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vmm32.vxd problem when upgrading RAM


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Well I wouldn't say that Win 3.x did not have enough software. In fact they had a huge quantity. It was the first version of MS Windows to have lots of 3rd party software support, whether commercial, shareware or freeware. The problem nowadays is that a lot of the file repositories on the Internet has since killed off their 3.x file downloads. I have many PC magazines I've kept (collected) over the decades. Step into the mags of the early to mid 1990's and you'll find many reviews of 3.x stuff. In the late 90's, Simtel.com and Walnut Creek CDRom.com (they are affiliated) had tons of file downloads for 3.x, and I used to get files off those places. I think they are still around, but have purged their 3.x stuff, which is kinda sad. See www.simtel.net. Or step into the Wayback Machine so you can actually peruse what 3.x files they had: http://wayback.archive.org/web/19960615000000*/http://www.simtel.com . You can also ask around at Win3x.org (although it's mostly in French). I haven't looked for 3.x files that much since, so I don't really know where they are nowadays. Google can always help. Here's another: http://home.comcast.net/~zerosky/freaked/win3x.html . It's just tough trying to stay in the past though, when we're all busy trying to get by today.

Never heard of Re-electronics. Nice service. That is exactly what I do to my PC's, heh. I'd probably make a good employee there, lol. Funny how they are using the Joomla CMS (content management system) for building their website. I am pretty versed in that and have a few of my websites running it. I noticed the Joomla icon at the URL address bar. They would need to change to their own icon just to keep things "unique" as Joomla is a prevalent and popular CMS on the web.

I have gotten a lot of my stuff from Goodwill also. They sell used electronics as well and I've found goodies there at almost one tenth the price I would find anywhere else, even at eBay... monitors (bought for $15-20, some I've had to repair), wireless cards and routers, cables, software, lots of keyboards/mice, drives, PC's, printers, home electronics, and pretty much any further electronics/computer-related stuff that people get rid of (donate). And at some times it's more convenient than eBay or Frys Electronics, since the local Goodwill is under 5 minutes drive. Frys is 15 minutes away in another town.

Not sure if I've used Access before. Looks good. I've used various DOS menu's over the decades as well.

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I remember doing "important" stuff with Widows 3.1 such as using Microsoft Word 6.0 or LView Pro, whereas with DOS I only used it for messing around with games and using QPV/386 to look at pictures.

I really do like both systems though. :)

Heck, I'm still using the exact same printer that I had on my Windows 3.1 computer.

It's a Canon BJ-200e bubble jet printer. It is definitely the oldest working piece of computer equipment that I own, and it's still going strong! It's a survivor, man.

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Ah, the good ol' bubble jet, I remember those. My brother still has one, but he never uses it (it's boxed). Yup, if you take care of a piece of equipment well, then it will last. Yeah, done lots of stuff on 3.x. It was the MS O/S used at some places at Intel when I first started there in 1994-ish. Don't get me wrong, I like(d) MSDOS. I did roughly the same thing, I had lots of shareware games on it. For me I suppose my oldest piece of computer devices are my C64's (and peripherals). Before that are my 2 gaming consoles from the mid-late 70's, the Atari 2600(VCS) and Coleco Telstar. I do have this huge hard drive type thing from the late 70's, but it doesn't really work (powers up though). Weighs like 100 pounds, the size of a small desk, 12 inch diameter platters. Got it free to take the logic chips out for my own use. I need to get rid of it eventually. You still haven't told me if that 256mb dimm you have is pc100 or pc133, or even pc66, heh. I'm curious. :P

Edited by technoid
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I've got a Bubble Jet 200 that works too. Probably needs ink by now but I do very little printing. If I remember right, it was with an old P5-133mhz Gateway that I converted into a hardware firewall.

