Section 1C - PC Hardware Information

    Return to PC Info Sub-Index Page        Return to Home Page

Information in Part 1
1. Floppy Drive won't read second Disk
2. Microsoft's DMF 1.77 Floppy Disks
3. Delete any file
4. Run SCAN once a day
5. PC Response Times Compared
6. RAM Chip Speeds
7. RAM Chip Types
8. RAM Chip Part Numbers - Links to Manufacturers
9. CPU Voltages
10. Common Interrupts (listing)
11. Computer Bus Terms
12. Changing CMOS by Direct Editing

Information in Part 2
13. RS-232 Pin-outs and Signals
14. RS-232 Made Easy
15. Loop Back Plugs
16. Parallel Ports - SPP, EPP, ECP, and More
17. Sound Cable Fix (missing audio channel)
18. CD-ROM Drives and Audio Extraction
19. Burning CDs so they are easier to read...
20. Quantex Secrets
21. Reset Gateway Keyboard
22. AMI Happy Birthday BIOS Virus

Information in Part 3
23. AMD Win-BIOS Beep Codes
24. AMI BIOS Beep Codes
25. AMI BIOS Beep Codes - Ver 2
26. Phoenix Ver 1 Beep Codes (286/386/486)
27. Phoenix Ver 4 Beep Codes
28. How much Video Memory Do You Need
30. Compaq BIOS Note
31. Using PAUSE to see BIOS Version
32. Flashing BIOS Warning!

             9 PIN PLUGS                         25 PIN PLUGS
        PIN    SIGNAL    25 PIN MATCH         PIN    SIGNAL
        ---    ------    ------               ---    ------
         1       CD        8                   1      CASE GROUND
         2       RD        3                   2      TD
         3       TD        2                   3      RD
         4       DTR       20                  4      RTS
         5       GRD       7                   5      CTS
         6       DSR       6                   6      DSR
         7       RTS       4                   7      SIGNAL GROUND
         8       CTS       5                   8      DCD  (FROM PORT)
         9       RI        22                  9      +12
                                              10      -12
                                              11      DCD  (TO PORT)
                                              15      TRANSMIT CLOCK
                                              17      RECEIVE CLOCK
                                              20      DTR
                                              22      RING INDICATOR
                                              24      DTE TRANSMIT CLOCK
                                              25      DTE RING INDICATOR

