Wednesday 2 December 2020

Symantec Norton Ghost Boot Disk Blank DOS Box Screen Ghost Wont Run

Having problems getting Symantec/Norton Ghost?  If all you are getting is a command prompt within Windows PE (as shown below) then check the amount of RAM you have!  In the example below the laptop only has 256MB of RAM by upgrading to 512MB (or more) Ghost then loaded OK.

Monday 30 November 2020

HP/Compaq Laptops - Spares and Repairs

Earlier on today I took a quick look through all the 'Car Boot Sale' laptops that I've got and I've found another 7 nx9000 series HP/Compaq laptops so I now have 9 in total that I need to fix/repair/refurbish!

First things first, I need to see what Spares and Repairs I might have as a few of these laptops have missing HDD Caddys and covers for the RAM etc so time to rummage through my Spares and Repairs box for HP/Compaq laptops...

Monday 23 November 2020

Way before the Covid19 Pandemic came to light I picked up a job-lot of laptops from a car boot sale and I'm slowly starting to refurbish them!

In this YouTube video I will show you how I use my 8 Steps To Refurbishment to get the laptop back up and running!

Saturday 14 November 2020

What Do You Do With BIN and CUE Files?

First of all, exactly what are .BIN and .CUE files?  Well, a .BIN file is similar to that of an .ISO file, in that it is an image of a CD etc. and the .CUE file is a metadata file that defines how it is burnt to disk - as simple as that!

Unlike ISO files though, you can't burn them to a disc natively in Windows so you'll need to download and install a utility to do so - I'm going to use ImgBurn as it's a great utility and it's free!

ImgBurn can downloaded from the official website or via

Burning a disc using ImgBurn couldn't be easier, simply insert a blank disk, open up the utility and Click on Write Image file to disc

Then click on Browse for a file

(The file you are looking for is the .CUE file)

Once you have Opened the .cue file all you then need to do is click on the Write button:


Asus USB Blu-Ray Drive Not Showing Up After Windows Update

After upgrading/updating to the latest version of Windows 10 (20h2) my Asus USB BluRay Drive has disappeared, it's not in This PC or Disk Management or Device Manager...

However something strange is listed in Device Manager:

I've never heard of Initio Default Controller before nor appear to have any devices by that name connected to my computer so I did a little research and the way to fix this issue is to do the following:
  • Disable the Initio Default Controller in Device Manager (right click etc)
  • Right-Click the disabled item and click on Properties
  • Click on the Driver tab
  • Click on Uninstall and uninstall it (if prompted, click the checkbox to uninstall the drivers)
  • Remove the Asus USB BluRay drive from your computer
  • SHUTDOWN (not restart)
  • When your PC has finished shutting down, reconnect the USB drive
  • Power On your PC and it should now be working OK

Sunday 1 November 2020

The Best Way To Format and Test Old 3.5" Floppy Disks

I recently won 240+ 3.5" floppy disks on eBay so I have been looking for a way to reliably mass format and test them.  I did ask on a Facebook Retro Computing group but all they came up with was using the format command and scandisk/chkdsk!  Needless to say this was not what I was after and as floppy disks have been around for decades there must be a utility that does what I'm after...

I posted a message in a forum on the Vintage Computer Federation website.  Needless to say it wasn't long before I got the answer I was looking for!  Let me introduce you to a utility called FormatQM:

FormatQM is a Quick Mass Diskette Formatter.  The version I have been using is 1.72 and was released in 1991.  It's a DOS based utility so has issues running in Windows XP and above (trust me, I've tried) but is happy running in MS-DOS mode on a Windows 95 machine if you don't have an MS-DOS based machine to hand.

To launch the quick formatter you need to add a couple of parameters, namely the drive letter of the floppy disk drive you want to use to format a disk and either an N or a P (there are a few more options than these in the instructions you get with FormatQM but these two will get you started).  The N option is for quick verification of the formatted disk and a P will only pass a disk if it's Perfect with no flaws.

