Jul 23, 2021

First Saturday Computer Flea Market, Dallas Texas (1st Saturday)

 Way back in 1994 or 1995, a group of my co-workers told me about a computer flea market in Dallas, Texas, that only took place at night. I was skeptical. Turned out to be true! What appears below is from an archived web page I had on the subject. NOTE: So far as I have been able to determine, the flea market has been long defunct.

So, you've been trying to figure out how to get to the now famous Dallas Computer Flea Market? Well, look no further! I thought the once a month, midnight computer flea market in Dallas was a big secret or something. It took a lot of digging and prodding, but my family and I found it. We wanted to be sure that NO ONE else ever had to go through what we had to, so:

The Dallas Computer Flea Market (aka 1st Saturday) is located at the corner of Ross Avenue and Routh streets in downtown Dallas. The closest approximation I could come up with is North Central Expressway and Ross Avenue. The market actually takes up several parking lots near the Ross/Routh intersection, but the vendor check-in (thus, most vendors) are in the lots at Ross/Routh.

The vendors start setting up around 11:30 p.m. on the first Friday of the month, but actual set-up starts at Midnight Saturday. When we went, we started at Midnight and hung out until about 4 a.m. I'd say the best time to get there is around 3 a.m. Most of the vendors are there and it's pretty kickin'. The whole things closes down at noon on Saturday, so don't wait! Have fun!

We hope this helps! If you have ANY questions, please contact me: David Henderson

Here's a map for clarity (The general area is marked in RED):
THIS MAP IS ABOUT 85k!
(Note: Back in those days, this was a HUGE picture - haha!)


A couple of notes in hindsight:
  • The area marked in red was the parking. The actual event took place southwest after you crossed the street under the freeway.
  • Note the hand-drawn black lines to indicate a new highway being built! That is now 366 (Sorry I don't know the local name for the interchange).



May 26, 2021

FortiFone FON-175 Silent Ring Mode


On the FON-175, the MUTE button does more than just mute the microphone, as I recently discovered. The MUTE button also places the phone into "Silent Ring Mode."

When the MUTE button is activated while NOT in a call (that is, when the handset is on the base), the MUTE button will toggle the Silent Ring Mode feature. This prevents the phone from ringing audibly during a call. The red light will flash during an incoming call, but the phone will not ring.

In order to toggle the setting back again, press the MUTE button while the handset is in the base and is not in use.

Hope this helps, as this terminology (Silent Ring Mode) is NOT referenced in the user's guide. 


May 14, 2021

Remove and/or Disable the Preview Pane in Windows 10

Registry Editor Image

a) Press “Windows Logo” + “R” keys on the keyboard to open the “Run” command box.

b) Type “regedit” in the “Run” command box and press “ENTER”.

c) Now, navigate to following key:

HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Policies\Explorer

d) In right-side pane, create new DWORD “NoReadingPane” and set its value to 1.
(To create a new DWORD, click on the option “Edit” at the top, select “New” and then select the option “DWORD” from that sub-menu.)

e) Restart or log off your system and "Preview Pane" button will get removed from Windows Explorer command bar.


To restore the "Preview Pane" button, you can either remove DWORD or change its value to 0.


(Taken from: https://answers.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/forum/windows_7-desktop/how-to-hide-the-file-preview-pane-on-the-browse/36e8da9c-10c0-4ac0-ab16-284fea930075 and placed here to make it easier to find.)

May 5, 2021

Windows 10 Prints Only One Copy

tldr; Change the Print Driver to "Windows Software Printer Driver"

 I had a user with an issue where their Windows 10 computer would only print ONE copy of a document regardless of how many copies they specified. 

I researched the problem and found that for anyone using HP, there is usually an option under Device Settings to disable Mopier. That's great of you are using an HP. But, this person was using a Lexmark MFP network device. So, no Mopier setting.

The computer did NOT have the Lexmark Universal Driver installed. Frankly, that probably would have solved the problem. Instead, the system had found the printer and installed the driver using the Microsoft Windows IPP Class Driver:


The ultimate solution was to change from the Windows IPP Class to the Microsoft Software Printer Driver:


This allowed the user to print all the copies desired.

Apr 15, 2021

Thin Client: devonIT TC2D

 


I picked up a DevonIT TC2D "Zero Client" device for about $5.00 on eBay. It came new in the box (or appeared new) with a power adapter, instructions, and a DVI/VGA adapter. Let's look at some specs:

CPU - VIA Eden 1 GHz

GPU -VIA VX855

RJ45 (Wired Ethernet) -Realtek 8110SC

Sound -Azalia HDA Controller (VT1708s)

Storage -1GB DOM (2.5-inch IDE riser connector)

RAM - 1xDDR2 SODIMM 

USB Ports -4x USB 2.0 (2 on back, 2 on front)

Video Ports - DVI Connector 

Power Requirements - 12V, 3A AC Adapter 

Other Ports -PS/2 Keyboard connector on back, Kensington slot on back

BIOS: Phoenix AwardBIOS

OS: DeTOS 7.1.1 20120508

Notes: HDD Auto Detection, Provisions for IDE Slave Device, Set Boot Priority, Boot from USB, Azalia Disable Feature, USB Settings (KB/Mouse can be set to USB), Power Management Options.