Return To Top

Subject: RS-232 Made Easy
							Updated: Jun 90
                        RS - 232  Made  EASY
Serial (RS-232) asynchronous (random timing) communications is perhaps the
most misunderstood parameter when working with Personal Computers.  Below
is some information which hopefully will help you in this area.
Some definitions:   DTE - Data Terminal Equipment (PC's, printers)
                    DCE - Data Communications Equipment (modems, muxs)
               Xon/Xoff - Software handshaking
               RTS-CTS  - Hardware handshaking
Understanding these four items can do more to clear the RS-232 confusion than
anything else.  DTE/DCE identifies what signals are on which pins for a
particular type of equipment, more specifically; what pins 2 and 3 are.
On a 25 pin connector, DTE type equipment, pin 2 is TD (transmit data).  Pin
3 is RD (receive data).  On DCE these are reversed, and for good reason.  If
you connect a modem (DCE) to your PC (DTE), you use a straight-thru cable.
This lets the PC's transmit, pin 2, talk to the modem's receive, also pin 2.
And the PC's receive, pin 3, listens to the modem's transmit, pin 3.
            Straight-thru or Modem Cables (Asynchronous)
       9 pin  to   25 pin               25 pin  to   25 pin
       -----  ---  ------               ------  ---  ------
         1    CD     8                     2    TD     2
         2    RD     3                     3    RD     3
         3    TD     2                     4    RTS    4
         4    DTR    20                    5    CTS    5
         5    GRD    7   (ground)          6    DSR    6
         6    DSR    6                     7    GRD    7
         7    RTS    4                     8    DCD    8
         8    CTS    5                     20   DTR    20
         9    RI     22  (ring indicator)  22   RI     22
So you can see that if you are connecting a DTE type device to a DCE type
device, all you need is a straight-thru cable, which is sometimes called
a modem cable.  But what happens if you are connecting two 'like' kinds of
equipment?  Lets say a serial printer to your PC (both DTE).  We now have
a conflict.  Both the terminal (or PC) and the printer have the transmit on
pin 2.  If we connect them together, nothing will happen.
This is where we need a cross-over cable (sometimes called a 'G', printer,
or null cable).  A cross-over cable flips over pins 2 and 3 (also 6 and 20,
and sometimes others).  With a cross-over cable the terminal's transmit,
pin 2, is connected to the printers receive, pin 3.  And the printer's
transmit, pin 2, is connected to the PC's receive, pin 3.  Now it will work!
Well, almost.  There is one more necessary signal, the printer's pin 20,
DTR (Data Terminal Ready) must be connected to the terminal's pin 6,
DSR (Data Set Ready), and pin 5, CTS (Clear To Send).  This is the On/Off
Line signal from the printer.
                        4-Wire Serial Printer Cables
      9 pin PC  to  25 pin Printer      25 pin PC  to  25 pin printer
      --------      --------------      ---------      --------------
        2 - RD  -----  2 - TD             2 - TD  ------  3 - RD
        3 - TD  -----  3 - RD             3 - RD  ------  2 - TD
        5 - GRD -----  7 - GRD            7 - GRD ------  7 - GRD
      6,8 - DSR,CTS -  20 - DTR         5,6 - CTS,DSR --  20 - DTR
      Note:  On a 9 pin plug, 2 & 3 are reversed from a 25 pin plug.
If you use Hardware handshaking, then you also need to cross-over pins 4,
RTS (Request To Send), and 8, DCD (Data Carrier Detect).
Handshaking is the term given to hardware when it is sending flow control
signaling back and forth.  How is this used?  Glad you asked!
Your terminal (or PC) can send data to a printer much faster than it can
print it.  Printers are very slow mechanical devices when compared to the
speed of data within a PC.  Without flow control, the printer memory will
overflow and start printing garbage about two-thirds of the way down the
page (sometimes a few pages later if the printer has a lot of memory).  So
this is where flow control comes in.  Just before the memory overflows, it
sends a signal back to the terminal that says "STOP SENDING DATA!".  After
some printing is done and the memory gets about half empty, it sends another
message saying "OK, START SENDING DATA AGAIN".  This "Handshaking" toggles
back and forth until all the data has been printed.
There are two kinds of hand shaking; Hardware and Software.  Both work,
but in todays world most handshaking is Software driven.  This is called
Xon/Xoff flow control.  These signals are sent from the printer to the
terminal on pin 2, TD.  It arrives at the terminal as data to be processed.
One big advantage of Software flow control is that it can be sent over data
circuits in the data flow.  This makes it much faster than Hardwire handshaking
which must be converted at each end.
In Hardware handshaking, this on/off signaling is sent from pin 4, RTS (Request
To Send), of the printer to pin 8, DCD (Data Carrier Detect), of the terminal.
Not all of the RS-232 signals have been discussed here.  We have just addressed
the ones we needed to make a PC talk to other devices.  PC makers have also
realized that you don't need all the signals, as they reduced the connector
from 25 pins, to 9 pins.  In actuality, all you really need is TD, RD, and
Ground.  All the other signals are controls of some kind.  On DTE devices,
RTS, pin 4, is always 'ON', as is CTS, pin 5, on DCE type devices.  And on
modems pin 6, DSR is usually always 'ON'.
Why all those other signals and pins?  Well there is also Synchronous, or
controlled timing, RS-232.  This is used for sending data over data networks.
This is where all those other signals are used.  It is actually easier to use,
as there are only two kinds of cables, modem (or straight-thru), and
null-modem cables (or cross-over), where all modem control signals are crossed
over.  These are used between modem to modem connections.  All other types
of synchronous connections use the straight-thru connections.
The last item I would like to discuss is MODE statements.  If you are using
a serial printer, you must have the correct MODE statements in your
AUTOEXEC.BAT file.  MODE.COM must be in you root directory, or available in the
PATH statement which must run before the MODE statements.
It takes two MODE commands to configure and redirect the default DOS printer
port.  The first one configures the port:   (example for com2)
                      MODE COM2:9600,N,8,1,P
   This tells the port <speed>,<parity>,<bits>,<stop bits>,<p=printer>
The next one tells DOS to redirect the default printer to the newly configured
serial port:
                      MODE LPT1:=COM2
Change the "2's" to "1's" to set up COMM 1 as your printer port.

