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Author Topic: Help me setup my Laptop's HDD with a bootable Microsoft OS [Atleast Ms Dos]  (Read 5742 times)

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My Case
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I have SuperSport 286 PC Compatible Laptop, from the Zenith Data System Corporation. I had previously identified its model as ZWL-0800-02 until I visited the Internet and realized that the closest model of the available series of the Laptop was ZWL-0200-02. The fact is that the Model Label in my Laptop casing is defaced and therefore unintelligible. For that reason, Iíve concluded that it is a ZWL-0200-02.
      I realized that the thing could not boot into any familiar Operating System. Infact, I have so far concluded that the System Software itís booting to is not resident in the Hard Disk, coz the Error I keep on receiving is ďDisk Error! Disk not readyĒ This is in the first instance. Iím then given an option to ďEscĒ and continue, upon which a second Error message appears ďNon-System disk. Please replace and press any other key to continue.Ē My understanding is that the Disk is basically not accessible: Iím not sure whether it could be that it had not been procedurally installed in a manner that could render it bootable (that is, partitioning, formatting and loading it with an appropriate Operating System). Else, maybe I should have verified that the HDD has an active partition, but the current Ms Dos OS I have wonít boot at all from the Floppy Disk. I havenít verified that itís corrupt yet, but Iíll be trying to do that so as to use its FDISK utility to see if I can access the HDD.
      In the CMOS setup, as you may be aware, there is an option to boot directly into the ďSystem SoftwareĒ Iíve just talked about. This one has been brand-named the ďMFM-200 MonitorĒ Screen, indicating a ďVersion 2.7BĒ. Please note that Iím familiar with the Microsoft Operating Systems, ranging from the latest versions of Dos (MS Dos Ver 6, 6.22 and 7) and up to all Windows based OSs, Win 95, 98, Millennium, NT, 2000, XP and now Vista. However, the Command Prompt at the MFM-200 Monitor Screen is neither the one of an Ms Dos OS nor that of the Command Prompt program shipped with Windows based OSs . I havenít come across other OSs , like the infamous Linux Distributions and the rest, but it would be incredible that this prompt is one of them!
Now, the first thing Iím requesting you to assist me with, is configuring the CMOS setup utility (Remember that the subject is a SuperSport 286 ZWL-0200-02 unless youíre sure there is a -0800-02). I trust that youíve come across this exact Model, or you really have the means to know the contents of this CMOS utility. I just completed the Kenyan Courses covering the CompTIAís syllabuses of A+, N+ and INet+, so donít worry too much about explaining things to me: At least I assure you Iíll be in a position to understand this jargon. In line with this, however, Iíve attached for your reference the most relevant document Iíd come up with from the Net, detailing the various Specs of a supposedly SuperSport 286 ZWL-0200-02. Iím afraid and sorry to mention that it never helped me solve the following problem Iím just about to explain to you, but it pretty helped me understand the range of capabilities of the Laptop I have at hand. Infact it is from the Doc that I learnt that my HDD should be set as Type 6 though it never worked still. You will find a question in RED in the attached Doc alongside the model I thought was close to mine.
      So, what I want is a procedure to follow in setting up my Hard Disk in such a manner that I can install an OS Iím familiar with, at least an Ms Dos OS, or any other you may recommend for the SuperSport 286 System. Currently, I have tried to boot from an Ms Dos Ver 6.6 Diskette, with an aim of identifying the HDD from the FDISK utility, but I got an Error message of ďNon-System Disk.Ē Note that this is the Diskette (No. 1) with the Dos start up files (Ver 6.22). The cheapest recovery procedure would be preferable but what I want most is to continue using the 1988 thing whether Iíll have to change certain things. I donít intend to recover any Data from the HDD, and I donít want to throw it away until Iím sure itís not recoverable. I had installed the same Dos OS into another computer sometimes last month so I donít believe that the diskette is faulty too. I have also been careful to change the CMOS ďBoot fromĒ option depending on whether itís the Floppy, HDD or Floppy then HDD. Recall that only the ďBoot directly to MFM-200 ScreenĒ seems to work so far: And the commands executable in itís prompt (B, C, DÖ M, S etc) donít look like they can help to solve any Computing problems, except the ďHĒ command which performs basic arithmetic and outputs somehow intelligible results. What worried me most was the fact that the HDD Iím talking about, if I wasnít wrong in identifying it (after opening the case), has an even smaller interface/ribbon cable connecting it to the Main Board than that of the Internal FDD Ė Floppy Drive that is. Then, itís encased in a rubber/tube-some covering as well as being the same size or smaller to that of the FDD. I thought it was the Hard Disk coz Iíve even learnt that this is the typical size of the HDD of the SuperSport 286 Model. I learnt this from the Doc Iíve attached to this mail. The HDD doesnít have any other connector (like say, a separate power cable) leading to/from it except the single Ribbon cable connecting it to some intermediate apparently add-on card which then connects to the Main Board. Note that my Model is not the 286e. One more thing I wasnít comfortable with was some 2 connectors on the main board, actually not two but 3, similar to those that connect modern Hard Disks in Desktop PCs to their respective Main Boards. These 3 connectors (I guess C16 and C17, the 3rd I canít recall unless I check), were not connected to anything! Yet the HDD has Ribbon Cable smaller than that of an Ordinary Desktop PC FDD. Anyway, I didnít figure out that they really had to be connected somewhere. I also didnít figure out where a provisional Expansion Bus would be fitted on the Board, despite the fact that it has been provided for at the rear side of the PC Laptop, I mean the Main Board doesnít have any extra EISA/MCA slots leave alone ISA/PCI slots as fitted in modern Mother Boards. By the way did I mention to you that the System Board was manufactured at around 1988, guess itís among the first to be released by Zenith Data Systems before they merged with Hewlett Packard in 1989. Itís not that I know much about that, Afterall I was only Five years then. So, what I was saying is that the CMOS TIME and DATE keeps on resetting itself to 1st of January 1988 every time I start this Laptop thing! This happens even when Iíve not removed the Removable DC Backup Battery at the back of the Ďthingí Ė the Battery Case, manufactured in Japan is a Model ZA Ė 180 - 65. Could it be that the Bios has expired or does it all have anything to do with the lack of a Bootable Os in the HDD? Really, I donít think this could ever have anything to do with the HDD. Infact, the Setup accepts dates ranging from 1988 to 2099.
      While Iím afraid to here that Iíd replace the Bios alone, feel free to recommend to me any sort of Devices/Accessories ( Full Range ) you feel would render my Laptop Competent and Intelligent just like modern PCs. If you trust itís worthwhile to replace almost everything including the Mainboard, let me know. Iíd be grateful too if you sent me details (manufacturer or component typical ID) that will help me identify specific components on the Board such as the Bios and other important components I may need to swap/change. The Laptop has an RJ 11 port mounted on an add-on card so if you feel like itís possible to troubleshoot it remotely from my Roomís Computer running on a Windows XP Professional Platform, just let me know. Iím a pro when it comes to crimping Direct/Cross-Over cables for connecting such DTE Equipments. The only other challenge I got was to use an 8-Wired UTP cable to connect on one side to the Laptop (RJ 11-4 Pins) and the other side to connect to my Desktop PC (RJ 45-8 Pins). The latter connector wasnít an issue since the UTP Cat 5E has 8 wires equivalent to its 8 Pins. The other side is the problem. I however did away with thinking about it all when I failed to figure out how I could access the apparently dead Laptop from my XP Desktop PC.

