Presario 800 notebook (80XL4) BIOS

Discussion in 'Compaq' started by Scott Masters, Jul 1, 2003.

  1. I need someone's help,
    I have a Compaq Presario 800 Notebook, model number 80XL4. The hard
    drive died and I have replaced it. Unfortunately the BIOS will not
    detect any drives in the system. The only thing I can do is boot from
    a usb floppy. I can boot with a drive diagnostic disk and it does its
    own scan of the bus and sees the hard drive and tests it fine. But
    other programs that rely on the BIOS settings can't see it.
    After troubleshooting it and talking to Compaq's support people I
    have determined that I need to update (or just reflash) the BIOS in
    order to get the new drive seen.
    This is where I need someone's help. I downloaded the latest BIOS,
    SP16190, and extracted the files to my desktop. It is a 2 part
    process. It first creates the boot disk to update the Keyboard BIOS
    and then it wants you to run a file called Pre80XL.exe. This is
    supposed to make the boot disk to flash the BIOS. My problem is that
    Pre80XL.exe has to be run on the specific model that the BIOS was made
    for, meaning I can only run it on my laptop. To top it off it is a
    Windows only program and it will not run under DOS.
    Since the BIOS won't see the hard drive and I can't run Windows on
    the laptop I have no way to create the boot floppies in order to
    update the BIOS. Would someone be willing to create the floppy or
    floppies and send me an image of them. I can send a good program for
    creating floppy images if someone needs it.
    Compaq's tech support tells me to take it to a service center so
    this newsgroup is my last hope to fix the system without handing my
    wallet over to Compaq.
    Thanks for anyones help who can give it.
    Scott Masters, Jul 1, 2003
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  2. Scott Masters

    johnnyx Guest

    Scott >>

    It is true that if you are replacing the original hard drive with a larger
    drive, the BIOS needs to be updated. The softpaq can be made by ANY model
    computer, not just the model that it is for. That would be crazy. Most
    people don't have multiple models of the same computer (especially a
    consumer model). So there must be issues with the other computer you are
    using to make the bootable floppy to upgrade the BIOS. Try again on another

    johnnyx, Jul 5, 2003
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  3. Scott Masters

    Scott Guest

    Unfortunately, I have tried that. On several PC's! The extact error I get
    "ERROR! In order to make the Rom Upgrade diskette, you need to run this
    Softpaq on the correct Compaq Presario Notebook Models. Please check the
    Compaq Support Website for Instructions. "
    I agree. They would have to be crazy to do something like that. After
    talking to Compaq's tech support, they say that there is no way to bypass
    the verification process and make the boot disk anyway. I guess the only way
    Compaq will let you upgrade your BIOS is if you computer is working already.
    They told me my only option was to send it to a repair center.
    Scott, Jul 7, 2003
  4. Does this update of BIOS to clear BIOS tables? I am not able to locate
    SP16190 on Compaq website.

    Also found out that Presario 800 series were OEM'd from Mitac, and it's
    Mitac M722 series.

    Anyone have insight to this please post.

    Chiachen Tsao, Nov 20, 2003
  5. Scott Masters

    Kvasir Guest

    If it is flashing the bios/system rom then it has to clear the tables. The
    most recent bios for that system is Rompaq:SP17461.exe
    Presario 80XL System ROM and Keyboard Controller ROM 2001-05-05
    RF.01R2.06R1.07 1.29 MB

    If this guy still needs some images for his bios let me know. I'm sure I
    could help him out
    Kvasir, Nov 23, 2003
  6. Scott Masters


    Oct 22, 2006
    Likes Received:
    80xl fix

    Did you ever resolve this problem? I have the exact same problem and cannot update my bios. If you were able to update it could you send me the disk?
    jnporcello, Oct 22, 2006
  7. Scott Masters


    Jan 4, 2009
    Likes Received:
    Now What?

    I was able to make a floppy and flash my BIOS. Unfortunately, my laptop still hangs at boot time, "Auto Detecting IDE Devices" unless I boot with a disk that is smaller than the original disk. Is there some secret handshake involved with the BIOS flash to modify the drive size?

