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Compaq Contura Aero Frequently Asked Questions
Section - 32 bit disk access or no?

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[C] From: "Ulrich Hansen" 
Subject: SOLUTION: The 32 Bit disk access with the aero
Date: Sun, 23 Sep 2001 05:25:49 +0200

Hi all aeronauts,

even in these war-time like days I puzzle around with the aero AND:

I finally solved the 32-Bit-Disk Access-Problem with the aero and gained 
now 32 bit disk access (32BDA aka "Fastdisk") under Windows 3.1 with my 
4,1 GB Toshiba drive.

The topic is also described as thread "32 bit access" in this group and as
chapter " 32 bit disk access or no?" in the faq. AFAIK there hasn't
been a solution until now.

Products affected: Windows 3.1/WfW 3.11 systems on aeros with harddisks
larger than 504 MB.

So here is the way I made it work on my computer. It worked for me, maybe 
it doesn't for others.

My Basis
Contura Aero 4/33, 20 MB RAM, Harddisk: Toshiba MK4309MAT, 4,1 GB
Operating System: Two OS via PowerQuest BootMagic Bootmanager:
- Windows 95B
- Windows 3.1
(The 32BDA-Problem only exists in Win 3.1. The Windows 95 partition and the
bootmanager don't play a role.)

The OS
Windows 3.1 is updated to the win32s 1.30c from It is also updated to Windows
3.11 (not WfW) using the update package "ww0981.exe" available from
microsoft ( I
also use the fix1MB solution to prevent windows 3.1 to give away all its 
<1 MB Memory to applications. And I use the syshook.drv for getting a more
stabile system. More about fix1MB and syshook see .

The compaq files
I updated Windows 3.1 with the Compaq Windows 3.1 Supplemental Programs SP
1585, SP 2041 and sp2774. All of them include two files that give you 32BDA
with the aero on <504MB Harddisks - those files are "cpqint13.386" (which
replaces Microsofts "int13.386") and "cpqwdctl.386" (which replaces
Microsofts "wdctrl.386").

The problem
32BDA is limited to hard drives with 1024 cylinders or less (504MB or less).
After installing a bigger than 504 MB hdd on the aero, the 32BDA doesn't
work any more. Instead you get (with the start of Windows) the message:

"CPQWDCTL Error WD4: The Microsoft Windows 32-bit disk driver (CPQWDCTL)
validation failed at phase 08, 10. Press any key to continue without using
32-bit disk driver."

You can control if the 32BDA is used, if you start the control panel, choose
386 Enh and click on Virtual Memory: If 32BDA is ON it says "Type: ... (uses
32-Bit-Access)". If the 32BDA is OFF, it says "Type: ... (uses BIOS)". That
means, Windows has to switch to real mode if it wants to access the hdd –
what costs time and gets you "Out of memory"-Messages (Windows needs <1MB
memory to switch into real mode).

If you are in control panel/386enh/virtual memory and choose change and you
see a checked "32-Bit Access"-Box, that doesn't automatically mean that the
32BDA is really used.
About the advantages of the 32BDA see

The solution
Even the newer compaq softpacks (f.i. SP 4603 from 1997 intended for the
armada) don't include a compaq driver that is able to give you 32BDA on
>504MB hdd.

Microsoft either doesn't have a driver to solve the problem. MS instead
tells you in its knowledge base articles to the 32BDA-problem (collected at ) to get a driver from your
harddisk manufacturer.

If you have a SEAGATE-hdd you can try seg32176.exe, available at
If you have a MAXTOR hdd, try win32bit.exe, available at
If you have a WESTERN DIGITAL hdd, try win31.exe available at
If you have a TOSHIBA hdd YOU MAY try eide32.exe, available at (But see the mentioned problem 

Functionality: These hdd-manufacturer drivers normally install in the
windows\system directory and run themselves via the [386Enh] section in the

They replace (but don't delete) the windows or (on the aero) the compaq
32BDA files. The lines in the system.ini for the compaq drivers

are replaced (f.i for the seagate driver) with

You have to check, if the old drivers (cpqint13.386 and cpqwdctl.386) are
really REMd out with "REM" or ";" in the system.ini. If not, you get (with
windows start) the message "there are two devices for int13..." or anything
like that and you have to edit the system.ini and rem it out by hand.

Sometimes the microsoft driver int13.386 (called with device=*int13 or
device=int13.386) isn't included in the driver package. If you get an error
message, you should be able to replace the line in the system.ini again with
the compaq driver "device=cpqint13.386" and everything works... I am not
totally sure with this, because I have a toshiba drive and this is a special

Unfortunately on my aero – and I suppose on everybody elses aero – the
Toshiba driver doesn't work. Instead you get (with windows start) the error

"Fail to find the Toshiba signature. This Microsoft windows 32-bit disk
driver (TOSHCTRL) only works on Toshiba Systems. To continue starting
windows without using the 32-bit disk driver, press any key."