OPERATING SYSTEMS:

 DeTOS 7.1.1 (05082012) (1GB RAM, 1GB DOM) - The unit came with DeTOS 7.1 installed. I did a complete post on my experiences with it: HERE 

Briefly, DeTOS brings you to desktop with very limited options: Control Panel or Reboot/Shutdown. The Control Panel allows for some basic configuration and includes Firefox Aurora browser.

ZeroClient WORKS (1GB RAM, 1GB DOM) -  Selecting this option during setup reboots the system to a simple login page. Note: After trying to revert back to DeTOS, system boots to blank desktop.*

DOS 6.22 PARTIAL (1GB RAM, 2GB DOM) - Installed from bootable USB floppy. PC Speaker only since the audio is HD. I tried various TSRs, but none worked for sound. Games like Doom and Duke3d run very nicely! I was able to run VESA800x600 Duke3d smoothly.

WFW 3.11 PARTIAL (1GB RAM, 2GB DOM) - Installs fine, but has weird screen issues upon boot. Changing the driver to VGA Version 3.0 helps get into the system. PC Speaker only since HD audio is HD. I tried to use HDADRV9J, but I never heard sounds.

Windows 95 PARTIAL - (2GB RAM, 16GB DOM) - Booted from DOS USB. Copied setup files for Win95. Ran setup. After first reboot, had to edit the system.ini file [386enh] with MaxPhysPage=3B000 due to 2GB ram. Windows installed Active Desktop (blech!) which I promptly removed. Tried to install various Chrome9 Drivers, but none worked. Could not find network drivers. Sound would not work either, since it is HD audio.

Windows 98SE WORKS (2GB RAM, 16GB DOM) - Copied Win98 install files to Win95 DOM above. Booted Win95 to Command Prompt only. DELTREE c:\Windows then started Win98 setup. After first boot, fix the memory error by adding the MaxPhysPage=3B000 to system.ini (Safe Mode Command Prompt). I found Realtek "universal" drivers for the LAN Card (HERE). Go to Device Manager and on the General tab, use the "Reinstall Driver" option then find the INF file. I also installed "LANLights" to display network connectivity in the system tray. I tried to install Win98 USB drivers, but the system locked up and reported no mouse connected upon reboot. I reinstalled Win98 on top of the currently installed OS. I used the "Generic PCI to USB Host Controller" driver from Windows and USB started working. I installed VBEM VGA drivers to help with display resolution and color depth.

Windows XP w/SP3 WORKS (2GB RAM, 16GB DOM) - Booted from USB installation (made from XP ISO and Rufus 3.x). Installation went normal, though VERY slow in places. After setup, three devices were missing. The drivers for these can be found HERE.

Windows 7 WORKS (2GB RAM, 16GB DOM) - Booted from USB installation (made from Win 7 ISO and Rufus 3.x). Had to clear the partitioning. Installation started. SLOW process. Win 7 detected all but the video card. Had roughly 6GB free upon first boot. I tried several different ways to install the VX855 driver for Windows 7, but each time it told me that the software was "not compatible with this version of Windows), even though it was asking for 32-bit Windows 7 in the error. Weird. I found VX900 C9-HD IGP drivers that worked! I had to go to the VGA adapter in Device Manager and force it to update the driver from a folder I chose. It wasn't happy about the driver, but let me install it anyway and after reboot, resolution was set to 1440x900 (matching the monitor I was attached to). Nice! I did run into an issue with DOS games in that these video drivers would not allow the system to switch to full screen mode. Here is a link to an article about how to fix that (basically, revert back to the generic vga drivers).

Windows 8.1

Windows 10 FAILED (32-bit) (2GB RAM, 120GB SATA Drive) - I attempted to install Win10 32-bit on the device, but kept getting an "IRQ Not Less Or Equal" blue screen error. In order to use the SATA drive, I bought an IDE-to-SATA adapter. I swapped the SATA drive for a 16GB DOM, but had the same result. 


*Feb 25 2021: I ran into issues with the system itself after switching over to the "ThinOS" option. I reached out to Clientron in Japan and was sent a link to a reflash utility. I ran the utility, installing the flash software onto a usb drive. After booting the device from the drive, I followed the prompts to reinstall the software onto the original DOM. I recommend NOT having a mouse plugged in. My system screen was filled with connects/disconnects coming from the USB mouse which didn't seem to affect the install process, but made following along difficult. After it finished, the system rebooted. I was greeted with the DevonIT boot screen and then the screen went blank for a bit. I tapped an arrow key and was met with the OS selection screen as above!

Mar 8, 2021

Thin Client: Neoware CA10 (BL-Q2-JD & BK-00-00) (Updated: 03/17/2021)

Rear view of opened ca10

 NOTE: Updates appear at the bottom of this article.

 I bought this version of the CA10 because, well, it was blue. I hadn't seen a blue version before. Turns out that the reason it is blue is that COMVoice had them painted that color. I bought it "as is" for about $10USD.

SPECS:

CPU - VIA C3 800MHz / 1Ghz

GPU - Apollo CLE266 (VIA UniChrome) (shared memory up to 64 MB)

RJ45 - VT6103 Built in PLUS a PCI 3COM NIC

Sound - VT8235M/VT1612A AC97 (Selectable MIDI port addressing and IRQ)

Storage - 256MB DOM (44-pin IDE PATA)

RAM - 1x256MB PC2100 (2 DIMM slots total, 1 available)

USB Ports - 4 Total (@ on back, 2 on front)

Video Ports - VGA / DVI

Power Requirements - 12v 4A, though I was able to use 12V 3.5A

Other Ports - PS2 Keyboard, PS2 Mouse, Line in, Mic out, Two 9-pin serial, 25-pin parallel (printer), PCI

BIOS/CMOS - Phoenix AwardBIOS P640 V:5.03.20F-110205, Ver 6.00 PG, 11/02/2005

Installed OS - Just enough FreeBSD to boot, then system hangs.

