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Author Topic: How do you revive a dead computer?  (Read 8126 times)

Offline syhprum

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How do you revive a dead computer?
« on: 20/04/2015 08:43:36 »
If I am presented with a serviceable computer with an internet connection available but is dead because the drive has been formatted is there any way I can bring it to life not having any software to hand.
I would like to experiment but do not have a spare drive to hand
« Last Edit: 20/04/2015 16:55:46 by chris »


 

Offline PmbPhy

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Re: reviving a dead computer
« Reply #1 on: 20/04/2015 12:33:57 »
Quote from: syhprum
If I am presented with a serviceable computer with an internet connection available but is dead because the drive has been formatted is there any way I can bring it to life not having any software to hand.
I would like to experiment but do not have a spare drive to hand
Not that I know of, but I'm not a computer expert. But it seems to me that if the drive is formatted (which I assume that you mean it was wiped clean during the formatting process) then there's no operating system on it. All there remains is the boot software. What computer is it precisely and what do you precisely mean when you say "the drive has been formatted"? I.e. do you mean that everything on it was deleted? If so then how did it get that way?
 

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Re: reviving a dead computer
« Reply #2 on: 20/04/2015 13:24:01 »
If what I understand is correct and the hard drive has really been completely formatted and you do not have any software at hand and neither are willing to download any, then... No.
Although if you are willing to download some software's then... Yes, It can come back to life. I would really appreciate more detail.
 

Offline RD

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Re: reviving a dead computer
« Reply #3 on: 20/04/2015 13:37:10 »
If the computer has an working optical drive (CD/DVD) ,  For a few [<$5] dollars you can buy a Live CD , which contains a Linux Operating System, e.g. ... https://www.osdisc.com/products/puppy

If you have another working-computer connected to the internet you can legitimately download such an Operating System for free, then burn it onto a CD/DVD , then transfer that optical-disc to your experimental computer so it then has an Operating System , ( with an internet browser +other software ).
http://puppylinux.org/main/How%20to%20download%20Puppy.htm

Even if the hard-drive is dead or removed , a Live CD , (or Live USB) , is still able to produce a usable computer.
« Last Edit: 20/04/2015 13:45:19 by RD »
 

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Re: reviving a dead computer
« Reply #4 on: 20/04/2015 14:05:39 »
I was about to post an alternate, free of cost solution but I got the error that I'm using blacklisted terms. I'm not going to rewrite all that I just wrote... Again but am just going to make this one suggestion. You should opt for Ubuntu instead of Linux if you are just planning to re download original windows. Partly because it's easy to use and free of cost.
 

Offline RD

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Re: reviving a dead computer
« Reply #5 on: 20/04/2015 14:39:04 »
... You should opt for Ubuntu instead of Linux if you are just planning to re download original windows.

Ubuntu is a version of Linux ... http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ubuntu_%28operating_system%29

If the computer is old, with small RAM, you may get better performance with a lightweight Linux OS , like Puppy Linux ... http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Puppy_Linux
« Last Edit: 20/04/2015 14:43:11 by RD »
 

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Re: reviving a dead computer
« Reply #6 on: 20/04/2015 14:56:49 »
...And I just made a fool out of myself. I wonder why I did not know that.
Anyways, thanks for the correction!
 

Offline syhprum

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Re: How do you revive a dead computer?
« Reply #7 on: 20/04/2015 19:03:18 »
It was of course only a theoretical problem have plenty of software available I can visualise no solution my self but wondered if any correspondents could suggest anything.
Puppy Linux would be a good start if one could find any way to get onto the internet with no OS.
I cannot go to a local store to get some software I am on a desert island !
 

Offline syhprum

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Re: How do you revive a dead computer?
« Reply #8 on: 20/04/2015 19:51:22 »
I have a CPM 8 bit computer into which you can load software from an audio tape recorder which I have also a working telephone line would these be of any help
 

Offline chris

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Re: How do you revive a dead computer?
« Reply #9 on: 20/04/2015 22:18:59 »
Go online and download a copy of Debian Linux and install that; brilliant OS, free, less susceptible to being riddled with viruses and accruing 50 million registry errors that slow it to a crawl within 5 minutes of install, and you can actually control what your computer does... The installer will take care of repartitioning and formatting the HDD...
 

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Re: How do you revive a dead computer?
« Reply #10 on: 21/04/2015 06:11:24 »
Oh yes, a great idea... Mr. Chris! I think I should really catch up up with some internet news since for some reason I had this idea that Debian along with Backtrack 5 were discontinued for the release or Linux-Kali.
 

