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vintagegamecrazy
08-05-2010, 07:44 AM
http://by156w.bay156.mail.live.com/mail/GetAttachment.aspx?messageId=efa722bf-a08d-11df-b711-00215ad84ba0&size=WN&tnail=0&ignoreerrors=True&n=701290087

I just got this PC from a garage sale for a whopping buck and I can't get it to work properly. It may be DOA or I might just have forgotten how to use it properly. The pic isn't the best but it's a Dell System 310 from 1988 an 80386. I can't get it to load DOS up it just stays at the bootup screen. I don't even know what version it's running, is there a way to tell without it starting up? Give me some pointers, it has one of those old fashion locks on it, will that keep DOS from loading if it's locked, any way to tell if its locked or to disable it without a key?

Thanks

ahm
08-05-2010, 09:19 AM
It's a fair bet that the hard drive doesn't work. See if it will boot from floppy.
There are boot disks available for download "out there".

vintagegamecrazy
08-05-2010, 10:22 AM
A bad hard drive makes sense since the processor is obviously trying to boot up. If I find one of these boot disks how would I get it onto floppy? It would seem easier to just replace the HD. If I do then what is the best one for a 386 PC and what is the best OS for it? Windows or DOS? Sorry for the questions, only played with these things in grade school and definitely not a techie with them. That and I have to figure out how much it will cost to fix and whether or not it's worth it for me to fix and try to find space to store this behemoth!

jb143
08-05-2010, 10:47 AM
A boot disk is just a few files on a floppy. If you add a new harddrive you'll probally still need to use a boot disk to set it up so might as well see if it's working first. If it has 3.5 floppy(assuming you still have one on your current PC) just look up 386 boot disk online and save the files you need on it. If it only has a 5.25 drive, well...then you'll probally have to track down a working PC that has one as well.

madman77
08-05-2010, 10:55 AM
Does the BIOS screen come up? If it doesn't even get that far, the system is hosed. If there's no OS on the hard drive, or the HD is dead, you'll get an obvious error....I believe it's "No Operating System Found" or something like that.

YoshiM
08-05-2010, 11:44 AM
Hmm...does the boot screen give you any key combo options to get into the settings? Are there any beeps or messages that appear? Does the floppy drive come on when you power the system up?

Depending on how the system is set up, it's possible that the hard drive is fine but the system may have forgotten what kind of hard drive it is. Not everything back then could auto-detect. When you say it just sits at a boot screen, that's the first thing that came to mind.

What's the model number, anyways? Maybe the collective here can check out what this thing has under the hood and maybe help you out.

vintagegamecrazy
08-05-2010, 11:59 AM
You guys raised a good point, it has a 3.5 and 5.25 inch drive on it. I have one on my Celeron PC so I could copy files. When I first powered it on it said CMOS battery dead or something to that fact and went to the bios screen and I had to tell it to recognize the 3.5in drive and then both try to boot now. It told me to select what kind of hard drive to use. I used the first one, Type 1 and went from there. Now all I get is a prompt that says MS-DOS starting and it just stays there. How do I determine what kind of hard drive it has in it? Do I take it a part and will it say on the hard drive itself?

Thanks once again.

Edit: Does anyone have a link to a 386 boot disk download that you recommend?

ahm
08-05-2010, 12:59 PM
You'll want to replace the CMOS battery at some point, so you don't have to keep re-entering your settings.

Yes, write down the parameters on the hard drive label (cylinders, heads and sectors per track).
Then try to match them up to a Type in the BIOS.
If there isn't an exact match, there's usually one called "user defined" (probably the last one in the list)
so you can enter the C/H/S settings for your hard drive. Then see if the hard drive will boot.

As for boot disks, Google "boot disk".
Personally, I'd try DOS 5.0 on that puppy.

Andy

vintagegamecrazy
08-05-2010, 01:18 PM
I can do Dos 5.0, I can't find a good download, just fake or broken links, can someone point me to a good download even if it's not a Micro$oft version?

Jaruff
08-05-2010, 01:42 PM
Personally, I would try this:

http://www.toms.net/rb/

Linux on a floppy. Might be above what you're wanting to do but it comes with enough tools to check the HD and such. I use it on a regular basis to check PC's, diagnose, etc.

From there, I think FreeDOS has 386 support. It's been a while since I've used it so I'm not entirely certain.

As ahm, replace that CMOS battery too. They're pretty cheap but you should be able to "borrow" one from something in your house.

vintagegamecrazy
08-05-2010, 02:26 PM
My CMOS Battery is a 4.5V brick with two wires coming out of it and I cross referenced it and ordered a replacement from Batteries Plus for $12.99.

