Greg Gore is Vice President of Praxis International, Inc.
Technical Training, Consulting, and Publishing since 1988



Make Note of Settings Before Battery Problems Set In
Greg Gore


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My column, “Battery Failure Brings Down CMOS, Leads to Wake-up Call,” published July 20, 2001, is still generating email responses from readers. These emails are from readers who share a common problem: they are using older desktops or laptops that have a “hard-wired” battery that is dead. Moreover, because the battery is hard-wired, the average home computer user cannot easily replace it.

The result is that when they “boot-up” their computers, the CMOS check fails and they are presented with a screen that reads: “Press <F1> to enter setup program.” When they enter the setup screen, they see that all of their configuration information has been reset to default values. While the time and date values and floppy drive values are easy to restore, the real difficulty lies in restoring the hard disk type. Every hard disk is assigned a type number that identifies its characteristics, i.e., heads, cylinders, size, etc. Unless the correct characteristics are set in the CMOS configuration, the hard disk cannot be accessed.

Now, while it’s on your mind, I suggest you enter your CMOS setup program and note the settings of your CMOS, paying particular attention to the hard disk characteristics. If your battery is dead and cannot be replaced, it is relatively quick and easy to enter the CMOS settings manually each time you boot-up. Or, you can use two freeware utilities published by PC Magazine in the late 80s. These utilities are named CMOSPUT.COM and CMOSGET.COM.

The purpose of CMOSGET.COM is to save the CMOS configurations once you have set them up correctly. This is an excellent program to use to record and print your CMOS settings. Then, you can then use CMOSPUT.COM using a bootable floppy to reload the settings instantly. PC Magazine developed these programs to speed things along when the battery is changed, but these utilities should also solve your problem when the battery is dead and cannot be replaced. PC Magazine's web site archives download utilities only these utilities available for download.

The web site address where they can be obtained is

Here's how to use CMOSGET.COM and CMOSPUT.COM:

1. Create a bootable floppy by using the FORMAT command with the /S option. Copy CMOSGET.COM and CMOSPUT.COM to the floppy. (PC Magazine also suggests you copy the SETUP program to the same floppy. If you have the original DOS files, the SETUP program may be on the diagnostic disk. If CMOSGET and CMOSPUT work correctly, however, you should not need the copy of the SETUP program.)

2. Run CMOSGET.COM to save the CMOS memory in a .dat file on the floppy with this command: CMOSGET > A:CMOS.DAT

3. Boot the computer from the floppy and ignore the error messages. Set the date and time with the DOS TIME and DATE commands. Run CMOSPUT.COM to load the CMOS memory with the command: CMOSPUT < CMOS.DAT

4. Now, remove the floppy and reboot the computer. If everything works, you should get no errors and see the correct time and date. (If there is a problem, you can reboot using the floppy and run the SETUP program.)

I have not used these programs, so I cannot vouch for them personally. However, I assume that because PC Magazine published them, they should work. Also, you can see some Usenet articles about these programs by using "CMOSGET.COM" or “CMOSPUT.COM” as search terms in Google's groups web site at

Once again, I encourage you to find out how to setup and backup the CMOS configuration settings on your computer. Do it now. Configuration setup procedures will vary by computer manufacturer. Check your computer manuals, your computer manufacturer’s website, and search the web or newsgroups. Of equal importance, do not change your configuration settings unless you know what you are doing. If you have any doubts about your capabilities in this area, get some knowledgeable help.


The Greg Gore Web Site on Computers and the Internet (

This column was published in the Daily Local News, West Chester, PA on September 18, 2002. Greg Gore can be reached at

© 2009 by Greg Gore. All rights reserved.