be right). I'm not sure what will happen if I say yes since I presume the problem arises when Windows is in the process of loading the drivers.
I haven't yet understood why Windows sets up two Com 2 and two LPT - it did it again last night even afte I'd removed all of them in safe mode.
I have nothing at all hooked up to the com positions on the MB - not even the socket attachments.
Thanks again for staying with me
All the best
Keith
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Expert Comment

by:jthow
ID: 10751368
Keith,

Something else to try.

Having disabled the serial ports, also disable the parallel one.  Then, on the PNP/PCI configuration page of the BIOS setup, set the following IRQs to 'Legacy ISA': IRQ-3, IRQ-4, IRQ-7.  [3 & 4 are the defaults for COM2 & COM1, 7 for LPT1 (parallel 1)] boot in safe mode and see what's listed under Device Manager; Ports.  There shouldn't be any....

Thinks... Does the M/b have an on-board modem and / or sound card?

JohnT
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Author Comment

by:keithbraithwaite
ID: 10751383
> Having disabled the serial ports, also disable the parallel one.
### I did that

> Then, on the PNP/PCI configuration page of the BIOS setup, set the following IRQs to 'Legacy ISA': IRQ-3, IRQ-4, IRQ-7.
### OK - I'll try that

> Thinks... Does the M/b have an on-board modem and / or sound card?
### No. I don't like them!

Here goes...
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Author Comment

by:keithbraithwaite
ID: 10751388
3 and 4 were already legacy ISA - I've changed 7 down to legacy ISA too
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Author Comment

by:keithbraithwaite
ID: 10751420
... I now get just a com 2 and an LPT - the two elements that were in surplus before.
Does that mean that they are in the Windows registry? or in the win.ini?
I'll have a look for entries in the win.ini next time I can get a boot.
K
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Accepted Solution

by:
jthow earned 250 total points
ID: 10751777
Not sure where they are coming from....  What does Device Manager say about them?  What resources (IRQ & I/O range) do they have?  Try checking the 'Disable in this H/w profile' box for them & see if that allows you to do a normal start.

JohnT
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Author Comment

by:keithbraithwaite
ID: 10752067
Another boot and they were gone! It went all the way through on a normal boot. A great feeling - many many thanks!
I'm increasing the points then I'll do a split - thank you both.
I don't suppose the problems stop there but it's a great pleasure to see it actually up and running again.
All the best
Keith
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LVL 6

Expert Comment

by:jthow
ID: 10752457
Keith,

I know you've accepted an answer & distributed the points but what I suggest you do now is try re-enabling associated IRQs, ports, & PNP settings in the BIOS one at a time and see if you can W98 to recognise them properly.  If you do one at a time and you get a problem, you'll know what it was you last changed and what to reverse.

Cheers.

JohnT
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Author Comment

by:keithbraithwaite
ID: 10752811
I've started to do that but I did check right away in the device manager and they were all there Com 1 com 2 and LPT (in spite of being disabled in BIOS). I'll put back the IRQ's.
It's been a very enlightening exercise and I'm sure it will help me with all those PC's we're beginning to get given to us by different government offices as they update to pentium IV's. Most of what we're getting is exactly like my old box - pentium I, 64 RAM, 2 giga. You can still do a lot with that.
I may be back... but the "old thing" has just booted right through again - graphics card recognised and installed from the CD - slightly fuzzy screen, but it's an old monitor too - even older than the computer.
Thanks again
Keith
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LVL 32

Expert Comment

by:_
ID: 10754621
Thank you much.    : )

>>> A great feeling <<<   Yes it is.  : )
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Author Comment

by:keithbraithwaite
ID: 10931290
It'sme again...
I had to leave the old PC to one side for a few weeks - just when it was starting up and getting through to a usable Windows 98.
Now I'm back to square one again - just because I didn't start it up for about four weeks?
Any explanations possible? Could this be related to a faulty battery on the Main board? It is a battery incorporated in the Dallas clock I think - soldered in...
Do these batteries recharge?
All the best
Keith
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LVL 6

Expert Comment

by:jthow
ID: 10932435
Keith,

Perhaps you ought to start again - with EE I mean: The points from the original question have already been allocated....

You probably should also abandon this particuilar box.   If a soldered in battery is dying, you're likely to be past the point of no return.  The settings you so carefully set up will get lost every time the battery fades and you'll have to do them all over again every time that happens.  Yes, the battery will (probably) recharge while the power is on but it's going to be 'flakey'.  Sorting it out properly means a new m/b and that's likely to cost more than the rest of the system is worth - unless you can find one for a song on Ebay.

JohnT
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Author Comment

by:keithbraithwaite
ID: 10932509
I'm beginning to thing I'll have to abandon it too - I learned a lot getting it going again.
Do you think that the battery could be responsible for the fact that it diesn't start at all - no display at all, no beeps.
I have a post probe card and I'm going to see what reading I get on that.
I'll get me another old box to play around with!
Thanks for getting back to me anyway
All the best
Keith
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Author Comment

by:keithbraithwaite
ID: 10947143
I'm sure you have better things to do than listen to my bleatings about a dying computer, but I'm stubborn, and I've been doing all this to learn more about the computer's innards...
I've never unsoldered or soldered anything into or out of a computer, (too scared...) but here may be a chance.
I have lots of old boxes available to me - some less old than my PI PC. I'd like to try to put in a new clock...
I'll put this question in the hardware section so it will be worth some points...
You'll find it there in a few minutes
Keith
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