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 Revived Gateway 2000 486 - HD error View next topic
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Joined: 13 Jan 2007
Posts: 16
Location: Moneta, Virginia, USA

PostPosted: Sun Jan 13, 2019 12:03 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

I finally got around to reviving a Gateway 2000 4DX2-66V that my workplace tossed in the dumpster last year. Of course the battery's dead so I have to re-enter the BIOS settings on power up until I replace it but I keep getting a "hard disk configuration error" message right after POST. I just hit F1 and continue on and it boots up fine.

First, a little background: I got this error when I first powered it up and after several unsuccessful tries at getting it to boot I double checked the drive jumpers and found the WD Caviar 340MB drive was missing the jumper to make it master (there's a Mitsumi quad speed CD drive on the same channel as slave). I dug out a jumper from an old drive and set the WD as master but the error didn't go away.

After digging around I found a functional W95 boot floppy and after several tries finally managed to get it to boot to a command prompt on the floppy. I ran fdisk and discovered the HD had 4 partitions. 3 were non-DOS and one (the 3rd one) was shown as CP/M. Boy I haven't seen anything like that in a while! I deleted all the existing partitions and made a new one and formatted it. Sys'd the drive and tried to see if it would boot to it. No go. I could boot to the floppy and switch over to the HD (C prompt) and see and work with the files there so at least the drive works. Anyway, I pulled out one of my W95 disks and tried to install Windows 95 and setup complained of a drive compression or caching utility and wanted me to fix that first.

Well, obviously there couldn't be any drive compression going on since I had deleted all the old partitions that might have had such a thing going on. As far as the caching utility - there's certainly nothing going on in software that could be doing that, again - fresh partition that has only been sys'd, no other software installed. However this is one of those 486 motherboards with the VESA Local Bus and the plug-in cache chip. I don't really think the VLB has anything to do with it but the cache chip might. I remember they used these to speed up memory operations since this was before Intel started putting the several onboard caches in the CPU like we have now. What I don't remember is how these worked or if they were even visible to the operating system (from a user standpoint).

In the end it turns out I could just push forward from that Windows setup message and install anyway. I did so and now it has Windows 95 installed and running. It boots to W95 just fine and everything seems to work but I still get that hard disk error message from the BIOS at boot. Hit F1 and up comes Windows.

I can use this computer as is if I have to but I would really like to get rid of that error message.

Any thoughts or suggestions?

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Joined: 02 Oct 2004
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PostPosted: Sun Jan 13, 2019 10:40 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

Your "hard drive configuration error" message is probably happening during POST. A 486 is in the middle of the BIOS being able to figure everything out and having a configuration error be a really big problem.

My guess is your CMOS battery is dead. They're usually 2032 button cells, located somewhere on the motherboard. Once you replace the battery and enter BIOS setup and save, the message should go away.

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