The BIOS in this thing allows you to boot from just about anything - HDD0/HDD1, floppy, LS120, SCSI, CD, a slew of USB devices, and more. I could *NOT* use a USB keyboard. However, the BIOS has an option to enable USB keyboard support and that was disabled. I enabled it and was instantly able to use the USB keyboard while still in BIOS. Whoa. The BIOS allows the user to set memory speed timings, theoretically opening the door for some overclocking.

Crystal sound card shown along with ide-to-sata cable and 768mb RAM.

 

The unit I got had high corrosion and would only post every so often. I swapped DOM cards and tried IDE/SD Readers, but the system always corrupted the drive data. Instead, I created a bootable microsd with DOS 6.22 and tried with that plugged into the USB port in the back. That, too, eventually quit working at random intervals.

Below is what I could make work for short periods of time:

Operating Systems:

DOS 6.22 PARTIAL (256MB RAM, 2GB DOM) -  DOS installs. None of the sound drivers I downloaded would allow the audio to play in DOS games. Sound only worked via PC Speaker. However, I installed a Sound Blaster Live! PCI card and the DOS driver. It works very well! Games like Wolf3d, Duke3d, Doom, Ultima Underworld 1, etc had digital sound and music.

WFW 3.11 PARTIAL (256MB RAM, 2GB DOM) - Installed fine, but again no sound drivers.

Windows 95 PARTIAL (256Mb RAM, 256MB DOM) - I had to delete everything except just enough to boot DOS with HIMEM.SYS after copying the Win95 installation folder to the drive. I also deleted AOL*.*, MSN*.*, CHL*.CAB, and possibly a few other files from the Win95 setup directory. I chose the "Compact" installation. I chose to select options not to install, but the only options were Disk Defrag and Disk Compression. So, I deselected them. Setup asked for the now-deleted AOL files, but I told it to just Skip them. When Windows installed, it wanted to set up active channel. ctrl-alt-del to bring up task manager. Kill IE4Setup then kill the Active Setup. You are now at the desktop! At the end of the install, I had 82 MB free. No sound, etc since sound is HD. (Though could install the SBLive and use Win95 drivers).

Windows 98SE WORKS (768MB RAM, 2GB DOM) - This took a bit of creative problem solving. When you boot from a USB stick, the computer treats it as a hard drive (C:), so installing Windows would mean installing to the USB. So, I booted to a DOS-ready USB, FDISK and formatted the 2gb DOM. I then copied the Windows 98 setup files to the DOM. After that, I rebooted with a Win98 CD. Because the setup does not recognize USB drives, the CD defaulted to A: which allowed me to switch to the C: drive (DOM) and run the setup from there. I installed the Vinyl-7b sound drivers and the UniChrome VGA drivers.

Windows XP WORKS (768MB RAM, 120GB SATA) - I installed a DOM-to-SATA adapter then plugged in a 120GB 2.5 SATA HDD. I booted from a WinXP setup disc. This is a SLOW process. I don't think I have ever seen every single pre-loaded driver's name on the screen before. Usually those whip by. Not with this device. The network card was detected during setup. I disabled everything but TCPIP when prompted, as I had encountered blue screening during certain phases of the installation. After installation, I installed Vinyl7b (v700b.zip) drivers for sound. For video, use the UniChromeIGP driver. Video supports DX7, DX8, and DX9. I did not test anything beyond DX9. Research shows that XPEmbedded was the OS of choice for this, so it makes sense that XP does moderately well once installed.

Windows 7 WORKS (768MB RAM, 120GB SATA) - I installed a DOM-to-SATA adapter then plugged in a 120GB 2.5 SATA HDD. I booted from a Win7 setup DVD. This was *NOT* fast!  It took nearly 10 minutes to get to the partitioning screens.  Once setup finally finished, I was able to install Crystal CS4281 drivers to go along with the PCI sound card I had installed using the riser adapter. Unfortunately, the system always reported "not enough resources." I thought this was an IRQ/DMA issue, but after disabling a bunch of built-in devices, I believe the issue is simply that no Windows 7 driver exists (that I could find) for the card. The system functions, but is much too slow to serve as anything other than novelty.

TBD: Windows 8.1

TBD: Windows 10

*NOTES:

03/17/2021 - I installed a SBLive (CT4830) using the PCI slot and a 90-degree adapter. I installed the DOS drivers for it and after a reboot, I had Sound Blaster emulation running for DOS games! 

03/16/2021 -  I received a replacement unit that was a slight "upgrade" from my original board. This one has the "BK" designation, indicating it had the DVI connector on the back in addition to VGA and the processor is bumped to 1Ghz. Everything else, so far as I could tell, was the same.

03/12/2021 - Unfortunately, after the initial Win95 install, the unit would no longer POST. I think the corrosion on the motherboard finally caused the thing to bite the dust. 

I do plan to get a replacement motherboard, though. I just can't help myself. I love this blue case and the form factor will make for a fun little retro machine.

