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The situation: a Compaq Presario R 3000 that turned on about a year ago, but since then only a little red light comes on with the battery in or out; I am not sure if this model was supposed to turn on with the battery out.

The question: Is this a reparable problem, and what might be the cause?

The machine was (I think) running Windows XP. When turned on it asked for a (now forgotten) password. If I can't get the machine to boot is it possible to take out the drive, put it in an enclosure, and access the files that way?

I am less familiar with Windows machines. Could I put the drive in an enclosure and link it to a more recent computer (say a Dell) and run it from there, bypassing the PW?

Thanks in advance

  • The most common failure for electronics of that vintage is probably an electrolytic-capacitor failure. If you look inside the machine, you'll see a bunch of things that look like metal cans, whose coloring is predominantly black or dark blue lettering on light blue or light gray, or vice versa. Typically they will have a stripe down one side with dashes on it. Those components are electrolytic capacitors, each of which will be marked with a number followed by μF and another followed by V, and many of them will dry out with time and eventually fail. Fortunately, such components are still... – supercat Oct 21 at 17:20
  • ...being manufactured today, are readily available, and are not difficult for someone with a soldering iron and any degree of skill to remove and replace. Many people who restore old computers and electronics routinely remove and replace all of the electrolytic or oil-paper capacitors therein because many of those that haven't failed yet will fail within the next twenty years. In some cases, capacitor failures may cause other components to be destroyed, but electrolytic caps are mostly used in places where failure will render a machine operable, but repairing the cap will repair the machine. – supercat Oct 21 at 17:24
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The machine should work even when the battery doesn't work. Just remove the battery: it should be able to run directly from mains.

You should be able to take the drive out and use it as an external drive. You probably need admin access (possibly the user called administrator) to view the files.

If you manage to get your machine started but have forgotten the password, just google for "Windows XP forgot password".

As for repairing, I've got no idea whatsoever.

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  • Thanks. Curious if I hook it up to a "modern" machine and boot from there if it will work, or if I need to find another compaq (and then presumably I can follow the PW reset procedure) – Jesse Sep 21 at 18:25
  • I've only ever gotten this to work on machines of the same build. I've never gotten it to work on machines of different builds. This is both on Windows and Linux. When it does start, it freezes or blue screens after a few seconds, minutes, hours. You may be lucky: it may just work. – cup Sep 21 at 21:22
  • just to be clear I meant if I put the drive in an enclosure... – Jesse Sep 21 at 21:37
  • Putting the drive in an enclosure will work. You may need to be the admin user called administrator for this to work. – cup Sep 21 at 21:44
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    You don't really need an enclosure. One of these amazon.co.uk/TeckNet-Docking-Station-Tool-Free-Installation/dp/… will do. – cup Sep 21 at 21:46

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