Return To Top

Subject: Loop Back Plugs
      These are the wiring diagrams for testing PC Ports with the
                     following testing Utilities.
Updated:  11-9-92
                      LandMark 9 Pin
  COMHELP 9 Pin    Computer Show 9 Pin     Micro 2000 9 Pin    Checkit 9 Pin
    2 - 3              2 - 3                  2 - 3               1 - 4 - 6 - 9 
    4 - 6              7 - 8                  4 - 6               2 - 3
    1 - 7 - 8          1 - 4 - 6 - 9          5 - 7 - 8           7 - 8
  System Sleuth 9 Pin
    2 - 3
    4 - 6
    7 - 8
                      LandMark 25 Pin
  COMHELP 25 Pin   Computer Show 25 Pin    Micro 2000 25 Pin    Checkit 25 Pin
    2 - 3               2 - 3                 1 - 7               2 - 3
    4 - 5 - 8           4 - 5                 2 - 3               4 - 5
    6 - 20 - 22         6 - 8 - 20 - 22       4 - 5 - 8       6 - 8 - 20 - 22
                                              6 - 20        
                                             11 - 22
                                             15 - 17 - 23
                                             18 - 25
  System Sleuth 25 Pin
    2 - 3
    4 - 5
    6 - 20
      Micro 2000
     Computer Show              LandMark
        1 - 13                   4 - 15
        2 - 15                   5 - 17
       10 - 16                   6 - 13
       11 - 17                   7 - 12
       12 - 14                   8 - 10
                                 9 - 11
Return To Top

