HEY! Looks like I need some more PC help!

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RememberThe357

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HEY! Looks like I need some more PC help! - Saturday, August 10, 2013 8:56 PM ( #1 )
So I got a new (to me) PC. It's used. And kinda old. But my issue is that it doesn't have and HDD. Apparently everything else is intact. I have a spare HDD that I can use, at least temporarily, but how do I get this thing to work with no operating system and no drivers?

I'm sure theres a lot I'm leaving out and a lot of questions I'm not asking, but if you can help please let me know. 
WildArmed

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Re:HEY! Looks like I need some more PC help! - Saturday, August 10, 2013 9:26 PM ( #2 )
RememberThe357


So I got a new (to me) PC. It's used. And kinda old. But my issue is that it doesn't have and HDD. Apparently everything else is intact. I have a spare HDD that I can use, at least temporarily, but how do I get this thing to work with no operating system and no drivers?

I'm sure theres a lot I'm leaving out and a lot of questions I'm not asking, but if you can help please let me know. 



If you have an old PC / laptop, take the OS hdd out and plug it in to your 'new' computer. 

Ingram

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Re:HEY! Looks like I need some more PC help! - Saturday, August 10, 2013 9:35 PM ( #3 )
All right first off it would be great to know what the components are.

If you haven't been told if the thing works fine, I'd advise to run some tests and take some readings from the power supply channels with a multimeter just to make sure the juice has still nominal numbers.
Power supplies get old fast, if you don't want to take any readings at least make sure there aren't burnt components. Check for carbon smell and darkened areas with some flashlight.

Then, you want to check if the interface for the HDD<>Motherboard is compatible; it probably is something along the lines of SATA2. You also have to make sure you can power the HDD properly. It's difficult to advise ATM due to lack of details.


Once/if you got the HDD connected and running, you gotta enter the BIOS by pressing an F key at startup (it will tell you which one briefly at the start). You can either install a Linux distro from an USB pendrive or use a Windows DVD, just make sure you enter which unit will the system read first by using the motherboard's BIOS (set priority/order for optical drive, USB port, HDD, etc).

If you manage to get to the OS installer, you're halfway there.-
<message edited by Ingram on Saturday, August 10, 2013 9:39 PM>
RememberThe357

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Re:HEY! Looks like I need some more PC help! - Saturday, August 10, 2013 9:40 PM ( #4 )
What if I don't have one? The HDD I have to spare has been reformatted. I'm not completely opposed to taking my main HDD out and putting it in this new tower but if theres a way to get this thing running so I can see what it can really do I'm not opposed to going through more complicated steps either. 
IntelligentAj

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Re:HEY! Looks like I need some more PC help! - Saturday, August 10, 2013 9:47 PM ( #5 )
Unless I'm mistaken your BIOS should give you your Processor Type and Memory type/size etc. That should give you a good idea of how fast or slow the PC is. Do you have a windows install disc or a OS install on a USB Drive? edit: It seems like putting your main HDD in there might be your only appealing option
<message edited by IntelligentAj on Saturday, August 10, 2013 9:49 PM>
RememberThe357

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Re:HEY! Looks like I need some more PC help! - Saturday, August 10, 2013 10:06 PM ( #6 )
Yeah, sorry about the lack of info, I got this thing from work. It's one of those Dell gaming PCs, a customer was throwing it away (smh rich people...) and I grabbed it. I'm mostly interested in the tower and the fans but I wanted to check everything out to see just what its needs. The CPU is a Intel Core 2 Duo 2.4GHz and the graphics are Nvidia but I can't tell what card it is. The mother board looks like it's a Dell board. I just want to make sure I can use at least some of these parts. I like this tower and I love these fans lol. 

I'm not too computer savy but I'm trying my best here. 
duplissi

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Re:HEY! Looks like I need some more PC help! - Saturday, August 10, 2013 10:09 PM ( #7 )
WildArmed
 

RememberThe357
 

So I got a new (to me) PC. It's used. And kinda old. But my issue is that it doesn't have and HDD. Apparently everything else is intact. I have a spare HDD that I can use, at least temporarily, but how do I get this thing to work with no operating system and no drivers? 

I'm sure theres a lot I'm leaving out and a lot of questions I'm not asking, but if you can help please let me know.  
 


If you have an old PC / laptop, take the OS hdd out and plug it in to your 'new' computer.  
 