There is nothing you can do about this. Obviously Toshiba doesn't care about
people who are using a toshiba drive in a non-toshiba-system.

But there is a way to work around the problem. The OnTrack 32BDA driver
ontrackw.386, available at
is supposed to work on ALL drives, indepedent of its manufacturer.

Use the above mentioned source or get (like I did) the Ontrack disk manager
for windows, ver. 3.00, run the "Advanced hard drive Installation" Option
and choose "Install Ontracks 32-Bit disk access".

The Ontrack drivers "ontracks.386", "ontrackw.386" and the "int13.386" file
are now copied to your windows\system directory. The drivers are called up
by the [386Enh] section in the system.ini:

After doing so, the 32BDA worked fine – except...

Windows 3.1 run fine with 32BDA but everytime I started a DOS-box (window or
full-screen) the aero rebooted. This problem was obvously dependent of the
32BDA, because when I unchecked the "Use 32BDA"-Box in
control/386enh/virt.memory/change and restarted windows, the DOS-box run
with no problem.

What was funny: When I started Windows with enabled 32BDA, ran Word for
Windows 6.0 first and then started a DOS-Box there was no problem at all.
Even when I ended Winword and started the DOS-Box everything worked like 
it should.

I am no programmer, so I am not sure, what the problem really was. But the
winword/DOS-Box behaviour made me think, that perhaps there were some older
dlls in my system and the DOS-box used these older ones. But after winword
enabled the newer ones, the DOS box obviously uses these libraries – with
success. Is this possible? Perhaps you know... But in the end it lead me to
the now working fine solution. Maybe some of you will think it isn't a
solution at all but a new problem, but it isn't this to me:

available at (8,8MB)

After doing so, most windows 3.1 DLLs were updated to a date around 1998
(Checked it with the winword system info). And voilà: Windows runs with
32BDA. Directly after Windows Start I am able to start a DOS-Box without
problem. Every other application (Word, Corel Draw) run fine.

This is a really hard way to solve the problem. But after all, it was the
only way it worked for me. Maybe with the newer wfw 3.11 (which I don't
have) the dlls are better and you don't have the dos-box problem. But for
me, this was the final solution for my 32BDA problem on the aero.

Installing the IE 5.0 was not a big problem, but it had two difficulties:
After installing the files and rebooting the system the ie50 began
"preparing" its files (the little box at the left side of the desktop). But
when it came to the file "msador16.dll" there always came a "General
Protection Failure" (GPF) saying the install program caused a GPF in the
file "win87em.dll". I directly shut down the aero by FN+OFF (and so
prevented the install program to terminate itself) and began searching for a
solution. In the internet there are newer microsoft versions of the
win87em.dll but none worked. So I ended up, renaming the file msador16.dll
to msador16.old. Next time I started windows, the install programm worked
fine, complaining one time about the missing msador16.dll but making its
work with all the other files. Afterwards I renamed the msador16.old back 
to .dll and had no problem further.

The second difficulty was my old mouse-driver. In 1996 I had replaced the
original compaq/logitech driver with the microsoft mouse driver V.9.00
because of the the bigger pointer and the "jump-to-standard-button" 
But this driver doesn't work very good together with win32s (what the IE 
5.0 uses very much), so everytime I started the IE 5.0 I got the 
"growstub"-GPF, best described in 
I finally uninstalled the microsoft mouse driver and installed the updated 
compaq driver (softpack SP 1714) which comes with all the microsoft 
features but works much better with the aero.

Hope that helped

[C] Date: Mon, 27 Oct 1997 00:36:31 +0200 (GMT+0200)
From: Jean-Luc Chevillard <>
Subject: Re: CPQWDCTL error WD4  ????

At 12:08 26/10/1997 -0700, you wrote:
>can anyone help or has anyone had this problem...
>i get this message after every start-up , i realize that it has to due
>with 32-bit disk driver---
>there is a validation failure at phase 04, 3C
>if press any key to continue without using 32-bit disk driver
>works fine ....any help would be appreciated

I had the same problem after upgrading my HD from 170Mb
to 2.1 Gb. The quickfix I found (after reading the FAQ
where they said 32-bit disk access might create problems)
was to:
 1. open my \windows\system.INI file using textpad
 2. go to the section called [386Enh]
 3. assign the "false" value to the control variable 32BitDiskAccess
    (it now reads  32BitDiskAccess=0 )
 4. be happy with the result

It might be wrong advice, but I had no problem at all after that

Best wishes

[C] From: Gary Hong <garyh@sco.COM>
Date: Wed, 21 Feb 96 14:06:57 PST

>Also, has anyone had any problems using 32-bit disk access on their Aero?
>When you select that option, Win tells you that it could be a Bad Thing on a
>battery powered portable. Does that include the Aero?

If you use 32 bit access you'll have problems with "hdsdown3".  This utility
shuts down the hard disk on demand or at specified intervals after last
keypress.  If you don't use this utility (available on wade's
site or compaq) then go ahead and use 32 bit access.

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