In Progress How do I bring PC back To Life

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Verglo

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How do I get my old Acer Aspire M1610 back up and running. It will power on, and I can access the BIOS.However upon opening the case found hard drive had been removed (probably by me years ago) Can't find original OS disc - case label says Windows Vista Home Basic - but can't remember which OS was running on it when last in use. Just want to use as a basic functioning PC really. I am against adding this to landfill - too much usable items get trashed in this throw away society. How can I install an OS and get it running ?
 

Bruce

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Oct 8, 2017
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Yeppoon, QLD, Australia.
get the Windows media creation tool from the Microsoft website and download Windows 10 Home.
create a bootable USB stick with it on.
get a new hard drive - would suggest a solid state drive.
install Win10 Home onto that, you should be able to use your Vista license as the digital license for activating Win10.
during installing, when it says to type in your Product Key, skip that and activate it later, online.
worst case, if you can't due to the arrangement the PC may have come with, with Vista, you may have to buy a Win10 license for around $150.
or you could go to the dark side and install a free Linux distro - but I'm quietly confident the free upgrade to Win10 should work.
 

Verglo

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get the Windows media creation tool from the Microsoft website and download Windows 10 Home.
create a bootable USB stick with it on.
get a new hard drive - would suggest a solid state drive.
install Win10 Home onto that, you should be able to use your Vista license as the digital license for activating Win10.
during installing, when it says to type in your Product Key, skip that and activate it later, online.
worst case, if you can't due to the arrangement the PC may have come with, with Vista, you may have to buy a Win10 license for around $150.
or you could go to the dark side and install a free Linux distro - but I'm quietly confident the free upgrade to Win10 should work.
Hey Thanks for the response.
Do you mean the license key printed on the original label on the case ? Computer was new in 2008 so she is an old rig. Do you think Windows may allow me to use that key after so long. Not sure what Linux is - is it an OS ?
 

Bruce

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Oct 8, 2017
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Yeppoon, QLD, Australia.
yeah, Linux is an OS, but (personally) I'm not a big fan purely based on previous usage from eons ago where all the dsitros I tried had hardware driver issues when trying to get wireless gear or printers to install.
they are well past that but it has left a bad taste in my mouth so I rarely re-open that can of worms.
others will say they are fantastic - like all things, it'll come down to personal taste.

yeah, that sticker will be fine, thats your Product Key you'd type in after restarting the PC for the first time after installing Win10 and trying to activate the OS with Microsoft. depending on your license (how the Vista OS was installed), that will determine if MS will allow it to be used for Win10 - in my experience, you should have no trouble. at the very least, nothing ventured, nothing gained.
 

Verglo

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Hi Bruce - Thanks for the clarification.I will follow your guidelines and keep fingers crossed - Many Thanks
Brian:)
 

Verglo

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Bruce - quick clarification for me if you don't mind.
1) Insert and connect new HDD into PC case
2) Power on computer
3) Insert USB - should this now take me through the Windows Installation process ?
Will I have to check in the BIOS to see if HDD is recognized , or will it be picked up automatically.
Oh - Greetings from rainy Northern Ireland
:unsure:
 

Bruce

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Yeppoon, QLD, Australia.
yep, plug in new drive internally, data cable and power cable.
plug in USB stick with bootable image of Windows 10 Home on it.
start the PC, hitting Del or Esc or F2 or whatever key combo is required to get into BIOS.
change the boot order to check for USB drives before internal hard drives.
while there, check it has detected the new drive.
reboot and it'll read from the USB stick and you should see the Windows splash screen logo eventually appear and it'll start asking dumb questions you click OK or next or whatever.
just tick the 'I don't have a product key' box when prompted - windows will auto-activate after it is all installed and when you first reboot after the installation.
give it 10 or so minutes then go into Control Panel (change View By to icons), System, and see if it activated.
if not, manually start the process by clicking the Change Product Key button and typing in your Vista key.
 

