Yesterday, I was walking to a thrift store near me and I walked into it, not really expecting to find much, until I walked into the electronics section. I didn’t see a lot at first, they had some crappy mid 2000’s prebuilts, random Blu-Ray players, and cables. But as I double checked, I noticed something that piqued my interest: a Pentium III sticker. I looked more and saw right above a Windows sticker with the 9x era logo. I darted my eyes around and saw the beige grey case, the dull blue lining down the center, the very unique and of the era 90s design, and on the side: the VAIO logo. On it was taped a piece of paper that read: “PC - NOT TESTED” and below that: “$5”. I picked it up immediately. I had to walk a bit before I got a ride, but I got back home and placed it on the floor of my room, admiring it. I mean… look at it!
OK, enough with the fancy prose. It’s a really cool looking PC though. It is missing the front cover, as you can see, and it has some scuffs and slight yellowing, but it’s still awesome as hell. That being said though, I needed to power it on. I had to use the power cable from my home server since I didn’t have any spare ones, but thank goodness I still had a VGA cable lying around and that my 2nd monitor supports VGA. I hooked everything up and turned it on and…
It booted and worked fine…ish. I’ll get to that later. More importantly, it had Debian preinstalled on it??? It looked like the guy who had this before tried to revitalize the system by installing Linux, and (I think) he even replaced the RAM from the original 128MB configuration to the max 512MB! Not complaining there. However, that wasn’t enough to make the system keep up with… whatever he tried to install and set up on there. I turned the computer off and decided to open it up. I noticed that the power button felt really stiff, so I wanted to check that out, plus dust out the system if it was dusty. And… it wasn’t.
Well, it was sort of, but not as much as I thought, just surface dust. I don’t have pictures here, but the power button on the front is one of those metal dimple switches (if that’s what they’re called???) and it looks like somehow it wore out because it wouldn’t press down at all, but it still works if I touch it. It’s really sensitive though, so I just pulled it up a little with an Xacto knife and it works for now, but I don’t know if it will stay that way. After addressing that, I wanted to replace the thermal paste, so I took off the cooler…
It already had paste on it. Oops. Well, I have better paste I think, so I put it on there anyways.
From there, I wanted to install Windows 98 initially, so I spent the day trying to figure it out. I had to run to Target to buy CDs to burn and use, since it doesn’t support booting from USB flash drives, and from there I spent the rest of the day trying to figure out how to actually install Windows. In the end, I gave up though because I couldn’t figure out how to boot the installer without a boot floppy and nothing I tried would work. I also figured it would be hard to get the drivers set up since they didn’t really seem like they were readily available online. So instead, I decided to install Windows ME via the recovery discs for this system, which I found here:
Thank goodness for Internet Archive.
Anyways, I got the two discs burned, and after a while of waiting for it to reinstall the OS…
IT BOOTED!!! And yeah, this was at like 10pm lol, so that’s why it’s so dark. I went through the setup process and then was greeted to the desktop soon after.
What a sight to see. Shortly after that, I even got networking working and soon enough, I was online.
From there, I did a few more things and just went to sleep, since it was pretty late.
I don’t really have a plan on what to do with this PC, but I want to use it for just doing random things, so it was definitely worth the 5 dollars and the trouble to get it working, I love this thing so much. Shame I don’t have a CRT monitor to go with it, but this works fine too. I will probably write more updates in the future regarding this PC once I figure out what to do with it, but for now, that’s all :)