Author: Anthony
Last updated: 02/13/2005
A HTML version of this FAQ can be found at...

Subject: 1. Table of Contents

1. Table of Contents
2. Introduction and Intent
3. Spamming and Netiquette
4. How to ID your MOBO
    4.1. BIOS string
    4.2. FCCID#
    4.3. SYSCRED.EXE
    4.4. System Configuration Lookup
5. Drivers for PB devices
6. Links
    6.1 Offical PB websites
    6.2 PB user websites
    6.3 Driver websites
    6.4 Related Links
    6.5 Anti-spam & netiquette websites
7. Abbreviations used
8. Thank yous


Subject: 2. Introduction and Intent


The intent of this un-official FAQ is to give you, the frustrated PB user, a few guidelines to use when posting to this NG. These suggestions give here are not set in stone, but are only used to assist you in getting the fastest, and best answers to your questions about PB computers. If you feel there needs to be some additions to this FAQ, please contact me by replying to this post. Any and all suggestions are welcome.

This NG is for assistance with Packard Bell Computers, not NEC. The two companies, although now merged, did not now, nor did they in the past, use the same parts or motherboards. If you have an NEC advice will be very limited. I would suggest looking for other sources for help with NEC computers.

When posting to this NG it may be extremely helpful, to those who respond to your question, to know what MOBO you have. PB came out with several different models of computers, and it is impossible to know what is in a system by just a model number and/or name. The best way to ID a system, and get accurate info about it, is to find out what MOBO it uses.

No one here gets paid for the advice they give. No one here is employed by PB (as far as I know); we are only here to help out our fellow PB users. Now that PB is defunct in the North America, the following info will apply mostly to users in North America. But, it is intended to help out PB users around the world.

Please read through the whole FAQ before posting, it will make your experience here much better. Also check out the websites in the LINKS section; you may find your answer there.


Subject: 3. Spamming and Netiquette

This NG is not a moderated news group, but spamming will not be tolerated here. If you do spam here, someone will find you, and have your Internet service terminated. A couple of the regulars here take joy in having someone's Internet access revoked because of spamming.

It has been reported that we have an email grabber on this NG. Someone that likes to coax a person into an off group conversation (email), and then uses that email address to send spam or adds it to spam lists. Replying to the newsgroup is desired, it may benefit others. Be wary of any requests for email answers.

Selling of any computer service or parts is not tolerated due to this being a non-sales news group. Again, someone may track you down, and you could loose your Internet access.

If posting something that is off topic, please put OT: in the beginning of you subject line. Although posting off topic is discouraged, it is sometimes a necessary evil.

DO NOT post binary attachments (ie: pictures) to this NG.  This is not a binary NG. If you feel it will help someone to "see" your problem (ie: screen shots), then upload file somewhere and post a link to that file. Most ISPs will give you some free FTP space, or you can use many of the "build-your-own-website" sites that are out there.

NOTE: see the Anti-spam & Netiquette websites section for more info on spam and netiquette.


Subject: 4 How to ID your MOBO

4.1. The first way is determined by the BIOS string (BIOS version) displayed when the computer goes through its initial startup or POST. IF you then post you BIOS string to this NG, someone is sure to point you in the right direction.

BIOS string examples:
AMI 1.00.nn.xxxR
Phoenix 4A3NT0X0.86A.0062.P06
Award (format varies)
Packard Bell Bios x.xx

4.2. The second to ID a MOBO would be to look at the FCCID#, but I have seen 1 case where this did not give the correct MOBO model. Anyway, embedded in the FCC ID# is a series of 3 numbers that will tell you what MOBO you have.

Example:FCC ID#: FOD680PT (click for EXAMPLE)
This would designate it as a system with a 680 MOBO.