FormatQM A: N
FormatQM A: P

After launching the utility you need to press the Space Bar to start the formatting process:

All you need to do now is follow the on-screen instructions and insert floppy disks that need formatting/testing, discarding any that fail and keeping those that pass.

If you want to see what it looks like working, then take a look at my short YouTube video below:

Monday 26 October 2020

How To Replace The Keyboard on an IBM ThinkPad 390 Laptop

Built with servicing in mind, the IBM ThinkPad 390 laptops keyboard is very easy to replace and in this short video I'll show you how I did it:

Random eBay Bargains Unboxing October 2020

From some PCMCIA mice to a horrible boxy one with a couple of games thrown in!

Saturday 17 October 2020

450 Random Floppy Disks (and More)!

I won an eBay auction for 450+ random floppy disks - some are games, some are drivers, some have utilities on them and there are even some for the Atari ST!

Monday 12 October 2020

Saturday 10 October 2020

Software Joblot - Why Cant I Read This Disc

Amongst a joblot of discs from eBay I came across one called The Complete PC Technician but for the life of me I cannot read the contents of this disc! Checkout this video to see what I've tried and if you have any ides/suggestions on how I can possibly see what is on this disc then please let me know in the comments below.

Pin Badge Collection Update October 2020

My collection has grown somewhat since my last post on the matter so thought it about time I posted an update so here are a couple of photos for you:

 It's a bit difficult to find an angle where all the badges can be clearly seen hence why I've had to take 2 photos from different angles.  My favourite new pin badge is the PC Virus one with the Police Constable's helmet on top of it!

Sunday 6 September 2020

Tech Top Tip - How To Clean An Optical Disc

As a Retro Computing enthusiast I'm picking up quite a few CDs and DVDs.  Needless to say, not everyone takes good care of their discs so knowing how to clean them properly is a good idea...

Sunday 9 August 2020

Unboxing Samsung Q1 and Q1 Ultra UMPC's Job Lot From eBay

I picked up a Samsung Q1 Ultra UMPC (Ultra Mobile PC) some time ago and when I saw this little lot on eBay I just had to try and win them!  I left it until the last minute and it turned out I was the only bidder so I got them for a steal!

They even came with the cases (albeit they need a jolly good clean) so now it's time to unbox them and see what condition they are all in...

Tuesday 23 June 2020

Organising My Discs with 12 Way CD/DVD Cases

I've got a Disc Box for storing my original discs in, but as they are retro/vintage I don't want to use them on a regular basis to prevent them getting damaged/scratched so I have made backup copies of the discs.

I don't want to store them in the same container so I have been looking for another solution to store the backup copies and that's when I came across the 12-Way DVD/CD Cases.

By sheer luck they are the same in total length as a piece of A4 paper so it's relatively easy to create and print out a front covers for them as you only have to chop of an inch or so from one side, so as you'll see from the photos below.

Thursday 18 June 2020

Random eBay Bargains June 2020

A few items I won on eBay have been slowly piling up so it's time to unbox them and see if I can remember what I've been buying!

Starting A Retro Computing Pin Badge Collection

Having once worked at Currys in the UK I was the Business Centre Manager (fancy name for the salesperson who knows about Computers) I got given a Compaq pin badge by the local rep in return for listening to their in-store training.  I also gained an MCP so got a pin badge from Microsoft and recently I saw some Compaq pin badges on eBay and it's all starting to snowball out of control in to a full-blown collection!

Friday 12 June 2020

Repairing a CD or DVD using Allsop SkipDr

These were always too expensive for me to buy 'back in the day' and they're not exactly cheap now either!  But I managed to score another eBay bargain so no I have one and just the other day I got a DVD disc that was scratched so time to test this little beauty out!...

Wednesday 10 June 2020

How To Reset The BIOS Password of a HP/Compaq nc6100 Series Laptop (nc6120)

Changing/resetting/removing the BIOS password of a HP/Compaq nc6100 series laptop is a relatively easy thing to do - but there is one thing that you must not do with the main system battery or it wont work!  Watch this short video to find out how to do it:

Monday 8 June 2020

Fixing and Refurbishing a Retro Computing Laptop

Refurbished and Second Hand ARE NOT THE SAME THING!

