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Dinosaur Computer...

Discussion in 'Bits & Bytes' started by Techie2000, Jan 14, 2003.

  1. Techie2000

    Techie2000 The crowd would sing:

    I'm currently in the process of resurrecting a Pentium 150 computer. The Hard Drive is b0rked so I now have it slaved to my main rig and am reformatting it. The motherboard refuses to recognize anything but a regular windows boot disk, ditto with the CD-ROM drive. They want to give it to their daughter to replace her 386 :eek:. I always thought the new stuff would be the most challenging. It's the old stuff that's always the pain...
  2. Paladin

    Paladin Have Gun -- Will Travel

    If you want I have a NOS 20 Meg MFM HDD with an 8-bit ISA controller card.
  3. midranger4

    midranger4 Banned

    I can't understand how anyone could possibly use such a machine. I guess you can't miss what you never had so anything is better than nothing.

    The major problem with such low end machines are their limited expandability, proprietary nature, and inherent inability to run any *current* software.

    Your point is well taken. Working on such an old system will require much more of your resources than one might think.

    The really sad part is after spending all that time getting it running you will boot it and it will appear so painfully slow that you might want to consider putting it out of it's misery.
  4. Techie2000

    Techie2000 The crowd would sing:

    Yeah, but I can't turn down a client. I've been working on a website since Oct. and most of the time has been searching for ways to do things with a limited $4.99/Month account that is basically like Geocities without the ads. I tried booting the thing again and every time I try a windoze bootdisk it complains about not finding a command interpreter even though there is one right on the CD-ROM. Maybe I can try installing the OS on my main machine and then moving it over to the old one? At this point I'd honestly ask them to consider installing Linux on it, but don't trust that the reaction would be positive...
  5. Biker

    Biker Administrator Staff Member

    Techie, using the PATH command, set your path to the CD ROM as well. If you boot from a floppy, the path is going to be set to "A". Need to tell the system to also look on the CD ROM as well.
  6. Techie2000

    Techie2000 The crowd would sing:

    Can I do this from the part that's asking for a command interpreter? I can't get into DOS at all. No bootable CDs or Floppies will work except for Linux ones. I tried booting a 98 CD and I just get a blank screen with a flashing underscore thingy. I'm wondering if it might be a CD-ROM or video issue. But everythign was working fine in Windows 98SE. They wanted me to reformat the drive and install 95. After the format part everything went downhill...
  7. EMIG

    EMIG Yup

    So this is a bit painful, but it might work.

    Connect the HD to your main rig as master. Disconnect your production drive(s) and set them aside.

    Boot a Win98/Win95 CDROM on your main rig. If you don't have a 98/95 boot cdrom you can download an image from bootdisk.com and burn one.

    Fdisk the drive. Set the partition active, etc.

    Format /s the drive.

    Copy the win98 folder from the Win98 install cd to it.

    Plug the drive back into the old computer. Hopefully it will boot you to a DOS prompt.

    Cd to the win98 directory and run setup.
  8. Biker

    Biker Administrator Staff Member

    Techie, take a blank floppy and copy the following files to it..


    Boot from that floppy and let us know if it worked and you can view the hard drive.
  9. Techie2000

    Techie2000 The crowd would sing:

    Thanks for the advice everyone. I'll check out your idea Biker as it seems much more simple. If that doesn't work then I guess i try EMIG's way...
  10. Twingo

    Twingo Registered User

    Well, if its unable to boot from a floppy for a windows disk but works with the linux disk, then the windows disk is probably bad.

    I would try making a boot disk with the sys option from your main rig and try that in the old puter. You can't expect to see the CDRom without having all those dos drivers for cdroms but just to prove that it can boot a dos disk. In order to install windows you'll eventually need to access the cd drive but you can worry about that later.

    If all else fails the easiest thing to do would be to put the hard drive in your main rig (disconnect ALL your hard drives) and boot from the floppy format /s the hard drive again and then copy all the windows cd onto the hard drive and then put the hard drive back. It should boot on its own and then install right there from the hard drive without worrying about the cdrom. Thats what I try to do as its nice to have the cabs on the hard drive anyway (unless its too small for them to fit).

