My brother's computer won't boot

drhowarddrfine

Son of Beastie

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So, of course, he calls me. His son went to a trade school for computer technology and I haven't had to deal with this for years but now his son has moved away and I'm the only one to help him.

Him: My computer quit working. I turned it on and I get a black screen that just says, "Read error" and "Enter control-alt-del" to restart your computer. I do that but all I get is the same error.

Me: Sounds like your hard drive might have gone bad. What computer is this?

Him: Oh, it's the same one I've always had. You know, the E-Machines one.

Me: You still have that?!

Him: I know it's old and it's slow but all I use it for is paying my bills online and watch the occasional video and Facebook. It's really gotten slow and frustrating but it's good enough for me.

Me: Ok, well, I have some old hard drives laying around in case yours is shot but I'll need your Windows disks. That had XP on it, right?

Him: No, I don't think I had anything that new.

Me: You still have Windows 98?!

Such is my lot in life.
 

kpedersen

Daemon

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I doubt there will be many viruses around which are still compatible with it either ;)
 

Uniballer

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If he can afford it, it might be time to tell him to buy a new(er) computer.
 

Crivens

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May I point out this guy's effort to get some old dinosaur back on it's feet?

But I agree, sometimes it's 'interesting' what people use. But as long as it fits the bill, why not? Your brother seems to have a system you can backup on one USB stick, completely, several times. That's nice. My dad just shredded the HD of his home machine and I was recovering what was possible and gave him the result (about 99%) on one small pendrive. Only then did he understand what I was complaining about all the years. Backup, backup, backup! And NO, it's not difficult for that machine (20 GB of ext2fs).
 
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drhowarddrfine

drhowarddrfine

Son of Beastie

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Update: He found the recovery disks and tried to do that but all I got was a text message saying, "It's dead." I told him to bring it to me when he comes by today and I'll put another hard drive in but I'd bet he doesn't do that.

His wife is saying she wants a notebook which he'll use when she's not. I'd also bet they won't consult me on which one to buy and get something cheap by NoName Computers.

Film at 11.
 

TiberiusDuval

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Though backing up a Windows 98 system to a USB stick means that you'll need to take the HDD out, connect it to another machine and copy files from there. Windows 98 did not support many USB sticks without special drivers, and it is quite unlikely that it would support any modern USB sticks either.

I had Windows 98 machine for some old school gaming and so on in our family's summer cottage recently. Removed antivirus software and firewall software from it as it was not connected on the Net. An old PIII 500 MHz with 192 MB RAM. It booted to desktop faster than any of my more modern machines, regardless of what OS I use on them.
 

Crivens

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Since you can't really back up a Windows install which is running, booting from a CD or the stick itself should solve two problems at the same time.
 

Crivens

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drhowarddrfine said:
I'd also bet they won't consult me on which one to buy and get something cheap by NoName Computers.

Film at 11.
But that will not stop them from complaining that you did not warn them to buy whatever a smiling salesperson pushes into the shopping cart. Right?
 

kpa

Beastie's Twin

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You can do that in later versions of Windows that have shadow volume (I think that's the right term?) support that allows snapshots much like UFS or ZFS snapshots to be made and used for back up purposes.
 

ChalkBored

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Crivens said:
Since you can't really back up a Windows install which is running, booting from a CD or the stick itself should solve two problems at the same time.
A computer old enough to be running 98 usually won't boot from a USB stick. You can sometimes trick the computer into thinking they're floppies, but I've never had any luck actually getting that to work.
 

wblock@

Beastie Himself
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The Plop boot loader can boot from USB on computers that don't support it natively. But I suspect this is not a Windows 98 system. I set one up recently, and found that the most recent Firefox that would run on it was 3.something. To view YouTube video, does the Flash plugin still work on something that old?
 
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drhowarddrfine

drhowarddrfine

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It is Windows 98. He was running Chrome. Flash and YouTube videos worked.

As I suspected, he didn't drop off his computer. I'm hesitant to call and ask because I'm sure he'll talk to me about "fixing" it. We'll see how long it takes for him to call me or if he goes out and buys something on his own.
 
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Anonymous

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drhowarddrfine said:
... As I suspected, he didn't drop off his computer. ...
Possibly, he read this thread, and he is now angry about you violently disrespecting his privacy.
 

Goobie

New Member


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That's funny in a way. This weekend we were cleaning out the garage and came across two mother boards from my teens. My parents booted them up to get pictures off of them which was a chore in itself. I was just curious as to what system they were running on. I hadn't seen 98 in so long! We were going to donate them, but Goodwill said to just recycle them...
 
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