In this video I will use a HP nc6120 I got as part of a 'Tech Job Lot' on eBay the other week and show you how to properly refurbish a laptop and how different the process is compared to 'Second Hand' where in most cases it has not even been cleaned!

Friday 29 May 2020

Tech Job Lot from eBay

I made a cheeky bid on this little lot that got accepted and after waiting a few days in quarantine (the spare bedroom) it's now time to unbox it and see what I've got!

The only thing I can remember being in this haul is a HP laptop that works but has a broken screen (which I just so happen to have a spare of) so the plan is to fix it, flog it and the rest (as they say) is gravy!  More money to buy more interesting Retro Computing stuff!

Anyway, here's the video:

Friday 22 May 2020

How To Remove Rust From Keys and Microsoft Software Unboxing

I purchased some Engineer (that's the brand) Rust Remover last year just in case I needed it and recently I purchased a CDR-80L CD storage box that one of the keys had some rust on so a perfect opportunity to see if it works or not - whilst I was waiting for it to work I also unboxed some recent software deliveries I had received...

Tuesday 19 May 2020

Samsung NP-Q1U UMPC Factory Restore

I've had this UMPC (Ultra Mobile PC) for a while now but only just got around to performing a factory restore on it using the manufacturers disc images as I found the discs on the Internet Archive (, only issue was, it was in Russian so spent quite some time getting it to English UK settings!

Tuesday 12 May 2020

Contour ShuttlePRO V2

I’ve had been waiting a couple of weeks for this item to turn up from eBay and it was definitely worth the wait!  The Contour ShuttlePRO V2 is a multimedia controller used for editing video and audio and the like.

As you may have noticed from the handwritten labels on the buttons, it is fully customisable so you can pretty much get it to work with any program you like from VLC to PowerDirector!

Once you’ve got the buttons set up how you like, not only does it make editing quicker and easier but it allows you to be more accurate as the jog wheels/dials are way better than just a standard mouse.

This is not the first Contour Shuttle device I’ve owned as just a few weeks ago I purchased the Shuttle Xpress as I didn’t want to splash out on the pro in case I didn’t get on with it.

When I saw that I could get one from CeX for half the new price and that I could sell it eBay for the same it was a no brainier as it meant I could try it out and if I liked it I could sell it on eBay and get the Pro version - which is exactly what I’ve done!

If you'd like to see the unboxing video I did then take a look here:

Sunday 10 May 2020

Sorting Things Out - PC Games System Requirements & Other Software Titles

I've been a bit quiet online for the last week as I've been sorting my Retro/Vintage collection out a bit and have rediscovered quite a few things I had tidied away and forgotten about!  I have a spreadsheet containing the details of the permanent pieces in my collection, but it's a continuous work-in-progress as before I get a chance to complete it I've purchased something else at either a car boot sale or (in more recent times) on eBay and I get distracted and move on to unboxing/unpacking my newly acquired items!

I think I have around 70 games (around 50 in DVD jewel cases and 20 in the old boxes they used to come in) but I don't know for sure as that's one thing that I have never gotten around to documenting.

I'm planning on using more of my games collection when it comes to testing the Retro Laptops that I have but the current issue I have is that I have no idea what games are compaitble with which laptops so I am now developing a spreadsheet that has that information on it.

This is what I started with:

Using the information from the back of the games I have put both the minimum requirements and recommended requirements in along with some notes on what else is on the disc like Acrobat Reader and Internet Explorer etc. but it took quite a while to gather the information as it's all in the very, very small print on the cases so I decided to see if there were any databases of PC Games with their specifications already out there that I could use to create a more streamlines spreadsheet of my collection.

After spending some time searching I finally came across which seems to contain most of the games I picked at random to search for, it contains a lot more concise information which is exactly what I was looking for and will save me having to read all the small print on the back of the cases.  The idea behind the spreadsheet is to make it easier to see what games I can use to test a specific laptop based on the CPU and RAM it happens to have and what OS I have installed - going forward I should then be able to see at a glance what games will run on Windows 98 for example.