I received a new board on 3/11/2021, but it was DOA - it would show a red light when plugged in and I could press power, but it would never boot. The company I bought it from is doing a cross-shipped RMA, which is very nice of them!

The original board went through some more testing. I was able to get it to boot so long as it was out of the case AND the power button panel was no longer screwed into the case. I surmised we had a grounding problem. This was confirmed by experimenting with various configurations on the system inside the case and out. I eventually laid a piece of anti-static bag under the system board. This works intermittently, but more often than not working.

Mar 5, 2021

Thin Client: Wyse WT1200Le (Updated: 03/15/2021)

 

Picked up this thin client hoping to make a fun little DOS machine out of it. Turns out, that's a bit of an issue. The device will not boot to USB. There is also no accessible BIOS/CMOS that anyone has discovered so far as my research goes. 

Let's look at specs and such.

CPU - AMD Geode GX

GPU - Geode GX CS5530A

RAM - 32MB (Soldered onto motherboard)

Sound - LM4546AVH (AC97)

Storage - 512kb SoC (System on Chip)

RJ45 - Pulse PE-68515L 10/100

USB Ports - 2 on back

Video Port -  VGA

Power Requirements -  12v 3.33a

Other Ports - Headphone, Mic

OS - Wyse ThinOS

BIOS - Winbond; not accessible by keyboard so far as I have been able to determine.


 

System booted and within seconds, presented a desktop that appears to be some kind of no-frills Windows 98 or XP, but is more likely some version of Linux. 

A "System Information" window opened up for a few minutes as the system grabbed an IP address. That screen disappeared and a "Connect Manager" screen popped up, trying to connect to "jtc-gp." Of course, that failed.

System Information shows Memory (32MB) and ROM (512k). There is a NAND Size option, but it shows zero, as there is not storage device on the unit. The 32MB RAM is soldered onto the motherboard but there are no means for expansion without soldering a SODIMM socket to the thing.


 

 

 

 

The "Start" button says "Desktop," and leads to a variety of applications to examine. System Setup provides options for setting preferences, configuring network and display, and setting serial/parallel ports (even though the unit doesn't actually have any).


System Preferences cover naming the device, time zone, DST, and other options.

 

The Network Setup allows for assigned or DHCP addressing.

There is a wireless setup screen, but there is no wireless adapter in the unit. There is a header for a micro-wifi card, but there is no socket soldered in the spot.

 

The Display setup auto-selects the resolution and color depth based on the monitor the system detects, but the user can override this, changing the resolution and/or the refresh rate.

 
 
The Serial Setup must be a holdover from an earlier version of the device, since there is no serial port nor is there a dial-up modem port.
 
 
Like the serial settings, there is a Printer Setup. The default is LPT1, however later versions of the software allow for various USB printers to be used.
 
 
We looked at the System Information earlier, so next we have Applications - which is empty by default.
 

 As you can see, there are a few more tools - PPOE Manager, Dialup Manager, and PPTP Manager for handling different types of connectivity. The Network Test section has Ping, Trace Route, and Print Queues.


Inside the Connection Settings, we can create new items to connect via ICA, which is a Citrix-based server, or via RDP, which is how most people connect remotely to servers.

 
I do not have a Citrix server on site, but I do have various Windows servers, so I created an RDP connection to a local server.

   

I did not provide a username/password combination when I set up the connection, and the server promptly provided the login screen for me to enter my credentials.

 

 All in all, this is a very simple device for folks who want to provide no-frills access to network resources. Parkytowers has a cool write-up about this thin client and addresses the limitations of not being able to access BIOS. 

I think if someone were capable, they could devise a way to sneak DOS into a firmware build and replace the built-in TOS with it. The main problem is the 512k "storage." One would basically have to keep the OS inside a 512k "drive." Not sure how feasible that is.

I think it would great if someone could hack the wt1200le to drop a DOS loader package. Basically, you would have enough OS to boot, then it would create a ramdrive that the OS in unpacked into with whatever games/apps you were going to run in DOS. The main issue I see with the 512kb boot space is that it would have to house the "MBR" etc PLUS the compressed disk image. The issue with the 32MB RAM is that the ramdrive would be limited to roughly 20-25MB. That's a 20MB hard drive. Not a lot to say the least. The other problem you have is that none of the data can be saved back out again. So, if you were playing a game, you could save the game as long as the unit was powered on, but once you turned it off, the ramdrive is gone and so is whatever save games you had.

Still, it would be a cool project if it were possible.


*Update 03/15/2021 - I found someone who provided the 4.4.079i firmware image and I setup my desktop as a FileZille FTP server. In the 1200LE, I configured the network settings to point to my desktop and it upgraded to the original OS. The person also provided 5.2_035 firmware, which I then tried on the device.  The updated OS runs VERY quickly, but the mouse wouldn't CLICK. I could move it around the screen, but the system would not register any mouse clicks. Weird.I reverted back to 4.4.079i and everything seems fine.

*Note: My unit was running v 4.4.079i when I got it. I found a firmware "update" that turned out to be a downgrade to 4.4.010i. That downgrade killed the USB mouse. Well, technically, a USB mouse kills the OS, causing it to throw up a "divide by zero" error. I am still looking for the firmware to upgrade back to where I was.

*Note: If you are presented with a login screen, turn off the device. Turn it back on. While it is booting, keep spamming the G key on your keyboard. The unit will force itself into a "Factory Reset" mode which will eliminate the login screen.

