Compaq issues new Presario fix

Interface software update addresses a floppy disk drive problem, but the company denies it's related to an earlier lawsuit
Written by John G.Spooner, Contributor

Compaq Computer has issued a new Presario fix, which was released last week. The fix -- Softpaq No. 13456 -- is an update for a controversial piece of interface software used in the Presario's floppy disk drive. It addresses a floppy drive problem that could, under certain conditions, cause data loss, according to testing done by the company.

This bug may have some teeth. Floppy disk drive memory controller code is at the heart of a lawsuit filed last year against Compaq, Hitachi, Hewlett-Packard and eMachines. The suit alleges that the four companies each knowingly designed and shipped computers with faulty floppy disk controller code. Toshiba negotiated an out-of-court settlement that could cost the company as much as $2.1bn (£1.3bn).

Compaq officials maintain that the suit has no basis, and that the controller code addressed by the Softpaq fix isn't the same one identified in the case. However, the floppy drive problem was discovered in tests begun by Compaq after the suit was filed last autumn.

Litigation or not, Compaq officials maintain that Presario PCs with the code in question work as intended. "Our customers come first, so what we did was develop a patch [for the problem] and post it on our site," said Compaq spokesman Alan Hodel. "We don't have a record of any customers coming forward with complaints about this."

"There's no basis for the lawsuit," he added.

Compaq officials said they were unaware of the current status of the suit.

Compaq's support Web site describes Softpaq as "a patch for a condition in the I/O floppy diskette interface chip, provided by some of our suppliers, that could affect your download to a floppy while multitasking".

The patch will work for a more than 20 Presario models -- ranging from the 2266 to the 5710.

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