You can do this, but be aware that this method is not foul proof. it can leave you with a non functional install of windows or a highly unstable one (due to the fact that the drivers for the old computer's systems may not be fully removed) . I would not advise doing so unless you are prepared to reinstall the os after doing so.

If you can 'acquire' a windows disk, or if it is not for gaming you can always download one of the many linux distros (I would suggest linux mint for a nub) Then you can simply get your system set up.


If you dont have a cd/dvd to burn it to you can always drop the files onto a bootable usb drive and install from there (its faster this way)



RememberThe357
 

Yeah, sorry about the lack of info, I got this thing from work. It's one of those Dell gaming PCs, a customer was throwing it away (smh rich people...) and I grabbed it. I'm mostly interested in the tower and the fans but I wanted to check everything out to see just what its needs. The CPU is a Intel Core 2 Duo 2.4GHz and the graphics are Nvidia but I can't tell what card it is. The mother board looks like it's a Dell board. I just want to make sure I can use at least some of these parts. I like this tower and I love these fans lol.  

I'm not too computer savy but I'm trying my best here.  
 

np that is a fairly old cpu, I would bet that the gpu is equally outdated, however the case, fans and possibly the psu can be used as for a shell of a new system that you can now build. Contrary to popular belief you can build a system that can play all modern games respectably well for less that 500 (just dont expect to play much at ultra) and if you already have a case,fans and disk drive then that will cut a decent chunk of your cost.

<message edited by duplissi on Saturday, August 10, 2013 10:14 PM>
Ingram

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Re:HEY! Looks like I need some more PC help! - Saturday, August 10, 2013 10:23 PM ( #8 )
That'll be socket 775, this is quite old by safety standards. As other said, the BIOS should have an extended information profile, furthermore, if you're a bit lucky it may have some thermal managements and voltage levels. 
This is how that CPU stacks up to recent enthusiast ones:  http://www.cpubenchmark.net/cpu.php?cpu=Intel+Core2+Duo+E4600+%40+2.40GHz&id=937

An example of what you can do: You can emulate PS2 games, and if your card has at least a 128 bit bus you should have no problem displaying those at higher internal resolutions or antialiased. You could also play games like Bioshock or Fallout 3, that kind of range. Don't expect newer things to run like butter though. My guess is that your card is in the range of a 8500GT or maybe lesser. This is a card of that age vs a modern one: http://www.hwcompare.com/14777/geforce-8500-gt-vs-geforce-gtx-770/

Also, if you happen to have 2Gb Ram, which may be a possibility, try and run an older 32bit Windows OS or a lightweight Linux distro.

If you try the BIOS thingy and learn more about what's really in there, let us know if possible, just out of curiosity at this point.

<message edited by Ingram on Saturday, August 10, 2013 10:35 PM>
RememberThe357

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Re:HEY! Looks like I need some more PC help! - Saturday, August 10, 2013 10:29 PM ( #9 )
To be honest I'm completely new to this BIOS and OS on USB stuff. I have no doubt this would not be a problem for anyone who has built a PC before. But I have half a clue what I'm doing so I kinda know whats going on but my ignorance keeps tripping me up.

I booted up and the screen is just alerts about fans I can see working. I pressed F2 and got myself into something I can barely make sense of. But, to digress for a moment, if I can put my Windows 7 OS on my spare HDD what other kind of problems am I likely to encounter? Thats why I asked about drivers.
RememberThe357

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Re:HEY! Looks like I need some more PC help! - Saturday, August 10, 2013 10:33 PM ( #10 )
Thanks for the clarity is your post. I feel like I understand the concepts it's just the specifics that get me. What would I need to do if I can install Windows on a new HDD? Will windows look for the drivers for these components? Will I need to manually find them? Am I asking question that don't matter? I'm taking shots at dusk. 
duplissi

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Re:HEY! Looks like I need some more PC help! - Saturday, August 10, 2013 10:33 PM ( #11 )
RememberThe357


To be honest I'm completely new to this BIOS and OS on USB stuff. I have no doubt this would not be a problem for anyone who has built a PC before. But I have half a clue what I'm doing so I kinda know whats going on but my ignorance keeps tripping me up.

