View Full Version : broken down PC

07-09-2006, 07:17 AM
Having left my 5 year old PC on to download something, I came back to find it lifeless, and now it's refusing to come on again. After a few presses of the on button, it briefly made a boot-up-type noise, but then stopped and began vaguely smelling as if something had burnt out.

Although I sometimes took backups, I feel totally lost without the hard drive contents, and was wondering if there'd be a way to somehow use the hard drive as an external HD for my other machine. This seems like it might be a challange since of course the old hard drive has Windows (ME) on it... but would this be possible -to access its contents from XP?

I've no idea where/how to even start, so any tips much appreciated!

07-09-2006, 07:44 AM
As long as the files weren't made private in ME, though I think this is a new feature in XP. The external casing will run you anywhere from 40 - 70 dollars US. Your local electronic store might have it. Do you have a spare computer laying around? I'm going to guess no. When your current system tries to start do you hear any beeps? Does the power light turn on? It sounds like a bad power supply.

07-09-2006, 08:25 AM
There weren't any beeps, and it's completely given up now.
I have an old Win98 machine lying about, although I don't know its specs. Do you mean I might be able to install it in that?

Would it be easy enough to just change the power unit?
Thank you!

07-09-2006, 11:17 AM
Yeah you might be able to put the harddrive in the 98 machine. Backup your files and reformat. You may be able to install the drive into the xp machine as well as a secodary master or slave, can't remember which. Depends on your configuration as well.

07-09-2006, 08:09 PM
May sound a silly question, but if I use the external casing you mention to have the old hard drive as an external drive for my XP laptop, could I run programs from the drive? I don't mean just simple .exe type programs, but MS Word or the like -i.e. stuff that has registry entries.

If I were to replace my unused Win98 machine's HD with the HD I need, would the machine boot up almost as if it were my broken machine? What about the fact that config.sys/whatever would be expecting the hardware of the broken machine?
I must say the prospect of ripping out wires and so forth is a little scary, but I lack the funds to pay anyone to do it. So any recomendations on sites that provide good instruction on how this replacement would be appreciated!

Thanks again!

07-09-2006, 08:12 PM
Ahh you have a laptop. That changes things. You probably won't be able to run Office as I think its tied into the registry. If you make it your primary on your 98 machine, it might boot up into me however you may experience some problems because the hardware changed. I say get the files you need off of the drive, save them somewhere, burn them to discs if you have to, then get the external casing, format the drive, there now you have a portable harddrive you can use for just storage.

07-09-2006, 08:45 PM
Out of interest, how does the fact that my XP machine is a laptop change things?

Thanks for the suggestion: I'll try removing my Win98 machine's HD, replacing it with the "target" HD, and booting up, after which I'll eventually get an external casing and use it as extra storage. (Wish me luck!)

Could I somehow make use of the CD burner from the broken machine? I regularly burn many CDs, and was wanting too "preserve" the laptop's burner.

07-09-2006, 09:09 PM
Because I was thinking you had a PC tower where you could just put the old harddrive in the xp system but you have a laptop so you can't. There are external casings for cd burners as well.

07-21-2006, 12:06 PM
Worked a treat, thank you for your thoughts.

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