Parallel ports come in four types; uni-directional,
bidirectional, EPP, and ECP.  Each offering different speeds and
capabilities. Most newer PCs have parallel ports that support all
four modes. To check which modes your parallel port supports,
look in the peripherals section of the PC's Setup program. 
Unidirectional. Sometimes called SPP, this is the most basic, and
slowest, parallel port configuration. Data flows only one way
outward-to a printer or other device at around 40 KBps to 50
Bidirectional. A bidirectional port's transfer rates range from
around 100 KBps to 300 KBps. It also allows two-way communication
between the attached device and the PC, so that the PC can
receive status information from the device. 
EPP. The Enhanced Parallel Port is designed for
performance-hungry peripherals such as external drives and
network adapters. Typically achieving transfer rates around 400
KBps to above 1 MBps, EPP provides the best performance your
parallel port has to offer. 
When you select EPP in System Setup, you may be given a choice
between versions 1.7 and 1.9. For most peripherals bought in
recent years, choose 1.9. 
ECP. The Enhanced Capabilities Port is aimed at improving both
speed and two-way communications between device and computer. If
your printer or other peripheral supports ECP, then you may be
able to get status reports and error messages from the device
When you choose ECP in System Setup, a field will pop up for
selecting a direct memory access channel. You assign DMA
resources as you would IRQs, and you can avoid DMA conflicts by
first looking in Device Manager for free DMA channels. 
If you can't fix the conflict, you can usually fall back to
bidirectional mode. 
You can put two peripherals on a single parallel port by using a
pass-through connection, but be aware that this may cause
problems in installation and operation. 
Part 2
The recently released standard, "IEEE Std.1284-1994 Standard
Signaling Method for a Bi-directional Parallel Peripheral
Interface for Personal Computers", is for the parallel port what
the Pentium processor is to the 286. The standard provides for
high speed bi-directional communication between the PC and an
external peripheral that can communicate 50 to 100 times faster
that the original parallel port. It can do this and still be
fully backward compatible with all existing parallel port
peripherals and printers.
The 1284 standard defines 5 modes of data transfer. Each mode
provides a method of transferring data in either the forward 
direction (PC to peripheral), reverse direction (peripheral to
PC) or bi-directional data transfer (half duplex). The defined 
modes are: 
     Forward direction only  
     Compatibility Mode  
         "Centronics" or standard mode 
     Reverse direction only  
     Nibble Mode  
          4 bits at a time using status lines for data. 
          Hewlett Packard Bi-tronics  
     Byte Mode  
          8 bits at a time using data lines, sometimes referred to
            as a "bi-directional" port. 
          Enhanced Parallel Port- used primarily by non-printer
          peripherals, CD ROM, tape, hard drive, network
          adapters, etc....  
          Extended Capability Port- used primarily by new
          generation of printers and scanners 
All parallel ports can implement a bi-directional link by using
the Compatible and Nibble modes for data transfer. Byte mode 
can be utilized by about 25% of the installed base of parallel
ports. All three of these modes utilize software only to transfer
the data. The driver has to write the data, check the handshake
lines (ie: BUSY), assert the appropriate control signals (ie: 
STROBE) and then go on to the next byte. This is very software
intensive and limits the effective data transfer rate to 50 to
100 Kbytes per second.  
In addition to the previous 3 modes, EPP and ECP are being
implemented on the latest I/O controllers by most of the Super 
I/O chip manufacturers. These modes use hardware to assist in the
data transfer. For example, in EPP mode, a byte of data can be
transferred to the peripheral by a simple OUT instruction. The I/O
controller handles all the handshaking and data transfer to the
Overall, the 1284 standard provides the following:  
   1. 5 modes of operation for data transfer  
   2. A method for the host and peripheral to determine the 
        supported modes and to negotiate to the requested mode.  
   3. Defines the physical interface  
   4. Defines the electrical interface  
In summary, the 1284 parallel port provides an easy to use, high
performance interface for portable products and printers.  
Nibble Mode 
The Nibble mode is the most common way to get reverse channel
data from a printer or peripheral. This mode is usually combined
with the Compatibility mode or a proprietary forward channel mode
to create a complete bi-directional channel.  
All of the standard parallel ports provide 5 lines from the
peripheral to the PC to be used for external status indications.
Using these lines, a peripheral can send a byte of data (8-bits)
by sending 2 nibbles (4-bits) of information to the PC in two
data transfer cycles. Unfortunately, since the nACK line is
generally used to provide a peripheral interrupt, the bits used
to transfer a nibble are not conveniently packed into the byte
defined by the Status register. For this reason, the software
must read the status byte and then manipulate the bits in order
to get a correct byte.  
Byte Mode 
With later implementations of the parallel port interface, some
manufacturers, led by IBM on the PS/2 parallel port, added the 
capability to disable the drivers used for driving the data
lines, and allowed the data port to become an input read data
port. This enables a peripheral to send an entire byte of data to
the PC in one data transfer cycle by using the 8 data lines,
rather than the two cycles required using the Nibble mode.  
This ability enables a Byte mode for reverse channel data
transfer that can be used to provide data rates into the PC 
approaching that of the Compatibility mode, from the PC. This type
of port is sometimes referred to as a "enhanced bi-directional"
port, and has caused some confusion when mistaken for an Enhanced
Parallel Port (EPP).  
EPP Mode 
The Enhanced Parallel Port protocol was originally developed by
Intel, Xircom and Zenith Data Systems, as a means to provide a
high performance parallel port link that would still be
compatible with the standard parallel port. This protocol 
capability was implemented by Intel in the 386SL chipset (82360
I/O chip). This was prior to the establishment of the IEEE 
1284 committee and the associated standards work.  
The EPP protocol offered many advantages to parallel port
peripheral manufactures and was quickly adopted by many as an 
optional data transfer method. A loose association of around 80
interested manufacturers was formed to develop and promote 
the EPP protocol. This association became the EPP Committee and
was instrumental in helping to get this protocol adopted as 
one of the IEEE 1284 advanced modes.  
Since EPP capable parallel ports were available prior to the
release of the 1284 standard, there is a small deviation between
the pre-1284 EPP ports and 1284 EPP protocol. This will be made
clearer later.  
The EPP protocol provides four types of data transfer cycles:  
   1.Data Write Cycle  
   2.Data Read Cycle  
   3.Address Write Cycle  
   4.Address Read Cycle  
Data cycles are intended to be used to transfer data between the
host and the peripheral. Address cycles may be used to pass 
address, channel, or command and control information. These
cycles can be viewed as just two different data cycles. The 
developer may use and parse the address/data information in any
method that makes sense for a particular design. Table 1 
describes the EPP signals and their associated SPP signals. 
ECP Mode 
The Extended Capability Port, or ECP, protocol was proposed by
Hewlett Packard and Microsoft as an advanced mode for
communication with printer and scanner type peripherals. Like the
EPP protocol, ECP provides for a high performance bi-directional
communication path between the host adapter and the peripheral.  
The ECP protocol provides the following cycle types in both the
forward and reverse directions:  
   1.Data cycles  
   2.Command cycles  
The command cycles are divided into 2 types, Run-Length Count and