It appears that HP has removed most of the drivers and upgrades for the older units. I have several drivers and updates for HPs from that time period, downloaded for PCs I've serviced long ago. I don't know which ones if any will match your PC. Less than 2 years ago, I was using an HP Pavilion 4463 with a 366MHZ Celeron and 160MB RAM, upgraded from 64MB. With 98FE, it was a very reliable unit for many years and still works good. It was a bit weak when it came to videos and flash but did everything else I asked of it. It's still got the original 5.1GB hard drive but has worn out 2 floppy drives and 2 CD drives. If I hadn't been spoiled by the speed of this unit, I'd have no problems using it.

Earlier this year, a friend gave me a large box full of old software CDs and floppies. A lot of it looks to be Win95 and older. As soon as I can, I'll inventory it and see if there's anything there others might find useful.

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Luckily, Windows ME auto-detects my BJ-200e printer. So does Windows 2000 Professional :)

Okay, the ram thingy, I forgot.

It says: "Crucial 256MB 168 Pin Dimm 32mx64 SDRA." "Synch, 133MHz, CL3, Lead free, PC133U-333-542-Z""

^that's the one I have in my hand, I have a few of those.

The ones inside my computer are:

"PC100 256MB Ram, Synch, 100MHz, 168 Pin Dimm" and

"PC100 128Mb Ram, Synch, 100 MHz."

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Ok , so it's PC133. So have you tried a PC133 128MB in place of that HP PC100 128MB in the 7845? Will it boot and run Windows? I mean if it works you could theoretically get about a 30% speed boost from a memory standpoint. Then the rest of the PC system will drop that percentage down, but it should at least be faster than when it has that HP PC100 128MB running in it. At least you get a bit faster system at 384MB.

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Technoid, I'd never thought of that. That sounds like something cool to try.

Tomorrow I'll stop by re-electronics and see if they have any PC133 128 Mb chips.

Would an extra 33 Mhz of ram speed really make a difference though? :)

If it did, that would be pretty funny. :)

That would be some pretty serious upgrade though. But it sounds better than NO upgrade.

Edited by ScrewUpgrading
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Imho, yes it is worth upgrading. Now, i.e. sooner than later. Why now? Several things, let me ramble, lmao...

First, your 7845 PC is getting older and "obsoleter" by the minute, so I think it is best to -- again -- eek out as much performance out of that thang as possible. Second, memory prices for desktop 128MB PC133 sticks, even in new condition, is a few dollars cheap. Stroll through memory lane (pun?) and you might remember the same memory stick could've cost a hundred dollars 10 years ago. Progression/competition in memory performance decreases costs on old memory standards, such as Sdram PC133. Third, PC133 is, logically, faster than PC100 rating, again, around 33% faster, if my math is correct. Lastly, your PC is able to take PC133, due to CPU, FSB and chipset design. Overclockers love to eek out speed and power incrementally. In essence you are trying to do the same, the difference is that you're not overclocking, just changing out memory speed ratings to what your PC already has the normal ability to do. When you mix PC100 and PC133 in the machine, it will probably run at the lower speed of 100. If you had PC66 in there and PC133, I am thinking it would run at 66. Slow.

The 133 and 100 Mhz are just factory-tested speeds the silicon on those ram chips are able to perform. A chip that couldn't be stable at 133, but stable at 100 would then be sold as 100. Your BIOS (and CPU, etc) is able to determine what speed your memory should be at. BIOSes on standalone purchasable motherboards (like from MSI or ASUS) usually have many memory settings you can tweak. Most major brandname systems, such as from HP, usually don't have that kind of very tweakable BIOSes. You could "overclock" (or force) a PC100 to PC133 if you had that ability in the BIOS (CL3, CL2, those kinds of settings). I am assuming your HP 7845 does not have those abilities. I would know, I have HP Pentium III boxes as well, though I have later models and it's pretty much the same, no memory tweakability in BIOS.

