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:

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