Channel address.  
Unlike EPP, when the ECP protocol was proposed, a standard
register implementation was also proposed. This can be found 
in the Microsoft document "The IEEE 1284 Extended Capabilities
Port Protocol and ISA Interface Standard" available from 
Microsoft Corp. This document defines features that are
implementation specific which the IEEE 1284 standard could not 
address. These features include Run_Length_Encoding (RLE) data
compression for the host adapters, FIFOs for both the forward and
reverse channels, and DMA as well as programmed I/O for the host
register interface.  
The RLE feature enables real time data compression that can
achieve compression ratios up to 64:1. This is particularly
useful for printers and scanners that are transferring large
raster images that have large strings of identical data. In order
for the RLE mode to be enabled both the host and the peripheral
must support it.  
Channel addressing is, conceptually, a little different than the
EPP addressing. Channel addressing is intended to be used to 
address multiple logical devices within a single physical device.
Think of this in terms of a new multi-function device such as 
FAX/Printer/Modem. Within one physical package, having a single
parallel port attached, there is a printer, fax and modem. 
Each of these separate functions can be thought of as separate
logical devices within the same package. Using the ECP channel 
addressing to access each of these devices, you could receive
data from the modem data device while the printer data channel 
is busy processing a print image. With the compatibility mode
protocol, if the printer gets busy then no more communication 
can occur until the printer data channel if free. With ECP, the
software driver simply addresses another channel and 
communication can continue.  
As with the other 1284 modes, the ECP protocol redefines the SPP
signals to be more consistent with the ECP handshake. 
1284 Negotiation 
The previous sections have identified all of the modes of an IEEE
1284-capable interface. Peripherals are not required to implement
all of the modes. This being the case, a method is needed for a
host platform to determine what the capabilities of the attached
peripheral are, and to have a controlled method by which to set
the interface into one of the modes.  
The concept of negotiation was developed to fill this need.
Negotiation is a sequence of events on the parallel port
interface that would not effect an older "legacy" device but
would provide identification of a 1284 peripheral. The concept is
that an older device will not respond to the negotiation sequence
and therefore the host would remain in a compatible mode state,
while a 1284 peripheral would respond to the sequence and could
then be set to any of the peripheral and host supported modes.  
During the negotiation phase, the host places a request on the
data lines and then initiates the negotiation sequence. The
request can be to put the interface into a particular mode, or
request a device ID from the peripheral. Device ID will be
discussed later. Figure 8 shows the basic Negotiation sequence.  
The Extensibility byte is used during negotiation to request that
the peripheral enter a specific transfer mode, or to request that
the peripheral send a device ID that will allow the host to
identify the type of attached peripheral. The device ID can be 
returned in any reverse channel mode, other than EPP. Table 1
describes the extensibility byte and allowable values. The XFlag
is used by the peripheral for acknowledgment that the requested
mode is available. The XFlag will always be set to one (#6 in 
figure 8) as a positive acknowledgment for all requests except
for Nibble mode reverse channel. All 1284-compliant devices 
are required to support Nibble mode for reverse channel
operation. The Extensibility Link request bit is used to provide
a mechanism for future expansion and addition of new operational
modes and features.  
Negotiation and device ID are key features for the future ability
of PC platforms to determine system configuration and to include
parallel port attached peripherals in this determination.  
Parallel Port Background 
When IBM introduced the PC, in 1981, the parallel printer port
was included as an alternative to the slower serial port as a 
means for driving the latest high performance dot matrix
printers. The parallel port had the capability to transfer 8 bits
of data at time whereas the serial port transmitted one bit at a
time. When the PC was introduced, dot matrix printers were the
main peripheral that used the parallel port. As technology
progressed and the need for greater external connectivity
increased, the parallel port became the means by which you could
connect higher performance peripherals. These peripherals now
range from printer sharing devices, portable disk drives and tape
backup to local area network adapters and CD ROM players.  
The problems faced by developers and customers of these
peripherals fall into three categories. First, although the
performance of the PC has increased dramatically, there has been
virtually no change in the parallel port performance or
architecture. The maximum data transfer rate achievable with this
architecture is around 150 kilobytes per second and is extremely
software intensive. Second, there is no standard for the
electrical interface. This causes many problems when attempting
to guarantee operation across various platforms. Finally, the
lack of design standards forced a distance limitation of only 6
feet for external cables.  
In 1991 there was a meeting of printer manufacturers to start
discussions on developing a new standard for the intelligent 
control of printers over a network. These manufacturers, which
included Lexmark, IBM, Texas Instruments and others, formed 
the Network Printing Alliance. The NPA defined a set of
parameters that, when implemented in the printer and host, will
allow for the complete control of printer applications and jobs. 
While this work was in progress it became apparent that to fully
implement this standard would require a high performance 
bi-directional connection to the PC. The usual means of
connection, the ordinary PC parallel port, did not have the
capabilities required to meet the full requirements or abilities
of this standard.  
The NPA submitted a proposal to the IEEE for the creation of a
committee to develop a new standard for a high speed 
bi-directional parallel port for the PC. It was a requirement
that this new standard would remain fully compatible with the 
original parallel port software and peripherals, but would
increase the data rate capability to greater than 1M bytes per
second, both in and out of the computer. This committee became
the IEEE 1284 committee.  
The IEEE 1284 standard, "Standard Signaling Method for a
Bi-directional Parallel Peripheral Interface for Personal 
Computers", was approved for final release in March of 1994.  
The Parallel Port -- an Overview 
The parallel port, as implemented on the PC, consists of a
connector with 17 signal lines and 8 ground lines. The signal
lines are divided into three groups:  
     Control (4 lines)  
     Status (5 lines)  
     Data (8 lines)  
As originally designed, the Control lines are used as interface
control and handshaking signals from the PC to the printer. The 
Status lines are used for handshake signals and as status
indicators for such things as paper empty, busy indication and
interface or peripheral errors. The data lines are used to
provide data from the PC to the printer, in that direction only.
Later implementations of the parallel port allowed for data to be
driven from the peripheral to the PC.  
are assigned to specific bits within the registers that make up
the hardware/software interface to the parallel port. The
parallel port is mapped into the I/O space of the PC. The
registers consist as a contiguous block of 3 registers starting
from the parallel port's base address. These ports are commonly
referred to as the LPT ports and have the familiar I/O base
addresses of 3BCh, 378h and 278h. Newer implementations of the
parallel port, that support the advanced modes of the 1284
standard, use 8 to 16 registers and are located at I/O addresses
378h or 278h, or are re-locatable, as in the case of a Plug and
Play compliant parallel adapter.  
Return To Top