My guess is that your 7845 SHOULD run at PC133 if all the memory sticks in there are rated 133. The CPU, FSB, chipset are designed to run at that speed as far as we can tell. The problem is we don't know until you try (may or may not work). There could be other unknown/unforseen design limitations, but I have no clue since I don't have a 7845. If your 7845 started off with a PC66 128mb and you are able to replace that with a PC133 128mb stick (and is able to boot and run windows), that would be a ~2x performance boost right there. Anyway, you will have to check performance by eyeballing it (see if things feel a little bit zippier) or use a benchmark program. Again, speed boost won't be 200%, but maybe hopefully 5%-30%, if again it's able to run at all. I think that should be better than nothing, you're not buying 128MB of memory at tens or hundreds of dollars like a decade ago. Hopefully you'll find a DIMM that is compatible on the 7845. Cross yer fingers. I'm sure I missed something else to say, but I'll stop here, heh.

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First, your 7845 PC is getting older and "obsoleter" by the minute...

LOL.

Yes, but it is going up in "vintage computer" value by the minute as well. Someday, I'll be able to sell it for upwards of $400 on ebay. If I can keep this thing running long enough, that is! Have you seen how much a working 386 sells for on Ebay these days?

I've tried searching for more HP 7845's, you know, for spare parts and such (I'd like to have an entire fleet of these puppies), but they're pretty scarce. All of it's brothers and sisters are probably at the bottom of a landfill.

I don't mind listening to you, you're very informative and knowledgeable, so go ahead and carry on. :) I don't mind.

Edited by ScrewUpgrading
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There may be BIOS issues of a ram upgrade to 512mb for the hp 7845, at least for XP, according to this 2005 posting:

http://forums.cnet.com/7723-7591_102-125938.html

If so, you may be maxed out at 384mb.

You may also be able to upgrade your memory indirectly by upgrading to or installing a newer AGP video card. AGP video uses a portion of system memory in order to run. By installing a newer video card with bigger and faster memory, and reducing AGP Aperture size to the minimum (in BIOS setup), you gain system memory for other computer processes.

Allowing for a 16mb AGP Aperture, you may also want to edit or make a new vcache entry in your system.ini file, as follows:

[vcache]

MaxFileCache=330000

Adjust this number up or down, if you notice degradation in system performance (to edit system.ini, use notepad or run sysedit),

Edited by rilef
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Thanks for the info, Rilef.

I've already looked into updating the BIOS, but after reading various forums it seems that the patch does nothing for fixing this issue with the RAM. And messing around with upgrading my bios (is it reversible?), isn't something I want to do. I'm sure it's a flaw in the motherboard as I've read about people with the same model having to send their machine to HP to get it swapped out. Since this is an 11 year old computer, which I got for free, I doubt HP would give a crap.

I might consider installed a graphics card, but only as long as it was verified, certified, without any doubt, 100% compatible with my computer. Like if it said on the box: "Works with HP model 7845." Or something to that effect. There's issues with the power supply and if you don't have the correct video card installed, you can zap your power supply, at least that's what I read on the official site.

I've taken Technoid's advice and ordered PC-133 RAM from Ebay. I plan on upgrading my RAM from "100 MHz" to "133Mhz." Sure, maybe not the biggest upgrade, but I'll take what I can get. I hope it works :)

Edited by ScrewUpgrading
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And messing around with upgrading my bios (is it reversible?), isn't something I want to do.

How far back is your BIOS version again? And what is/was the last version they have (too lazy to check atm)?

Since this is an 11 year old computer, which I got for free, I doubt HP would give a crap.

That's correct, they don't give a crap, heh. Normally HP (and most other companies) will support driver updates for a few years (in general, about 5 more years after product release). I have a few HP machines myself.

There's issues with the power supply and if you don't have the correct video card installed, you can zap your power supply, at least that's what I read on the official site.

Part of this stems from the gradual (over the years) of the power of graphics cards. The more modern it is, the more it needs power/energy from your PC power supply. I can't recall what card you need. If PCI, then power requirements shouldn't that be a big deal.

I've taken Technoid's advice and ordered PC-133 RAM from Ebay.

Again though, as a disclaimer, whatever ram you get may not work. So be ready to return it. Or keep it for future use. The question here is if that motherboard bug will prevent that PC133 128mb from working. Or, that particular stick of ram won't work, but maybe another one (from eBay etc) will. You just don't know which. I recall the specs said "low density ram". Good luck again and we'll be waiting what happens.