Offline syhprum

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Re: How do you revive a dead computer?
« Reply #11 on: 21/04/2015 08:31:47 »
A great idea Chris but please tell me how I get online all I can do with my computer from the BIOS is load down screen shots into a USB device.
My second computer is an 8 bit CPM with 64Kb memory from the eighties with no modem only a BASIC software on 5" floppy disks, audio tape recorder and no modem.
If I was a super geek could I from memory type in some mini OS sufficient to get me on line the computer is a 2014 ASUS.
I recall being taught how to do this on a Siemens 1972 vintage R30 (IBM360 clone) but computers have moved along somewhat in the last 40 years.
My desert island has a phone line but no postal service !
« Last Edit: 21/04/2015 13:22:20 by syhprum »
 

Offline PmbPhy

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Re: How do you revive a dead computer?
« Reply #12 on: 22/04/2015 18:05:42 »
I have a CPM 8 bit computer into which you can load software from an audio tape recorder which I have also a working telephone line would these be of any help
I take it that your computer is "ancient," right? Circa 70's or early 80's?
 

Offline syhprum

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Re: How do you revive a dead computer?
« Reply #13 on: 22/04/2015 22:23:15 »
My current computer is built from an 2014 ASUS mother board bundle but in a dusty corner of the attic I have this this old one with an 8 bit processor 64kb memory and CPM/Basic software I wondered if that could be of any help to get my hypothetical formatted computer going   
 

Offline Aemilius

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Re: How do you revive a dead computer?
« Reply #14 on: 28/04/2015 03:13:25 »
How do you revive a dead computer?

Mouse to mouse resuscitation?
 

Offline nicephotog

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Re: How do you revive a dead computer?
« Reply #15 on: 02/07/2015 02:55:40 »
Depending the format type if it is Windows, you can use the "OS install boot disc" to recover the formatted disc, However you cannot if its been "FORMAT C", or "FORMAT C: /s".
If you could you would also be faced with a little problem of Windows commercial software requiring serial number key typed in "again".
More complex formats of restoration are special install disc utilities that can recover deleted drives.

In Linux i think it is less possible to restore after format or deletion although all Linux install boot discs carry a "rescue disc utility".

Here's an interesting one, a whole OS devoted to such activity as flying around the light and banging your head on the bulb...
http://www.supergrubdisk.org/rescatux/
* Rescatux Linux (bootloader Rescue/repair distro) Install (Boot-loader and binaries crash rescue OS "primitive GUI")
OOOOH and you'll love this feature!!!
"Blank Windows passwords" Rescatux 0.32b3 Tutorial
feature=youtu.be&t=17m57s

This page has a list of main and specialist Linux OS's.
http://windsolarhybridaustralia.x10.mx/
« Last Edit: 02/07/2015 03:03:18 by nicephotog »
 

Offline syhprum

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Re: How do you revive a dead computer?
« Reply #16 on: 03/07/2015 17:02:14 »
I made the point of course that I had no software available if you have software available on DVD or USB or if you have another computer and an internet connection its dead easy but although I have an internet connection the only working computer that I have is the old CPM one
 

Offline nicephotog

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Re: How do you revive a dead computer?
« Reply #17 on: 04/07/2015 11:07:05 »
Quote
If I am presented with a serviceable computer with an internet connection available but is dead because the drive has been formatted...
"In that context" your tongue or hair are also an internet connection when the drive is formatted ! .

A sensible question would be...
Q. can i use a "hardware serviceable computer"(implied) with an internet connection(implied and applied hardware) with a formatted drive to install an OS if i don't have a software to install an OS.

A. Yes, but only if you have a machine language writing device and connection to the serviceable computer and it will take you some time to write the OS (maybe a few years if it's your any good at machine and assembly and SVG mapping and peripheral buses).

That's about what the question comes to now.

Maybe you could do something like this with it metaphorically...

REAL ZOMBIE DOGS!!!! 1940's russian experiment. part 1

Two headed dogs Demikhov Shocking experiment Footage
[/b]
« Last Edit: 04/07/2015 11:14:00 by nicephotog »
 

Offline syhprum

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Re: How do you revive a dead computer?
« Reply #18 on: 04/07/2015 19:02:12 »
On my Siemens R30 with the aid of the key panel and a code book I could write simple programs, it not take years but That was forty years ago !
 

Offline David Cooper

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Re: How do you revive a dead computer?
« Reply #19 on: 05/07/2015 17:52:35 »
I'm still not sure what your aim is here. If it's simply to get the machine working normally again in a hurry with an OS that can do all the normal things, then you'll have to obtain an OS on some kind of device that the machine can boot. However, if it's a theoretical question about what would be technically possible if you aren't allowed to access any external help at all, then your big problem is that the BIOS isn't designed to let you get anywhere without some kind of storage device attached to it containing boot code to load vital extra functionality in. You will therefore need to create such boot code by writing it on another machine, but you also need to be able to write it to a device that is capable of being transferred to the other machine afterwards so that it can be booted there.

