March 27, 2014

Help with Compaq Deskpro 386/25M eISA slot address

Massive updates to this blog post can be found on

I am very happy with my purchase of this Compaq Deskpro 386/25M.  Commanding DOS is like riding a all came right back to me.  Seeing Windows 3.0 again is also pretty trippy...

You seem quite knowledgeable with these vintage computers and componants...almost as if these were your personal machines for years...very cool!

I see that this machine also has Xenix installed.  I was wondering if you happen to know the login and password to the xenix386!login:?

Also, I am having a heck of a time finding any information on any ISA/eISA slot assigned DMA, Interrupts and Address identifiers.

I've installed the Archive Corp ISA controller board for my Archive 5945 Tape Drive in slot 3.   (Click here to see my excessive archive of pics on that product)

However, in order for the included "SY-TOS" tape drive software to recognize the controller, I must manually specify the DMA, Interrupt, and Address of the slot that the board is in (ISA slot 3 in this case).

I have ruled out all of the other troubleshooting conditions except the ones I highlight in red.  (The full SY-TOS users guide is posted for download at: )

For fun, the install files from the SY-TOS floppy disk are available here for anyone to download and play with, as well as all of the manuals in text-searchable PDF format.  I love my docfeed OCR scanner.

I was thinking that entering the BIOS would answer that question, but I can't find any BIOS.

And everything I find online in message threads is just a dead end.  F10 is the only answer given, but I've tried 75+ times and sequences at does nothing.

I've even purchased some manuals for a similar computer on eBay ( ), hoping to find the answer, but alas, there are none.  All it tells me to do is insert the install or diagnostic disks, which of course I do not have.  There isn't even any metion of BIOS at all...could this machine pre-date a bios with a user interface?  

I was hoping that these manuals would give the DMA and Interrupt of each eISA slot, but sorry, no.

Regardless, all I need is the answer to DMA, Interrupt and Address of ISA slot 3 on this machine...any suggestions are most welcome.

I appreciate you reading all of this...I've rambled on long enough.

Operating this Archive Tape system is actually why I bought this machine.  I thought it would work well, and other than my inability to answer these questions, I think it is perfectly suited for this task.  The software was designed for a Compaq Deskpro 286 specificially, and it seems that the 386 is perfectly backwards compatible, right?

Maybe I need to hire you for some consulting?

I have posted a similar message on the forum

Anyway, I truly appreciate it!

Thanks again,


email me direct if you like at

or call at 515-460-6393.