Friday 18 October 2019

Reset Vintage Retro Toshiba Laptop BIOS Password With A Key Disk (KEYdisk)

Have you got a Vintage or Retro Toshiba laptop that wont boot as it has a BIOS Password set?

Then what you need is a KEY Disk!...

When you try and enter a password for the BIOS on a vintage/retro Toshiba laptop you may (or may not) have noticed that when you press Enter the Floppy Disk Drive whirs for a split second - well, this is because there is a way to reset/remove a BIOS password on an old Toshiba by using something known as a KEYDisk which is simply a 'special' Floppy Disk and in this blog post I am going to show you how to make one...

How To Make A Toshiba KEY Disk To Remove a BIOS Password Using Hex Workshop
  1. First of all you are going to need a Floppy Disk (and a floppy disk drive of course).
  2. Next you need to download and install Hex Workshop
  3. Insert a blank formatted floppy disk in to your floppy disk drive and then launch Hex Workshop
  4. Open up Hex Workshop and from the Disk menu click on Open Drive
  5. Select your floppy disk drive (usually A:)
  6. Click on the Disk menu and then click on Next Sector
  7. Change the first five bytes to 4B 45 59 00 00
  8. From the File menu click on Close and then Yes to save the changes
You now have a KEY Disk!

All you need to do now is insert the floppy disk in to your vintage/retro laptop, press the reset button and when asked for a password simply press Enter, your laptop will look for the KEY disk in the floppy disk drive and should then be asked if you want to reset/set a password!

Saturday 14 September 2019

Compaq LTE 5280 Laptop

Picked this up today for just £1!

As you can see it's rather dirty, but better than that - it's Year 2000 Compliant!

It's a lot cleaner on the inside but I'm not holding my breath that it works.

Despite the clean looking keyboard and screen, although it does power on, it doesn't POST and an LED of a tap is displayed indicating possible water damage.

Time to see what the battery and HDD are like (assuming there is a HDD or even a HDD caddy that is)...

The battery has some sort of speckly mess on it and peeking inside the laptop it does indeed look like it has a large amount of water damage.  Fortunately it hasn't spread to the HDD Caddy or indeed the HDD inside:

At least this can be used for Spares and Repairs as once the case has been cleaned up it's actually in very good condition, just needs a new motherboard and well, anything else that is inside!

Thursday 5 September 2019

Toshiba Satellite 220CS

Today I was gifted a great little work-horse of a laptop, namely a Toshiba Satellite 220CS with an Intel Pentium 133MHz CPU, 16MB of RAM and 1.4GB Hard Disk Drive!

The reason it looks like a chunky old laptop is that is exactly what it is - but also, it is sitting on a Port Replicator which came with it:

What it didn't come with though, was any power supplies so neither the laptop or the port replicator can be tested... or can they?  Of course they can as I have an 'of the time' Universal Power Adaptor that has the required 15V connector so, will it power on?

Of course it does!  The only error is that the rechargeable CMOS battery is flat which is no surprise as it hasn't been powered on for a number of years.

F1 to continue... what OS will be on it?

Windows 98ME (Millenium Edition) - the Windows Vista of the 90's!!

Friday 30 August 2019

Rare Compaq Presario 700 Laptop

You know a laptop isn't rare when a seller tells you it is!  This 'rare' Compaq Presario 700 Series laptop is so rare, that not only did I manage to pick up two of them from two different sellers, I purchased them on the same day!

One works, one doesn't.

Typical with an old laptop, the CMOS battery needs replacing as per the next screen:

On pressing F1 to Boot, Windows XP begins to load...

As this AMD based system only has 128MB of RAM, Windows XP is VERY slow to load...

These laptops are rather old so it's highly likely that you will need to replace the CMOS battery, to see how it's done click here: Compaq Presario 700 CMOS Battery Replacement

Tuesday 27 August 2019

WACOM Graphire Tablet (Slate Blue) ET-0405-R

Got this little beauty in the post today:

Not sure of the exact age of this device but from the enclosed manual it appears to be circa 2000, so could be up to 19 years old.

It's a serial device that also needs a PS/2 port for power (hence the PS/2 pass-through in the cable).

Sunday 18 August 2019

Logitech TrackMan Portable Mouse T-CE3 - PS/2

This little beauty came with a laptop I recently won on eBay:

It clips on to the side of a compatible/suitable laptop and plugs in to the PS/2 port.

Saturday 17 August 2019

Compaq Armada Series QuickRestore Recovery CDs

This came all the way from Israel today (vie eBay):

I didnt realise but it has both Windows 95 and Windows 98 restore options/CDs.  I can't wait to try them out!  I need to make a backup ISO image of them first so these can go away in to storage.


