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Need Help with an "oldie"


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#1 LadyKeys

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Posted 20 January 2010 - 11:49 AM

Hello all -

First post here and hopefully someone can help with a problem I've never encountered before.

I own 7 Gateway computers of various "age" and I'm trying to get the two oldest up and running their 'native' OS to donate to local people. I am running into a problem with one that gave me zero problems for the 10 years it belonged to my mom (I recently bought her a new eMachine). The system was $3500 at time of purchase in 2000 - all my computers were very expensive and I know that one can be bought now for $100 (when I think of all that money I could cry). Anyway, system is a Gateway Performance 500, Serial #: 0017090845. A friend of mine gave me a hard drive from her HP that had locked up on her and I slaved it to the Deskstar in the 500 that was working perfectly two days ago. After a while I finally got into the hard drive, saved all her pictures and other data, and formatted the HD for her. During all this I went to Microsoft to get updates I thought the 500 needed given it hasn't been started in about 8 months. The internal CMOS battery was gone - wouldn't hold a date and time - so I bought a 3-pack to replace the two "oldies" and one other. Now it holds the correct date and time.

It ran perfectly for the 2 days I was working on the bad hard drive issue, downloaded 39 updates and installed them, rebooted the system and then turned it off for the night. Disconnected the slave HD I had straightened out and reset the jumpers on the OEM Deskstar, shut the sytem down for the night on Monday. Came to my office yesterday morning and hit the power button - it lit up and then turned off. Did this a number of times and then I finally held the button in until I could hear the hard drive spin up. When it did I got a BSOD mentioning something about updating the BIOS. The BIOS in that system are upated as much as I could get off the Gateway site some time ago so I figured there was something in the updates that wasn't agreeing with the system. I've updated the OEM 98SE OS on it to W2K retail long ago and decided to format the HD and reinstall Windows.

Popped in the disc, booted the system, it formatted and then stopped with an error message about the area I was trying to load Windows to on the HD was corrupt (bad HD suddenly?). Did this twice and had to hold in the power button both times to get the system to boot. It POST's fine - one single beep, no errors in the POST.

I have Ontrack's Data Eraser software here and decided to do a zero write to the HD. I'm not trying to save the HD - they are cheap and I can pick up a used 40G for practically nothing. What I'm writing about is what has caused the power button to not work properly now - I need to hold it in to start anything (including the zero write that's running right now) - and is there anything I can check/do to fix the button or whatever it is that could be causing this very new issue? I've got an extra power supply here from another Gateway that will fit if anyone thinks it could be the power supply gone "south". But I am getting power once I hold in the button and these problems all seemed to start after the Windows updates.

Thanks in advance for any input and I do apologize for the lengthy post. I just feel it's best to get all the information out there instead of going back and forth.

Gateway System: Performance 500
Pentium 3
384 Megs Ram
37+ Gig HD
nVidia Video
Creatives sound (not connected)
Original Os was 98SE and has been running W2K for many years successfully.

**Very, very little "mileage" on this system as it was my mother's and she seldom used it**

Thanks!

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#2 ThunderZ

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Posted 20 January 2010 - 01:21 PM

It is a very good chance that it is the power button itself that has gone, is going bad.

#3 LadyKeys

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Posted 20 January 2010 - 07:34 PM

Thanks for the reply, Thunder - appreciate the input.

The zero write took 3 hours today and it came up with no errors - found that good given I was forcing hard shut-downs and holding the power button for 2 days. What I forgot to mention is I'm in the process of cleaning my office after throwing stuff in there for 5 years (I look like an ad for the "Hoarder Program"). I'm making little piles of stuff, well BIG piles of stuff, and have been down there for 3 days now. I was cleaning while the Ontrack software was running and then I noticed I have a Dell clamshell that someone gave me to fix, I did fix it except the Ethernet port is bad so the system does everything but get online. It's no use to anyone really (even USB adapters wouldn't work). What I noticed today was I was using the power cord that belongs with the Dell on the 500 - I did locate the 500's cord in a box of stuff I added to that mess once I bought the eMachine for my mother. I turned off the 500 after the zero-write and swapped the power cords and then hit the Power Button to turn it back on. It worked perfectly! I let it sit for a minute (no OS on it) and then shut it down and it did shut right down without restarting which it had been doing yesterday after the updates.

I checked some of the posts here about similar issues and someone did mention the power button which I'm prepared to replace (something about shorting it out to make sure it was toast??) and am not surprised you mentioned that.

Tomorrow I'm going to try putting an operating system on it - not sure if I want to put it back to 98SE that came on it or use the W2K I bought for it..............will see how it boots up. All I know is I've had trouble shutting it down and had to pull the power cord out of the back and trouble starting it (had to hold in the button) so to me it does sound like the button. The fact it shut down perfectly with its own cord is probably coincidence. I have to say it's a fast little system for its age and would make someone a nice 2nd computer if I could get it so it wouldn't given anybody trouble. I may even donate it to the locale library - they give computer lessons here.

Thanks again and I'll let you know how I make out tomorrow.

#4 ThunderZ

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Posted 20 January 2010 - 07:42 PM

Will be watching for you follow up.

I have loaded 2k on many an older machine. Ran very well. Not intended to be pretty or for games. But for an Adult, or donation to your local library, it should be able to do what needs to be done.

You have great intentions. Hope they come to fruition.

#5 LadyKeys

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Posted 22 January 2010 - 09:47 AM

Hi Thunder -

Sorry I didn't get back here yesterday - wild day around here.

I just came down to my office and hit the power button and the 500 booted right up perfectly! This is really wild! Of course it told me "No Operating System Found" but I'm glad it did boot up ok. I'm wondering if all the hard shutdowns, the changing of the CMOS Battery and connecting that slave hard drive (to get the data off it) messed up the whole system somehow? I know I went into the BIOS and reset everything after I changed the CMOS Battery and I could have put a setting in there that wasn't there before - or not done something I should have. I didn't write down all the settings before doing that because I was having so much trouble getting into the slave HD and just wanted to get it going.

I've decided to return it to factory default and put 98SE on it because it came with a ton of discs when it was bought. Back the Gateway used to give all kinds of backup discs (even other vendors) and this being a high-end system it even came with games that were never installed. Even with my own 450XL, which also was a top-shelf system, I have a ton of discs that came with it.

I know support for 98SE has ended (or if it didn't it will very soon) and I read that support for 2000 is going to end this July. No problem as I never call Microsoft anyway. Plus I want to keep the retail W2K disc here.

I'm going to give it a few more starts and shut-downs and if all is ok the only thing I may do is up the power supply with an OEM pull I have from my 700XL desktop. This one (am on it now) needs a wicked format/reinstall of everything but will have to wait until I get the two older systems out of here one way or the other.

Thanks again for responding and I'll pop back in to let you know how I'm making out. As far as I know, there's now not a thing wrong with the 500 - which is really great! :thumbsup:

Have a wonderful weekend!

#6 ThunderZ

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Posted 22 January 2010 - 11:48 AM

Good news.

And yes, forced shut downs can be very hard on a machine. The can mechanically damage a hard drive as well as corrupt the OS. This is particularly true of older OS`s like 98 and earlier. Sounds like you have a good course of action laid out. If BC can be of any help please do not hesitate to ask.

You have a great weekend as well. :thumbsup:




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