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Dell Desktop PC Restoration – Part 2

Check out part one if you haven’t already.

Usually the first thing I look at when repairing any PC is the power supply. When I’m building a modern PC, the one thing I never cheap out on is the power supply. It’s such an important piece because all other components are down stream from it electrically speaking.

I was surprised the old one was even working and that I didn’t hear any fireworks on the initial power on. It seemed best to go ahead and remove this piece from the equation and bring in a high quality power supply I got a couple years back. The only problem with this approach is that Dell motherboards from this time have a custom power connector in addition to the standard one. I turned to Ebay again here and luckily it cost me less than $10.

A couple weeks go by and I receive the power adapter and a clean Nvidia GeForce 6200 512MB video card. At this point I found best to pull all the components out of the rusty old case and lay them flat on a table. Instead of busting my knuckles on an old rusty case, connecting everything together on a clean table will more easy to manage. Besides, it becomes clear to me that the computer side of this project is going to go faster than the case restoration side.

Components connected on a table

My close friend and neighbor had me over for game night. Usually a couple times a month we hang out at his place for a little video game action. This particular night in August he asked me if I wanted his old PC. I helped him build this video editing PC back in 2012-2013, I can’t quite remember. It occurred to me that I could use some of the parts in the Dell project, so I accepted.

Now that I have a clean and rust free donor case, I transfer the motherboard, power supply, drives and video card over from the rust bucket. Time to power it up and see if we get anything on the monitor. 

Presto! It’s alive! 

The Dell BIOS screen displays beautifully in black and blue. We soon get the next challenge, a no operating system message. What are we going to do for an OS? I check the sticker on the front of the PC case. It seems this Pentium III processor was ready to tackle Windows 2000, NT and 98. I decided to start off with installing Windows 98 on a 40GB hard drive that I pulled out of an old broken PlayStation 3. Also since this hard drive uses SATA connections and the mother board uses IDE, I decided to bite the bullet and get an adapter. This will future proof it for any newer drives I may use later down the road.

I dove back into the world of Windows 98, we’ll soon find out how that goes. This was about the time I started to remember how much drivers were a pain in the rear back in the day. 

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