    Note that I can't flash the BIOS with the (larger) disk installed, as it hangs.

    In case you are wondering, here is how I created the boot disk to flash my BIOS. First, I installed a smaller hard drive that I happened to have. Then I installed Windows 98 from CD-ROM.

    I found a driver on the web for the Mitsumi USB floppy, but how to get it onto a laptop that has no floppy, no network, and no drivers for USB flash drives? The solution is that I pulled the hard drive out of my laptop and used a USB external case to connect it to my desktop machine. I transferred the floppy driver to the hard drive, put the drive back into the laptop, booted Windows 98 and installed the floppy driver.

    Once that was done I ran the flash program to reflash the BIOS. Then I tried installing my larger hard drive. It still hangs AutoDetecting IDE devices.
    presario800, Jan 4, 2009
  8. Scott Masters


    Jan 4, 2009
    Likes Received:
    Solution Found

    Now I think I have the answer to this problem. There is a fundamental limit of 32 gb in the BIOS. The obvious solution is to use a drive below the limit, but there is another possibility.

    Software is available to configure a hard drive to lie about its size to the BIOS. Someone said that Maxtor's Maxblast would work, but the version that I found does not have this feature. I found software from Hitachi called Ftool-ver212.exe that appears to do the trick. Running this program creates a boot disk that allows various settings to be changed, including the drive size.

    Making this work is only slightly tricky. You still need to mount the disk, and you can't do that on your BIOS-limited laptop. For $7 you can buy an adapter that will allow you to connect your 2.5-inch drive to a full-sized IDE cable (the software does not detect USB drives). Then plug it into your desktop computer, boot from the floppy, and limit the drive to 32 gigabytes. Put the drive in your laptop and declare victory.

    The beauty of this approach is that you can still use the full size of the drive. I'm told (and hope to soon verify) that Linux does not use the BIOS to access the hard drive, so it can use the entire drive.
    presario800, Jan 5, 2009
  9. Scott Masters


    Jan 4, 2009
    Likes Received:
    Like a Horror Movie

    The standard formula for horror movies is that, just when you think the monster has been defeated, it comes back for one last shot at the protagonist. So it goes with the case of the Presario 800 laptop.

    It is true that Linux does not use the BIOS to access the hard drive. Therefore, install Linux and we're done, right?

    Wrong. Although Linux does not use the BIOS to access the hard drive, Linux uses Grub to boot, and Grub uses the BIOS to access the hard drive. Therefore, when installing Linux on this laptop, the first partition must be less than 32 gigabytes. I didn't discover this until I had completed the install of Ubuntu Linux from DVD and then tried to reboot from the hard drive (he says, after installing Ubuntu Linux 8.10 for the umpteenth time on the same box).
    presario800, Jan 9, 2009
  10. Scott Masters


    Sep 9, 2009
    Likes Received:
    It is interesting to see that you use the same laptop for 6 years :)
    and at least you were able to overcome the problem, even partially.
    My problem is a bit different.
    I have a Sharp AX40 which is also a Mitac M722 in its essence and I tried to upgrade the CD ROM to a DVD drive.
    Well, it is not as simple as to take one drive out of the case put the new one in and use it.When I change drives, the DVD drive is not recognised, not from the BIOS, not from the Windows. After some search, I found out that slim line drives also have Master/Slave, function but I dont know how to proceed.

    Any help is welcome.
    newbornlife, Sep 9, 2009
  11. Scott Masters


    May 29, 2010
    Likes Received:
    oh pls forgive me pushing this old thread up :eek:

    well it's nice to see that someone have the same problem as mine
    i also have a presario 800, no-cdrom, no floppy drive, only a 20 gb harddrive.
    The bios upgrade is need but no working way, the lovely-floppy-program make me crazy, but even i kick this ass out, how can i boot this thing without a floppy drive ?

    i found this bios
    for my lapton, but how can i boot to dos ?
    cd-rom -> no i dont have one
    floppy -> no even you dont have one
    hdd -> yes but i need bios upgrade to make 20GB-hdd function ...
    nice situation my fd:rolleyes:
    ggg3, May 29, 2010
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