Lots of Regards.

--Moved to the "Others" section from FAQ by Zylstra555


[old attachment deleted by admin]
« Last Edit: April 03, 2007, 02:01:52 PM by Zylstra »

Calum

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Re: Upgradability of a ZDS Laptop Model ZWL-0200-02
« Reply #1 on: April 03, 2007, 04:20:31 AM »
Hey, can a moderator please move this?
I just noticed it's in the FAQ section, I don't usually check here.
muita - it's not a good idea to post your email address, I'd remove it if I were you.
As for your attachments issue, you can't attach any old file and it has to be under 128kb in size.
Try compressing/zipping it and then attaching it.
If that contains the question, it may be best to copy and paste it, it may take a few posts if it is long though.
Oh, and welcome to the forums.

Rob Pomeroy



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Oh. My. Goodness.

Any chance of breaking that post down into bullet points?!
Only able to visit the forums sporadically, sorry.

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Calum

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Oh. My. Goodness.

Any chance of breaking that post down into bullet points?!
. . . it was different when I replied to it . . . that's a beast of a post.
More than a little hard to read too, because of the sheer length.

Scanning through, it seems that they want to get an OS they recognize onto this laptop, manufactured in 1988.
They also want to know how to upgrade it.
I'm not so sure this is worth spending any time or effort on, it is almost 20 years old.
You could sell it as an antique.
Maybe something like DOS would work with it.
That's if I'm understanding this correctly, it is rather an enormous post.
At least we don't have the problem of too little info here . . .

soybean



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Muita, are there any computer museums over there in Kenya?  Since you're familiar with all Windows operating systems, even Vista, you must be familiar with fairly modern peronal computers.  And, therefore, you know that 286 laptop is very obsolete. 

I once had a 286 desktop.  I got rid of it years ago.  I suspect nearly all other forum viewers, like me, are just not inclined to try to comprehend your very long post and delve into such old technology.