Subject: Sound cable from Toshbia to Sound Blaster Fix
The SOUND cable that comes with the Toshiba CD-ROM Drives only lets
one channel of the stereo come through to the speakers.
To fix, on the end with the small white connector that connects to the
sound blaster card, move the white wire from the inside to the outside
hole (one place).
The easiest way to do this is take a small knife and lift up the white 
plastic tab that holds the connector in the socket and gently pull out
the white wire.  Then slide it into the outside hole until it snaps into
the connector.
Return To Top

Subject:  CD-ROM Drives and Audio Extraction
The ability of a CD-ROM Drive to play a music CD and to Extract
the audio are two separate issues.
When you insert a music CD and start the CD Player, the PC issues
a command to the CD-ROM Drive instructing it to spin the CD at 1x
speed and to take the audio signal and send out the audio jack on
the rear of the CD-ROM deck.  There the signal is routed to the
sound card via a thin audio cable.  The only information sent
down the data cable to the PC is the tracking information, ie..
what track is playing and elapsed play time.  For the most part
the PC is free to carry on other data processing.  If you choose
to copy the song or track to a wav file this processing is done
through the sound card where the analog music signal is converted
to digital information and stored on the hard drive.
Audio Extraction is used when sound is being transferred to a 
CD-Writer for making a copy of a CD.  It is necessary to
"Extract" the audio signal in a digital format and send it down
the data cable so it can be directly sent to the CD-Writer.  The
audio cable is not used at all for this function.
If you're putting together a PC to copy CD's the challenge here
is to find a CD-ROM drive that will read data and extract audio
at good rates.  MANY CD-Drives that have high data rates flat out
won't extract audio or has a very slow extraction rate, requiring
that any audio be copied to the hard drive and then written to
the new CD.  A one hour music CD can take three hours to copy. 
As an example, a Toshiba 24X drive (XM-6102B) extracts audio at
.4X, requiring audio to be copied to the hard drive first. 
However this drive was fine for copying data at 4X.  Next I tried
an Acer 50X.  This drive would extract audio at 2X making nice
audio CDs, but it did it at the cost of not being able to read
small data files, and it fails to copy data CDs at even a 1X
rate.  Finally tried a new Toshiba 48X (XM-6702B) drive.  This
drive does a good job of copying audio at 6X and data at 5X or
Here are some of the test results using Adaptec's Easy CD Creator
3.5 Tools/System Tests..
Drive Type      Small Files    Large Files    Audio Extraction
Hard Drive      3093 Kb/sec    6144 Kb/sec
Toshiba 24X      561 (3.75X)   1536 (10X)       93Kb (.4X)
Acer 50X          30 (.2X)     1536 (10X)        536 (3.6X)
AccuDrive 44X    618 (4X)      2048 (13X)     None (box said yes)
Toshiba 48X      770 (5X)      2048 (13X)       1030 (6X)
HP 8250i 24X     386 (2X)      1536 (10X)        774 (5X)
CyberDrive 48X   192 (1.3X)    3072 (20X)        228 (1.5X) (Paul's)
Return To Top 

