ancient computer problem

I need some tech advice. I’m trying to copy a bunch of files from my old high school/college computer, which has spent the last six years in the smoke-filled home of my uncle. We can’t let cultural gems like COLLAPPS.DOC and RESUME.DOC disappear, can we?
Here’s the deal. It’s an ancient Compaq ProLinea 4/66. Its problems:
– Its monitor’s on/off switch doesn’t work. (I’ve solved this with the careful wedging of a toothpick.)
– The keyboard doesn’t work. I can’t do anything from the DOS prompt; all I can do is within the GUI installed on the poor thing, GeoWorks. (The mouse works fine.)
– The 3.5″ floppy doesn’t work. At first, I thought it was just the quarter-inch layer of accumulated junk. But after I cleared that away, I saw the metal guides inside the drive were warped into inappropriate shapes. I can jam a floppy in, but it doesn’t read.
So…anyone got any suggestions on how to get files from this aging PC? I’d love to hear either great ideas on alternate means of file transport (ideas involving the parallel port will get special credit) or from local Dallasites who have a replacement keyboard (PS/2) I could borrow for a few hours. Do they make floppy drives you can use via a parallel port with DOS?
All those with ideas that end up producing success will get the beverage of their choice, not to mention free copies of any of my Western Civ II high school essays.
One aside: I stopped by the neighborhood Radio Shack this afternoon to buy some floppies (back when I thought the 3.5″ drive worked). I asked where the floppies were, and the old man behind the counter pointed me to the corner — to a part of the store where it appeared no one had set foot since 1986.
First off, when I said “floppies,” he sent me to the boxes of 5.25″ floppies — yep, the old black ones. They had more 5.25″ disks than 3.5″ ones. Other sightings in the corner:
– A single box of (yes!) 8-inch floppy disks, coated in a decade-thick layer of dust.
– A graphics card for the Tandy Color Computer.
– A 128K memory card (yep, 128K, not 128MB) on sale for $39.99. (For those not up on memory price trends — yeah, both of you — you can now buy 512MB of memory for about $28. That would be 4,096 times as much memory.)

2 thoughts on “ancient computer problem”

  1. have you looked inside the case? if you can get the hdd out, you could always pop it in another box and take off the files you want to save.

  2. I agree with tom. The easiest way to do it, would be rip the old machine open (preferably with a saw or sledgehammer) and then pop the old harddrive in a new machine. The newer ones sometimes recognize everything automatically and you don’t even have to know what you’re doing. (Not that you don’t, it’s just easy.)

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