I finally got it to boot, it's a type 17 hard drive and once I got that right it booted up and it has Windows 3.1 on it already (nice for me).

Now I need to figure out how to get the serial mouse to work on it that I have. It's a model mus2s generic one. Is there a way to configure it to run or do I need to find drivers?

Man are these old PC's a lot different to work on than the new ones!

After that then I guess I have to search for games to play on it. Oh and does anyone have any recommendations for a sound card or how to get the best sound out of this beast?!

YoshiM
08-05-2010, 03:20 PM
I finally got it to boot, it's a type 17 hard drive and once I got that right it booted up and it has Windows 3.1 on it already (nice for me).

Great! I remember these situations popping up on machines I used to fix for people years back and when I had to upgrade my Packard Bell 486.


Now I need to figure out how to get the serial mouse to work on it that I have. It's a model mus2s generic one. Is there a way to configure it to run or do I need to find drivers?
Man I haven't used Windows 3.1 in a looonnnng time. Try going into Program Manager and go into Windows Setup. You can do it with arrow keys if you've never done this before. I think you can use a Logitech serial mouse driver. If you can't get to the setup in Windows, kick out to a DOS prompt, go to the Windows directory and type in "Setup". You should be able to select a Logitech serial mouse. Mouse drivers were pretty universal.


Man are these old PC's a lot different to work on than the new ones!
Aren't they? This thread totally took me back to the early 90's doing tech support when I worked in the electronics departments at Wal-Mart then Sears. Be happy you didn't have to muck with dip switches


After that then I guess I have to search for games to play on it. Oh and does anyone have any recommendations for a sound card or how to get the best sound out of this beast?!

Sound card...when you opened it up, did you look at the slots inside? Does it have ISA (usually big and black, like the NES cartridge slot) or does it have PCI (smaller, usually white with little slits)? That will determine the type of card you can get. I recommend Sound Blasters as they are pretty much the most compatible with games. It's been so long, I'm not sure if older Sound Blasters need DOS drivers, just the settings. You WILL need drivers for Windows 3.1. An older Sound Blaster 16 would probably do the trick.

Personally I'd recommend a Media Vision Pro Audio Spectrum 16 but finding working drivers was a pain when I built my DOS box years back. Had amazing sound.

vintagegamecrazy
08-05-2010, 04:01 PM
It has the NES port style slots.

Thanks for all the ongoing help everyone, hopefully I can get this running optimally pretty soon!

Jorpho
08-05-2010, 04:18 PM
Sound card...when you opened it up, did you look at the slots inside? Does it have ISA (usually big and black, like the NES cartridge slot) or does it have PCI (smaller, usually white with little slits)? That will determine the type of card you can get. I recommend Sound Blasters as they are pretty much the most compatible with games. It's been so long, I'm not sure if older Sound Blasters need DOS drivers, just the settings. You WILL need drivers for Windows 3.1. An older Sound Blaster 16 would probably do the trick.I don't think there's any such thing as a 386 motherboard with PCI slots.

I should try to sell off some of my ancient ISA Sound Blaster cards; I haven't touched them in ages.

vintagegamecrazy
08-05-2010, 05:27 PM
If they'd work on a 386 then I'd be in the market. PM me if you want to sell. I want to play games like Mega Man, Castlevania and other 2D platformers so if they'd work for that than I'm more than interested!

YoshiM
08-05-2010, 06:05 PM
I don't think there's any such thing as a 386 motherboard with PCI slots.

I...don't know about that. I've seen requirements for PCI network cards that can work with a 386. Gotta research that.

My response is knee-jerk when dealing with older systems. I've said that so much it's automatic because a lot of people get confused.

Jorpho
08-05-2010, 07:02 PM
I want to play games like Mega Man, Castlevania and other 2D platformersWait, what? You want to play Mega Man PC? Do you know anything about that game!? I don't even think it supports the Sound Blaster!

I don't know much about the DOS port of Castlevania (http://www.hotud.org/component/content/article/43-action/21263), but if it's anything like the DOS ports of Contra and Super Contra, I expect it would be far, far beneath the NES version in quality.

CMA Death Adder
08-05-2010, 10:08 PM
Wait, what? You want to play Mega Man PC? Do you know anything about that game!? I don't even think it supports the Sound Blaster!

It doesn't support the Sound Blaster, Ad Lib or any other sound hardware that was standard (and had come to be accepted) at the time. Both Mega Man and Mega Man III as they appear on the PC are disgraceful adaptations which should not be used to make a sound judgement about what the PC was capable of, at the time. They were developed by amateurs working for a shoddy company which was somehow able to shoehorn big-name licenses out of the hands of large companies. The dark days of PC gaming, indeed.


