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Compaq Contura Aero Frequently Asked Questions
Section - Prequel to the step-by-step tutorial

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[C] Date: Sun, 15 Nov 1998 13:10:21 -0800
From: Jon Ong 

Took me about an hour to install the Toshiba MK2104MAV HDD. 
I think a better job could have been done explaining where the top
keyboard tabs are, rather than using credit card to hold case apart I
recommend using 3 x 5 card and just tearing paper out as you press tabs
back one by one.  Tabs are at the 4 lateral corners, one directly below
space bar in front, and one behind each side of the screen.  Also, in
the step where screws are removed from the case, we're asked to remove a
5th screw in the R. bottom case...this is actually the R. upper case if
you want to lift keyboard cover off.

[C] Date: Sun, 16 Mar 1997 19:09:12 -0600 (CST)
Subject: Installing MobileMax: A How-To

It looks like a number of aeronauts are about to embark on installing a Maxtor
MobileMax 1.3G drive in their Aeros.  I have had one in mine for about two
months; here are my installation tips:


DISCLAIMER:  I'm not responsible for the consequences of your following these
suggestions.  They worked for me, but I have changed out many a notebook
hard drive.  If you think what follows is beyond your skill level, get someone
to do it for you.  And regardless, ANY disassembly of the Aero presents even
an experienced person many opportunities to ruin the computer inadvertently.
In addition, the following procedure will surely void any warranty you have
on your Aero.


Make sure you ground yourself when dismantling the Aero, and especially when
touching the hard drive.  Wear a wrist strap that is grounded, or repeatedly
touch a well-grounded object during dismantling and reassembly.

1.  Make sure you have the latest ROM upgrade installed on your Aero.  Check
the Aero FAQ for where to get it if you're not sure.

2.  Be sure you have Compaq Setup Disk 1, SP2054, and Compaq Diagnostics Disk
2, SP2373.  These versions appear necessary to allow all 1.3G of the disk to be
seen during fdisk and format (there may be an earlier version that works, but I
_know_ these do.  Check the Aero FAQ for locations if you don't have them.
Make sure the disks work by running them before proceeding further.
3.  Familiarize yourself with the disassembly procedure outlined in the FAQ for

    - note: The harddrive replacement tutorial should be the section 
      following this primer. (Subject: A step-by-step 
      tutorial) - PW

4.  Do _not_ remove the lower of the two screws on back of the Aero next to the
external power supply jack.  As the FAQ notes, it isn't necessary and will
greatly increase the chances you'll damage the video ribbon cable or other
parts of the display.

5.  I recommend removing the bezel surrounding the screen, as it makes removal
of the upper case half of the Aero much easier.  See the FAQ for details on how
to do this.  Work slowly and carefully, and don't force anything.  Then, remove
the upper case half--again, see the FAQ (as there is no point in my repeating
all of that here).

6.  Once the upper case half is removed, unscrew the small screws securing the
keyboard, and fold it over toward you.  Do not disconnect the keyboard as it
isn't necessary.  Be very careful not to stress the keyboard ribbon cable. 
Just let the keyboard lie flat in front of the Aero.

7.  Remove the long screw securing the drive carrier to the Aero.  Do not try
to disconnect the ribbon cable which runs across the top of the drive and then
makes a right angle turn towards the trackball.  It is very easy to damage.  
Instead, unscrew the trackball housing.  Before lifting the assembly up, pay
particular notice to how the purple trackball buttons fit in the side casing,
as you'll need to put them back exactly that way.  Now, lift the trackball
assembly, purple button assembly, and ribbon cable, all attached together,
and lay them over on the left side of the Aero.  The drive can now be
accessed for easy removal.

8.  Carefully grasp the drive and pull it straight back, then lift it by the
THE DRIVE OR ANY OF ITS CONNECTORS.  Handle the drive by its sides only.

9.  Notice how the drive carrier is screwed to the old drive.  Unscrew it and
attach it in the same way to the MobileMax.  GROUND YOURSELF WHEN TOUCHING
MobileMax's static bag for safekeeping.  Check with DALCO for inexpensive
adapters to let you use your old 2.5" drive in a desktop (see the FAQ for 
parts numbers and phone).

10.  Place the MobileMax with carrier properly attached in the Aero, and slide
it firmly forward until it stops.  Replace the long carrier screw.
Reassemble the trackball/purple buttons asssembly.  Be sure those buttons
go back in the right way, or you'll mash their connector when you replace the
upper case half.

11. Check to make sure the keyboard cable did not pull out of its connectors,
and that the video cable is also firmly attached.  Place the keyboard back
in its location and attach the small screws.  Do not replace the upper case
half and bezel until you see if the drive works--otherwise you'll just have to
tear into it all over again.

12.  Insert the floppy drive card into the PCMCIA slot.

13.  Put Setup Disk 1 into the drive (SP2054).

14.  Apply external power (DON'T use the battery--it could fail during this
critical setup) and turn on the Aero.  It will boot from the Setup floppy
if you have properly copied to the disk.  You should hear the MobileMax power
up.  It has a strange, two-stage spinup that sounds something like a car
shifting up through gears (at least, after it is installed properly).

15.  Follow the directions on the screen.

NOTE:  After you fdisk and format the drive, you will not have 1.3G, but
something less (1280MB or therabouts).  This is NORMAL; you're not being
cheated by Maxtor--it has to do with how formatted disk space is calculated.
So many people freak out when they see the "missing" MB's.  Don't worry!

If you find that you cannot get fdisk to recognize more than 500 MB or so, it
is almost certainly because (a) you do not have the latest ROM upgrade and/or
(b) you don't have the proper Setup/Diagnostic disks.  Get the right ones and
things should work.

16.  Replace the upper case half and screen bezel, and enjoy that fast little

Finally, you don't need Disk Mangler or any other dynamic disk overlay program
to use the full capacity of this drive.  It just isn't needed, and will add 
many complications.  Don't use it!   The Aero's latest ROM bios fully supports
the capacity of this drive.

Douglas Kocher

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