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Compaq Contura Aero Frequently Asked Questions
Section - CMOS and ROM errors

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[C] From: "Terry Hartnett" 
Subject: Quick Aero BIOS fix
Date: Thu, 19 Apr 2001 09:21:45 +0100


Having had a dead Aero for 6 months now with the old "101-ROM ERROR" I
decided to do something about it.

Trawling through the FAQ's and newsgroups I read that usually the BIOS
contents are ok when it gives the "101-ROM ERROR", but just cannot be read

So, dismantling the laptop and hooking up the PCMCIA floppy with an earlier
created BIOS flash disk, I froze the BIOS in situ with freeze spray. The
machine then got past the POST stage and booted off the floppy and ran
through the flash routine successfully. This re-flashed the BIOS to SP1992.
The results are that the laptop is now back to normal.

Though I would share that with all you Aero owners.

[C] From: ham789
Subject: Rom 101 Error Again...
Date: Mon, 26 Feb 2001 17:28:56 -0800

Rom error 101 again.

It gets more interesting. My Aero died again with rom error 101.
I forgot an tried to start it on AC with a VERY dead battery. That seems
to have been the common thread in all my rom error 101 problems.

So, I pulled out the bios rom to reflash it. Just for fun I checked the
contents first. The programmer sez the data matches the file. My heart
sank as I imagined a tiny tombstone atop my deceased Aero.

I didn't have a better idea, so I erased and reflashed the BIOS ROM.  Aero
is back to life.

So, it may have something to do with the speed the rom is accessed.

I don't have a conclusion.  Just thought I'd put it out there
in case it might help someone else.


[C] From: &retired0 
Subject: Trashed my BIOS again.
Date: Thu, 03 Aug 2000 02:31:32 -0700

The BIOS on my 4/33C died again.  Second time on this one and fourth 
one I've fixed. Symptom is that it finishes memory test then either 
gives an i/o error or just locks up.

I have a theory on how to prevent it happening. The trashing
seems to happen on power up after the machine has been sitting.
Here's what I think happens.

The battery discharges when it sits.  The charger doesn't reset.
It still thinks the battery is charged.  When you turn it on,
the voltage is too low.  The AC adapter current limits and the
voltage is still too low.  This starves the internal regulator
and lets the voltage wag around.  There's a squealing noise and
the display backlight takes a long time to come on. There's no
pulldown on the flash programming pin.  Maybe this gets glitched
trashing the bios.

Anyway, to prevent this condition, do the following: If the
machine has been off for days on end, attach the AC supply. If
the charge light comes on, wait till it goes off.  If it doesn't
come on, pop out the battery for a few seconds.  Putting it back
in should light the charge light.  Wait till it goes off. I've
also gotten into the habit of measuring the battery voltage 
before I turn it on.  I have seen shorted cells that could do
the same thing.

If you use it regularly, this shouldn't happen anyway.

Maybe this can keep more aeros on the road...


[C] Date: Fri, 23 Apr 1999 11:53:35 -0700
From: miker
Subject: Re: 101-ROM Error but system boots

Goldarg wrote:
> I am about to get a used Aero with the mono screen and apon boot it gives
> me 101-ROM Error, After displaying this message I can press escape to boot
> the system or F10 to go into setup, I have not tired the setup function
> but after pressing escape the system seems to work fine, Now the other day
> when I got a chance to use the system for a while it got kind of hot, I
> dont know if it was from the hard drive or the battery chargeing but when
> I turned it off for a while it came up with the 101-ROM Error and would no
> longer boot, Now a day later after the system has cooled off a little the
> system boots again when I press esc after I get the 101-ROM Error, Would
> installing on of the rompaqs possibly fix this or would it cause more
> problems with a allready bad ROM?

I've had to more than once do this:
The following is CONJECTURE.  Use at  your own risk.
The ROM seems to lose it's brains over time.  They saved a penny
by leaving the pulldown resistor off the program line.
It's possible that a glitch can cause the chip to go momentarily
into program mode. Or it may just be a leaky bit in the rom that
causes it to lose it's charge. I've fixed several by pulling the ROM and
reburning it externally.

You MIGHT be able to fix it by installing the flash BIOS update.
I think it's sp1992.  There are a couple of issues with this.
If you've already got 1992, it might just refuse to install.  Don't know.
Also, if it flakes out while it's burning it will hoze itself.
Then you won't have a copy of the data.

When I did mine, I pulled the ROM and stuck it in a ROM burner.
Then I sprayed it with freon to make it really cold while I read it.
Then I just burned the data back in.  Worked great.  If your ROM
is more seriously damaged, you'll need a new blank ROM.  They're
inexepnsive; but the only places I found them wanted to sell me a whole
tube of 30. If you can't get a good read, you'll also need the data.
What's on the rompaq floppy does not appear to be a useful form of the bits.

Of course, it may be that your problem is completely different.

[C] Date: Thu, 11 Mar 1999 17:10:24 -0800
From: miker

TC Conroy wrote:

>Some two months ago I turned it on and got 101-ROM Error message.

All the AEROs I've ever seen (4) all had socketed system roms. They can be
reprogrammed with most any prom programmer, but you have to buy or build
the adapter to get them to plug-in. You need the code, but that can ba had
from a working system. Not at all clear that you can get the code from the
rompaq files. Looks like they encode it.

I've fixed three AEROs by reprogramming the system ROM. They didn't put a
pull-down resistor on the programming line. If the line gets glitched
during power down, etc, there can be a cumulative effect on the flash rom.
Or maybe it just loses a bit over time.

Suggest you pull the flash ROM and try reprogramming it. 

Also, I once bought a used "cheap" system board. It had a bad rom in
addition to other problems. Think this might be a common AERO problem.

There is also a virus that reprograms the flash bios of some systems. I've
never been able to document a case that could be traced to a virus. But as
a precaution in any system with a bad ROM, I'd suggest pulling the hard
drive, putting it into a non-flashable bios system and runninc
cleancih.exe on it. There may be others by now. 


[C] Date: Sat, 03 May 1997 17:07:02
Subject: 101 - ROM Error
From: (Guillo Kleinlein)

On 29 Apr 1997 Danny R. Rowland wrote <>:

> I have a friend who has a problem with an aero 25.  It has not
> been in use for some time and the battery seems to be completely
> discharged.  When you attach the power supply and boot the
> computer it beeps a couple of times and then gives  the message
> "101 - ROM error."  This is all that we can get the computer to
> do.  Can anyone give us a sugestion as to how to get this thing
> up and going?

As you receive the error
message, 101-ROM Error, it should also beep 1 Long, and 1 Short.
According to Compaq, "Beyond Setup" manual, Appendix B, page
B-1, this means:

     Probable cause(s): ROM checksum Error.
                        System, ROM checksum Error.
                        Second system ROM does not pass the checksum. 
     Action: Contact Authorized Reseller.

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Top Document: Compaq Contura Aero Frequently Asked Questions
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Next Document: 2.1.12 The Year 2000 (Y2K)

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