    Either way, this is almost certainly more effort than its worth for that old of a machine. You should suggest to them getting something in the P2-P3 range for 2-300 if they can. Anything from the P2 era on is fairly easy to work with and you're right about those old ones being more effort to work on, thats why less people custom built back then.
  11. Violet1966

    Violet1966 Stand and Deliver Staff Member

    Hey let's not go calling this thing a dinosaur. The computer I used before I got this one, was a Pentium 166 and it ran windows 98 fine and was great for the time I had it. I'm planning on giving it to my daughter when she's big enough to play on it and it will serve the purpose just fine I'm sure. Ok so it's like 5 years old now...well how fast of a computer do you need to run some jump start cd's? :) LOL

    Techie what twingo said...the boot disk being bad, sounds like a possibility. Get yourself a fresh one just to be sure that's not it. Also you can't get cd rom recognition right off the bat with a 95 start up disk if that's what you're using. You need to use a 98 start up or manually put in the cd rom drivers. I have no idea how to do this but if it's an issue, someone else can tell you how. I'm sure you know how to so that just sounded really stupid anyhow. LOL

    I'm curious to see what was wrong with this computer and would love to hear an update :)
  12. Scott

    Scott Some Assembly Required

    it should work if you go to bootdisk.com and grab the win98SE bootdisk. from what i remember, the 98se boot disk loads the CD drivers automatically.

    have you been away from windows THAT long? :) LOL
  13. Techie2000

    Techie2000 The crowd would sing:

    Biker's method was a no go. Time for fun. On a side note, I'm loving this KVM...:)
  14. Techie2000

    Techie2000 The crowd would sing:

    Okay I tried EMIG's way and no go. I then tried to just install Win98 on it normally on my computer. Well during the scandisk part it detected bad cluster. So now I'm running Disk doctor on it...
  15. Violet1966

    Violet1966 Stand and Deliver Staff Member

    Yeah the 98 boot disk does load generic cd rom drivers. This sounds like a fried hard drive though techie. If you've wiped the hard drive out and there's nothing there, and are now trying to boot from a start up disk and it's not working? I had one act the same way. My old 2 gig. It got fried and I couldn't get past the boot disk. I could be wrong but I don't think I am.
  16. Biker

    Biker Administrator Staff Member

    Depending on the hard drive, it may be possible to do a low level format and get it back into shape. Although with the price of drives these days, it may be prudent just to replace it with a refurbished drive.
  17. Violet1966

    Violet1966 Stand and Deliver Staff Member

    Hmmm??? Wonder if an old malfunctioning cmos battery would do this? Try swapping out the drive on that board maybe to see if it's not something like the cmos battery? I don't know...just tossing it out there.
  18. EMIG

    EMIG Yup

    Low-level formatting is only possible on SCSI HDs.
  19. Techie2000

    Techie2000 The crowd would sing:

    Well I've been working on this a lot. I know have pains in my wrists and palms from having to constantly plug and unplug the connectors *grumble* I think I'm taking the day off from anything with the computer tommorrow. Besides it'll give me time to study for exams. I'm now running the WD Data Lifeguard Tools on the drive if that doesn't fix it nothing will.

    Current situation with drive:
    -XP will format it fine as FAT32 Slave
    -However Win98 Install won't see it as valid. When it tries to format it itself it dies at 5%. It also got through the first time but complained of the last cluster being bad.
    -Norton Disk Doctor saw nothing bad with it when I had it slaved to my master drive on my rig.
    -I also learned that KVMs are really convienent, even though they do have a few small limitations.
  20. EMIG

    EMIG Yup

    Once upon a time a customer walked into our shop and asked us if we could upgrade his computer. He plunked down an original PC XT with a 10 MB disk. We told him "Sure! It will cost around $1500, and we'l even throw in a new case - free of charge."

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