4.3. Another way to find out what MOBO you have is to use the SYSCRED.EXE program that may be on your system already, or possibly on your PB Master Restore CD. To do this, first locate the SYSCRED>EXE program either on your hard drive, or on you PB Master Restore CD. Then just double click it to run, and it will tell you info about your system. (click for EXAMPLE)

4.4. The finally way to find out what your system originally came with is to use Priority One's (see link section) System Configuration Lookup Utility. You will have to register to be able to use the system, and use the FREE access registration. Then the System Lookup Configuration Utility can be found in the Packard Bell driver section. This lookup tool is for North American systems only.  Sometimes it will not find any information about your system, it's kinda hit n' miss.

Again, if asking a question on the NG, put as much info as you can in the post. And the most important, besides your question, is usually what MOBO you have. If you don't know what MOBO you have, post the BIOS string and/or FCC ID# with your question, and someone in the group should be able to figure it out.


Subject: 5 Drivers for PB devices

If you need drivers for your PB systems, the device that you need the driver for must be correctly IDed. PB came out with hundreds of hardware configurations, and similar to IDing a MOBO, it is impossible to know what devices are in a PB system by model of PB you have. But there are ways to ID a device in a computer.

The first way to id a device is in the DEVICE MANAGER, which can be accessed by START>>CONTROL PANNEL>>SYSTEMS and then clicking on the DEVICE MANAGER tab. Then scroll through and find the device in question. This is sometime inaccurate, as Windows may not have installed the correct drive when Windows was first setup.

A second way to ID a device would be to open the case and actual look at the card. Look for the manufacture, model #, or chipset. Then go to the manufacture's website, or any driver website (see LINKS section), and see if you can find what you need there.

You can also use the FCC ID# to find out who made your device. Just enter the number on the FCC's ID# search page (see LINKS section), and you will find out who made your device.

NOTE: When using the FCC ID# and web page to find out who made your device, make sure you are using the FCC ID# and not the FCC Registration Number (see LINKS section).


Subject: 6. Links

6.1. Offical PB websites
Official Support site for PB in North America
Requires FREE regestration to get to usefull things on the site
Official World Support site for PB

6.2 PB user websites
NOTE: These sites may be "DOWN" from time to time. IF they are, just try them at another time.
Velix's PB website
Ray's PB website
Paul's PB boot disk/Restore CD website

6.3. Driver websites
Note: You can also find drivers at the official PB websites.
A searchable driver website
Another driver website
Username: drivers
Password: all

6.4. Related links
FCC ID lookup page to find a manufacturer via the FCC ID#
Help page for FCC ID
Microsoft's website
Wim's BIOS page for info on various BIOS types

6.5. Anti-Spam &Netiquette Websites
Usenet Netiquette beginners guide
SPAM: What to report, how to report, where to report.
Spam Cop's original spam reporting service will help you report spam quickly and accurately. Or choose from a variety of filtering options ranging from the easiest web-mail account to advanced network-wide spam blocking.
Lots of info, one of the best anti-spam sites on the net.
Coalition Against Unwanted Commercial E-mail
Here you will find information on how to avoid, detect, and harass Spam bots. Spam bots are programs that extract email addresses from web pages, which are then used as targets for spam.


Subject: 7. Abbreviations used

AMI=American Megatrends
BIOS=Basic Input Output System
FAQ=Frequently Asked Questions
FCC=Federal Communication Commission
MOBO=Mother Board
PB=Packard Bell
POST=Power On Self Test


Subject: 8. Thank yous

First off, I would like to thank the old timers here (Elector, Ben, KC, Metronid, Simon, and Velix). I believe I got my first taste of this NG when trying to get a proper driver for my PB 1412SL monitor, so it would work in 800x600 mode without having to use the vertical height knob to adjust it to the proper screen size. To this day I still have not gotten this damn monitor working properly. Hence you may not find the answer you need here all the time.

I would also like to thank a lot of "newbies" that have popped up over the last year or so. Without you, this group would get stale, and eventually die out. You give a fresh perspective, and it is greatly appreciated.