The Alleycat – Compaq Presario 9232

Compaq 9232

First a little history. The Compaq Presario 9232 was a desktop computer produced by Compaq Computer Corporation, which was later acquired by Hewlett-Packard. It was released in 1997 as part of the Presario line of computers, which were targeted at the home and small business markets. The Presario 9232 was designed to be an affordable, yet powerful, computer that could handle the demands of everyday tasks such as web browsing, email, and basic productivity applications.

It also featured integrated audio and video, as well as a variety of connectivity options such as a 56k modem and Ethernet port. The Presario 9232 came pre-installed with Microsoft Windows 95, which was the most popular operating system at the time. The computer was well-received by critics and consumers alike, with many praising its strong performance and value for money.

These machines came with a variety of processors from the Pentium 120 to 200 MHz CPUs. The one I made an effort to acquire has the Intel Pentium 120 MHz CPU, this is as close I can currently find to a Pentium 133 which was the first real Pentium processor machine I owned.

The Intel Pentium 120 was a CPU produced by the Intel Corporation. It was based on the P6 micro architecture and was released in 1996. The Pentium 120 was a budget version of the Pentium Pro and was intended for use in low-end and entry-level desktop computers, like this one. It had a clock speed of 120 MHz and was built using a 0.35 micron manufacturing process.

Sadly, the Pentium 120 CPU was not very popular because it was quickly succeeded by faster and more powerful processors, such as the Pentium 133 and Pentium 150 and Pentium 166. Despite this, it was still able to run most software of the time and was a significant improvement over the previous generation of processors, such as the Intel 486 (a personal fav of mine). The Pentium 120 was also notable for being the first Pentium processor to be sold under the “Pentium” brand name, rather than the “P5” brand name used for the original Pentium processors.

The Alleycat goes home!

The reason I took on this particular example is because it has a unique setup inside and is in terrific condition.  Hardly a bad mark on the dirty case and the machine had not been cannibalized.   In fact the original power supply works like a charm.  Since this was acquired from storage near an alley… We call it The Alleycat.

The first thing I needed to do was take it apart and clean dust and ages out, it was not very dirty inside. Oh yes, the clock batter was very dead. 

Once the system was broken down,  you can see in the images below,  the unique build internally and why my interest in this particular example.  The slots are on the complete other side form the mainboard.

That is 72 pin ram in there and an old modem in the lower right.


With everything cleaned I found the two blank 5.25 bay covers are damaged, bummer. So those will be open. Finding proper rails or bay covers is not easy and I will continue to scout for them but for now it will have blank spaces.

On thing about these early Compaqs. There is no BIOS built in the board. The BOIS resides in a place on the hard drve which means one cannot simply swap in a drive and be ok to load up.  There is a spcific floppy disk program that must be run to create the place on the hard drive for the BOIS information.  I actually found the specific restore CD for this model at which contained a program that makes that floppy disk for you.  I did that and the actually BIOS that is emulated is pretty nice for it’s time.



This eventually allowed me to get the restore completed with Windows 95 and actually get some internet action with an ISA network card I installed.


Group Picture .. Oh what’s that masked one????