If your CP/M machine (which I'll assume has a Z80 processor) and your PC both have 3 1/5" floppy drives, then you can certainly do it by using CP/M utilities to write boot code for the PC onto a floppy disk, though you may have to write your own program first to do part of the job because the assembler that comes with CP/M is designed to write Z80 machine code (or maybe it's restricted to the 8080 subset of that - I can't remember) rather than x86, but it is fully possible to do that. If you have a version of Basic that runs on top of CP/M, you can use that to save time and write your boot code for the PC in data statements which can be poked into memory and written to disk. I did exactly that when I wrote my operating system for the ZX Spectrum +3, and did the same thing again under QBasic when porting it to the PC.

If the floppy disk drives of the two machines aren't the same kind, you may be stuck though - many CP/M machines used 3" disks instead of the 3 1/2" ones. I have an Amstrad PCW with both a 3" drive and a 3 1/2" drive which would get round that problem, but machines like that are rare (and it's currently out of action as the 3" drive needs a new drive belt).

If you can't make the transfer via floppy disk, you might be able to take the hard disk out of the CP/M machine (if it has one) and fit it to the PC, but that would involve wiping out its ability to boot CP/M when you write your PC boot sector onto it, which means you'd only have one shot at this - if your code doesn't all work straight off on the PC, you're stuffed. So, it's possible, but totally impractical.
« Last Edit: 05/07/2015 17:54:40 by David Cooper »
 

Offline syhprum

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Re: How do you revive a dead computer?
« Reply #20 on: 05/07/2015 22:49:57 »
Many thanks for the first reasoned reply I have had to my purely theoretical problem of course floppy drives show a possible route between the olde worlde CPM/Basic machine and the modern machine but in the real world my code writing skills are quite inadequate and my CPM machine uses 5" floppies ! so it looks like I must remain on my island incomuniquado
 

Offline David Cooper

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Re: How do you revive a dead computer?
« Reply #21 on: 06/07/2015 18:11:24 »
I hadn't re-read the thread when I made my previous post, so I missed a few things. It sounds as if there is no hard disk on your CP/M machine. Had there been one, and if it could have been attached to the PC as a bootable drive, then there could actually have been a practical solution there which would have involved making the CP/M machine bootable from floppy disk (which it doubtless was already) so that the new boot code for the PC could have been written and rewritten many times on the CP/M machine's hard drive until it was sufficiently debugged to work on the PC. It sounds though as if the CP/M machine is restricted to 5" floppy drives (and maybe cassette tapes, which the PC won't be able to handle).

The best remaining option then would be to try to take the floppy drive out of the CP/M machine and attach it to the PC, but I have no idea whether the PC will be capable of handling a 5" drive without modification. It may or may not need a different driver to control it (which could require different BIOS code), or the problem may be finding a way to wire it up to the PC - if the existing floppy drive cable is a different format, you might be able to cobble something together with wires to bridge the gap, and if you're lucky it might then be possible to boot the PC from the 5" drive. You could then write PC boot code on the CP/M machine and save it to a different disk from the one you use to boot the CP/M machine, then keep transferring the 5" drive between the two machines for each test run as you debug your boot code. It is certainly possible to write a complete self-hosting development package in one sector of a floppy disk which can write/modify and save subsequent sectors (I have written one called BwtSecOS), so as soon as you have that running on the PC you can be free of the CP/M machine altogether.
 

Offline syhprum

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Re: How do you revive a dead computer?
« Reply #22 on: 06/07/2015 20:58:08 »
You sound like a very useful guy to have as a "Man Friday" on my island I am sure you could restore communications for me.

P.S   I have the circuit diagram of the CPM machine that might be useful !
« Last Edit: 06/07/2015 22:16:17 by syhprum »
 

Offline David Cooper

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Re: How do you revive a dead computer?
« Reply #23 on: 07/07/2015 18:22:12 »
I only know enough about hardware to be able to write code that can control the very limited set of hardware items that I need to work with - if anything needs to be wired up in a new way, I'm out of my depth, so any difficulties with connecting the 5" drive to the PC will likely be a barrier I cannot cross. If you can find a way to do it though, I should be able to do everything else.
 

Offline syhprum

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Re: How do you revive a dead computer?
« Reply #24 on: 07/07/2015 21:57:20 »
I am a hardware tech by training and could do any rewiring needed so make arrangements to be stranded on my island SAP (you could of course secrete some software about your person but that is not allowed)
 

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Re: How do you revive a dead computer?
« Reply #24 on: 07/07/2015 21:57:20 »

 

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