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- Need flash bios help old CF35 toughbook
August 4, 2007, 7:57 am
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98SE on it currently.
I am having trouble in that the bios is so old I cannot configure some
hardware, i.e., USB, cd-rom,external floppy, pcmia ports.
First, the cd-rom and floppy are swappable. I can't read from the CD and I
don't have the original floppy drive. AND...the USB is not active either.
So, when I want to put anything in that computer I have to pull the hard
drive and slave it to another computer. Both the cd-rom drive and the PCI
to USB universal host controller do not have IRQ's assigned to them and
everything is set PNP so I need to come up with a way to install a bios
And truthfully, I have not had to do this is many years and .....well.......
I'm gettin' old and I fergits easy.
I have the bios upgrade program. If I unzip it and put it on the harddrive,
can I run it from DOS if booting from that C drive or MUST it come off an
external drive such as a floppy or USB?
Steve in the sticks of the Montana wilderness.....
Re: Need flash bios help old CF35 toughbook
All CF-35s use the NeoMagic 128ZV Graphics chipset, and a Yamaha audio
chipset. They all have stereo sound, and a 12.1" LCD, which is either an
STN (Passive Matrix) or TFT (Active Matrix) panel. USB 1.1, Infrared,
parallel, serial, and a VGA out connector are standard, as well as 2
PCMCIA Type II slots, stereo sound, and a drive bay that can hold either
the CF-VCD351 CD-ROM drive or the floppy drive (No model number is on my
There are CF-35 Mk I and Mk II (AAx/BAx and CAx) models. The Mk I models
have either a 133 MHz Pentium or a 150 MHz Pentium-MMX mobile CPU, and
have 16 MB of built-in RAM. The Mk IIs have either the 200 MHz or 266
MHz Pentium-MMX mobile CPU, and have 32 MB of built-in RAM.
The CF-35 isn't quite as utilitarian in styling as other Toughbooks, but
still has the waterproof keyboard and speakers, magnesium alloy case,
and hard drive gel pack like other models. The hard drive itself is a
Toshiba drive, either 1.4, 2, or 3 GB. It is a standard 2.5" drive, 12.7
MM high, unlike older Toughbooks which used an 18 MM high drive. The
battery used by all models is the CF-VZS351 10.8 volt, 3.3Ah Lithium Ion
pack which seems to be extremely difficult to locate should one need a
replacement. The CD-ROM module appears to be a standard Matsushita
laptop CD-ROM drive in a special bracket with a connector for the CF-35,
and the floppy module is a Mitsumi Newtronics unit, also in a special
case. It should be simple to replace the floppy drive if it fails, and
it may be possible to replace the CD-ROM drive.
Drivers for this machine are very difficult to find. They are on
Panasonic USA's FTP site, but the filenames are very arcane and
nondescriptive. Panasonic UK's website is better, you can find most
drivers and the First Aid disk in the downloads area Make sure, however,
that if you choose to update the BIOS you get the correct flash update.
The CF-35 Mk-1 (AAM)'s update is listed under CF-35xxxxAAE, and the
Mk-II (CAM)'s update is listed under CF-35xxxxCAE. The M/E difference is
because of the market destination of the machine. Toughbooks originally
sold in the USA or Canada will have the M, Toughbooks sold in the UK
have the E, and models sold in Germany have the G.
Installing Windows on one of these may be difficult, even if you have a
CD-ROM and floppy drive because you cannot use both at the same time. My
approach was to use the floppy drive to boot up, reformat the hard
drive, using the command "FORMAT C: /s" The /s parameter tells the
formatter to transfer some DOS startup files (Specifically COMMAND.COM,
IO.SYS, and MSDOS.SYS) to the drive. Once that is finished, use "COPY
A:\MSCDEX.EXE C:" to copy MSCDEX (CD-ROM support file), and "COPY
A:\ATAPICD.SYS" to copy the CD-ROM drivers. (Both MSCDEX and ATAPICD are
on the First Aid Disk I mentioned before, you have to download the file,
run it, then go to Start, Run, and type "AID.EXE A:" with a blank floppy
disk in your computer's A: drive.) Then type "COPY CON C:\CONFIG.SYS",
press Enter, type "DEVICE=ATAPICD.SYS /D:MSCD001", press Enter, press
CTRL+Z, and press enter. You should see the message "1 file(s) copied"
if successful. Then type "COPY CON C:\AUTOEXEC.BAT", press enter, type
"MSCDEX /D:MSCD001", press enter, press CTRL+Z, and press enter. Then
remove the boot floppy from the drive, remove the floppy drive, insert
the CD-ROM drive, and restart the Toughbook. Your CD-ROM drive should
work now, you can put in the CD for whatever version of Windows you wish
to use (Windows 98 Second Edition is probably the best choice unless you
have 64 or more MB of RAM installed, then Windows ME is possible, but
don't bother with XP, it would be too slow on this machine, and use up a
lot of hard drive space.), and install Windows as normal. Toughbooks use
fairly standard hardware, 98 SE had drivers for all the hardware in my
RJJ8CAM, so the install should run smoothly, and without the need of any
Special Note about USB Support:
USB on the CF-35 is disabled by default. In order to enable it, you must
have the correct DIAG35.EXE application for your specific model (Mk-I or
Mk-II). This file is on the First Aid Disk. To enable USB, type the
command "DIAG35 /CMOS 4A 80" at a DOS prompt. This must be real-mode
DOS, and not a Windows DOS box. Then reboot the machine and your USB
port should function. If for whatever reason you wish to disable the USB
ports, use the command "DIAG35 /CMOS 4A 00".
Hope this helps
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