Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)


Solutions: What to do about antique Compaq

I have a 9-year-old Compaq laptop with XP Pro installed. A couple of years ago, I put it aside when I purchased a large HP laptop. I want to dispose of the Compaq, but now it won't boot up so I can clean the hard drive and memory. How can I clean it without tearing it to pieces, and are there programs looking for retired PCs?

If the computer won't power on, then you'll need to physically remove and destroy the hard drive (choose your weapon). If it powers but no longer boots from the hard drive, try booting it from a floppy/CD. You can download Darik's Boot And Nuke from, a program that will boot and then wipe the hard drive in one shot. I'm not sure you'll find takers for a 9-year-old PC, but you can't (legally) throw it away. Check and click the Computers link for options for disposal/donation.

I have a Dell Dimension 3000, and it is running on Windows XP Home Version. I have 1 GB of RAM, but Windows is only seeing 256 MB of it. A friend who checked said the Systems CMDS recognizes the 1 GB, but Windows for some reason only sees 256 MB of RAM. Is there a way to fix that short of rebuilding the computer? Also my fonts are jagged on all the programs I use them on. I did the "smooth edges" setting but nothing changed. If I put print on an image it prints all jagged and broken no matter the size of the fonts. It even looks that way on the screen. It is this way with WordArt, Elements, etc. Anyway to fix that?

Some memory may be shared with an onboard video adaptor and could account for small difference, but the disparity you're seeing is way off. And because Windows is only recognizing 256 MB, that could also be the reason your displayed fonts are jagged.

Some oddball applications change the MAXMEM initialization parameter, and I would start by checking your boot.ini file, which is a hidden file in your root directory. You can also check through the System Configuration utility MSCONFIG on the boot.ini tab, Advanced Options button. In either case, make sure it is not checked. Also double check that your motherboard memory specifications match your memory and that they are in the recommended slots based on the number of memory modules you installed.

Send questions to or Personal Tech, P.O. Box 1121, St. Petersburg, FL 33731. Questions are answered only in this column.

Solutions: What to do about antique Compaq 04/25/10 [Last modified: Sunday, April 25, 2010 4:30am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Bucs probe how to fix deep-ball chances missed vs. Bears


    TAMPA — It was only minutes after the Bucs had demolished the Bears 29-7 Sunday when quarterback Jameis Winston tried one final time to connect with receiver DeSean Jackson.

    QB Jameis Winston says he’s focused on the deep-ball chances to DeSean Jackson he missed in the opener: “We left a lot out there.”
  2. Rays journal: Ugly first inning dooms Andriese, Rays against Orioles (w/video)

    The Heater

    BALTIMORE — Rays manager Kevin Cash said before Thursday's game that RHP Matt Andriese was among the pitchers who would most benefit from a strong finish to the season.

    Matt Andriese has a tough first: hits to four of first five batters, leading to three runs, the only ones he gives up in six innings
  3. St. Petersburg council sets millage rate in first budget hearing

    Local Government

    ST. PETERSBURG — The City Council set the millage rate and gave initial approval to Mayor Rick Kriseman's $538 million budget at Thursday night's hearing.

    Mayor Rick Kriseman talks about the state of the city on Tuesday, two days after Hiurricane Irma passed through the state. [EVE EDELHEIT   |   Times]
  4. How many more people would lack coverage under Cassidy-Graham? We can guess


    WASHINGTON — It's safe to say the new Obamacare rollback measure toward which the Senate is charging would mean fewer Americans have health coverage. Exactly how many is unclear. Some argue it could be more than 22 million people. Others say it could be fewer.

  5. Woman's decomposed body found near St. Petersburg railroad tracks


    ST. PETERSBURG — A woman's body was found near the railway tracks behind an empty building at 3100 38th Ave. N, according to St. Petersburg police.