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Thread: Gateway 400 Series BIOS

  1. #1
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    Default Gateway 400 Series BIOS

    OK, Here's the situation. My Tweener is a 1997 Gateway 400 series Pll running a 233 Mhz processor, 128 Megs of RAM, dual 40 Gig hard drives, internal DVD reader/Writer, internal 100 Meg Zip disk, 3.5" 1.44 Meg floppy and 5.25" 360K DDSD IBM floppy drive. (I think that's about it.)

    The problem I'm running into is that although the computer runs everything I've thrown at it so far, DOS apps included, the system BIOS will only allow the use of 1 floppy drive at a time in the machine. Most of the time, I need the 3.5 1.44 Meg drive, so I leave things alone, but there are times I need to use the 5.25 360K drive; which means shutting the computer off, unplugging power, disconnecting the 3.5" floppy and connecting the 5.25, then during bootup, reconfigure the BIOS to recognize the correct drive. When I'm done with the 5.25" drive, I have to reverse the entire process so I can go back to using the 3.5" drive again.

    Question: Do any of you know if Gateway had a BIOS update for the 400 series that would allow the computer to run with both floppy drives installed and at the same time? Or would you recommend using a different computer, possibly a 386, or 486 running Windows 3.1, or Windows 95? I've heard people mention system 7 mother boards, but I'm not familiar to anything prior to the Windows 95 computers I had access to. (Which is one of the primary reasons I had so much trouble getting started with my IBM 5150 and in these forums.) And, because of track width differences, I don't want to go with a combo drive that has a 3.5" 1.44 Meg, and 5.25 1.2Meg floppy drive all in one unit. The track widths are so different that these cause their owm problems when going from machine to machine.

    What are your thoughts? Is there another option I haven't thought about for my Tweener?
    All Things DOS - www.AllThingsDos.com
    Systems Currently Owned: IBM5150 PC - IBM 5161 Expansion unit - Compaq Portable 1 - Commodore Vic-20 - Tandy Coco, and the wife's IBM 5160 XT
    Wanted: - TRS-80 model 1 - Acoustic Couplers, and pretty much anything I can grubby little fingers around gollum, gollum....

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    Quote Originally Posted by bettablue View Post
    What are your thoughts?
    I think you should be able to run both floppies. I don't know what the problem is but there must be a way to resolve it.
    * If you're looking for DS/DD or DS/HD 3.5" or 5.25" floppy disks, PM me. I've got plenty of new, used and reformatted/overlabled disks for sale. *
    * There is a crack in everything; that's how the light gets in. -- Leonard Cohen *
    * Time flies like an arrow; fruit flies like a banana. *

  3. #3

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    My tweener is the G6-300 Pentium II with Intel motherboard which works fine with both drives. I believe that almost every 286, 386, 486, or Pentium desktop or tower should have no problem with two floppy drives installed. Many of them shipped with both 5.25" HD and 3.5" HD so if you can track down a system built between 1990 and 1995 you should just need to swap out the 5.25" HD and install the 5.25" DD. Make sure you have a proper 5 connector floppy cable; my 486 Gateway came with a cable that required the A drive to be 5.25" which isn't too useful after OSes switched to 3.5" boot floppies.

    I would also check to see if you can find a cheap secondary floppy controller.

    Sorry, I don't know of a BIOS update. Gateway was very bad at keeping up with needed updates. If you can track down the actual base motherboard, you might be able to find an update to that. That is what I had to do to update my Gateway system's BIOS with the Intel update.

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    Thanks stone. You do seem to be everywhere... I like that.

    What I hope to do is find a way to use both floppy drives at the same time.. I've tried to have them both connected, however in that configuration, the computer won't boot. Instead it will throw an error about the floppy drive being incompatible. I just thought this was pretty funny for a computer of that era. Other systems both before and after this computers release seem to allow for both, so why not this one?

    Others here seem to recommend a 486 machine. But on the other hand, I have a 286 IBM machine waiting for me too. If I can run Windows 3.0 on it, that will do the trick too, because I know it will let me run both floppy drives at the same time.



    Quote Originally Posted by Stone View Post
    I think you should be able to run both floppies. I don't know what the problem is but there must be a way to resolve it.
    All Things DOS - www.AllThingsDos.com
    Systems Currently Owned: IBM5150 PC - IBM 5161 Expansion unit - Compaq Portable 1 - Commodore Vic-20 - Tandy Coco, and the wife's IBM 5160 XT
    Wanted: - TRS-80 model 1 - Acoustic Couplers, and pretty much anything I can grubby little fingers around gollum, gollum....