Mar 4, 2021

Thin Client: HP T5710 (Died during testing)

 


I bought an HP t5710 off eBay recently. I had seen a couple of videos and read multiple forum posts about the t5710's ability to serve as a cool, compact DOS gaming rig. In addition to DOS, I thought I'd see what else we could throw at it. First up, the specs for the one I bought:

CPU -  Transmeta Crusoe 800MHz

GPU - Radeon 7000M

RAM - 1xDDR SODIMM Socket

Sound - Via AC97 Compatible (Use VIASBCFG for sound, see below)

Storage - 44-pin DOM (Disk on Module) 2.5-inch 44-pin IDE PATA Interface

RJ45 - 10/100 VIA Rhine Family Networking

USB Ports - 4x USB 2.0 (all located on back)

Video Port - VGA Connector

Power Requirements - 12V, 3.33A AC Adapter

Other Ports - Internal PCI slot (requires 90-degree angle adapter), Audio Out (Headphone), Mic in, PS/2 Keyboard, Parallel, 9-pin Serial, Kensington

OS - Windows XP Embedded (WinXPE) with various programs, VERY limited access rights

BIOS - F10 to enter BIOS. Phoenix AwardBIOS installed (Version 786R1 v1.04) - Options included just about everything you would expect from a computer built circa 2004 (as this one was). You can set time/date, boot device, passwords, enable/disable various onboard devices, etc. You can also enable USB mouse in BIOS so that it works in DOS!

You can boot from USB flash drives, USB CD drive, or USB Floppy.


 DISASSEMBLY
- There are two screws on the back of the unit. Once removed, the cover comes off after a bit of manipulation. There are a couple of plastic clips that keep the cover in place. I clipped them off to make future removal much easier. Once the outside cover is removed, there is a metal shield with two screws that must be removed. Once done, the metal cover lifts off easily. There is a speaker screwed into the metal lid, so USE CAUTION when lifting the cover, as the lead wires from the speaker plug into the motherboard. The connector for the speak is easily removed for unabated access to the system.

NOTE: You can replace the DOM with a ribbon/sd card adapter to provide more storage/flexibility. Or, you can buy larger capacity DOMs. I suggest at least a 4GB, though I have seen them as large as 32GB.

OPERATING SYSTEMS ([works] [partial] [failed])

DOS 6.22 PARTIAL (512MB RAM, 256MB DOM) [works] - Booted from a DOS USB stick that had various games, VIASBCFG, MOSLO, and other software installers. I then installed from USB without issue. Ran FDISK, formatted drive, copied relevant files. Set the AUTOEXEC.BAT with the following Sound Blaster environment: SET BLASTER=A220 I7 D1 P330 J0 then added VIASBCFG /v50 (to set volume at 50%) and VIAFMTSR (for FM synth). I had to use MoSlo in order to install games like Duke3d and Wolf3d, but once installed, the games ran fine without MoSlo. Some games would not run at all (Monkey Island Demo, for example), so be aware of that.

NOTE: The Network Adapter uses IRQ 5, which will conflict with VIASBCFG Sound drivers for DOS. Be sure to set the sound IRQ to 7.

Windows for Workgroups WORKS (WFW 3.11) (512MB RAM, 256 DOM) [works] - During my DOS install, I had copied the WFW installation files to the USB stick then copied those to the DOM after DOS was installed. The WFW setup ran without issue. I did NOT install network drivers during install. After reboot, added Sound Blaster 1.5 from the Control Panel. Selected A220 and IRQ 7. After Windows restarted, I had sound. I found Rhine-II drivers for the VT6102 networking and installed those.

Windows 95 PARTIAL (512MB RAM, 256 DOM) [limited] - This was a bit more involved. I created a VirtualBox MSDOS installation and converted that to an IMG file (Details in footnotes below).  I then Copied the Win95 install files to a Win95 folder on the SD card. Be sure to deleted the CONTENT folder if there is one. Booted the t5710 with the SD card. I formatted the D drive (which is the DOM card). Copied DOS and Win95 setup to D drive. Shut down device, removed SD card, rebooted. Delete CHL*.* and AOL*.* from the Win95 directory. Start Win95 setup. Chose Minimal (just above Custom). Install asked for several files we had deleted but let me just SKIP those during the "Copying files" section. PC rebooted with "Getting ready to run Win95..." Setup finished and rebooted the PC. After reboot, Win95 found the monitor and presented the desktop! Windows showed 75MB free on drive while installing the stupid IE Active Desktop junk. Java Error (since we deleted java). System booted fine. Grabbed the USBSUPP.EXE file, saved it to the DOS Flash Drive, booted with the DOS Flash Drive and copied the USBSUPP to the DOM. Rebooted into Win95 and ran USBSUPP. System rebooted. Went into Device Manager and updated any USB devices. Installer complained about uhcd.sys, but I was able to browse to Windows\System to find it. Unfortunately, the system locked up after an "Unknown Device" wizard popped up. The USB driver could no longer see the keyboard and mouse attached. Of course, I have no PS/2 keyboards or adapters. Contacted a friend of mine at a local school and he had an adapter! Got the adapter to work with a USB ball mouse (optical would not work). I could not find a keyboard that would work with the USB add-on. So, I removed the USB support. Once I did that, the keyboard and mouse worked as usual. Go figure. I even tried the XUSBSUPP, but that did not work either. Specifically, the drivers in stalled, but the keyboard no longer worked and I eventually had a BSOD. I gave up on this part of the project.

