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Old 07-04-2012, 03:51 AM   #11 (permalink)
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Default Re: Old school computer problems!

Haha I'm not delving into the reasons they aren't using it, I'm just home for the holiday and wanted to tinker around with the old tech and see if I could make it perform some useful task. And that's correct, I have a USB KB and mouse, and also a PS/2 mouse. And you're correct about the error being EMM386, I must have mistyped it (sorry for the confusion). As for the USB ports being dead, when I boot the computer with the keyboard and mouse plugged in, I get lights on the KB and the red LED tracking light on the bottom of the mouse lights up, they just don't seem to function within the OS (I get all those awesome errors). However, I can make the keyboard function in the BIOS if I boot up the computer and hold F1, it just absolutely won't work in Windows 98. And the possibility of it being a driver issue is plausible, I just don't have any idea how I would be able to update the drivers without a functioning input device.
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Old 07-04-2012, 05:36 AM   #12 (permalink)
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My first guess would be to create a bootable floppy with the drivers on it, then boot the system off that floppy. If that works, you should be able to edit the system files that you need.
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Old 07-04-2012, 06:34 AM   #13 (permalink)
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Wow, you have a fairly old machine there.

Just thought I'd mention that Knoppix is a VERY nice and handy distro to keep around on a disk. My favorite for attempting to grab files from an non-working OS. Looks pretty too.

The errors you're getting...sounds like the registry could be borked, or something similar. The lack of USB ports working was a common issue when we serviced older machines in the computer shop. Does it look like there's anything else wrong with the OS? Things that shouldn't be on the desktop, or anything popping up in the system tray? Could have some nasty infection. I'd say whatever you pull from it using the distro, scan that on a separate computer. I know older versions of Knoppix either came with an antivirus, or one could be downloaded to scan, not sure about the newest one though.

Carnage is definitely correct though; using the Live CD will be your best bet to resolving the whole issue. Working with 98 is only slight less mortifying than working with ME. I would see if whichever distro you use is able to recognize any USB peripherals, to rule out a mechanical issue. Worst case scenario, onboard USB is borked and you need a PCI add-on card (if there's any room, those old HPs were stuffed to the brim with sharp edges and no room). It is possible, but I'm willing to bet it's an OS issue.

Also as a side note, there's no way that hard drive ISN'T an IDE drive, that's for sure. The idea of trying to make SATA play nice with 98 (especially the first edition) is scary. Then again it probably would have more success than ME, which would just burn your house down.
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Old 07-04-2012, 06:51 AM   #14 (permalink)
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Chances are 98 does not have usb drivers for the newer kb and mouse, I think if you found an older kb and the older ball style mouse it might boot up for you. You had to install drivers for usb devices back then. Follow the advice of others by using a linux boot disk or connecting the drive with a ide to usb adapter to a newer pc
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Old 07-04-2012, 12:02 PM   #15 (permalink)
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Default Re: Old school computer problems!

If the keyboard works in BIOS, its definitely an OS issue. Boot up into Linux, get the files you need, and install linux on that baby.
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Old 07-04-2012, 12:32 PM   #16 (permalink)
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hikaricloud makes several good points. What I gathered from my gleaning last night is that the registry likely has errors in it. It could very well be that a virus caused those registry errors (as if the registry needed a reason to go bad). So, do be careful about PC hygiene.

I suggested using a boot floppy because BoxWithADot said that he was having trouble booting from the CD. It is possible that the same problems knocking out his peripherals also knocked out his optical drive; those needed external drivers, too.

I think you have diminishing returns with this machine. If you are bored, be careful when dealing with it. My A+ professor said that he refuses to work on systems more than 5 years old; he tells people to buy a new computer, as these older systems aren't worth repairing. Too bad that CompTIA doesn't feel that way when it tests us on yesterday's technology, instead of current technology.
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Old 07-04-2012, 01:30 PM   #17 (permalink)
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If it were my old pc that I needed to check the data on, I would just pull the drive, set it as a slave and put it in a pc with an IDE slot on the board. Then stick a fork in it cuz I'd be done
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Old 07-04-2012, 02:05 PM   #18 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Joe C View Post
If it were my old pc that I needed to check the data on, I would just pull the drive, set it as a slave and put it in a pc with an IDE slot on the board. Then stick a fork in it cuz I'd be done
IDE drives are really finicky on newer machines sometimes, especially if they are super old. I normally use a IDE/SATA to usb converter, get a little better success rate. Unless the drive is borked beyond recognition. It's normally better to run a distro if possible because the hdd is working as a primary, but yank it and use it as a slave, it may or may not.
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Old 07-04-2012, 02:36 PM   #19 (permalink)
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Still can't get it to boot into Linux, no matter what I try haha. It doesn't boot from the CD drive even though it is set as the first drive in the boot order. I would make a bootable floppy, but I don't have another floppy drive save the one on the computer itself. Hikaricloud, you're right about the HP being stuffed to the brim, or I would just take the drive out and hook it to a different computer and try to make that work haha! Anyway, if it comes down to it I'll probably just pull the drive and connect it to another PC via a converter.
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Old 07-04-2012, 03:27 PM   #20 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by BoxWithADot View Post
Still can't get it to boot into Linux, no matter what I try haha. It doesn't boot from the CD drive even though it is set as the first drive in the boot order. I would make a bootable floppy, but I don't have another floppy drive save the one on the computer itself. Hikaricloud, you're right about the HP being stuffed to the brim, or I would just take the drive out and hook it to a different computer and try to make that work haha! Anyway, if it comes down to it I'll probably just pull the drive and connect it to another PC via a converter.
You could try to manually boot from CD, but I doubt it'll work if it's already giving you a fit with the boot order. Do you have a windows disk to test it with? Make sure it's not the burn for some reason.

Getting the hard drive out will be a chore. If it's the same style box I had, I believe the HDD cage works on a track, there's a release (or a screw if it really hates you) that you can trigger to swing the cage out. If it's the other style case, you may have to take off the front bezel and pull it out from the opening underneath...don't remember if it has a release or screws.
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