Subject: Burning CDs so they are easier to read

Recently I made a utility CD with nothing but the standard 8.3 naming convention. When creating the CD I choose "Create a CD for distribution among different types of computers".

When the CD was done, I put it in another PC to check it out. The PC had a hard time displaying the directory, and it was slow to access files.

On my PC that I create CD on, I have my hard drive made into several 800 meg partitions so I have an area to organize custom CDs. I also use Xtree Gold to move these files around. And even though there were no hidden files or files with long names, when I did a Show-All I could see stuff that looked like hidden directories and files with hidden names. So I took one of my empty partitions and Washed the drive with Xtree. This is a process where the software writes all ones to the drive, and then writes all zeros to the drive, thus over-writing anything that is on the drive. When you delete a file or format a drive, all that happens is the first letter of the file name is removed, telling the FAT it can write there. But in reality all the data is still there, just hidden from view. When you write a new file there, it writes right over the old data. And here's the interesting part. If the sector you are writing to, was full of data, and what you wrote is only a half of sector worth, then the old data underneath just sits there. And when you copy a file, which really copies sectors, it can drag that old garbage with it.

After washing the drive, I did a DOS Xcopy to copy all the data to the clean drive, Burned a new CD. The new CD was lightening fast at showing the directory, and I can copy files from it at least twice as fast as from the first CD.

