View Full Version : My Best Tip: in maintaining old computers.

October 5th, 2013, 02:47 AM
After I finish with on old system I get a business size envelope. I put in Doc's on every card in the system, Motherboard jumper sheet and a switch settings and what is needed to reset the CMOS. I then close the envelope and write the computer it's for. I then put it under the computer so I have access to it.

That's not too OCD is it?

Saved my sanity many times.


October 5th, 2013, 02:57 AM
Problem is if you have too many of those and your wife/girlfriend/mother doesn't like the looks of them, especially when it comes to the space they occupy. I've been placing many boards one above the other, separated by a thin air-bubble layer. Not so valuable staff don't even have the layer at all. When it comes to the jumper settings I rely on the internet nowadays.

October 5th, 2013, 11:38 PM
As for me, I have this old DOS program called Memorymate.

You just type any subject on it and you can search by any word you placed in there
I also have a log book.

October 6th, 2013, 03:58 AM
'back in the day' I had my own white-box building company, and one of the policies I had was that you took the anti-static bag the motherboard came in (or a zip-loc baggie in a pinch), and put all the manuals (mobo, vid, sound, etc) in it. We would then velcro the bag in an empty 5.25" bay (since most every build had them). The only 'real' reason to need the books was usually when you opened up the system, so putting them in the case where you could be sure it wouldn't get lost made a lot of sense.

... the laugh being I still do this on builds today -- I even velcro any SLI or Crossfire bridge cables to the case. Adhesive backed velcro is your best buddy.

October 6th, 2013, 09:32 AM
The store I worked at usually only documented the CMOS settings for the hard drive. You can tell when a machine was built by the store because the CHS parameters for the hard disk were on a sticker on the back of the case. We also usually imaged the factory install that came on the white box PCs we ordered (few people custom ordered, and we weren't staffed enough to handle building all machines by hand). Made hunting or drivers or system restoration easier down the road.

October 6th, 2013, 09:42 AM
Putting all the whatnot that goes with a new system inside the case is a good idea. I always had the habit of using the box the motherboard came in to hold it all, and in three years maybe one customer in 10 would still have it. I find that working with vintage computers is different, in that you can't just order parts you might need or want for them.

I live in a very small town and I run a very small computer service shop out of my home. I never carried much parts stock. Now that I have a small collection of vintage machines, I have collected all sorts of vintage components so as to keep the systems repaired, and so I can play with different system configurations. So I have boards stacked on top of each other with the thin layer of bubble wrap too, and a wife that casts a jaundiced eye at all the "junk".

October 6th, 2013, 09:56 AM
Same here--unless it's an old no-docs system whose internals change quite regularly, I put copies of the docs inside the case. If there were setup CD-ROMs, I put copies of those inside as well.

Doug G
October 7th, 2013, 03:30 PM
I do similar, except I type all the info in my local internal wiki then print the wiki page and put the printout inside the computer in question.

October 7th, 2013, 03:45 PM
I always thought those adhesive floppy holders on the sides of computers were pretty cool for that. Saves you the trouble of opening up a case or doing something stupid and having a metal sealed envelope shorting something out (just throwing it out there so someone doesn't run off and do it).

October 8th, 2013, 01:01 PM
Floppy holders always got pulled off or damaged or emptied and repurposed in my experience. I've used the old method of taping driver disks/cd's and relevant manuals/switch settings in the PC case back when I first started working on machines in middle school (386 days)