After comparing what is written on the back of the jewel cases and what is listed on the Game System Requirements website I see that there are quite a few discrepencies so I cannot rely on it fully and still have to check the back of the games, but it has helped me lesson the amount of data that I am collecting and my spreadsheet now looks like this:

All I've got to do now is add all the software I have including all the DVD jewel case types, big box versions, CD jewel cases, software in CD sleeves and in my CD/DVD organisers!...


Here's what it looks like with a few more entries:

Tuesday 5 May 2020

iomega Clik! PCMCIA PC-Card Floppy Disk Drive

Way back in 1999 iomega released a pocket-sized zip disk drive that until recently I never knew existed!  Despite being around 21 years old the PCMCIA card has not given up the ghost, but is there any data on the disks that came with it and if so what data is on them?  There's only one way to find out!

Saturday 2 May 2020

IBM ThinkPad Laptops - January Car Boot Sale Finds Tested and Inspected

Way back in January 2020 I picked up 8 different laptops for £1.90 each (click here if you want to take a quick look at all 8 and the Shuttle Desktop I got).  I've been so busy doing other things that I have only recently gotten around to having a proper look at them and have produced a 4 part series of YouTube videos of me inspecting and testing them...

The first one I took out of the storage box was pretty beaten up, the lid is covered in very deep scratched - clearly the car booter had no idea what the real value of these laptops is and had not been storing them properly or looked after them at all.

Without giving too much of the game away, in Part 4 I also do a speeded up tutorial on how to install Windows 98 Second Edition!





Thursday 23 April 2020

How To Create A Backup Image of a CD and Upload it to the Internet Archive Website

Drivers for Windows 95 and Windows 98 laptops are not always easy to find so it comes in handy if you have the original System Restore Disks that may have originally come with the laptop but the world of Retro Computing isnt always that forthcoming as a lot of the discs have been either lost or thrown away over the years - so what can you do to get hold of old system restore discs I hear you ask?!

Well, you can visit which is the Internet Archive website and you can see if anyone has uploaded a backup copy there that you can download, burn to a disc and then restore your Vintage/Retro laptop back to factory settings!

The only way these disc images get on to the Internet Archives website is by people uploading disc images of the Restore Discs that they have.  This is why it is important that if you have any system restore discs, when you  get a chance, make backup images of them and get them uploaded to the site.

In this quick video I will show you one way of creating a CD disc backup and how easy it is to upload them to the Internet Archives website...

Wednesday 22 April 2020

Using A Universal Power Adaptor With Your Retro Computing Laptop

I don't know what people are doing with the original power supplies for some of the laptops I keep buying but more often than not, I'm either getting the wrong power supply (they seem to think it's OK to use any ol' power supply even if it's the wrong Voltage) or I'm not getting any power supply at all.

To begin with I would scour the likes of eBay and Amazon looking for the correct power supply that would have originally come with the laptops and pay between £7 and £25 without even knowing if the laptop(s) worked or not!

Then, it suddenly dawned on me, there must have been some Universal Laptop Power Adaptors 'back in the day' - I wonder if I can find some on eBay...

Just in case you want to try and get hold of some yourselves, here is a list of the part numbers of the Universal/Replacement Laptop Power Adapters that I have:


72W DC (Car) Adapter - CUC0001B
75W AC (Mains) Adapter - CUA0002B
90W AC (Mains) Adapter - CUA0001B


90W AC Dell Laptop Power Adapter - LPDELL12
90W AC Lenovo Laptop Power Adapter - LPLENO17
(Despite its name, the Logik Lenovo Adapter works with other makes too).


150W AC Power Notebook Adapter - APA08EU

Although these model numbers are no longer manufactured, every now and again 'New Old Stock' seems to turn up on eBay and that's what all these are/were, new but old stock and were never used until I got them - in fact at the time of writing this I have two more 2-Power NOS power adapters on their way to me in the post!  It's amazing what you can find if you look hard enough.