I booted up and the screen is just alerts about fans I can see working. I pressed F2 and got myself into something I can barely make sense of. But, to digress for a moment, if I can put my Windows 7 OS on my spare HDD what other kind of problems am I likely to encounter? Thats why I asked about drivers.



with a fresh install of windows 7? likely to be non existant to minimal due to the age of the hardware (drivers should be readily available. and if they arent a trip over to dell's site should hook you up).


How to install Windows 7 from usb: http://pcsupport.about.com/od/windows7/a/install-windows-7-usb.htm



edit: take some pics of the bios menus so we know what you are working with
<message edited by duplissi on Saturday, August 10, 2013 10:37 PM>
RememberThe357

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Re:HEY! Looks like I need some more PC help! - Saturday, August 10, 2013 10:37 PM ( #12 )
Ingram


That'll be socket 775, this is quite old by safety standards. As other said, the BIOS should have an extended information profile, furthermore, if you're a bit lucky it may have some thermal managements and voltage levels. 
This is how that CPU stacks up to recent enthusiast ones:  http://www.cpubenchmark.net/cpu.php?cpu=Intel+Core2+Duo+E4600+%40+2.40GHz&id=937

An example of what you can do: You can emulate PS2 games, and if your card has at least a 128 bit bus you should have no problem displaying those at higher internal resolutions or antialiased. You could also play games like Bioshock or Fallout 3, that kind of range. Don't expect newer things to run like butter though. My guess is that your card is in the range of a 8500GT or maybe lesser. This is a card of that age vs a modern one: http://www.hwcompare.com/14777/geforce-8500-gt-vs-geforce-gtx-770/

Also, if you happen to have 2Gb Ram, which may be a possibility, try and run an older 32bit Windows OS or a lightweight Linux distro.

If you try the BIOS thingy and learn more about what's really in there, let us know if possible, just out of curiosity at this point.



The RAM is indeed 2 gigs but my version of Windows 7 is 64bit. What does using a Linux distro entail?
Ingram

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Re:HEY! Looks like I need some more PC help! - Saturday, August 10, 2013 10:45 PM ( #13 )
RememberThe357


The RAM is indeed 2 gigs but my version of Windows 7 is 64bit. What does using a Linux distro entail?
 


Use a 32bit OS if available. A linux distribution will be more versatile and lightweight, it'll have a smaller memory footprint, thus you'll get a bit more performance. Beware, it takes some time getting used to linux, but it's inmune to virus and readily crosscompatible with several archive types and stuff. to be sincere, I'd recommend giving linux a try only if you've got also time to spare. 

Apart from newest OS's, for example Windows XP 32bit SP2 would be a nice fit for its capacity, if used for old games, emulators and stuff, but IIRC it's not oficially supported anymore, so you'll have some security issues and roadblocks, not to mention some predictable internet and driver issues.



<message edited by Ingram on Saturday, August 10, 2013 10:59 PM>
RememberThe357

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Re:HEY! Looks like I need some more PC help! - Saturday, August 10, 2013 10:53 PM ( #14 )
duplissi


RememberThe357


To be honest I'm completely new to this BIOS and OS on USB stuff. I have no doubt this would not be a problem for anyone who has built a PC before. But I have half a clue what I'm doing so I kinda know whats going on but my ignorance keeps tripping me up.

I booted up and the screen is just alerts about fans I can see working. I pressed F2 and got myself into something I can barely make sense of. But, to digress for a moment, if I can put my Windows 7 OS on my spare HDD what other kind of problems am I likely to encounter? Thats why I asked about drivers.



with a fresh install of windows 7? likely to be non existant to minimal due to the age of the hardware (drivers should be readily available. and if they arent a trip over to dell's site should hook you up).


How to install Windows 7 from usb: http://pcsupport.about.com/od/windows7/a/install-windows-7-usb.htm



edit: take some pics of the bios menus so we know what you are working with
 



The menu is actually pretty straight forward. Once I got out of my own way I made sense of it. At this point figuring out what to do with an HDD and OS seem to be the most pressing. If I can get Windows or Linux installed and the system up and running, will I be able to just switch out a new CPU and GPU without much issue?

RememberThe357

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Re:HEY! Looks like I need some more PC help! - Saturday, August 10, 2013 10:55 PM ( #15 )
Ingram


RememberThe357


The RAM is indeed 2 gigs but my version of Windows 7 is 64bit. What does using a Linux distro entail?
 


