A customer needed some data recovered from an old computer… They said it gets part way through the bootup, and then it won’t go any further.
It sounds simple enough.
However, the computer is very old. It uses an old 5-pin AT socket for the keyboard (most PCs now use either USB or a 6-pin PS2 socket).
I’m told the original keyboard died a long time ago, and was replaced with a wireless keyboard (and mouse) plugged into a USB socket (usb is available via a usb ISA card). This PC has seen many upgrades!
Anyway, PC boots (windows 98 ), then generates a norton error while in dos mode… since its in dos mode, keyboard and mouse don’t respond… so no way to continue into windows.
I don’t carry the older AT keyboard with me (its so rare to find these old PCs anyway). So all I can do is take the PC away (I have the older AT keyboards at the office)… I then manage to boot the PC, and it all seems to operate normally.
So I take out the HDD, and plug it into my office PC, extract all the data to my main drive. I clean up the data (remove temporary internet files, temp files, etc, then burn the remaining data onto 2 CDs
Once back at the customer, I take about 10 minutes to extract the data they want, tweak the application that needs the data to function properly, and I’m on my way again.
Once the PC is back in its home, and everything plugged in, I fire it up. Since this is a new windows install, it naturally finds new hardware & prompts me to install the software for the new hardware.
oh, look, the mouse doesn’t work. Oh, the keyboard doesn’t work either… Ah, they are wireless, so it should just be a matter of pressing those little “resynchronise” buttons on the KB & mouse & on the radio receiver… hmmm, that doesn’t work. Try again… nope. We try a few different combinations, but nothing works.
So I go to the car & get a wired KB & mouse, plug them in, restart the PC, then finally say: yes, please install that software for the new hardware that you found.
So what does windows do? it installs the software drivers for the wireless keyboard & mouse!!! Argghhh!
Now thats an interesting “catch 22” situation: wireless KB & mouse won’t work until the drivers have been installed, but cannot install the drivers unless we hit the OK button… but cannot hit the ok button unless the KB & mouse work… etc etc.
I tell you: wireless keyboards & mice are more trouble than they are worth.
Anyway, with that little hiccup out of the way, I finally reinstall the modem software (the bigpond software doesn’t work very well, but it eventually does something after a few reboots). sigh.
Check the web, setup email, and I’m finally finished.