Getting my old machine back up and running


I have a Compaq Deskpro EN that used to be my BeOS machine back in the day that i am trying to resurrect from the dead.
A Pentium III 866 with half a gig of memory.

It’s running plain 5.03 and it has a lot of software on it from back in the day that i am trying to salvage, maybe put online as abandonware which would be the next step. I am not sure how important that stuff is, but there might be some lost packages that i have, it’s about 1GB worth of stuff so i thought it was kind of important before it died.

But i can’t get the thing online no matter what i do. It did work for a short while, but now it just doesn’t want to get an IP adress. It sports a 3C905TX that used to be one of the most supported NIC’s out there and an onboard Intel something that does not seem to be supported. The light is green, but it does not seem to want an IP, and making a static one doesn’t do anything at all.

It’s been a very long time and i have basically forgotten most about how to use BeOS, even if i founded Begroovy back in the day and several other sites.

#2. If i do manage to get it online, how could i distribute this software in the best way for the community to take care of and host?


I am looking into getting a new NIC, but the owner of said nic isn’t back before January, and finding BeOS compatible stuff these days isn’t that easy :slight_smile: It’s another 3C905TX and perhaps a better graphics card as the onboard one i am using now does have some artifacts and odd behavior.

Edit: I seem to remember that sometimes you had to manually check the settings as World of Networking could make some mayhem in the network settings if it was installed, that was especially true if WON didn’t work.

Would be awesome if you have some previously lost apps on there.

One option where you could submit things to is PulkoMandy’s archive: PulkoMandy's BeOS software archive

What model is the Intel network card? There may be a driver for it somewhere.
How large is your hdd/BeOS partition?

It might be an Intel Pro (Intel PRO/100 VM ) card, but it might be a bastardised version of it, not quite sure, i’ll crack the case open and see if i can find some chips to read.

55GB is the drive partition, and from looking at the selections at Pulkomandy, i think i’ll have quite many things to contribute. Again, i got a gig’s worth, maybe even more although i haven’t indexed it quite yet but it’s a work in progress.

You can get the vendor and device id of the card in BeOS device manager.
There’s a driver patch for a lot of intel pro 100 ethernet cards, look for eepro on Pulkomandy’s archive, grab the last one, 2.1
You’ll have to transfer it to your BeOS machine somehow…

Yes, and that’s the main problem i am having :slight_smile:

The intel has value: card id: 2449 but i don’t have drivers for it on my system

You can patch the driver by hand.
The patch replaces 29 12 by 49 24 in the eepro00 driver and saves the result as a new file, then makes a symlink to the new driver.

./bsubst "f4 50 8d 45 f3 50 52 68 29 12 00 00 68 86 80 00" "f4 50 8d 45 f3 50 52 68 49 24 00 00 68 86 80 00" < /system/add-ons/kernel/drivers/bin/eepro100 > /system/add-ons/kernel/drivers/bin/eepro100b

ln -s /system/add-ons/kernel/drivers/bin/eepro100b /system/add-ons/kernel/drivers/dev/net/eepro100b

Open the file in Diskprobe and go to the block 0xc, offset 0x138 and 0x139.

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That did the trick, i manually edited the file as specified and it worked. I have local connection now to my main computer and i am transferring over all that i can find. Why i can’t access internet is something i need to figure out though, but i am moving it over to my routed when i am done and then i’ll check if it connects.

Lots of duplicates i think, but the files are moving. 2,5GB so far. I’ll try to find a new monitor i can use though on Wednesday as i broke mine in the process of moving the computer over. Fun. Nice knowing you Samsung Odessey G3


I can’t say for sure if it’s related to the problem you were having, but I have noticed that communication can just fail between two computers connected via Ethernet (common twisted pair, RJ-45, etc) if the two computers (or their network cards) are far enough apart in time/capabilities.

One potential issue is when auto-negotiation of speed (10 mbps, 10/100 mbps, 10/100/100 mbps) and/or duplex (half/full duplex) doesn’t work out right, especially if you can’t easily force both ends of a link to a particular shared mode. Another is that sometimes you just can’t get the older machine to play nice with a DHCP server so it can automatically get an IP address, which obviously kinda depends on the former situation being workable.

E.g. If you have an old machine (was a vintage Mac, from pre-MacOS 9 days, in my case) with only 10 Mbps networking then it can be a pain getting it to talk to some Fast Ethernet (FE, 10/100) or Gigabit Ethernet (GbE, 10/100/1000) devices. Jamming a pure 10 Mbps hub in between resolved the problem.

This is definitely a situation where it can appear okay with respect to the link light (and maybe the activity/traffic one too), but anything more than that craps out.

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I do remember some problems back in the day too with BeOS networking in terms of getting it to negotiate, especially on high traffic LAN’s at home, but the onboard nic seems to be working decently. I also bought a Riva 128 pci card and an STB Velocity pci for graphics as they seem to work better than the onboard one.

I am waiting to pick up a used monitor tomorrow and then i’ll go through the files, but it is going to take a while to compare Pulkomandy’s repository and whatever else is out there to what i have. It seems that there are many who did archive most of the things out there, but i can’t tell if i have something that is lost in time.

Here is a link to the machine i got with full specs:
Compaq Deskpro EN PC Computer resources page (

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If you can save a ls -lR list of your files and upload it somewhere, I’ll check it against what I have.