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Old 07-03-2012, 08:41 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Old school computer problems!

I recently dug out our old HP Pavilion XL766 from around 2000 and saved it before my parents threw it out. It's running Windows 98, but I'm probably going to install a distro of linux on it at some point and see if I can find a useful application for the machine (I'm open to suggestions ). The problem I'm having, however, is that the computer doesn't seem to detect the USB keyboard or mouse I am using, and when I plug in a PS/2 mouse I get some pretty crazy errors on start up (Haven't tried a PS/2 keyboard because I don't own one and I can't find my adapter). One of the errors is DOS 16m error 26 [8042 timeout]. This error repeats about 8 times. The other error is "EMM385 not installed." However, when I unplug the keyboard and mouse and boot the computer, it boots into windows normally but I get an alert that says Windows cannot detect a mouse or keyboard. It says I can safely attach a serial mouse (don't have one of those... ha) but it says to attach a PS/2 mouse I have to restart the computer. Plugging in a PS/2 mouse brings back the errors, so I'm stuck. I think if I could repair the usb.inf file that could be a potential solution, but I don't know how to do that since I can't seem to get a mouse or keyboard to work to interact with it.

Oh, and the computer specs are as follows, if it is of any interest/help.
Pentium III processor at 733Mhz
nVidia TNT 2 Vanta AGP 16mb SDRAM
128mb SDRAM memory
45 GB Hard drive (Pretty sure it's IDE, not sure though)
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Old 07-03-2012, 09:30 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: Old school computer problems!

If you're going to put Linux on it, why do you need to boot into Windows?
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Old 07-03-2012, 10:27 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: Old school computer problems!

Well I'd like to see what is on the computer. I know we have a lot of old photos, and my parents used it for legal documents. I just want to verify that there isn't anything that needs to be saved.
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Old 07-03-2012, 10:38 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: Old school computer problems!

You can view everything from a Linux LiveCD . Burn your desired distro to a disc, boot off of it, and choose the "try" option, or "LiveCD" option (varies by distro what they call it). It'll load the OS into RAM, and you can browse the file structure of the HDD, and copy data to a USB drive or wherever you like.
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Old 07-03-2012, 10:51 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: Old school computer problems!

I'll give it a try! I'm a Linux newb (only really ever used Ubuntu) so I wasn't aware of that feature! Now I just need to find a distro that will work well with decade-old hardware haha..
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Old 07-03-2012, 11:06 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Default Re: Old school computer problems!

Lubuntu (LXDE Ubuntu) or Puppy Linux. They both work well for older systems.
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Old 07-03-2012, 11:35 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Default Re: Old school computer problems!

I was actually looking at puppy, I'm downloading it now (slowly, because my parents' internet is... Not fast).
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Old 07-03-2012, 11:40 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Default Re: Old school computer problems!

Meaning slow? :P Think you would have a better time Torrenting it, but if you are nearly done, there's really no need.
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Old 07-04-2012, 12:24 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Haha well now I've got it burned to a disk, but the computer is giving me trouble when I try to boot from the CD drive... Grrr!
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Old 07-04-2012, 02:44 AM   #10 (permalink)
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Default Re: Old school computer problems!

Maybe there is a reason your parents haven't been using this old computer?

Your description is a bit confusing. Do you have a USB KB & mouse and a PS/2 mouse, and nothing at all happens when you plug in the USB gear, but you get error messages with the PS/2 mouse?

I hunted around with Google for a while. Your USB ports may be dead, or maybe you don't have the mouse and keyboard drivers installed?

I'm fairly certain the error message you are getting is "EMM386 not installed," not "EMM385 not installed." Some AT computers required the use of a controller chip in the keyboard in order to load extended memory. EMM386 can convert extended memory into expanded memory.

The best I can suggest is that you either try a bunch of different KB/mouse combos or give up on this machine. You can still read the contents by plugging the hard drive into USB converter hub (Fry's Electronics sells them).
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