I don't know much about the DOS port of Castlevania (http://www.hotud.org/component/content/article/43-action/21263), but if it's anything like the DOS ports of Contra and Super Contra, I expect it would be far, far beneath the NES version in quality.

The PC fared far better with games that were created specifically around the strengths of its hardware, rather than those that were lazily ported to it. Generally I've always avoided DOS ports of arcade and console games as they had little energy put into them (save for the Nova Logic ports of several Taito games such as Rastan and Bubble Bobble).

So far as your now-working 386 is concerned, vintagegamecrazy, I can recommend two freeware games off the bat right now. :)

Sango Fighter (http://www.sangofighter.com/) and Super Fighter (http://www.superfighter.com/) will both run on a 386, and are prime examples of what versus fighting games on the PC were like, back in 1993.

tom
08-06-2010, 06:41 AM
or this:
http://www.videogamecollectors.com/gallery2/main.php?g2_view=core.DownloadItem&g2_itemId=200326&g2_serialNumber=2

Family Fun

A Black Falcon
08-08-2010, 01:03 AM
Awesome, I wish we still had our 386, it was the first computer our family owned... Gateway 2000 386SX 20Mhz, with a 100MB hard drive and maybe 4MB of RAM. No sound card or CD-ROM drive, just 5 1/4" and 3 1/2" drives. :)

As for 386 games... uh... well, I do have Mega Man III. I didn't have a NES or SNES but wanted to play Mega Man, so I got that game at some point.

Let's just say that I never bought another Hi Tech Expressions game again... not that I completely hated it, I didn't, but it wasn't anything like the console Mega Man games and was mediocre at best. I kind of disliked it and definitely considered it disappointing and Hi Tech Expressions a bad publisher.

However, I went back and played the game again a year or two ago and found that I didn't complete hate it. Really, it is possible to enjoy the game a little. Just don't think of it as a Mega Man game, but as a PC action-platformer. Because if you go in expecting NES Mega Man, you'll be extremely disappointed. If you instead compare it to, say, late '80s or early '90s mid or lower-tier PC shareware games, it's not so bad.

Of course, it was actually sold in a box, with Hi Tech Expressions and Capcom logos on the box, so you should expect more than poor shareware title, but that really is what it is. The two DOS Mega Man games were developed by a tiny two-person studio, Rozner Labs, which was obviously some kind of homebrew-ish studio that managed to get this stuff. So the graphics aren't great, there is no soundblaster sound, the game isn't very good, etc. Blame Hi Tech Expressions for being so incredibly cheap.

Mega Man X for DOS is much, much better... that one's a good port. But that game would never run in a 386, so it won't help you here, unfortunately.

As I said about these games on neogaf some time ago:
http://www.neogaf.com/forum/showthread.php?t=217832



[PC] Mega Man, Mega Man 3

Mega Man 3 for the PC... that game's name is all lies. "Mega Man", it calls itself. Then why are the levels large mazes? This doesn't play like any "Mega Man" game I've ever heard of... but I bought it because I didn't have a NES and wanted a Mega Man game. :(

It's actually not all that horrible, once you accept the EGA graphics, PC Speaker sound effects, confusing, mazelike levels, lack of any form of saving (it has infinite continues, but no saving, and though there are just seven levels (six bosses then the Wily stage) it takes quite a while to get through because of the level design; I never actually finished it...), and pretend that it's not a Mega Man game but just some average PC action-platformer which happens to use Mega Man graphics for the main character and some vaguely Mega Man-ish enemies and boss designs, but it's definitely not Mega Man. :)

My opinion of Rozner Labs and Hi-Tech Expressions wasn't too high after that one... :D

As an addendup to this, I need to say that this thread got me to launch Mega Man 3 (the cause of that post) and then Mega Man X's PC version, which had something in the company logo screens in the intro... a Rozner Labs Software Group logo. Evidently they made that game too, unlike the attribution to "Capcom" that Gamefaqs and Mobygames and others give it. Mega Man X for the PC was a very good port. It's pretty much an exact duplicate of the SNES version, except it has no robot ride armor (used so little I never cared it was gone...), has saving instead of passwords (though it only saves the data that the password would have, it's much more convenient), and is perhaps slightly more difficult. The graphics and music were the same as on the SNES, and it of course supported soundcards, VGA, etc. Rozner Labs obviously improved quite a bit with time.

