undone by a dead CR2032 button cell
I *knew* there was a reason I hung onto my old TGA video card :-).
The batteries in the UPS to which my Alpha was attached required
replacing. No way to do that with the machine plugged in and running,
so I shut it down and got to work.
Upon rebooting, it was obvious that my CMOS settings were gone. The
system attempted to boot using AlphaBIOS (appropriate for Windows NT),
and the system clock was set to January 1, 1995.
Quick trip to the archives to verify I could switch back to SRM from
within AlphaBIOS "Setup", and yes, one can do that from the "Advanced
Setup" menu (F6 within "Setup"). First though, had to change out the
CR2032 button cell.
Easy to remove the main system board and change out the button cell.
Took advantage of the opportunity to blow out a few years of accumulated
dust. Don't judge me :-), but yes, it should never have gotten that bad.
Next problem was a PCI configuration issue that was preventing booting. I
remembered that I had long ago switched out the stock Alpha video card
for an ATI Radeon, and the Alpha was *most* unhappy with the PCI
configuration as a result. Another trip back to the archives, and I
found this pearl of great price from Jay Estabrook in an e-mail exchange
from 11 years ago:
>>> set pci_device_override -1
First, had to remove the ATI video card and reinstall the old TGA.
Next, boot the machine (still in AlphaBIOS at that point), go into setup
and switch to the Digital UNIX console (SRM), save settings, and reboot.
Now in SRM, at the ">>> " prompt, set pci_device_override as indicated
above. Powered down the machine. Swapped out the video card. Voila!
All is well.
Definitely felt that cannonball whizzing by overhead.