Verglo

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Hey Bruce,
Sorry for not getting back sooner
Today i connected new HDD into PC, inserted USB with Windows ISO on and accessed the Bios.
Changed the Boot order to check for the USB first .
Couldn't see new HDD listed in BIOS. Hdd was quietly humming away so it was getting power
Anyway - Powered down removed HDD and checked cables connections - all seemed OK.
Re- fitted HDD - Powered on - first thing I noticed was the Monitor would not come on but remained in standby.- also keyboard was not powering up .
Then PC began powering OFF then ON again every few seconds.
Don't know what the heck is going on !
Any ideas ?
Brian
 

Bruce

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Oct 8, 2017
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Yeppoon, QLD, Australia.
power cycling can be as easy as the power button is stuck in.
or as bad as the power supply or some other hardware has failed.
how old is this Acer PC?
have you taken out the memory chips and graphics card (if one) and cleaned the parts and their slots from dust?
any bulging capacitors?
could this be the reason it was shelved all those years ago? :)
 

Verglo

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Hi Bruce,
Will try removing memory cards and blow out any dust first. power button does not appear to be stuck
How old is the PC - let me see it has valves and a crank handle
I am now on a mission to get this up and running ( with your help )
Don't like being beaten by a machine lol will let you know how I get on :unsure:
Brian
 

Verglo

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Hey Bruce,
OK So removed memory sticks one at a time and powered up. There are only two cards in PC
After removing one (a DDR 2 512MB) and leaving the other in its slot - the PC powered up with Monitor coming on and keyboard and mouse both indicating power.
So reversed process and reinserted the 512MB stick and removed the other card - powered up PC and it began cycling on off again.
So removed 512MB card again and re fitted the other card - a 1GB DDR 2. PC now powering up again.
So I guess a memory card failed .
Shall I buy another 1gb card next ,or can we carry on with trying to Install Windows and add the memory card after?
Hope you don't mind helping me out - I am going to buy some books on building a PC to increase my knowledge I want to learn more about this fascinating subject
Brian
 

Verglo

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Some added info looking in the BIOS my options for First BOOT are
Floppy, LS120, Hard Disk, CDROM, ZIP, USB-FDD, USB -ZIP, USB-CDROM USB-HDD
When booting from the USB Windows iso - I'm guessing that I set the first Boot to be USB-HDD ?
I think I had the USB setting to USB-FDD the first time - doh:eek:
Brian
 

Bruce

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Oct 8, 2017
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Yeppoon, QLD, Australia.
OMG - you have a LS120 drive.
I still have a box a discs for that drive that I brought something like 25 years ago and never got around to using, hard drives started to become standard around the same time!
colour me impressed. that rig has indeed got valves and a crank handle.

and there-in probably lies your greatest hurdle.
ideally you should install a OS that matches the generation of hardware it will be running in.
so ideally Windows XP would be the best fit - but it is long past its end of life cycle.
I fear Win10 either simply won't install or if it does, getting video, sound, and network drivers (for starters) will be an Herculean task.
since it had Vista on it, there should be a glimmer of hope. :)

to get you started, change the boot order to USB-HDD first so it reads the USB with Win10 on it.
and leaving the 1GB memory stick in for now will be fine - just bloody slow.
and that leads into your next issue - Win10 likes at least 4GB of memory, it'll work with lower specs, but at slower speeds.
I suspect your processor will also be under-powered.
AND... it wants around 20GB of hard drive space.

I reckon the more you travel this path, the more you are going to come up against hurdles and eventually you'll either come up to one you can't get around or the combined effect of all the limitations of the rig will have an overall negative impact on its usefulness.

and then there is the sheer age, and the likelihood of hardware failing.

sorry to be Mr Negative.
 

Verglo

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Hi Bruce,
Will update you soon - been tied up with other stuff.
Haven't given up - yet
Brian
 

Verglo

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Good evening Bruce,
OK I think after all you said I will put this one on the back burner for the time being.
HOWEVER


Maybe this is a better proposition

I have a DELL Optiplex 745 PC and want to try to at least and get this one back up and running .

The PC ran Windows XP Pro from new according to the label - I originally purchased this PC from an official Microsoft refurbisher who had installed Windows 7 Pro on it. I was using Windows 7 up until the hard drive failed.

So I was thinking to install Win 7 and then upgrade to Win 10 - good/bad idea ???

Anyway I have the Windows 7 installation disc which was provided with the PC with the reg key code.
So I have installed a new 500Gb HDD drive , powered up the PC and inserted the installation disc.
Windows now begins installation,and I get to the screen where I select type of installation - I select Custom then a prompt asks "Where do you want to install Windows" but there is nothing listed in the box.