Windows 98SE PARTIAL (512MB RAM, 256MB DOM) [limited] - I followed the steps outlined at RMPrepUSB for installing Win98 via Easy2Boot. I used UltraISO to edit the Win98SE.iso file. In retrospect, I should have not only deleted the files mentioned, but also ALL of the folders under the Win98 folder, as I do not believe they are needed and the copy process is SLOW on the t5710. The DOM had already been partitioned from the Win95 install above, so I skipped those steps and jumped to formatting the DOM. Once the format was done, I created the B:\TEMP folder. NOTE: You MUST delete all the files under the WIN98\OLS folder, otherwise setup complains about drive space on B. Run SETUP /T:b:\temp to start the install. My install complained about a Windows NT format. I chose COMPACT install. Skip the startup disk. When prompted to remove disks, unplug the USB and hit Enter. System will reboot. Continue installation. My system booted with 70MB free on the DOM. I restarted the system and booted from a DOS USB then copied the USB drivers from PhilsComputerLab to the system. I figured this would open up the door to grab other drivers directly from a USB stick. Rebooted to Win98 and ran setup for the first set of drivers. No luck. I grabbed NUSB32E.exe and copied it from a DOS boot-up USB to the Win98 and ran it. After a couple reboots, it detected my USB flash drive! At this point, trying to install various drivers was fruitless due to storage constraints.

Win98SE (256MB RAM, 4GB DOM) - UNTESTED*

Windows XP Embedded WORKS (Factory Reset) - (512MB RAM, 256MB DOM) [working] - Downloaded the SP29705.EXE file that contains the SuperPAQ factory image from HP. I tried to run their flash utility, but it never worked. So, I chose the option to create an ISO then burned the ISO to a cd. I booted the device with a USB CD drive and started the restore process. It is not fast. Removed boot media, restarted. XP continued setup. Was presented with locked PC with arrow on screen. Manually rebooted. After a few moments, the factory-restored XPe appeared and finished setting up devices, software, etc. This also takes a LONG time (10 minutes or more). Asked to restart device, restarted. After a few moments, presented with desktop. VERY limited access. Cannot access My Computer, drives, etc. Limited Control Panel access. An HP Sys Info app shows 57MB free on the DOM along with some other info about installed software, hardware, etc.

Windows XP (256MB RAM, 4GB - UNTESTED*

Windows 7 - UNTESTED*

Windows 10 - UNTESTED*


*NOTE - I inserted a USB stick in order to try to install Win98SE with the 4GB DOM. When I did, the system would no longer boot. I swapped DOM, RAM, etc and unplugged everything except power and VGA, but the system would never POST again. Pretty sure the USB stick shorted the system somehow.


– To Create DOS SD Card - From "Dustin" on theinstructionlimit.com. Create a virtual drive with the same specs as your SD/CF card. (I don’t think the size actually matters, but just in case) – Install DOS on to the virtual drive via VirtualBox and the DOS floppy images. – Open powershell or cmd and navigate to the VirtualBox install directory – Run .\vboxmanage internalcommands converttoraw "C:\PATH\TO\YOUR\VIRTUALDRIVE.vdi" "C:\PATH\TO\YOUR\VIRTUALDRIVE\NameOfImage.img" – Plug in your CF/SD card. – Open Rufus (https://rufus.ie/) – Select your CF/SD card, and browse to find the image you created above.











Feb 12, 2021

Thin Client Adventures: DevonIT TC2D DeTOS 7.1.1 (Update: Feb 25 2021)


 I picked up a DevonIT TC2D "Zero Client" device for about $5.00 on eBay. It came new in the box (or appeared new) with a power adapter, instructions, and a DVI/VGA adapter. Let's look at some specs:

CPU - VIA Eden 1 GHz

GPU -VIA Chrome9 (according to LSPCI)

RJ45 (Wired Ethernet) -Realtek 8169 (from LSPCI)

Sound -Azalia HDA Controller (Intel HDA)

Storage -1GB DOM (2.5-inch IDE riser connector)

RAM - 1xDDR2 SODIMM 

USB Ports -4x USB 2.0 (2 on back, 2 on front)

Video Ports - DVI Connector 

Power Requirements - 12V, 3A AC Adapter 

Other Ports -PS/2 Keyboard connector on back, Kensington slot on back

BIOS: Phoenix AwardBIOS

OS: DeTOS 7.1.1 20120508

Notes: HDD Auto Detection, Provisions for IDE Slave Device, Set Boot Priority, Boot from USB, Azalia Disable Feature, USB Settings (KB/Mouse can be set to USB), Power Management Options.

OPERATING SYSTEMS:

DETOS 7.1.1 (1GB RAM, 1GB DOM) - The device boots to a DevonIT (displayed as "devonIT") and attempts to search for an auto-configuration server. 

After that fails, user is presented with an option to boot to DeTOS or ZeroClient. I chose DeTOS.

I was presented with locale selections. 



Next, networking options. This includes wired and wireless. Also options for IP configuration, included option to boot with DHCP.


 

The next screen is "Thin Client Management." This allows setup of managed or unmanaged settings, adding an "agent" password, and whether or not to allow users to take screenshots.

