Computer Amusements

A friend asked me to scrub and rebuild an ancient IBM Thinkpad 760XD (there were good reasons for this task that aren’t relevant here), which led to a blast from the past:

Windows 98 Welcome
Windows 98 Welcome

After Windows settled down from its obligatory reboots, installing the exceedingly complex MWave DSP drivers from three diskettes (!) produced this classic result:

Windows 98 - BSOD
Windows 98 - BSOD

Ordinarily, I’d suggest installing some flavor of Linux, but the 760XD’s BIOS can’t boot from either CD or USB, so you’d be forced to sneak the install files onto the hard drive, hand-craft a suitable boot diskette (!), and then perpetrate some serious fiddling around. That made even less sense than (re-)installing Windows 98.

However, given that exposing a fresh Windows 98 installation to the 2012 Internet would resemble tossing a duckling into a brush chipper, we agreed that this laptop’s next experience should be at an upcoming e-waste recycling event.

The next morning confronted me with this delightful reminder that nobody knows how to handle boot-time errors, not even on a 2011 PC:

Lenovo - USB Keyboard not found
Lenovo - USB Keyboard not found

The keyboard cable had gotten dislodged when the USB hub fell from its perch along the back edge of the desk. It’s fine now…

2 thoughts on “Computer Amusements

  1. Hah, I had the same experience on the cnc machine on Sunday: when it’s below freezing, the USB goes all flooey so I was faced with “keyboard not found, hit F1 to continue”
    Thankfully it warms up after a while and then everything’s good. (And the CNC likes running in subzero temps: the insufficient heatsinks on the stepper drivers suddenly do a fine job.)

    1. when it’s below freezing, the USB goes all flooey

      That’s when I feel a powerful need for a big cuppa hot chocolate with a dash of vanilla.

      Goes surprisingly well with a sprinkling of swarf…

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