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    You need to take both floppies and the ribbon cable and plug the whole assembly into another machine. If you get the same error the problem is one of the floppies or the cable. Another thought... you're using a floppy ribbon cable with a twist, right? You need to check both drives to be sure that they are both set to DS1 for Drive Select. That's the second position counting from zero like 0, 1, 2, 3. If one of them isn't set to DS1, change it.
    * If you're looking for DS/DD or DS/HD 3.5" or 5.25" floppy disks, PM me. I've got plenty of new, used and reformatted/overlabled disks for sale. *
    * There is a crack in everything; that's how the light gets in. -- Leonard Cohen *
    * Time flies like an arrow; fruit flies like a banana. *

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    I do know how to set up floppy drives. I've done it numerous times. It's just this one machine. Even the BIOS only shows a drive A when both are connected. I have it so that the 3.5" 1.44 Meg is the master on drive "A" and the 5.25 360K is the slave on drive "B". However, because they can't both run at the same time due to the percieved limits of this computer; I'm running them individually as a master drive "A". So, when I nees the other drive, I'll open the computer, make the swap and so forth.

    I wish I could be clearer than that. But, at least I did the proper setups and normal troubleshooting. Hell, the Gateway was given to me along with another almost identical P3 system. Neither will accept dual floppy drives. Bummer! That's why I'm considering yet another computer to use as my tweener.

    Quote Originally Posted by Stone View Post
    You need to take both floppies and the ribbon cable and plug the whole assembly into another machine. If you get the same error the problem is one of the floppies or the cable. Another thought... you're using a floppy ribbon cable with a twist, right? You need to check both drives to be sure that they are both set to DS1 for Drive Select. That's the second position counting from zero like 0, 1, 2, 3. If one of them isn't set to DS1, change it.
    All Things DOS - www.AllThingsDos.com
    Systems Currently Owned: IBM5150 PC - IBM 5161 Expansion unit - Compaq Portable 1 - Commodore Vic-20 - Tandy Coco, and the wife's IBM 5160 XT
    Wanted: - TRS-80 model 1 - Acoustic Couplers, and pretty much anything I can grubby little fingers around gollum, gollum....

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    Quote Originally Posted by bettablue View Post
    I have it so that the 3.5" 1.44 Meg is the master on drive "A" and the 5.25 360K is the slave on drive "B".
    So when both drives were connected, you removed/disabled the terminator on the 5.25" one (at middle of cable).

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    FWIW, there is *no* master or slave with floppies.

    Try the 5.25" drive an A and the 3.5" drive as B.

    Did you check the DS jumper on both drives?

    I don't think there are any limits on your computers. It will run two floppies when configured correctly.
    * If you're looking for DS/DD or DS/HD 3.5" or 5.25" floppy disks, PM me. I've got plenty of new, used and reformatted/overlabled disks for sale. *
    * There is a crack in everything; that's how the light gets in. -- Leonard Cohen *
    * Time flies like an arrow; fruit flies like a banana. *

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    The terminator was removed, and the two drives were installed, and connected, we tried setting one drive as the master and the other as a slave, set both to cable select, and both set to master. Then I swapped out the cable for one without the twist, and did it all again. The computer's BIOS just will not give me more than one floppy drive at a time, And it doesn't seem to matter which drive is set to the master or slave position, or if their set to cable select, the BIOS won't let me proceed, with both floppy drives connected. and will throw an error.


    Quote Originally Posted by modem7 View Post
    So when both drives were connected, you removed/disabled the terminator on the 5.25" one (at middle of cable).
    Last edited by bettablue; October 6th, 2012 at 03:47 PM.
    All Things DOS - www.AllThingsDos.com
    Systems Currently Owned: IBM5150 PC - IBM 5161 Expansion unit - Compaq Portable 1 - Commodore Vic-20 - Tandy Coco, and the wife's IBM 5160 XT
    Wanted: - TRS-80 model 1 - Acoustic Couplers, and pretty much anything I can grubby little fingers around gollum, gollum....

  10. #10

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    At this point, models numbers of drives and computer including bios version would probably be helpful. I think there is some miscommunication that is creating a bit of confusion. Pictures might not hurt either.

    I think the cause might be any of the following:
    A budget BIOS that only supports a single floppy disk though I thought that was rare in 1997.
    A floppy cable that either lacks the expected twist or has been damaged.
    The 360kB floppy was adjusted to work in a non-IBM PC compatible system.

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