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erco44
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Compaq Deskpro 2000 166MHz BIOS restore

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Compaq Deskpro 2000
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As someone asked in another thread, I too have the same situation of a Compaq Deskpro 2000 166 MMX with no hard drive, and need to install a new hard drive with DOS.

But because there's no hard drive, there's no BIOS setup option in the BIOS boot screen (e.g. no "F10=Setup" message at lower right). Apparently one is supposed to install the BIOS setup on a special hard disk partition created by a set of three Compaq setup disks, so that one can choose F10 on boot to reconfigure hardware (set the date, boot order, etc)

Since it's an old thread (2019) I can't reply because it's auto-locked, so HP says at the top of that page "It has been a while since anyone has replied. Simply ask a new question to start the discussion again", so here I am.

That thread concludes that the machine is too old (late 90's/early 2000's), and HP doesn't support it anymore, and there would be nothing to find on the HP site to get the floppies to restore the BIOS.


I'm here to say: that's not so, there is  an HP website file that can create the 3 floppy set that lets you install the "F10=Setup" option on a new hard drive; I've just done it myself. The steps I did were as follows; hoping I recall this all correctly:

 

  1. Prepare 3 blank formatted 1.44 MB floppy disks (e.g. "FORMAT A:")
    You'll need these for step #4 below.

  2. Download the SP15674.exe file from the HP website which can be used to create the 3 disk diagnostics set.

  3. Extract the file by running it. You end up with a directory of ~4MB of files:

     

            Size    Date        Filename

            1150620 Sep 28 2000 CSVP._01
            1050140 Sep 28 2000 CSVP._02
            1176716 Sep 28 2000 CSVP._03
              78668 Oct 27 1998 QRST5.EXE
                737 Sep 28 2000 SP15674.CVA

  4. Create the 3 diagnostics floppies by running QRST5.EXE (above), and label them in this order:

        1) "DIAGNOSTICS"

        2) "SETUP DISK 1"
        3) "SETUP DISK 2"

    You will be prompted to use them by these names later, so label the floppies clearly with the above names.

  5. Prepare your new hard drive by REMOVING ALL PARTITIONS on it. (e.g. FDISK in DOS, or fdisk in linux).
    Do not create any partitions or try to format the drive yet, otherwise the diagnostics installer will not create the partition that gives you the F10/Setup menu for the BIOS.

  6. Connect your new IDE drive (with no partitions) in the Compaq Deskpro 2000.
    In my case I used a StarTech IDE CompactFlash drive with a 32MB SDC card installed in a Compact Flash to SD/SDC adapter, a great cost effective and durable alternative to physically spinning drives, and they have fast access times which means quick boots and quick load/saves.

  7. Boot the "DIAGNOSTICS" floppy.

    (If you see any BIOS warnings, just choose the defaults to get past them)

    The floppy will immediately prompt you to install the diagnostics partition. Follow the steps. It should prompt you through various disk changes for both setup disks 1 and 2 several times, then completes. You will now have diagnostics installed on the hard drive partition. When you reboot, you should see "F10=Setup" option at the lower-right corner of white "COMPAQ" BIOS boot screen, which is the goal of this whole process..!

  8. From here you can add your OS partition to the drive and format/install it.
    Be sure not to remove partition #1 (approx 6MB) that the diagnostics disk created. It shows up in linux fdisk as type 12 (hex), which is the special "Compaq Diagnostic" partition type.

    In my case I was installing Win95 DOS, so my steps were:

        a) Add the OS boot partition to the hard disk by rebooting a regular DOS/Win95 floppy, and using FDISK to add the partition. This created an extended partition, and I let it use the rest of the drive (default) for it.

        b) Reboot the DOS/Win95 floppy so the OS can recognize the new C: drive, and then use "FORMAT C: /S" to format it.

        c) Reboot off the hard drive to test the new OS install. You should see the "F10=Setup" option on the BIOS boot screen.

I suppose you could use these same techniques to install linux instead of DOS/Windows in step 8 above.

Hope that helps you other poor folks out there having to deal with these weird machines.

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erco44
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I added a copy of this article along with some screenshots of the F10 setup screens, and a screenshot of the FDISK partition layout the diagnostics disks create on the hard drive here: http://seriss.com/people/erco/compaq-deskpro-2000/

 

Scroll down on that page for the screenshots.

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erco44
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I added a copy of this article along with some screenshots of the F10 setup screens, and a screenshot of the FDISK partition layout the diagnostics disks create on the hard drive here: http://seriss.com/people/erco/compaq-deskpro-2000/

 

Scroll down on that page for the screenshots.

View solution in original post

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erco44
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Just following up:

it would appear to upgrade the Deskpro 2000 5166  ROM BIOS for "large disk support" (disk drives larger than 8GB). you can use sp15800.exe from the HP ftp website, with a descriptive text file defining the contents, highlights of which being:

 

  TITLE: ROMPaq for Deskpro 2000 Pentium Models (586C ROM)
  VERSION: 586C_0601.99
  LANGUAGE: English

  CATEGORY: ROMPaqs

  PRODUCTS AFFECTED: DeskPro 2000 Pentium models, including:  5100, 5120, 5133, 5166, 5200

  SOFTPAQ UTILITY VERSION: 2.X

  Enhancements/Fixes: Allows system to recognize hard drives larger than 8 GB.


I haven't actually tried it yet, but plan to. Just wanted to follow up here with that info in case I forget, as it's hard to come across this information; to find it, I had to download ALL the .txt files in the ftp directories for the sp15xxx series to find anything that matched "DeskPro 2000" + "ROMPaq" to zero in on the large disk support.

There may be more recent versions, I haven't checked. Just glad to find /one/, lol.

 

Many of the .exe files on the ftp site exist, but aren't described in the "all_files.txt".

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