Reports are pouring in to Compaq's Web site bulletin board that the Presario 5800 series of personal computers have been locking up. While Compaq's online support attempts to offer solutions, the reason for the freeze-up is still unclear.
Posted complaints have ranged from "my [Presario 5834] PC is freezing up, and I cannot use ctl/alt/del to reset it", to "I, like seemingly everyone else who has purchased a 5838, experience repeated system hangs."
Compaq is offering a fix for the problem on its Web site, although some users posting messages to the bulletin board complained that some of the links were not operational.
"First you need to clear out Startup, by running MSCONFIG," Compaq's support message reads, "and clicking on the Startup tab and take the check out of Service Connection, AvconsoleEXE, VsecomrEXE, Vshwin32EXE, VsStateEXE, and McAfeeWebScanX. Click on Apply and OK. The system will ask to reboot - do so now, then attempt to use."
The support message offers a link to a Compaq "Softpaq", which allows the user to create a bootable disk that can be used to update the system ROM on practically every 5800 model including the 5900z.
The system freeze in the Presario 5800 series, which is being rapidly phased out, has been well documented by Compaq, according to sources.
The computer maker, preparing to roll out its 7300, 7400, 7500, and 7900 models, intends to solve the freeze problem in the new machines, sources are reporting.
"I've been very frustrated by this problem," one Compaq customer writes. "It seems to be getting worse. This is a brand new machine and it shouldn't be happening."
The vast majority of complaints posted on the Compaq message board are dated on or after Christmas day.
The Compaq Presario line of PCs was the best selling PC brand in the United States as of October 1999, with an overall 33 percent market share, nine points higher than its nearest competitor, according to Port Washington, N.Y.-based NPD Group, an industry tracking firm.
Nobody at Compaq was available for comment.