There are two options Refresh and Load Driver.When I click on Load Driver I get a window asking to insert the installation media containing the driver files - but i only have just the one disc? So I seem to be stuck at this point -

However I can not see the new HDD listed in the BIOS . I am obviously doing something wrong so I thought I would ask the expert.​
There are two 1gb memory sticks in the PC at the moment

Or should I try to install Win 10 and skip the Win 7 route?

What do you think?

Many Thanks
Brian
 

Bruce

Forum Regular
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PCHF Member
Oct 8, 2017
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Yeppoon, QLD, Australia.
skip Win7.
even if it did work, my first suggestion after getting Win7 working would be to upgrade to Win10 anyway.
so let's go straight to the end goal.

also, MS changed the way Windows addresses drives during install - can't remember the exact change but yes, Win10 may have better luck as it auto-changes the settings to suit itself.

also check in BIOS you have the drive set to AHCI mode.
and to state the obvious, the drive shuold have two cables, the power one that goes to the power supply and a data one that goes to the motherboard.
 

Verglo

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Sep 6, 2020
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Hi Bruce,
Computer is recognizing HDD.
powered on and booted from USB with Windows 10 iso on it.
Went through several screen - got to chose type of installation - picked custom
Windows began to install - chose version Windows 10 pro ( my logic being previous OS was Windows 7 Pro)
So get to window asking where do I want to install - New HDD is showing in box highlighted as Drive 0 Partition 1 - with options below the box to Refresh / Delete/Format/or Load Driver(other options are greyed out).
So I chose > Next.
Then we get a window - if the Partition you have chosen contains files from a previous Windows installation these files will be moved to a file called Windows old
clicked >OK.
Then we get installing windows box. Status
Copying Windows Files
Getting files ready for installation
Installing Features
Installing updates
Getting Finished
After completing all of the above list successfully - Windows prompt says Windows needs to restart computer .
So went back into BIOS switched boot order from USB to Drive 0.
Restarted - then blank screen top left message floppy Disk seek failure press F1 to continue -
Windows 10 now installed and running. :thumbsup:
So far so good. Now every time I turn on computer will I have to press F1 to get Windows to start ?
Should I now get two more 1 GB memory cards .
Will it be possible to get this PC enabled for WiFi - the only available network connection is for Ethernet ( don't have an ethernet connection - other computers are WiFi).
Network adaptor is a Broadcom NETxtreme 57xx Gigabit Controller
Sorry for all the questions - can't quite believe this Old PC is running again
At what stage will Windows ask for a key code ?
Brian
 

Bruce

Forum Regular
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Oct 8, 2017
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241
Yeppoon, QLD, Australia.
well done getting this far.
almost there by the sounds of it.

to stop the F1, no floppy error - go back in BIOS and disable the floppy.
as to wifi, get a USB wireless adapter, cost about $40 for a good one.
and with he Product Key, go into Control Panel, change View By to icon and go to System.
down the bottom, if it says Windows is Activated, you're good to go.
if it doesn't, click Activate Now (or whatever it's called)
I think you get 30 days without having to enter a code - and even after that, it'll still work but with more in your face warnings.

and with the memory, check the motherboard make/model, see what sort it takes (DDR2 or DDR3 i suspect) and what each slots max capacity is (may be 2GB or 4GB depending of age). you may only be able to get 2x2GB's or 2x1GB's.
 

Verglo

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Hi Bruce,
Could you decipher this for me :unsure:copied from tech spec of My Dell Optiplex 745
trying to figure out from this - what extra Ram sticks to get - as you know only two of the memory slots on the motherboard are used at the moment both 1 GB
so - should i go for another 2 x 1gb cards ?
MEMORY
DIMM Slots Four
Type - Dual channel shared DDR2 SDRAM system memory. Unbuffered, non-ECC DIMMs only
Speed - 533MHz (4-4-4 latency), 667MHz (5-5-5 latency), 800MHz (6-6-6 latency)
Modules Types Supported - 512-MB, 1-GB, or 2-GB (800MHz not available in 2GB DIMM)
Minimum memory - Dual-channel: 1GB
Single-channel: 512 MB
Maximum memory - 8 GB (2GB per channel)
Bandwidth - 533MHz: Up to 8.5 GB/s in dual channel mode
667MHz: 10.7 GB/s with dual channel
800MHz: 12.8 GB/s with dual channel .

Disabled the floppy drive startup issue.
I had on old TP-Link wireless USB adapter - so after delving on internet found the driver - supposedly only meant for Win7/ 8/XP.
Anyway it worked ?????? now connected to internet