Also when I did an Xtree Show-All on the drive, all the hidden garbage was gone. Why is this? What happened to the garbage? The secret here is that Xcopy doesn't copy sectors, it copies files into memory, then writes from memory to the drive. It has no need to waste memory space on the garbage at the end of each file, so it doesn't copy it. Cool huh?

You might want to give this a try if you've burned a CD and it's hard to read.

Return To Top 

Subject: Quantex Secrets:
Can't get a LAN card to work?  You must set aside an area in BIOS to allow
the NIC to move it's BIOS to upper memory- Page two of setup;
        Disable Shadow Memory Size:  Set to at least 16 Kb
        Disable Shadow Memory Base:  Set to area (D0000h)
Have a Hard Drive larger than 540 Mb?  You must turn on the
 "IDE LBA Translations" (Logical Block Access) on page two
of the set up screens.  Use AUTO-CONFIG on page one to detect
the correct drive size.  If either of these were different, you may 
have to re-format the drive and start over.
Why do this?  DOS can only access 526 Mb on a partitian, everything
will look OK, but when you try to write more than 526 Mb, all data gets
corrupted.  This should not be a problem with Windows NT
Randy 10-3-94
Modem stops working right after a call or exiting com program and returning?
Load COMS, fix for com port hang-ups
Randy 7-17-95
Can't get large programs to load on units with lots of memory or some programs
seemed to be out of control?  Try turning the internal cache off.
To turn the Turbo on or off use CONTROL + ALT + (the minus key to slow
down or the plus key to speed up).  Secret to make this work; must be from
a raw boot (F5) with no memory manager loaded.  Also it takes about 3 seconds
before it drops into non-turbo.  It jumps into turbo right away.
Can't get an external device such as a tape drive or dongle to work
using the parallel port?  Upgrade the flash BIOS to at least Rev 12.
Can't get a large hard drive to format properly?  Make it the second drive.
Randy  4-10-96
Can't get a Plato Mother Board to upgrade it's BIOS?  First make sure you
have a self-booting, self-loading floppy that will boot and upgrade the
flash BIOS without any key strokes necessary (this proceedure will kill
all video during the upgrade process).  Move the RCVR FLASH jumper from
NORMAL to FLASH RECOVERY.  Disconnect the hard drive (failure to do this
will probably make the drive non-bootable).  Insert your floppy and power 
up.  Two beeps and floppy drive action will tell you it's working.  About
two minutes later it will beep twice again and the floppy light will go
out.  Remove the floppy and reset.  Check the BIOS rev number and make 
sure it changed.  Power down and reconnect the hard drive.
Randy  5-24-96
SMC Network card Die?  Sometimes when the memory gets loose and only counts
to 8 meg, it will disable shared memory.
Return To Top

Subject:  Clearing the Memory on a Gateway AnyKey Keyboard
Hold down the Control and Alt keys and then press the Suspend Macro Key.
The Program LED will flash for a few seconds while the keyboard memory
is reinitialized.  This will also erase any stored macros.

                 CNTRL + ALT + Suspend Macro

Return To Top

Subject:  AMI Happy Birthday BIOS Virus
                    submitted by George Ramirez
       NAVAL Computer Security Advisory (CSA) 95-41 
       SUBJ: November 13th AMIBIOS Birthday Song 
       NAVY Message DTG: 121030Z DEC 95
1.  Summary:  Some IBM compatible PC's purchased with American 
Megatrends, Inc. (AMI) BIOS will cause the PC to play "Happy 
Birthday" on boot up on the date 13 November.
2.  Background: This is not a virus.  The problem is inherent in 
the BIOS supplied and has been in existence at least since 1994.
3.  Impact:  Some machines will not be capable of completing boot 
up on that date. 
4.  Recommended Solutions:
    A.  Temporarily change the date in BIOS if necessary.
    B.  Contact AMI for a replacement.  AMI is located at 6145-F
        Northbelt Parkway, Norcross, GA 30071; Phone (770) 246-8600.


      Return To Top

    Return to PC Info Sub-Index Page        Return to Home Page