Laptop Disaster Hope Required

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I know nowt about computers and my laptop is dying a death.
Its my only computer, it's old, it has Win 98 and has gradually succumb
to the wrath of spyware and viruses, despite my attempts to the

I've backed up most of it, but now I have a 1GB pendrive that I can use
to transfer my ~3 Gigs of prized mp3's onto a friend's computer (the
I'm writing this on) and hence bung them on DVD or summat. Once I've
done this I was going to wipe the whole laptop in a very thorough kind
of way (!) and then load XP onto it so I can use it for basic things
whilst I save up for a brand new spanking PC.

After much tinkering (system tools, anti-spyware software etc), I can
now actually get it to load in normal mode (whoop whoop!). Although
(except in 'set-up') the display is vastly inset from the size of
screen, sometimes I have to kill a program in the task list to even see
the start menu and icons, and currently it won't let me open any
programs or open 'My computer' (tells me I have no Internet connection
and then when I click 'work offline' then explorer stops responding I
can do nowt). That means I can't access my darling mp3's to bung on my
pendrive :-(

So, the questions is - could you lot point me into the right direction.
What are the best 'self-help' computer disaster websites for numpties
like myself.



Re: Laptop Disaster Hope Required

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I really don't think you are going to be happy running XP on an old
machine unless it has at least 256M of memory...

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Take the hard drive out of your laptop, put it in an external USB
housing, and copy the files directly to the target machine.

Re: Laptop Disaster Hope Required

<William P. N. Smith> wrote in message
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Or more cheaply, try:


Re: Laptop Disaster Hope Required

Are you running the display at the native resolution for the laptop?  If
several years old, that is probably 1024 x 768.  Can you access the hard
drive through Windows Explorer?  You don't need internet access to work in
your hard drive.  Before trying to format and install XP make sure the
machine can actually handle it.  If there are no issues with any hardware
like modem, video card or chip, audio chip or sound card, you really need at
least 512 MB of RAM to run XP with anything resembling snappiness.

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Re: Laptop Disaster Hope Required

I like the Kim Komando website.
Under her free tip area, she writes about hard drive crashes and what to

I was listening to her call in program and she told a caller, that she
has saved her hard drive, enough to get the data off , by taking the HD
out and putting it in the freezer,,,,,,but don't try this till you read
her info about it!

I feel your pain!
Good Luck!

Re: Laptop Disaster Hope Required

Donnalynne wrote:
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Kim Komando is generally full of BS IMO.  WPN Smith's suggestion will
not fail if the drive is still functional and should be tried first if
the user considers data recovery to be important.


Re: Laptop Disaster Hope Required

Hello folks,

I'm borrowing my mate's PC (to post this!) and I have her PC and my
sat on a desk side by side so I can tinker. My mate's computer has Win
CD-RW and DVD drive etc.  

My laptop is a Dell Latitude CPx H500GT with 6007 MB HDD, Pentium III
500 MHz,
512 MB sytem memory, 8MB video memory, CD ROM, floppy drive, network
adapter via PCMCIA card, USB 1.1 socket, parallel port etc, Win 98,
tag JX2UH.

Like I said, I want to be able to access the hard drive my pen drive in
normal mode.
Currently I cannot access 'my computer' because explorer crashes as
previously described.
I cannot access the CD drive, hard drive, pen drive etc. I can't open
any programs, but I can use system tools e.g. scan disk, defragmentor

Basically, the spyware (and doubtless viruses) has properly screwed it.
When I was working to some degree you could see how the programs that
it was infected with were using the computer for its own means e.g.
get unhappy when you weren't connected to the Internet, every webpage I
opened would load itself twice for maximum pop-up effect, spyware
software would crash etc.

Like I said, the weirdest things its doing at the moment is that the
is half the size of the screen - even right from the beginning when it
up and says 'Dell' in big letters, it asks me for a windows log on
I have *never* had and at one point it would start up and I couldn't see
my desktop and icons until I had ended some random program running in
task manager.

Anyway, all I want to do is salvage some files off of it using my pen
and then wipe the whole thing and bung XP on it so I can use it for
word processing etc on the train. Would rather not spend any more money
as its too obselete for that and I want to save my cash to spend on a
brand new spanking PC :-)

Cheers for your help :-)


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Re: Laptop Disaster Hope Required

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Get one of these:

Then plug your HD in your mate's desktop PC and copy the files to your pen


Re: Laptop Disaster Hope Required

Roz Holmes wrote:
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Remove the drive from the laptop, mount it as slave on the desktop.
Copy the files off to the desktop, write them to CD.  Forget the pen
drive for now.


Re: Laptop Disaster Hope Required

Windows XP should have most of the drivers for all devices in your CPX
laptop. Any device driver not in the XP OS will be availabel from Dell's
Support Website, you just need to type in your Service Tag number and follow
the instruction to down the needed drivers. Getting a cheap Laptop HD to
regular IDE converter is a great idea to back up laptop HD's data to Desktop


Quaoar wrote:

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Re: Laptop Disaster Hope Required

shook an Etch A Sketch before scribbling:
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(snipped for brevity)

Have you tried just reinstalling Win98 over the current installation?  That
should get you a long way toward working.

As far as the screen is concerned, there are two things you can do.

If you just want the screen filled, you have to change a setting in BIOS
(the F2 or some such key that it tells you when you are first booting up)
and go in there to find something like "screen expansion" or "expand to fit"
and turn that function on.

If you actually manage to get the machine to boot to a regular screen (not
Safe Mode) then you will have to right-click on the screen.  Select
"Properties" then click the Settings tab.  There should be a little slider
to let you change the screen area.  Try moving it all the way to the right.

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