Friday, June 17, 2016

THE COMPAQ LTE\286 Restore Repair Diagnostic Setup Software


     I recently got into the possession of a COMPAQ 286 LTE from a friend of mine from Holland. I can say the machine from the visual point of view looks great and starts up.

"The LTE was introduced in 1989 and was one of the first models to be the size of a notebook, thus the term “notebook computer”, the LTE model name was considered to mean “Lite” as a reference to the LTE’s small size and weight of only 3.0kg. The specifications of theLTE/286 was very impressive at its time of release, which proved it to be more successful that it’s competitors. The competing laptops from NEC and Toshiba only had 720KB Floppies and no internal hard drive, the one downside was that it used a blue backlit plasma CGA (Colour Graphics Adapter) display with a resolution on 640 x 200 or (80 x 25 lines) compared to 640 x 480 grayscale LCD but seriously, come on the back light on these were blue, Four shades of grey? I don’t think so, these little baby’s pumped out 4 shades of blue!" Source: 

 However restoring this machine to its initial glory is going to be one of the toughest projects and I will explain why, but first I want to share with you the configuration.

Size: 1.9 x 8.5 x 11 inches; Weight 6.7 pounds


Intel 80C286 – 12 MHz CPU

640K base RAM, additional 1 – 4 MB using proprietary memory cards

40 MB HD, <29 ms seek time

1.44 MB floppy drive

Accessory Jack for external tape drives, floppies, etc.

Monochrome CGA 640 x 200 display (80/40 x 25 lines, 4 shades of gray) with separate CGA video output

User adjustable brightness and contrast

Parallel and serial ports

Internal 2400 bps modem (Hayes)

AC Adapter, no Nicad Battery Pack

Weight 6.7 pounds

System Manuals, missing Diagnostic and User Program diskettes

Original Casing

Inside the System Manuals
Carrying Case

As I said earlier the machine boots up, however the screen seems to have some problems, check below image:

Display Issues... Lots of letters instead of numbers
As you can see the display shows a lot of dots and commas. For example the 640 Kb RAM is represented by "ppvtp`KB OK".

Possible cause

  • VRAM Failure
  • Internal Video Cable 
  • BAD BIOS\Wrong Firmware

Watching some videos on YOU TUBE I was able to READ the data from the Screen.

I really hope that by running the Diagnostic Setup disk I will be able to find out whats wrong with the display or Update the existing firmware. 

What you need

  2.  A working 1.44 Floppy Disk and Unit (can be USB)
  3. A Windows 95 or 98 System Diskette or a running Win95\Win98 machine with a FDD drive
  4. A lot of patience

Download the 286 LTE DIAGNOSTIC DISKETTE setup file from here if you have a Win95\Win98 machine. Run the setup file and Insert a blank diskette to Write the Compaq DIAGNOSTIC diskette.

If you do not own such a machine you can use your Windows 10\7\ XP computer by booting the system with a SYSTEM DISK (if you have external FDD unit) or a bootable Windows 95\98 CD.
After booting your Core i7 into MS-DOS :)))) you need to download this setup file, copy the file to your drive A: diskette and simply run the program. The program will self extract on same disk A: where the SETUP file is.

Now you are ready!

Simply insert the fresh made disk into your FDD unit of your LTE and press F1. A Loading Screen will show up and then you cna boot your machine into MS-DOS by using a System or DOS disk. All of this images and self extracting files to boot any old computer you can find at: . 

This site offers a boot disk for everything from MS-DOS 3.3 to Windows XP Professional. These disks can be used to setup a new hard drive, scan an existing hard drive for errors, install or re-install Windows, upgrade your PC's BIOS, run DOS utilities and much more.

My experience so far

I booted my Core2Duo PC into MS-DOS (I have an USB FDD) usning a Windows 98 system disk.

Then I inserted the floppy disk containing the SETUP.exe file. You can rename the file "1.exe " so it will be shorter to ype in MS-DOS :) After running the program the extractor did all the magic on same disk. After that I inserted the disk into the LTE machine...

But after 5 seconds of Loading the DIAGNOSTIC the Floppy Drive of the LTE has died :(

Dead as it can be. The worse part is that the Internal HDD is not working as well until the SETUP is made. I had done my google-ing and these units are especially made for the LTE`s, just a couple of models use this MITSUMI FDD.

So unless I get this drive working again, my computer is half dead. Good looks but not being able to ever run DOS again.

NEXT WEEK I WILL DISASSEMBLY THE UNIT STEP BY STEP in order to repair the broken drive. I hope its a minor problem like a poor contact on the units power cable.


-=to be continued=-

1 comment:

  1. Great blog! I drug out my old LTE286 and it needs a diagnostic disk. Since it appears you have gotten one to work, could I arrange to buy a disk from you? I don't have the required gear to make one. You can reach me at Thanks!