Use a 32bit OS if available. A linux distribution will be more versatile and lightweight, it'll have a smaller memory footprint, thus you'll get a bit more performance. Beware, it takes some time getting used to linux, but it's inmune to virus and readily crosscompatible with several archive types and stuff. to be sincere, I'd recommend giving linux a try only if you've got also time to spare.



I think I'm going to take your advice at least until I get more RAM in it or take what I want from it. Any tips on using Linux? I'm completely virgin to it aside from knowing how to spell it and that a cute ass penguin is it's mascot. 
duplissi

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Re:HEY! Looks like I need some more PC help! - Saturday, August 10, 2013 11:09 PM ( #16 )
RememberThe357


duplissi


RememberThe357


To be honest I'm completely new to this BIOS and OS on USB stuff. I have no doubt this would not be a problem for anyone who has built a PC before. But I have half a clue what I'm doing so I kinda know whats going on but my ignorance keeps tripping me up.

I booted up and the screen is just alerts about fans I can see working. I pressed F2 and got myself into something I can barely make sense of. But, to digress for a moment, if I can put my Windows 7 OS on my spare HDD what other kind of problems am I likely to encounter? Thats why I asked about drivers.



with a fresh install of windows 7? likely to be non existant to minimal due to the age of the hardware (drivers should be readily available. and if they arent a trip over to dell's site should hook you up).


How to install Windows 7 from usb: http://pcsupport.about.com/od/windows7/a/install-windows-7-usb.htm



edit: take some pics of the bios menus so we know what you are working with
 



The menu is actually pretty straight forward. Once I got out of my own way I made sense of it. At this point figuring out what to do with an HDD and OS seem to be the most pressing. If I can get Windows or Linux installed and the system up and running, will I be able to just switch out a new CPU and GPU without much issue?





Yeah that is a fairly straight forward process. just need to make sure you get one that fits your hardware. keep in mind with a socket that old there isnt much further you can go for the cpu, but with the gpu you have a lot more room.
RememberThe357

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Re:HEY! Looks like I need some more PC help! - Saturday, August 10, 2013 11:14 PM ( #17 )
duplissi

Yeah that is a fairly straight forward process. just need to make sure you get one that fits your hardware. keep in mind with a socket that old there isnt much further you can go for the cpu, but with the gpu you have a lot more room. 

So would that mean I  need a new motherboard if I want to upgrade the CPU?  
duplissi

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Re:HEY! Looks like I need some more PC help! - Sunday, August 11, 2013 2:15 AM ( #18 )
RememberThe357


duplissi

Yeah that is a fairly straight forward process. just need to make sure you get one that fits your hardware. keep in mind with a socket that old there isnt much further you can go for the cpu, but with the gpu you have a lot more room. 

So would that mean I  need a new motherboard if I want to upgrade the CPU?  



Yeah pretty much.
caseh

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Re:HEY! Looks like I need some more PC help! - Sunday, August 11, 2013 8:14 AM ( #19 )

So would that mean I need a new motherboard if I want to upgrade the CPU?
Build a new rig, it's pointless faffing about with individual components as the cycle will inevitably go like this:

Oh I need a new motherboard for the new CPU, oh the motherboard takes faster RAM? Best get some of that then, oh now the HDD is the bottleneck...SSD it is then. What if it fails, need redundancy...lets RAID it. Oh wait, I need aRAID controller, ok now i'm set. Oh wait the PSU is too weak, while i'm at it I should get a decent case with the PSU bundled. Now I need a GFX card, oh should I go top end or just SLI low end etc etc...

Welcome to the bottomless pit of building PCs.
 
Bladesfist

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Re:HEY! Looks like I need some more PC help! - Sunday, August 11, 2013 11:05 AM ( #20 )
caseh



So would that mean I need a new motherboard if I want to upgrade the CPU?
Build a new rig, it's pointless faffing about with individual components as the cycle will inevitably go like this:

Oh I need a new motherboard for the new CPU, oh the motherboard takes faster RAM? Best get some of that then, oh now the HDD is the bottleneck...SSD it is then. What if it fails, need redundancy...lets RAID it. Oh wait, I need aRAID controller, ok now i'm set. Oh wait the PSU is too weak, while i'm at it I should get a decent case with the PSU bundled. Now I need a GFX card, oh should I go top end or just SLI low end etc etc...

Welcome to the bottomless pit of building PCs.



It's not hard at all if you just use Google before you buy something. Learning about this stuff won't hurt.
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