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A few more things...

-- BIOS:

I just recently (a few days ago) updated the BIOS on a client's (friend's) ultraportable Toshiba notebook. Like you and everyone else, I had my worries. The instructions gave me several ways of updating, i.e. floppy, or CD, or in Windows, or another way in DOS (other than with floppy). The notebook does not have a floppy drive as understandably the floppy has gone the way of the dinosaur, especially since this notebook was built in 2006 and is also the more compact type of notebook (ultraportable). Luckily I had an external USB floppy drive. Still, I wasn't sure if this was going to work. I didn't really know how this notebook was going to handle an external floppy. I wanted to go the Windows route of updating the BIOS. This was the most convenient. However the instructions did say this was also the most unstable. After some testing, I found the USB floppy performed as normal as a floppy that was built internally. It booted first (change boot device priority in BIOS first) and I ran the BIOS update that way. It went smooth. I have done many BIOS updates in the past, thru floppy, and they've all pretty much been reliable that way. The one time it did not go well was because I updated a machine with the wrong BIOS. The update process went well, it just happened to be with the wrong file, lmao. I did that about 3 years ago and I still have that machine. I have started the process of its resurrection, doing research and stuff. Due to the wrong BIOS, it is currently braindead, i.e. it won't boot, but it still powers on. Someone has told me about bootblocks, so I have to check that once I look at the PC again (it's at another site). I can understand your worries. You probably have nil experience updating BIOSes. As long as you've done your research and have the correct file(s), it should work without a hitch. One of those hitches though is to make sure the power doesn't go out. You could potentially decrease that risk by having a surge protector and a UPS (and maybe a line conditioner too, but now that's perhaps overkill). Most BIOS updates for consumer PC's should only take under 30 seconds, if not 15. I know, after 20 years of consumers being able to update their own BIOSes, the process can still be tricky. There are some PC's that do have redundant protection, like a backup/secondary BIOS chip onboard, etc. In the end it's up to you, but if it were me, I would do it. Your mileage will vary.

-- CPU:

I just checked the specs again on the 7845 and again that 866 Pentium III is built for 133 FSB. I assume it's a Coppermine core. One of the ways to check this is to find the S spec which is printed on top of the chip. Look for text that starts with "SL". Examples would be like SL49H, SL4MD. What I am getting at is that the 7845 has the potential to be upgraded to a 1.0 GHz Pentium III. That's an extra 134 MHz of speed right there (L2 cache size stays the same though). Of course this would mean taking off the heatsink and wiping the thermal silicon grease compound off (unless it uses the heat shim). There are plenty of PIII 1.0 GHz's on eBay, in used condition, in the range $5 to $25. Seeing that the cost of this CPU is now cheap these days, you have to decide if upgrading the CPU speed might be worth it. Again, in my line of computer hobbying as well as a "tech" at work, I would personally would pursue this. I have in the past upgraded old socket 7 motherboards that would only take 233 MHz Pentiums to 400 MHz AMD K6-III's, even if the motherboard was too old to recognize the the K6-III. You thus infuse old technology and give it a little more life, and speed.

Here is an old article, the author updated his Celeron 667 MHz to Pentium III 1.0 GHz on his Compaq i810e motherboard: http://home.comcast.net/~felispardalis/presupgd.html

One other thing though, unfortunately, is that HP 7845 motherboard (ASUS make perhaps) probably does not have the ability to overclock. That is the norm with OEM. They don't really want you to overclock. But I could also be wrong. Not sure how it is now, I don't have processors like Sandybridges/Nehalems or whatnot, but I know it was then with HP and Pentium III's (and IV's).

Found this too: http://h30499.www3.hp.com/t5/Home-PCs-Pavilion-Presario/Pavilion-7845-processor-upgrade/td-p/361238

And this: http://www.motherboardpoint.com/hp-pavillion-model-7845-cpu-upgrade-t156796.html

Anyway, just giving you more things to think about. Don't do any of the above if you're uncomfortable. Hopefully that PC133 128MB will work for you, no doubt we need to get that out of the way FIRST.