 

Next up, the tech can set up  remote session connection info, if desired. 


 

Then, we are presented with "Local Storage Options." This allows the system to keep (or not keep) certain information on the installed DOM. 

 

Next up, we can choose to save settings to Echo. This basically creates a machine profile for this device on the management server. Since i don't have one, I just clicked "Finished."

 

After a few moments, I was presented with the DeTOS desktop.

 The desktop displayed the time and date (incorrectly) in the lower right along with a couple icons. Once of which (the little blue "devonIT" logo) presented config info. The "Start button" only had a Control Panel option and selections to shut down or reboot. 


Control Panel provides a slew of information and possible connections. Each item listed allows the user to add a connection to the certain type (Citrix ICA, VDI-in-a-Box, rDesktop, etc). When I attempted to set DHCP, I received an error screen. Note: I was trying to figure out the wifi. Wired was not plugged in. 

 

I plugged in a network cable and the screen went blank for a moment. When the desktop returned, I had an IP address.

 

For giggles, I added a shortcut to Firefox and visited the DevonIT webpage in the "Aurora" browser. It is not fast!

Feb 25 2021: I ran into issues with the system itself after switching over to the "ThinOS" option. I reached out to Clientron in Japan and was sent a link to a reflash utility. I ran the utility, installing the flash software onto a usb drive. After booting the device from the drive, I followed the prompts to reinstall the software onto the original DOM. I recommend NOT having a mouse plugged in. My system screen was filled with connects/disconnects coming from the USB mouse which didn't seem to affect the install process, but made following along difficult. After it finished, the system rebooted. I was greeted with the DevonIT boot screen and then the screen went blank for a bit. I tapped an arrow key and was met with the OS selection screen as above!

Jan 29, 2021

Thin Client: Wyse Cx0 Notes, Experiences (Updated: 02/03/2021)

 


I bought a super-cheap Wyse Cx0 Thin Client off eBay some time ago, and I have been toying with it a bit. This post serves as a catch-all place for my information regarding the device. Note: information may be added, updated, or deleted at any time.

Let's talk hardware specs to get things going:

CPU - Via C7

GPU - VX855 Chrome9

RJ45 (Wired Ethernet) - VT6122 (Velocity)

Sound - Vinyl HD (uses version 7.9 drivers)

Storage - 2.5-inch IDE interface (male connector on motherboard)

RAM - 1xDDR2 SODIMM

USB Ports - 4 USB 2.0 Ports (2 in front, 2 in back)

Video Ports - DVI Connector

Power Requirements - 12V, 2.5A AC Adapter

Other Ports - 1 PS/2 Mouse, 1 PS/2 Keyboard

Mine came preinstalled with some kind of thin client software (I do not believe it was XP Embedded)

BIOS was locked with a password. Password for WYSE is Fireport. The BIOS allows user to change boot sequence and enable/disable some basic items. Very limited BIOS. 

The system accepted bootable CD/DVDs and also USB floppy drive as bootable media. You can also boot from properly formatted USB storage. Makes for a very flexible installation environment.

Since the storage is IDE, everything just worked when installing anything from DOS 6.22 to XP as far as install goes. My unit had 512MB RAM and a 128 MB DOM (Disk on Module) 44-pin PATA board. 

I purchased a 2.5-inch ribbon cable (F-F) and a 2.5-inch IDE-to-SD adapter. This allowed me to swap out storage options at any time (er, with the top cover removed, of course).

Speaking of top cover, there are two plastic clips at the front corners of the lid, making it a bit of a hassle to remove. I snipped those off so that the lid can just come off when I remove the single screw (on back of unit) to open the case. 

OPERATING SYSTEMS - ALL MUST BE 16-bit or 32-bit ONLY!

In every case, booting with USB keyboard and mouse already plugged in showed no problems installing/using the OS. The speed rating (Class) of your SD card makes all the difference! Be sure to use Class 6 or higher.

DOS 6.22 (512MB RAM, 512MB SD) - DOS installs easily from USB Floppy (or bootable USB). In order to install games like Wolf3d or Duke3d, I had to employ the use of MoSlo. Once the games were installed, though, the Wyse ran the games themselves just fine without the helper. Duke3d ran VESA 800x600 smoothly. The Secret of Monkey Island Demo played nicely in EGA mode (hmm, maybe it was VGA mode). There is NO SOUND BLASTER SOUND. The Vinyl HD audio does not have a DOS driver. I tried a variety of VIA-related drivers, hacks, etc and in each case, the dreaded "No VIA Chipset detected" message (or something similar) would appear. Programs that support the PC Speaker will output sound to the piezo speaker built onto the motherboard. This would make for a compact, spry DOS game machine if only there was sound support.

I installed DOS on the 128MB built-in flash and then after I swapped out for the SD/IDE adapter, I installed DOS to a 512MB MicroSD with an adapter. Works great!

Windows for Workgroups (WFW 3.11) (512MB RAM, 512MB SD) - Installed on same SD as the DOS install above. Windows would not boot. Either got a scrambled splash screen or a "Divide Overflow" error on a mangled splash screen. I changed various video settings and tried MoSlo, but nothing worked for me. I gave up trying to make it work.

Windows 95 (512MB RAM, 512MB SD) - Formatted SD with DOS. Copied Win95 setup folder from CD to SD card. Did not choose Sound, Network, etc during setup. Could not get any drivers to work (even though they came from the VIA downloads site).

