Thursday, March 19, 2009

Rebuilding all my Personal Computers

I had some time off work, so I decided to rebuild all those old machines I had in the spare room. I had the following: -

I initially thought that I could take the disks out of the P6DBS and undo the Caddy and just copy the data onto my laptop. I forgot the old IDE vs SCSI differences ( But I was reminded about the beauty of SCSI and the way you can just “span” disks together to be seen as one by the operating system.

I stole the memory from the 6BTA3 to boot the P6DBS. I noticed that although it had 5 HDD, it only had power cables for 4 devices. So the first step was to copy all the data onto my Western Digital My Book ( I always thought 1 Tb of data was overkill, but I am slowly filling it!

After I had copied 16Gb of data of 2 of the drives, I noticed that my P6DBS was a dual processor motherboard, I decided to take the Pentium III out of the 6BTA3 and plug it in. It worked! It just said that I had 2x Pentium II. Oh well, wasn’t even expecting it to work to be honest! Then the first mistake – flashing the BIOS!!!

I went to SuperMicro ( site to get a new BIOS and used ( to create a Boot disk. Well that completely fried my machine and it constantly beeped after turning it on. Which according the web was the Power Unit failing ( So I ripped the Power Supply Unit (PSU) out of the 6BTA3 (that ATX case was just a motherboard now!) and used that. This made the constant beeps turn into 7 beeps (apparently the graphics card was now not seated), and after taking out the memory it had a different number of beeps! So I thought, I need to recover the BIOS.

I followed this ( guide and ended up setting the motherboard jumper and even took the CMOS battery out and left it over night (was 3am by now!). By this time frustration made me read the manual and release that I should have renamed the backed up BIOS (super.rom). I wish I had followed the instructions to the letter!!

So now I had no way off renaming the rom file as I needed to boot the P6DBS and hold down CTRL and HOME with the floppy disk in and it should reflash the drive reading the super.rom file.

So onto destroying the other machine so that I could use the floppy drive!

More to come . . . .

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