Friday 17 April 2020

How to Test and Wipe a Retro IDE Hard Disk Drive

Although wiping/testing a Retro IDE hard disk drive is relatively simple, not everyone will know where to start and not everyone will do it the same way!

Some just do a quick format (not the best way), other may even do a full format (still not the best way) but I test any hard disk drives I get from Car Boot Sales or eBay by using Active KillDisk as it's (currently) Free for Personal Use and in this short video I will show you what I do...

Thursday 16 April 2020

Testing My iPAQ Collection - H6330 Stowaway Keyboard and Nexicam Digital Camera Addon

My iPAQ collection isnt massive (that's what she said) but it does have a couple of interesing items in it; namely a Targus Stoway keyboard and a Nexicam Digital Camera addon and in this video I will not only test them but show you how to install them - assuming they all work that is!...  It was a bit of a faff at times as I don't have a working battery on the iPAQs that I have as they are very expensive to get hold of and with zero power, when you disconnect the power you lose everything on the iPAQ and have to keep starting again from scratch...

I've sped up the installation sequences so if you have a go at installing the software shown in this video yourselves it will take a bit longer than shown!

Monday 13 April 2020

Testing and Cleaning an IBM ThinkPad 380Z Laptop - Car Boot Sale Find!

Here's another one of the sub-£2 laptops I picked up earlier on in the year, namely an IBM ThinkPad 380Z.

As you can see the lid is dirty and there's a great big scratch on the screen completely and utterly ruining it :(
On top of that theres a crack in the corner of the screens bezel and there's something nasty and disgusting on a couple of the keys.
There are also some very strange markings and dents on parts of the laptop but I have no idea what they are.
After gathering up my laptop cleaning gear, I got down to giving this latop a thorough cleaning...

One thing I have learnt from doing this video is that going forward, even if I'm not making a YouTube video, I shall start recording anyway as for those of you who have seen the video will know that whilst air dusting the laptop a spring shot off across the screen that basically stopped the power button working!  Luckily I spotted this whilst I was editing the video and found the spring under my screwdriver set and it's now safely in a small plastic bag and Sellotaped to the laptop!

As you will see from the photos below, it's a hell of a lot cleaner than when I started but the weird and wonderfull markings and dents are still there - looks like something acidic has touched the laptop but no idea what.

Because it has no Hard Disk Drive or HDD Caddy, it's covered in scratches and strange dents and has a few cracks in the case I have labelled this one up as Spares and Repairs - you can't win them all, beside for £1.90 it's well worth it for the parts in case I get another one of these that requires a floppy disk drive or CD-ROM drive :)

Friday 10 April 2020

Testing IBM ThinkPad 380D Laptop - Car Boot Sale Find!

As it cost me under £2 at a Car Boot Sale earlier on in the year, it's not surprising this little beauty did not come with a power adapter, not to worry though as I just so happen to have a box of geniune adapters 'just in case'...

First things first, time to check the voltage on the power adapter I have to ensure it doesnt damage the laptop:

It's the correct voltage so we're good to go!

As you can see not only did the laptop power on, but it has a working hard disk drive in it with what appears to be a relatively fresh installation of Windows 95 on it!

Overall the laptop is in very good condition, although there is some damage to the bottom right-hand corner:

I was pleasantly surprised to see Who Wants To Be A Millionaire (just about) runs on this laptop even if the playing back of videos was a but jerky it was still playable.


CPU: Intel Pentium 150MHz (P150)
Optical Drive: 8x CD-ROM
Floppy Disk Drive: 1.44MB
Graphics: 1MB Neomagic NM2093 MagicGraph 1282V
Audio/Sound: Crystal Audio (SoundBlaster Pro 2.0 Compatible)

Tuesday 7 April 2020

Retro Gaming - Installing and Testing Some Games I Picked Up

Tiger Woods PGA Tour 2000 - Theme Hospital - Friends - Starsky and Hutch

I picked up these games a few weeks back but I've only just had a chance to see if any of them work and if they do, are the games I've picked any good?!

It's a bit of a long one (that's what she said) but it was a lot longer before I edited out the long installation times!  One of my most favourite games of the day was Theme Hospital which wasn't the first game I ever completed (that was Doom) but it was the first game I ever completed without using any cheats like I did with Doom...