Mega Man X for the PC was a much bigger deal than (MM1 or) MM3 were, too. MM3 wasn't even published by Capcom, I think (Capcom and Hi-Tech have logos on the front of the box; Hi-Tech Expressions logo shows up first when you launch the game, then Rozner Labs, then the main menu. The menu screen does say 'c 1992 Capcom Co. Ltd. and 1992 Capcom USA Inc.', but that's presumably just a license note.), had a small box with iffy box art straight off of one of the NES games, CGA/EGA-only graphics in 1992, a time when games were beginning to use VGA, etc, while X was a good port as said above, was definitely published by Capcom, had a full-sized, awesome box and (optionally) came packed in with a gamepad (that box version had a window cut out in it so you could see the gamepad inside), which made playing the game much easier than it would have been on keyboard. SSFII had the gamepad pack-in box available too... never got that though. I do still have my Capcom PC Fighter 6 gamepad, though. Being a gameport pad it won't work on my new computer of course, and one button is stuck, but it did well for quite a while.

Anyway, games that will run on a 386 that I actually liked to some degree... hmm. A lot of this stuff is shareware or freeware, but not all of them. :)

Commander Keen (all 6 games)
Castle Adventure
CaveQuest
Aldo's Adventure
Sim City
Hugo (all three games)
The Lost Vikings
Castles
Bananoid
Star Goose
Windows 3.0 Reversi (it was a built-in game in 3.0, instead of Minesweeper, which was only introduced in 3.11 and replaced Reversi)
Windows Solitaire (on a slow machine, when you win the cards bouncing thing actually takes a while... :))
EGA Trek
Wolfenstein 3D
Ken's Labyrinth
Dark Ages
Bio Menace
Lemmings
Arcade Volleyball
Kroz series (and other ASCII action games)
Monuments of Mars, Arctic Adventure, Pharoah's Tomb
(many many clones of Space Invaders, Pac-Man, Tetris, etc.)
etc. There's a lot of freeware and shareware out there to try and see if they run acceptably. :)

tom
08-08-2010, 06:53 AM
I got Mega Man for PC, I quite like it....maybe I'm a sucker for bad games....
http://www.videogamecollectors.com/gallery2/main.php?g2_view=core.DownloadItem&g2_itemId=200205&g2_serialNumber=2

megasdkirby
08-08-2010, 08:01 AM
I got Mega Man for PC, I quite like it....maybe I'm a sucker for bad games....


Dom has Mega Man 3 for PC, so you are not the only one. :)

A Black Falcon
08-08-2010, 06:54 PM
I'd like to play the first PC Mega Man, I know it's worse than the second (it has only three bosses before Wily for instance, instead of six like the second game), but still, I'd like to try it... :)

Kitsune Sniper
08-08-2010, 07:03 PM
or this:
http://www.videogamecollectors.com/gallery2/main.php?g2_view=core.DownloadItem&g2_itemId=200326&g2_serialNumber=2

Family Fun

*HISSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS*

BURN IT WITH ACID

Jorpho
08-08-2010, 08:06 PM
There is actually some effort afoot to properly remake the PC Mega Man games. Exactly why they're bothering is one question; whether they will succeed in releasing a final product is another.
http://www.megamanpc.webs.com/

A Black Falcon
08-08-2010, 08:50 PM
There is actually some effort afoot to properly remake the PC Mega Man games. Exactly why they're bothering is one question; whether they will succeed in releasing a final product is another.
http://www.megamanpc.webs.com/

Cool idea... but...


# Better stage layouts, while keeping accurate to the original games - no more frustrating maze-like stages in the PC3 levels!

What? It wouldn't be Mega Man PC without the mazelike levels, it's one of the main things I think of when I think about Mega Man 3 PC... :) Still, cool idea.

The project looks somewhat dead, though. No updates since last year...

Ze_ro
08-09-2010, 12:38 AM
There is actually some effort afoot to properly remake the PC Mega Man games. Exactly why they're bothering is one question; whether they will succeed in releasing a final product is another.

http://1.bp.blogspot.com/_kXnVoQ9ZFkQ/SVBvaUlxXjI/AAAAAAAAGZc/dihRPVXQ4Y4/s400/ideas-blackjack.jpg

--Zero

twilitezoner
09-06-2010, 10:29 AM
There is actually some effort afoot to properly remake the PC Mega Man games. Exactly why they're bothering is one question; whether they will succeed in releasing a final product is another.
http://www.megamanpc.webs.com/

If anyone is interested in playing Mega Man on the PC they should check out the Mega Man Deathmatch Doom coversion. Pretty neat.

http://cutstuff.net/blog/?page_id=1490

As far as the Mega Man DOS games are concerned, you're better off playing them with the sound off...