Windows 98 (512MB RAM, 512MB SD) - Installed with no problem that I recall. Used LAN drivers from the XP Drivers file below. Could not get sound nor video drivers to work. I installed VIA Hyperion Drivers v5.24a and the VIA Retro Drivers (from here) along with the USB 2.0 Driver Pack (Here). After the install, reboot and the system should find new system-level devices. If asked to search for drivers, just click NEXT and let Windows find what it needs. I also recommend Phil's Win98 Easy DOS Mode PIF! More info here!

Windows XP (512MB RAM, 4GB SD) - Windows XP installs with no problems. Finding drivers, however, was a royal pain. To help with that, I created a ZIP file that has the XP drivers for video, sound, networking, and chipset. You can grab those here.

Windows 7 - (2GB RAM, 40GB 2.5-inch Drive) - Straight-forward install from USB DVD drive (though could have used a bootable USB). Install takes a while. Windows 7 detected sound and network. Using the OS is painfully slow. The system hits the hard drive in a nearly constant state. Attempting to download, install, then use Chrome was a smack in the face of the reality of the limitations of older hardware - especially running at 1GHz with only 2GB of RAM. Firefox was slightly better in that I could at least surf pages, download video drivers, etc. However, the video drivers reported that I had the wrong version of Windows (perhaps because Win7 wasn't registered during testing?). In any case, Win7 saw it was a vx855 chipset and allowed me to change to all sorts of resolutions.

*Note: I tried to install on a 128GB SD card and Windows said it could not install it to that device because it couldn't find a bootbale BIOS setting for it. I switched to a 40GB 2.5-inch IDE drive from an old laptop.

Windows 10 (2GB RAM, Various drives) - I tried a variety of drives (SD, 2.5-inch IDE) and each time, the installer gave me an IRQ Not Less Than (or whatever) blue screen. I never could get Win10 to install on this device.

Windows 8.1 (2GB RAM, 128GB SD) - Since Windows 10 failed, I thought I would try Windows 8.1 Pro. Note that at several times during the install, the system will appear to lock up. Just be patient. System will countdown to a reboot. Shut off the unit here. Otherwise, it will boot back to the setup USB drive. Initial setup took quite a bit of time. This will vary based on the speed of your SD and the throughput of the onboard IDE controller. Again, be patient. During setup, got an error that UUID was not supported and it logged me out. I then tried to log back in, and setup continued. Like Windows 7, setup detected everything except for the video card. And, like Windows 7, I could change to a variety of resolutions. 

DOSBox Distro (1GB RAM, 16GB USB) - There is an interesting project that uses TinyCore Linux to serve as a loader for DOSBox. This actually worked decently on the Cx0. The software itself has issues. For example, some programs dump you back to the DOS prompt, but are actually trying to run in the Linux environment behind the scenes. You can't get to it, though, because task switching is disabled in the system. Overall, things boot and run rather slowly. However, you do get Sound Blaster sounds out of the headphone jack! There was no adlib music even though the games did detect adlib capability. Not sure what's going on there. This has potential promise as a workaround for running DOS games with Sound Blaster on the Cx0.


 


Jan 7, 2021

Lenovo e550 Thinkpad Red Light Only No Boot (Possible Solutions)


Have a user with a Lenovo E550 laptop. The laptop was working fine while watching videos, etc, but would sometimes appear to turn off without being able to come back on.

The Thinkpad light would come on (red light in the logo in the wrist rest area), but the unit would not power up. Fans would not spin up, no POST, no boot, no hard drive sounds.

We found several solutions that have worked intermittently  (that is, seemingly randomly):

  • Remove the battery. Leave the AC plugged in. Hold power button for 30 seconds. Red Thinkpad light will blink 3 times. Unplug the power. Hold the power button down again for 30 seconds. Plus the AC back in, but leave the battery out. Turn on the laptop. If it boots, shut it down and put the battery back in. Boot the laptop.
  • Remove the battery. Leave the AC plugged in. Connect an external VGA monitor. Hold the power button for 30 seconds (until red Thinkpad light blinks 3 times). Turn on the laptop. If the laptop boots, it will most likely show on the monitor instead of the built-in display. Once booted, change the display options to make the built-in display panel the primary display. Shut down the laptop. Unplug the VGA cable. Boot the laptop. If it boots, shut down the laptop, insert the battery, and reboot the laptop.
  • Turn off the laptop (hold power button until Thinkpad red light goes out). Remove the battery. Unplug the AC adapter. Turn the laptop over and remove the three screws holding the large plate that covers the RAM and hard drive. Remove back cover. Near the hard drive, find a wrapped CMOS battery (looks like a watch battery). There are two wires with a plug adapter at the end. Disengage the plug gently. It is a TIGHT fit, so be careful. With the CMOD battery disconnected, turn the laptop over and plug in the AC. Open the laptop and turn it on. When it boots, you will get an error that the time and date a re wrong. Hold the power button until the laptop turns off. Unplug the AC adapter. Turn the laptop over again. Reconnect the CMOS battery. Again, this is a TIGHT fit, so be careful. Replace the back panel and attach the screws. Turn the laptop back over, reinstall the battery and connect the AC. Turn on the laptop. You should get an error about the time and date. Follow the on-screen instructions for setting those then you should be able to boot as normal.

As we find other solutions to this problem, I will update this post. Hope it helps!