Tiger Woods PGA Tour 2000

System Requirements

OS: Windows 95/98
CPU: Pentium 166MHz


As the laptop I was using is a Windows XP laptop I didn't think this would work but thought I'd give it a go but as expected, it didn't work so got a thumbs down from me.

Theme Hospital

System Requirements

OS: Windows 98/XP/Vista
CPU: (Pentium) 75MHz
GRAPHICS: DirectX 5 compatible

This is one my most played games of all times, certainly in the top 10 of my favourite Retro Games (oooh - that's a good idea, I'll have to create one of them)...

I spent many an hour on this game and loved every minute of it - even when all the patients got the squits and vomited all over the floor!

FRIENDS - The One With All The Trivia

System Requirements

OS: Windows 2000/XP
CPU: Pentium III 1GHz
RAM: 256MB
GRAPHICS: DirectX 9 Compatible Graphics Card

In the UK Friends was shown on Channel 4 at 9pm on a Friday night and was a must watch TV show and as Netflix has shown, it still is!  I never knew this game existed until the other day so had to pick it up and give it a go...

Starsky & Hutch

System Requirements

OS: Windows 98/ME/XP/2000
CPU: Pentium II 450MHz
RAM: 128MB

Wow!  The graphics and gameplay on this game are amazing.  Why have I never seen this game before??  If I had gotten this game 'back in the day' I would have spent hours and hours on this game - as you'll see from the video, the graphics are fantastic and the gameplay is brilliant.

Monday 6 April 2020

Upgrading The RAM on a DELL Latitude D820 Laptop

As you may have seen from lots of previous posts, I have amassed quite a collection of Retro Software from Operating Systems and Utilities to plenty of Games so it's about time I got some laptops ready to start using them all...

I am going to start with this rather nice Dell Latitude D820 that has Windows XP on it - although it has already got 1GB of RAM (2 x 512MB sticks) I'm going to upgrade it to 2GB for not other reason than I can :)

Now I've got my test Windows XP laptop all set up it's time to get testing things so watch this space!...

How To... Replace The CMOS Battery In A Dell Latitude D820 Laptop

Changing the CMOS battery on a Dell Latitude D820 is a lot easier than a lot of other laptops that I've seen and in this video not only will I show you where it is and how to change it I will also show you how to make your own rather than having to buy one off of eBay!

To make your own battery you will need the following items:
  • CR2032 Button Cell Coin Battery
  • Conductive Tape
  • Knife
  • Heatshrink Tubing
  • Heat Gun (a soldering iron up close will do if you dont have a proper heat gun)

Appologies for the bad jokes (there aren't many) - #thatswhatshesaid

Tuesday 31 March 2020

Compaq Presario 1060 - Retro Laptop Unpacking/Unboxing!

I won another different looking Compaq laptop on eBay the other day and only just had a change to unwrap/unbox/unpack it - to me it looks more like a Toshiba than a Compaq, again it looks like they were still experimenting with their look as most of the future Compaq laptops didnt look anything like this model.

Compaq Presario 1400 - Retro Laptop Unpacking/Unboxing!

Finally got around to unboxing this little beauty today!  It doesn't look like any other Compaq laptop I have ever seen (nor own), it looks a bit 'Apple Maccy' (if that's such a word) a bit like they were experimenting on what their new laptops were going to look like going forward, I don't remember see anything like this before from Compaq so I guess it didn't catch on!

Tuesday 24 March 2020

Microsoft Golf - The Number 1 Golf Game For Windows

Won this big box Windows 95 on eBay the other day and it's just turned up!  Apparently not only is/was this the #1 Golf Game For Windows but you should also Adjust Your Grip On Reality!

I keep procrastinating, but I really must dig out a couple of Retro laptops so I can start trying all these games I have accumulated out!  I think I'm going to have to invest in some sort of capturing device that I can hook up to a VGA output of a laptop and capture on my Windows 10 laptop so I can edit it and create a video... #watchthisspace

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