Edited by technoid
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Technoid, it's weird you should mention the CPU, because today for the first time in my life I unscrewed the CPU fan and vacuumed out 10 years of dust buildup :)

And it still works. Still has an annoying hum though, which I can't seem to isolate. At first when the computer is turned on there is a loud hum, then after about a minute or so it dies down, but it's still noticeable as slight background hum/vibration. When I press the sides of the computer case together it mitigates the sound somewhat. I'm gonna check for loose screws. All of the fans still twirl, so they work. I unplugged the power to the hard drive, and it wasn't the hard drive making weird noises, so it's okay. I'm conluding it's either a fan out of whack in the CPU or PSU, or some screw loose somewhere. Oh well. As long as it works I don't care.

Oh man, after reading that article about swapping the CPU I'm totally going to try that! That would be sweet if I can get 1Ghz.

Yes, I have a coppermine core in my pc.

I was looking at ebay and found these:

http://www.ebay.com/itm/Intel-Pentium-III-1GHz-133MHz-256K-FCPGA-CPU-/260842799796?pt=CPUs&hash=item3cbb7142b4

http://www.ebay.com/itm/Intel-Pentium-III-1GHz-133MHz-256K-FCPGA-CPU-/190570279848?pt=CPUs&hash=item2c5edfb3a8

would something like that work?

After taking out and putting back in the CPU fan, I think I could handle swapping the cpu, doesn't sound too hard.

XXXXXX

Speaking of floppy disks, I went into Office Depot and bought a box off 3.5" floppies and the guy asked me what I needed those for. I told him so I can boot-up older computers to DOS. And he said, "why would you want to bring something that old back to life." He looked at me like I was some sort of freak or something just because I was buying floppy disks (the only place in town that sells them, by the way). What a jerk. The guy at Best Buy simply laughed in my face and said no they don't carry floppies.

I use my Windows ME boot disk all the time. It's the only way I can get into real DOS and run F-Prot and some other programs and games. Not to mention reformatting the computer.

At another Office Depot/Max Store the guy told me to boot using a USB flash drive instead of floppy disks. Hello, this is an older machine I'm talking about (hence the floppies). I can't go into my bios and adjust it so it boots from the USB whatever. id***. :) And they look at me like I'm an id***. They don't realize that computers started before 1999.

Oh well, that's my floppy disk rant. :)

Oh yeah, the one box of 10 diskettes cost me like $8. Whereas my USB flash drive that holds 2 Gig was $16. Big discrepency there.

Edited by ScrewUpgrading
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Technoid, it's weird you should mention the CPU, because today for the first time in my life I unscrewed the CPU fan and vacuumed out 10 years of dust buildup :)

Good to hear, keeping your PC's clean helps keep it alive longer. I had 2 similar incidences where what I found stuck in the heatsink blew me away. First, I went to a coworker's house, he wanted me to check the harddrive on his computer. He's not really a computer nerd like I am, so when I open the box, I found that his CPU heatsink had dog hair and lint packed and covered in every niche of the fins, filling it all out. Good thing the fan was still blowing. I vacuumed it out as well as the rest of the inside of the case. I told him to maintain that and try to keep the case off the floor and maybe onto a table top. Second, years later, my sister gave away her two laptops to me around 7 years ago. They were in disrepair, requiring some BIOS updates, harddrive upgrades and other lovin'. In one of them, it was the same thing, there was cat hair and lint stuck in one of the fan housings (underneath), filling everything. To my dismay this prevented the fan from spinning. Because of that, the fan died. Eventually took apart the laptop, replaced the fan(s) and it's my primary laptop nowadays. The other laptop still in the works (need to buy parts).

And it still works. Still has an annoying hum though, which I can't seem to isolate.