Not sure why you can't find the ISO files on the Internet Archive when you search for them so here's a direct link to the Discs:

Friday 16 August 2019

PCMCIA Card - Modem and BNC NIC

Today I recieved what looks like a pencil case in the post - it turns out it's a case full of a few PCMCIA cards:

Thursday 15 August 2019

Compaq Armada 7400

This turned up a few weeks back but I've only just had a chance to take a look at it.  It's a bit dirty, the hinge covers are damaged and there are a couple of screws missing.  It did however come with not one, but two power supplies which is a bit of luck as it's not a normal round connector but a square-ish one with 4 prongs inside it.

On connecting up one of the power supplies that came with this laptop I briefly saw the Compaq logo appear on the screen before it turned itself off.  Seems there is a loose connection as when I wiggled the power cable at the rear of the laptop it would let me power it on but as soon as I moved the cable slightly it powered off again - I'll have to take it apart and see if it's fixable at a later date.

Wednesday 14 August 2019

Watch Display Box Case

As I purchased a rare Compaq Watch the other week I thought it best to look after it properly so this faux leather box/case turned up today:

Over time (pun intended) I wonder how many more Compaq Watches I will end up owning?

Iomega Zip 100 (MAC) No Power Supply

A bit of a strange one this as I won an Iomega ZIP 100MB drive on eBay with 3 ZIP disks (one is stuck in the drive) and a 1GB Jaz Disk.


I have a couple of Iomega USB drives with power supplies so I can power this up and try it out but I don't have a MAC so wont be able to read what's on the disks - unless there is a program you can use to read MAC formatted disks on a PC?  I'll have to take a look and see what I can do...

Tuesday 6 August 2019

Compaq Contura 3/25 intel 80386SX

Just got around to opening up the Compaq Contura 3/25 I 'won' on eBay the other week to see if it works or not.  I got out my trusted universal power adaptor of the day, plugged it in, pressed the power button and hoped for the best!... and it powered on, booted and failed the POST due to the CMOS/BIOS battery being flat - no surprise really as this laptop is originally from 1992!

Time to take it apart to explore its innards:

Ooh! Is that a Hard Disk Drive I see hidden at the top right of the laptop under the silver piece of metal?  Lets find out...

Yes it is!

So, the reason it was sold on eBay as not working is due to the CMOS/BIOS battery being flat and not storing the HDD geometry settings so it doesn't think it has a hard disk inside (which it clearly does).

It doesn't take the standard CR2032 battery but a slightly larger CR2430 so I have ordered some from Amazon (Same-Day Delivery) so I should be able to get this up and running tomorrow so watch this space...

Tuesday 12 March 2019

How To... Replace The CMOS Battery On A Compaq Armada 1700/1750 Laptop

Changing the RTC/CMOS battery on a Compaq Armada 1700/1750 is really quite easy as all you need to do is remove the keyboard, remove a little cover, remove the battery and then replace it with another one as shown in the photos below:

The thing is though, where do you get a replacement battery from?  Well, you can either get one off of eBay or you can make your own...

To make your own you are going to need the following items:

  • Sharp knife
  • Soldering Iron, Solder and a De-Soldering Tool
  • Side Cutters (or scissors)
  • Heat Shrink
  • Heat Gun
  • A replacement CR2032 Battery
  • Aluminium Foil Tape with Conductive Acrylic Adhesive

The first thing you need is the original flat battery from your Compaq Armada laptop.  Once removed from the laptop you will need to carefully remove the plastic surround with a sharp knife.

Carefully remove the connectors from the battery and then using your soldering iron remove the leads from the connectors.

Once you have removed both of the connectors it's time to get a short length of aluminium foil tape with conductive adhesive and solder each wire to a piece.  This can be quite tricky so practice first before trying on the actual connector.

Then, take some heat-shrink tubing and cut to size.  Place over the two terminals you have created and then use your heat gun to shrink it nice and tight.  Not only will this make it look neat and tidy but has the added benefit that if you're not very good at soldering and end up in time with a dry joint, it might just hold the wire'solder to the aluminium foil tape so there is still a proper connection!

Once you have put heat-shrink tubing on the ends of both connectors (as shown in the photo above) it's time to remove the paper-backing from the adhesive tape and stick it on your battery:

Now you could leave it like this, but the aluminium tape is very thin and therefor fragile so you can either wrap tightly in some very good quality electrical tape or (you can do what I did) and use some more heat-shrink tubing.

As you can see, using the heat-shrink tubing makes it look a bit more professional and it fits perfectly in the laptop.

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