Compaq Armada 3500 Laptop Won't Boot Up Past Compaq Screen...

By Harb
Feb 17, 2007
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  1. I have an old Compaq Armada 3500 laptop that I bought years ago to help me through college. After that it kinda gathered dust a little until recently when I wanted to dig it back out and just use it to play a few games on and whathaveyou. It booted up fine when I first did it but it soon transpired that it was absolutely chocablock with viruses and spyware and it was running terribly.

    So, on what now looks to have been a foolish move, I did a C: drive format in the hope of popping in a Win98SE installation disc and have it boot from that to re-install Windows.

    However, now it won't boot up past the COMPAQ initial screen and a "602: Diskette Read Driver Error" or something keeps flashing up.

    Is there any way to get into the BIOS settings to set the CD Drive as the first in the boot-up line-up, or are there recovery discs I can download that'll at least get me into DOS?

    Any help will be greatly appreciated. :)
  2. gavinseabrook

    gavinseabrook Newcomer, in training Posts: 528

    Well you should be able to access the CMOS Bios by using either the delete, F1 or F2 keys (sometimes f10). Then under the Bios you should see the Boot Sequence and be able to change it from there. But either way, you should be able to get past the Compaq splash screen. Try setting your boot sequence and see if that helps.
  3. Harb

    Harb Newcomer, in training Topic Starter

    Thank you for your reply. :)

    I have tried pressing those keys to get into BIOS, but they do nothing and after the floppy and CD-ROM drives power-up I get the 602 error.

    I've read in places that The Armada Compaq 3500 had the BIOS on a partition of the C:Drive, and that by formatting it I may have wiped it. Is there any way to restore the HDD to the factory settings, is there a file to download to get it working or is the thing well and truly stuffed?
  4. gavinseabrook

    gavinseabrook Newcomer, in training Posts: 528

    If the bios is stored on the hard drive, then it should be a little more difficult to get up and working. But I do believe the bios would be on its own chip on the motherboard. You could check to see if they offer restore discs, or complain enough till they send you some lol.
  5. HSC

    HSC Newcomer, in training Posts: 31

    On some older desktop Compaq machines part of the BIOS code was on the hard drive if your laptop is the same you should be able to download a utility from this site http://h18007.www1.hp.com/support/files/index.html to replace it by booting to a floppy disk made using the utility

    This may well explain the Diskette error you are getting

    Cheers HSC
  6. Harb

    Harb Newcomer, in training Topic Starter

    I've been to that support page, downloaded the BIOS boot files and sadly it still comes up with the read error.

    Is there no way to format the HDD back to it's default factory settings or something? I can't believe Compaq would have created something this stupid.
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