It's possible the hum is like you said, one of the fans might be off kilter. A way to find out is to turn on power but hold the fan in your hand (as its spinning), not on the heatsink, but only for a few seconds. Anway, a good fix is to oil it (some people use graphite powder). I've done this many times with case fans, it quiets them down, but you do have to then maintain that every few months. The way to do this is to find the entry hole to the fan axle. Most of the time this is under a circular label stickied in the middle. I try to keep that label, so rather than just wildly pulling it off and potentially tearing it, I use a tweezer to pull it off, maybe starting with a sharp blade to lift off a corner of label first. From there you should be able to see the hole opening in the middle, where one end of the axle is. You just pour a drop of light machine oil in there. Usually I turn on power and so while the fan is spinning at top speed, I drop the oil in. Listen to the noise it makes and see if it quiets down after the oil drop. If you can, take the CPU off its socket first before applying power. The power should still turn on (depends on motherboard etc). There is also the possibility the power supply fan is making the noise. Applying oil down its axle shaft can also work, but unless you know what you're doing, don't open the power supply case. You could potentially loosen something in there. Sometimes there are mylar shields inside that prevent short circuits and other things and you might forget to put that back in correctly. Anyway once I oil the fan, I try to put the label back on (wipe surface off of any remaining oil or your label won't stick back on. You can also use some sort of tape to replace the label. And keep the label as reference for the fan since they usually have the electrical specs printed on the label. Haha, I have too much info here talking about the label.

Yes, I have a coppermine core in my pc.

I hope you know what you're saying, heh. Coppermine core is one design process/architecture of Pentium III's. Another is Katmai, and Tualatin. Coppermine at 1.0 GHz is one model you should be able to use on the 7845.

I was looking at ebay and found these:

Seems both of those have the same part number, RB80526PZ001256, which would be the Pentium III 1.0GHz EB ('B' stands for 133 FSB). If you like, ask the sellers what S-spec they are, which again is printed on top of the chip. But if these are boxed and plastic sealed, since they are in new condition, then they probably can't to keep it "new". Keep in mind you're paying $25, new condition, compared to 5 bucks for used 1.0 GHz Pentium III's at eBay. Of course you lessen the risk getting a CPU in new condition, to that which is used and may be slightly damaged. Yes, those should work, but again if not, be ready to return it. That leads me to another question. We don't know yet if HP has nerfed the motherboard not to take a CPU faster than 866. You could ask first, or take the word from those forum threads about the 7845 I linked to in my last reply, saying a CPU upgrade should/will work.

Intel: http://ark.intel.com/products/27529/Intel-Pentium-III-Processor-1_00-GHz-256K-Cache-133-MHz-FSB

After taking out and putting back in the CPU fan, I think I could handle swapping the cpu, doesn't sound too hard.

Let's hope so. Be careful not to bend any of the pins underneath the CPU. And also be aware (if you aren't already), that the CPU is keyed so that it will go into the socket only one way. By the way, also practice Anti-ESD. This prevents you from zapping (static electricity) the electronic components inside your PC, CPU included. One way to do this is to touch the inside chassis frame (where ever there's bare metal) as long as the PC power cable is still connected to a wall outlet. This will help ground you. While this is the most convenient/easy way, it may not always be reliable. There are grounding straps and grounding mats you could buy. But let's hope you can ground yourself touching the chassis so you don't have to buy any of that, for now.

Oh well, that's my floppy disk rant. :)

Yup, we are a dying breed. There are places only you can also get new 5.25" floppies, double (DD) or high (HD) density. I still have plenty of blank DD's for my Commodores and plenty of blank HD's for my PC's. Yes I still use the 5.25 floppy drive, still have tons of software on them.

Ok, I read back your old posts and you have BIOS 2.07. Also, I don't know what graphics/video you use, but just like in that article, if you get a PCI graphics card, you could then increase speed of the 7845 further (at least in the video department). As usual, be careful with everything inside the 7845. You could kill something in there and all this talk would've been in vain, hehe.

Again though, let's hope the new PC133 128MB that's on its way to you will work. Put that in by itself first, no second DIMM's yet. I'm sure I missed something else, but this is getting longer by the second.

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