Odd Software for Odd Jobs

Resurrecting a Compaq Deskpro

I was gifted this machine along with a whole bunch of HP Series 80 equipment. It's a Comaq Deskpro EN Series SFF (small form factor) with a Pentium II. Its main purpose was (or will continue to be) the HPIB interface card.

2016-08-21 06.52.44

I haven't been able to find service documentation for this exact machine - all of the EN series documentation lists Pentium III's and not the Pentium II this one has.

My first job was pulling it all apart to give it a good clean and check out how it was put together … very nicely I must say. All the components are modular - the 3.5" floppy drive, CD-ROM drive, E-IDE (or PATA I guess) hard drive all slot in nicely. The machine came with 128MB of RAM so I've upgraded it quite cheaply to its maximum 512MB.

It also has a memory slot to upgrade the built-in graphics card, doubling its memory from 4MB to 8MB (found a cheap SGRAM module on eBay).

The backup battery was, of course, dead so I replaced it - a CR2430 button cell - quite easily.

Compaq Deskpro EN

Here's the system information screen accessed via the F10 setup during boot:

2016-08-21 12.31.02

The machine boots into Windows 2000. Unfortunately the kind fellow who gave me the machine couldn't remember his password and the Administrator account also had a password. So I was a bit stuck.

Some investigation on the Web showed that it was possible to clear the Administrator password by deleting a file called "SAM" in c:\windows\system32\config\

So I removed the drive and hooked it up to my Mac via a PATA/SATA - USB interface. This allowed me to see the files with no issue … but the Mac can't modify Windows NTFS partitions natively … so no deleting that file!

2016-08-20 07.18.38-1

Luckily I already had a licence for Paragon's NTFS for Mac … this allowed me to delete the file.

I put the drive back, booted into Windows again … and logged in with the Administrator account and no password! Sweet. So another machine is rescued - I'll be able to use this machine as a host drive for the old HP Series 80 machines via HPIB.

I'll continue to investigate how to upgrade the CPU - I've read it can be upgraded to a Pentium III but I'm not entirely sure the specifics. Completely unnecessary of course! ;)